5 Simple Steps to Making Your Wardrobe a Little Bit More “Green”

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After talking to some friends about how they view sustainable fashion, I found out that a lot of them wanted to know what small steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint. You can make some very small and easy changes in order to reduce the amount of waste we contribute when it comes to our clothing. I decided to narrow it down to 5 things but let me know if you’d like to see a few more tips and I’d be happy to share. I hope you guys find this post helpful.

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1. Take care of your clothes

The simplest thing we can do is take care of the items we already have. Read labels and wash accordingly. If it says hand wash, just do it. You’ll be so happy with how many extra times you get to wear that item. You can find some great recipes to make your own laundry detergent here and here. Also, line dry whenever possible. If you can avoid dry cleaners, please do. It’s not good for the planet or your health. If you must, look for an eco-friendly “wet cleaner” who can do them same job without all of the harsh chemicals. Another great tip is to learn how to do basic sewing. Simple things like fixing a button or a zipper, repairing a rip, or fixing a hem can increase the lifetime of your garment.

2. Repurpose

Once you grow tired of an item (and it will inevitably happen) turn it into something else you can use. Check out ReFashionista when you get a chance. She’s a huge inspiration when it comes to turning older style clothing into fashion-forward street wear. It’s amazing what you can do with some imagination. You can also find tutorials on YouTube that can show you different projects that only involve a single piece of clothing.

3. Donate/Swap/Sell

This tip actually came to me from my friend, Ryan, who previously did a guest post on here about thrifting. For every item she buys at the thrift store, she brings one the next time to donate. This does two things: One, you participate in the thrifting life cycle and provide other people with a chance to take home that bizarrely printed kaftan that you had to have last summer. Two, you get a chance to get rid of items you know your no longer going to use. Another great idea is to hold a clothing swap party and have your friends bring over some well-maintained items that they no longer use. You can trade items you really like and the rest of it can be donated to your local thrift store. The last tip is to sell clothing that is in excellent condition, a sought after brand, currently on trend, or a staple item on websites like Ebay.

4. Talk to your local boutiques.

Boutique owners and buyers are great to talk to. Let them know your interested in sustainable fashion. If it’s already a boutique that sells sustainable fashion items than they might be able to give you information on other designers and labels you might like to try. If there is a certain designer or label that your interested in, let them know. They may be able to become a stockist. As a consumer we make our voices heard by buying the products we love.

5. Be conscious of new purchases.

When buying brand new item, try to buy items that are made of organic textiles or through sustainable manufacturing products.  Some other things to think about are whether or not the item is made in the US as well. Buy items that will be staples in your regular wardrobe. Lastly, try to purchase from local stores so you can show your support for your local community.

All images courtesy of We Heart It.

West Coast Love: Mina + Olya

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I am in love with Mina + Olya, a San Francisco based sustainable fashion brand.  Their work is luxurious and sophisticated, which is exactly what the sustainable fashion market needs. They use the highest quality organic textiles made in mills that practice environmentally friendly techniques and all of their garments are created in the US.  Mina + Olya’s design aesthetic is a downtown girl with a bit of an edge and their pieces are easy-to-wear staples that will keep you feeling cool all season long. I pretty much want everything they currently have for sale and their Fall 2014 collection is amazing.

 Mina + Olya use their Iranian and Russian roots in subtle design elements. The result is a collection of well-made clothes that are not only fashion-forward but are made to last a lifetime. Taking care of the planet and looking great has never been easier.

 The images below are of their Spring 2013 collection which is currently for sale on their site.

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All images courtesy of Mina + Olya.

Thrift Store Basics

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Thrifting is one of the best ways we can reduce the amount of waste we’ve created through clothing consumption. I like to use thrifting in order to participate in the latest trends that I really don’t want to spend a lot of money on. I also like to find textiles that are unusual or one-of-a-kind and create new garments out of them. Thrifting is in some ways an art and in order to not get lost in the wonderland that is a thrift store, you need to have a strategy

My best friend, Ryan, is a thrift store maverick. Every time we go on a thrifting spree she comes back with the best stuff. I envy her abilities like no other and I asked her to come and do a guest post and give us some tips. Luckily, she said yes and so here she is. I hope you guys enjoy!

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Hey guys, my name is Ryan and I’m just going to share a few of my favorite tips when it comes to shopping. Most of these will help you find that perfect item or at least help you make the most out of your local thrift store  First things first, you want to figure out exactly what you’re looking for before you even leave the house. Check your closet for items you need to add to your staples. After that, you can check out blogs and other fashion publications and see which trends you really want to try out. Make a list of each item you’re looking for and bring it with you.

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The next step is to find out what the daily deal is. For example, the GoodWill uses a certain colored tag to dictate what is half off that week. Keep in mind what deals your store is currently having, it will help when it comes down to deciding how much money you want to spend.  Once you figure out what deals your store has, it’s time to start looking. Start in each section but remember don’t forget about the kid’s and men’s sections. You’ll be surprised with you can find.  Men’s sections are great for t-shirts and sweaters. Kid’s sections are also great for t-shirts. Once you find a section to start searching it’s time to start digging in. Let your eye scan the area and go for the print or color that stands out the most to you, quickly scan the surrounding area because you’re going to be looking at a lot of stuff. If you’re not in love, move on. You’re going to find so many items that you sort of like but not really. Don’t waste your time on things like that. You might try to justify the fact that it’s cheap as a reason to just get it but you’ll quickly end up with a bunch of stuff you won’t actually wear.

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Dont forget to check for stains, rips, and holes. Be honest with yourself about it. There will definitely be a moment when you find the perfect dress but it has a rip in the side. Can you fix it? Are you willing to pay to get it fixed? If not, don’t get it. It will just sit in your closet as a constant reminder of what could have been. Also bring a stain remover to test on stains. Do this before you try it on if possible. It’s a great way to weed out the amount of things you’ll be trying on. That leads me to my next point, TRY IT ON. I don’t know how many times I’ve found something I love but the fit is just awful. Please just move on if it doesn’t look great on you. If you need to make any changes than remember to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’ll actually get that done.

Once you finish picking out items and weeding them out by trying them on, it’s time to do a final scan of your items. Check to make sure each item is something you really want. If not, let it go. You’ll find something even better next time. If you didn’t find nearly as much as you would like to, don’t be discouraged. Each week brings something different so you will eventually find what you’re looking for.

 

My last tip is to bring items with you the next time you go. For every item I purchase, I like to donate one that I haven’t or won’t wear in the near future. It’s a great way to participate and help your local thrift store out. I hope these tips were helpful for anyone who is beginning their thrift store journey. Just remember to have fun and embrace items you normally wouldn’t if you had to pay full price. It’s been a great time writing this post and I hope I can come back and offer some more tips if needed.

-Ryan

Images courtesy of We Heart It.

TGIF

Another week filled with rain but I’m hopeful that sunshine is in our near future. This week has been slightly crazy with finals for school, a long work week, and some not-so-great-news from home. I’m seriously looking forward to some time to myself this weekend and a chance to catch up on all of my favorite blogs.  I hope you all had a productive and happy week and now it’s time to enjoy the weekend. Here’s a short list of some interesting reads regarding all things fashion and lifestyle related:

  • In case you haven’t had a chance to check out some of the best looks from the Met Gala. (Via Who What Wear)
  • Narciso Rodriquez’s collaboration with Bottletop to create sustainable fashion accessories. (Via Ecouterre)
  • Check out this young woman’s self-portraits that reflect popular and counter-culture styles from the last 100 years. (Via Buzzfeed)
  • Spring and summer are the perfect times to take vacations that revolve around being active in the outdoors. Here’s a list of the best ones to take. (Via Greatist)
  • Still need to get your mom something for Mother’s Day? How about a DIY botanical project. (via Free People)
  • What do Kristen Steward and the Wild West have in common? Apparently the new Chanel ad. (Via Fashion Gone Rogue)
  • Check out the AWEAR2014 campaign which brings eco-conscious fashion lovers together. (Via AWEAR2014)

Thread: A Documentary.

Recently I came across a trailer for a new documentary entitled Thread which is about the social and environmental consequences of our consumer choices. The documentary aims to empower consumers to make decisions that directly benefit the planet and their own health and gives them insight into how damaging our current garment production practices really are. The statistics are  astounding when dealing with the sheer number of things wasted and polluted by the garment industry. What I found particularly interesting about Thread was how it doesn’t just point out all of the things we are doing wrong but it gives us different options to help start making it right. This documentary understands the importance of consumers making a stand by spending their money in places that use sustainable materials and practices. Understanding how damaging our mindset of “I need it right now and as cheap as possible!” is to our environment is one of the biggest steps towards changing the fashion industry. The makers of Thread understand that you shouldn’t have to choose between style and sustainability but that they should go hand-in-hand. The film is set to debut later this year and you can find more information about it here.

“Homestead” by Caroline Onzik

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This past week was the senior collection fashion show for the Art Institute of Portland. I checked out everyone’s collection and was blown away by the amount of talent and hard work that I saw but one person in particular really stood out to me. Caroline Onzik created a collection based on utilitarian work-wear from the 1930′. The collection was both beautiful and functional. She stated that her inspiration was from the outdoors and always wanting what the boys had. “I really just wanted it to be utilitarian, something that a woman can put her hands and all of her tools in the pockets, and she won’t blow out the knees because they’re reinforced, but she also looks really good with all that functionality,” says Onzik. “For some reason women have had to make that choice between good-looking and functional since the beginning of time.” The looks were created with recycled denim which was an important aspect of Onzik’s collection. Caroline stated that protecting our planet was a big focus for her and that doing something sustainable was necessary.


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Onzik’s collection was filled with reconstructed denim that looked effortless and fresh and jumpsuits that were reminiscent of Carhart work wear but for a fashion forward young woman.  As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of western inspired fashion, I was in love with the styling that made the looks more downtown and less hoedown. The camel colored jumpsuits with leather details were absolutely beautiful and the ankle boots tied the looks together in a way that made them seem like I could see a number of women wearing these looks while hanging out around town. Caroline Onzik created a stunning collection that embodies what functional fashion is all about. I’m excited to see what else she has in store for us.

Images courtesy of Portland Fashion Week.

Quotes courtesy of The Oregonian

TGIF

This past week was filled with long hours and not enough sleep so I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend. Luckily, the sun is out and it helps make long days go by faster. Over the week, I’ve found some great new blogs and designers that I can’t wait to share with you in the upcoming week. With that said, I’ve complied a list of links of articles and blog posts that I can’t wait to explore. I hope you enjoy them as well. Have a wonderfully productive (or relaxing) weekend!

  • Need to take a weekend trip somewhere warm? Check out this guide to LA. (via The Coveteur)
  • I’m thinking about redoing my apartment in the near future so these tips for sustainable interior design will come in handy. (via Apartment Therapy)
  • This fashion editorial is a beautiful representation (and maybe somewhat stereotypical) of Portlanders. (via Marrow Mag)
  • These diary entries are amazing examples of the difficulties of growing up. ( via Rookie Mag)
  • A great guide to finding your signature style using spring trends. ( via Clementine Daily)
  • Ron Issac’s Trompe L’oeil painted constructions shows the beauty of melding fashion and nature together. (via I Need a Guide)