Sustainably Chic

Fashion Pt. 5

Empowering Women by Connecting the Local to the Global

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

Threads Worldwide

After traveling to nearly 50 countries, many in the developing world, Angela Yost, Kara Wiegand and Lindsay Murphy knew they wanted to give back to the communities that were so impactful to them. 

When they witnessed the severe poverty in these communities–from the little girl in Siem Reap, Cambodia who stepped into the sewer while begging for grape soda, to the families in Mumbai, India who were living on the highway medians between a constant flow of traffic–the women were determined to find a way to support these people in a sustainable and economically meaningful way. 

Threads was their answer. After learning that women invest 90% of what they make back into their families / communities, Kara, Angela, and Lindsey agreed this was the fastest way to eradicate poverty and set out on a mission to develop a company that supported just that. Threads Worldwide is a fair trade company that brings jewelry handcrafted by artisan women (like the women in Cambodia and India) in developing countries to market in the US through a social sales model and online shop. It’s not your average jewelry company. It’s one that is making a real and sustainable impact in the world.

Threads partners with dozens of artisan cooperatives around the world, employing women and providing them the opportunity to thrive, not just survive. Many of the cooperatives employ women who are survivors of trafficking, are hearing or sight-impaired, or affected by other economic, social or political factors. When these women are taught a tangible skill (jewelry making), paid a fair wage and provided a safe workplace, they begin to emerge out of poverty and start to thrive. Depending on the season, Threads empowers hundreds of women in over 12 developing countries around the world, from Ecuador to Kenya to Indonesia. With access to sustainable employment, the artisan women are able to make their dreams a reality–from sending all of their children to school, accessing health care, to making their homes safer and starting their own businesses. 

In the United States, women join the Threads Worldwide community as Fair Trade Partners. Fair Trade Partners show the world how to shop with heart – ethically and consciously. Teachers, business owners, lawyers, doctors and stay-at-home mothers share the stories of the artisan partners while also earning an income for themselves by selling the handcrafted jewelry at Threads Artisan Showcases and within their communities. 

Through this model, Threads has brought hundreds of global artisan shopping experiences into hundreds of communities around the US, educating people on the power of their purchases and sharing the artisan stories. 

I fell in love with Threads Worldwide accessories about a year ago - everything was so lively and full of color, it was easy to do! I finally own a few of their lovely creations and am so impressed with the quality and craftsmanship.

The Nalia Necklace has been around my neck almost everyday since it's arrived on my doorstep. The simplistic stainless steel gold bar is graceful, dainty and the perfect touch to your everyday outfit. It is made by survivors of sex trafficking who are taught jewelry making within a safe and uplifting work environment. They are even offered the access to education and counseling in order to heal and prosper within future endeavors. 

One of Threads Worldwide's first pieces was the Lucknow Bracelet featuring colorful, upcycled Kantha textiles and brass links. They are handcrafted by women in India who are earning a sustainable income and creating education possibilities for themselves and their children. I'm a sucker for everything upcycled, and this one is so beautifully executed!

Plus, I have some great news! One of these stunning pieces could be yours. I'm giving away the Zway Earrings which are made from recycled metals and bullet casings by women living with HIV+ in Ethiopia. These earrings help provide a steady income and access to healthcare. 

To enter: It's easy! Sign your email up to the right. {this will be shared with Threads Worldwide & is only open to US&Canada} 

GIVEAWAY CLOSED***

Threads is actively recruiting Fair Trade Partners to launch Threads businesses in select cities nationwide. As a Fair Trade Partner, you work to spread awareness by sharing the stories and products of our Artisan Partners with your friends, family, and community. You provide education on the power of Fair Trade, and sell Threads exclusive, handcrafted, and fairly made jewelry online, on the go, and via in-home Artisan Showcases. You create access to a new market for artisans around the world, and your Threads business becomes a globally inspired marketplace for your friends to buy stylish jewelry that also makes a difference. 

Gina A., a Fair Trade Partner in Denver says, “I am able to make a difference in the lives of women around the world and also impact my own friends and community.  With Threads, I reminded of my own need to be an instrument of peace. I also am meeting and connecting with amazing women both within the Fair Trade Partner community and as I travel with our message in the community. It energizes me to be involved with Threads.“ 

Threads Worldwide provides on-going education and training in the areas of mission delivery, business development, social media and marketing, fashion and styling, and the additional business tools you need to succeed.

Shop Threads Worldwide's entire collection online & make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

A Brand & Boutique with a Stylish Conscience

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

EcoVibe Apparel

A boutique & online shop, EcoVibe Apparel is a lovely space full of sustainable & trendy clothing {like the kind you wish your closet was made out of}. Their brick-and-mortar is based in my favorite US city, Portland, Oregon, and - good news for the rest of us - their online store ships worldwide. They carry ten brands within the shops, one of them being their own private line made right here in the USA and ethically imported abroad. EcoVibe's collection focuses on environmentally conscious fabrics like modal, tencel, and recycled fabric blends. Their designs are timeless, comfortable and perfect for the modern woman. Click below to see some of my favorite EcoVibe pieces and other amazing ethical fashion brands. 

EcoVibe was created in 2010 by couple Leonard and Andrea Allen, aka "Len and Dre". With Len's 30 years of prior experience in the fashion industry and Dre's keen eye for aesthetic's and marketing skills, EcoVibe has been able to blossom to a beautiful home of ethical clothing & accessories. So grab your cup of coffee, and take a little sustainable shopping journey with me... 

I've been in the process of making myself a crocheted poncho for a year now {there aren't enough hours in the day for that many stitches and a blog}. I could never find one I truly loved, so I thought - I'll do it myself. Well, I can put it away for good and use the yarn for another project because I found the perfect one! The EcoVibe Open Weave Fringe Poncho is what I always had in mind. It's lightweight, has a fringe hem and is made of a color I can wear with anything {also comes in Silver}. With Charleston's year-long warm weather, I'll be able to get away with this during the summer nights & winter days. This poncho is ethically made under fair conditions in Asia. See below for more of my favorites from EcoVibe Apparel.  

Olive Denim Tunic | Hi-Lo Sleeveless Tunic | Criss Cross Bodycon Dress | Loose Knit Sweater 

EcoVibe's shop is, also, home to some brands I've grown very fond of over the last few years of blogging including Synergy, Threads 4 Thought and Mata Traders. So I've put together a little 'wish' list for a few of their brands...

A brand based in Portland, Mo&Co. is a fair trade company supporting Indian artisans. 

Sadie Leather Backpack | Joan Crossbody | Sam Small Leather Crossbody

For the techies .. Cork Nature is a sustainable brand which uses traditional handicraft techniques to create lightweight & beautiful accessories.

iPhone 6S Case | Artelusa Cork Laptop Briefcase | Artelusa Plaited Cork Bracelet

By Portland designer Jody Howard, Elysium Jewelry is made from recycled gold and sterling silver with hand selected gem stones.

Copper Rutilated Quartz Necklace | Triple Stone Hammered Drop Earrings | Crescent Moon Necklace

Shop EcoVibe Apparel's entire online store, here. Stay up-to-date with new arrivals by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram.

Tradition Living On Through Sustainable Fashion

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

Siempre Viva!

From traditional looming methods to modern design, Siempre Viva is bringing the color and culture of Mexico to fair fashion lovers. Created by Sally January, this new ethical brand was inspired by her passion for the country and their vibrant textiles. While spending many of her teen years there, the people taught her how to truly appreciate life. Wanting to give back, she initiated a business which could help support the artisans and the work she has grown to love. Siempre Viva works directly with indigenous artisans in Suchitlan, Colima and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas {many products being made in very small villages}.  By hiring the artisans to work and produce for the brand, they are able to provide sustainable employment, fair wages and working conditions and promote bilingualism.

Sally January, the creator

Sally January, the creator

Siempre Viva has partnered with Cáritas Colima, a non-profit organization which works to lower poverty within the communities of Colima. Cáritas helps Sally find employees to hand embroider their beautiful designs. Every piece of clothing and accessory you purchase through the shop will help support the non profit and their goal to strengthen the community's nutrition, elderly services, medical care, clean water initiatives and employment. Sally also holds dear to her heart the Sister Cities International Program which she participated with as a kid. Her hometown, Norman, OK, is the Sister City of Colima, and the program promotes the collaboration of business development between the two cities.  

My eyes have always gravitated towards embroidery, and the Mexican artisans of Siempre Viva are incredibly talented. The floral band of the Huipil Skirt acts as a decorative belt for a stunning pop. The skirt is hand-loomed in the highlands of Chiapas in Southern Mexico, and with the elastic waist it is a one size fits all. The fabric is strong and the garment so well made, I know I will have this skirt with me a long time! The women who created the huipil are able to work from home in order to tend the crops and raise their children all while making a sustainable living. Because the artisans' villages are so remote with dangerous roads, they come together at indigenous cooperatives which serve as a central gathering place to sell their goods - this is where Sally comes in to support the local makers!

Another lovely Siempre Viva piece - the Huipil Women's Jumper which is {also} made of navy cotton and a decorated Huipil created by the Mayan women of Chiapas. I love how this one can be thrown over any tank {I'm thinking of a sweet peter pan collar for the fall}. You can find just about any color in the embroidery, and I'm sure your closet has quite a few pieces to go under it! ;)

Just to share a few more favorites from Siempre Viva... 

The stunning Pueblo Huipil Top is a design unique to one small village in Chiapas | Dress your head up with the Knotted Turban Headband made from Mexican textiles that have been hand-picked in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico | Traditions are being kept alive by the artisans of Centro of Colima with the Simple Braided Huaraches | Just like my Huipil Jumper above, you can dress your little ones as your mini-me | The Daily Huipil Bucket Bag is your future everyday purse

Now it's your turn to Wear with Purpose! Shop Siempre Viva's entire collection, here- & follow the color on Facebook and Instagram.

Interested in hosting a Trunk Show with your girlfriends? Click to learn more.

Vroom-Vroom | Luxury Automobiles to Eco-Friendly Jewelry

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

CRASH

An all-women company based out of LA, CRASH is taking metal from some of the finest luxury cars which have been in minor accidents, and using it to create jewelry for both men and women. Christi Schimpke, the creator, thought of this idea when metal was at an all-time high, and saw the possibilities within her husband's body shop, Beverly Coachcraft. They specialize in collision repairs for late-model Mercedes-Benzs, BMWs, Audis, Bentleys, Porsches, Mini Coopers, Maseratis and more. Christi would see the jewel-like sheen within the luxury paint & chrome finishes, and her mind would wander in her silversmith studio. She knew something could be done with the discarded metals, but it would be a challenge. After months of experimenting with this new medium, CRASH was on the road to success. 

CRASH is something so unexpected! I mean, a bracelet made from a Porsche? Pretty amazing. What I love so much about CRASH, it is appealing to guys AND gals. Beautifully made cars turned into gorgeous cuffs, bangles, earrings, necklaces and accessories - what is there not to love? Cruise down this post to see what CRASH has to offer us conscious fashionistas, upcycling nerds and car enthusiasts. 

I'm wearing the Ferrari Triangle Necklace made from a Ferrari 458 {look this car up, it is stunning!} paired with a 14k gold chain and AAA smoky quartz briolette drop. Every piece of jewelry from CRASH has the car's named engraved on the back. This necklace is very feminine and dainty - a little different than its previous life! {One of my favorite parts about upcycling is how you can change the aesthetic so easily and create many different looks with one material.} It is so incredibly well made, light and versatile - plus, the tassel is such a chic touch. I can see why her customers are obsessed with CRASH! 

I wanted to pull a few of the pieces off their online store which I thought were eye catchers, and ones you would love, too! Another beautiful piece from the Ferrari collection is the Heart Necklace. It comes complete with a heart linked chain, and is perfect for a little extra 'I Love You' to someone special in your life. For the pup lover, portions of every sale goes towards The Rescue Train with the BMW "Paws for a Cause" Cuff. You can even engrave your furry friend's name on the inside! I'm sure there is a car enthusiast man amongst your family - the Porsche Cuff Links are calling their name {pst.. there are Tesla ones on the site, too!}. For the edgy gal, the Tesla Gold Spike Earrings are a favorite of Christi's. For every purchase, a portion of sales will go directly to charitable causes and each piece comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Shop CRASH's entire collection - here - & get social and follow on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram

A Sweater Company Full of Love & Support

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

slumlove

Created by Ava Darnell in 2013, Slumlove is an ethical clothing line working with women artisans to make beautiful garments, and give back to families living in slums. Inspired by the slum of Kibera, Ava was introduced to a woman who knit school sweaters for children while working there for several years. Together, they sat down and worked to design the first collection. All clothing is handmade with natural and organic cotton by artisan women in Nairobi, Kenya. The artisans are paid a fair wage, respected and given opportunity to build a better life for themselves, their families and communities. With every purchase, a portion of sales is donated to a non-profit providing scholarships to children in one of the world's largest slums. 

The cotton used to create all Slumlove garments is sourced directly from East Africa and is CMIA certified {cotton made in Africa}. CMIA certifications works closely with small farmers producing sustainable businesses and eco-friendly material. Starting with just Ava & one knitter a few years ago, today, Slumlove employs over 20 women! There is so much opportunity for you to help change the lives of others, and with a fair price for yourself it is easy to do so. I'm wearing the easy Knit Tank in black, and it's perfect for the minimalist fashionista. It is very lightweight & I even got away with wearing it the South's summer heat. I really love the fit of this tank, so now I'm eyeing the dress!! Slumlove's pieces are true staples for any clothing obsessed gal or guy.... & my obsession continues...  Look below for a few more favorites of mine & some guy options!! 

click below to start shopping

Knit Tank Dress | Classic Crew | Cotton Cardigan | Classic Vee

Shop their entire collection - here - & make sure to get social and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram.

{necklaces by New Eve Jewelry and Loup & Co.}