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 7 sustainable luxury brands making eco-friendly fashion

Can eco-friendly fashion be truly luxurious? That’s the question a new breed of high-end designers are attempting to address as of late, chasing any granola-and-hemp clichés away and replaced by ultra-luxe pieces fashioned from sustainable materials — and, most critically, ethical business models — that don’t compromise on desirability.

The so-called green movement in fashion is, of course, nothing new. In the early nineties Giorgio Armani, the maestro of the suit, began to experiment with hemp, weaving it into his lines; Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Initiative combines a philanthropic foundation with retail that distributes natural and organic creations; the LVMH-owned Edun, a socially and environmentally conscious label by Bono, the U2 front man, and his wife, Ali Hewson, and designed by Loomstate’s Rogan Gregory; and both Britain’s high priestess of punk Vivienne Westwood and Ilaria Fendi, of the Fendi handbag dynasty, create handbags using artisans in Africa. Arguably, no one has done more to spread the gospel of green than Stella McCartney, whose continues her mission to eschew leather or fur and whose Fall 2012 presentation featured platform soles made out of bio-degradable material and is set to launch a hot new line of sunglasses from castor oil seeds.

Upmarket sustainable designs have also hit the red carpet. Witness Michelle Williams who chose to forgo the usual couture confections at the Baftas for a custom organic cotton gown by H&M, and The Help’s Viola Davis, who stepped out in a gown by Valentino made partly from recycled plastic bottles at this year’s Golden Globe’s. For the equally important blingy accoutrements, MObama fave Monique Pean’s sustainable gold, Ivanka Trump’s conflict-free diamonds (available at Birks) and Fonderie 47’s pricey baubles made out of recycled rifles cleared from war zones have all made decadent eco-friendly turns on the red carpet.

The phenomenon, however, has begun to hit critical mass with industry’s latest crop of sustainable designs. Unequivocally equated with chic, these brands go beyond trend and, instead, mark a systemic change to the definition of luxury fashion.

1. Suno

Since launching in 2010 in kaleidoscopic colors and eye-popping prints inspired in part by traditional African textiles, design duo Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty have been nominated for both the CFDA/Vogue Fashion award and, most recently, the Swarovski award for Emerging Talent. Accolades aside, their ethically minded collection, most of which is produced in Kenya, is like crack to the street style set who can’t get enough of their quirky coats, work-appropriate wrap dresses, and flirty sequined skirts.

2. Marni Recycle Collection

Consuelo Castiglioni has been on quite a creative roll as of late. There was the worldwide success of her instantly sold-out collection for H&M and now Marni’s designer is delving further into her mix master schtick with Summer Edition 2012, a capsule jewellery collection that gives new life to melted and molded vintage records. The 15-piece line, which includes dangly earrings, blooming metal bracelets and multi-coloured chintzy floral clusters dotted on double-chain necklaces, offers enough signatures that Marni-philes have come to expect (think lacelike petals reinterpreted in perforated plastic) but newer Castiglioni converts will appreciate the fresh take on recycled materials. Expect to see plastic bottles integrated into their next bijoux Recycle collection.

3. VBH Animal Free Bags

When it comes to covetable arm candy crafted out of exotic skins, VBH’s well-heeled clientele are spoiled for choice – just ask Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift who are regularly seen toting styles in lizard, python, ostrich and alligator — but chicettes of the vegan-conscious variety have been all but ignored. Until now, that is. Designer V. Bruce Hoeksema set out to create an animal-free collection featuring alterative materials that met the highest ethical standards without compromising on style. The first bag debuts this season and takes the shape of one of the accessories lines most sought-after designs, the VBH Brera, but has been handcrafted by artisans in Florence from quilted black ecopelle—a manmade alternative to leather.

4. Honest by Bruno Pieters

Of all the brands with an eco bent, it’s perhaps Belgian designer Bruno Pieters that is the most out of the box. His new initiative, Honestby.com, launched only in January but is being called ‘subversive’, ‘transformational’ and ‘a game changer’ in its approach to green design and merchandising.

The site carries a collection of 56 pieces for both men and women that are made from natural and ecological fabrics sourced from around Europe, including vegan items and pieces made from recycled wool and other fabrics but beyond. Here is the revolutionary bit – it is completely transparent in its manufacturing processes as well. For example, under the section “material information” you will find the description of material used, its composition, weight, yarn or piece-dyed, the origin of the raw material, who spun it, who wove it, whether it is organic, if so, what certificate it has earned (and what said certificate means), and a website for the supplier – and you will find this for the fabric, the zipper, the lining, the trim, the label, the buttons, the thread and so on. While under “price information” you will find out the cost per meter of the fabric, how much was ordered, how much was used, how much labour was involved, what the mark-up was, and how the profit was used.

Only 20 items of each style will be made (including different sizes) by Pieters, and then start offering curated collections by guest designers in April, starting with Toronto-bred designer and Elle Canada favourite Calla Hayes. Fashion forward, indeed.

5. Manolo Blahnik X M. Patmos

Step away from the Birkenstocks, your green-shoe has gotten a major makeover in none other than Mr. Manolo Blahnik. The sole master teamed up with Marcia Patmos (formerly of Lutz & Patmos) to create his first eco-friendly footwear collection. Made entirely from discarded tilapia skins, cork and raffia, we can’t think of a chicer way to manage your carbon footprint.

6. Bodkin

Using recycled and certified organic fabrics, non-harmful dye processes and ahimsa silk (which does not harm silkworms), this burgeoning New York based label designed by former Voguette Eviana Hartman specializes in slouchy sweaters and asymmetrical day-to-night dresses with an architectural bent. The entire collection is crafted in the U.S. and Hartman ensures that workers are treated well. “We seek to create items with an optimal balance of utility, beauty, and quality,” explains Hartman. “[Our] approach to style is more about nuance, less about hype, excess and instant gratification.”

7. Maiyet

Imagine if Dries van Noten and Phoebe Philo’s Céline had a baby and you get an idea of what this New York-based label — which made its splashy spring debut in the gilded halls of Paris Fashion Week — looks like. The brainchild of Paul van Zyl, a South African human rights lawyer who worked with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, and Kristy Caylor, who was president of Band of Outsiders and previously managed Gap Red’s campaign, Maiyet’s mission is create a design-driven fashion line that works with artisans and companies in economically and politically challenged countries as disparate as Colombia and India to produce ready-to-wear, jewellery, and accessories. The work helps bring stability and financial welfare to needy communities, and a portion of the profits goes toward training artisans.

While Canadian superstrutter Daria Werbowy fronts the lookbook and online campaign, it’s the pieces that sell themselves: coats are sharply tailored, accessories sophisticated and the bags luxurious (the founders are quick to point out that though the hardware is manufactured in Africa, the bags themselves are made in Italy). The brand has been called both a luxury label and geopolitical statement, but just two seasons in it appears they are succeeded on both fronts.

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13 Year-Old Maya Shea Penn Makes Sustainable Clothing for Eco-Conscious Fashionistas

When I was 13, I was obsessed with horses and pen pals, and my most sophisticated business idea was a lemonade stand. But at the young age of 13, Maya Shea Penn is already the CEO of a successful fashion and accessory company, a published book author, she has been featured in Forbes, and she has a non-profit organization called Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet. Maya’s burgeoning career began at the age of 8, when she began to realize that our clothing choices have a big impact on the environment. Horrified by the toxic chemicals used to create most kids clothes, she began her own line, called Maya’s Ideas. Using 100 percent organic materials, in addition to some recycled and vintage fabrics, Maya’s Ideas is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs and activists the world over.

“A lot of people ask me, why eco-friendly?” Maya writes for The Kind Life. “My parents taught me at an early age about recycling, organic gardening, being environmentally aware, and being a good steward by respecting the planet and taking care of its animals. I heard about how the dyes in clothing or the process of even making the items was harmful to the people, animals, and the planet. So I started doing my OWN research and I found out believe it or not there is a wide variety of health problems for people chemically sensitive to the dyes.”

She’s absolutely correct: In 2011, Greenpeace published a report called Dirty Laundry 2. In it, the organization revealed that traces of toxic chemicals — specifically nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) — had been found in products made by 14 big-brand clothing manufacturers, including Adidas and H&M. Those with sensitivity to these harsh chemicals often experience negative symptoms, from rashes to difficulty breathing.

Maya sees no reason why kids should have to wear chemical-laden clothing that pollutes our water and air, so she started making her own. “I use natural fruit and vegetable dyes and herbal teas to dye scarves and T-shirts,” she explains at The Kind Life. “I use materials like organic burlap, 100% organic cotton, hemp, tencel, art silk (not really silk, but a blend of rayon and cotton), and fleece, as well as recycled and vintage materials in creating my clothing and accessories.”

The products offered by Maya’s Ideas have all of the whimsy and prettiness of designs created by a young girl in love with fashion and nature and animals. An avid drawer, Maya says that many of her designs start as simple doodles. Her collection includes lovely accent pieces, like the Asymmetrical Angles Bamboo Cotton Jersey Scarf, as well as tanks, tees, and tops, jewelry and hair accessories. She’s even branching out into wedding fashions! All are decidedly modern, with colors and patterns that fit perfectly into any wardrobe.

“I feel that I can meet the needs of my customers without compromising the ability of the future generations to live in a greener tomorrow,” Maya wrote. “I believe that everyone should do their part in coming up with new and innovative ways to make positive changes affecting our environment and it’s creatures efficiently, and sufficiently.”

In addition to donating up to 20 percent of the profits made by Maya’s Ideas to local and global charities, Maya recently wrote and illustrated her first book Lucy and Sammy Save the Environment, which teaches younger children the basics of recycling, pollution, and greenhouse gases. The 20-page book is initially being made available through Atlanta schools.

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7 Eco Friendly Clothing Fashion Ideas

Reusable Shopping Bags

This is the easiest way to make a difference. Instead of paying a few cents for ugly plastic bags, go green with a stylish reusable bag when going shopping.

Organic bags made of 100% cotton are also a very wise option.

Handcrafted Jewelry and Clothing

Try eco friendly jewelry such as handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, belts, shoes, etc. By buying from someone who makes their stuff themselves, you’ll help reduce the toxins created when manufacturing items.

Plus, handmade clothing is original.

Organic Clothing and Accessories

Clothing chains and brands are today – both designer and retail – have gone beyond dipping their toes in the water when it comes to eco friendly fashion – and dedicate parts of their collection to eco-friendly clothing.

You can find environmentally-friendly range from organic underwear to jeans, at retailers such as H&M, Top Shop, Zara, Banana Republic.

Vintage Clothing

Looking for unique ways to expand your wardrobe? Then you can never go wrong with pre-used items. However, you can find clothes with mint condition which means that the garment was made in the old days but was never worn.

Some of the widest selections of vintage clothing and used items can be found at online stores, but if you like the thrill of going on a discovery trip to your local vintage store, then by all means, do it.

Your Mom or Grandma’s Closet

You have no idea how many treasures I found in my mom’s jewelry box. Most of it was inherited by her mother. This is the cheapest solution to eco friendly clothing.

Reinvent or Fix Your Clothes

Do you have stuff that have been stuck in the back of your closet but haven’t been able to wear? It’s either broken a size too small or big, or you’re just clueless on how to wear it. I say, fix it right away! Take it to your tailor, do it yourself or have your mom do it.

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How Clothes and Accessories Damage Our Planet

The clothes we wear are made of fabric and materials can cause great damage to both nature and people like you and I.
That’s Because:

  • The chemicals farmers used to protect the textiles as they grow can harm wildlife (think about those sweet pandas), contaminate other products and get into the food we eat
  • The clothes we throw away take up landfill space. Most of it is hard to decompose.
  • The chemicals used to bleach and color textiles can damage the environment and people’s health
  • People (even elderly and young children) who make the clothes often work in awful conditions. Most of our clothes are bought from the cheap South (like for example India, Taiwan) and the workers work hard and long for very little money. Guess how much an Indian sweat shop worker receives for a designer piece you paid 100 dollars for? A couple of cents.. a day! Resource: British fashion documentary where teenagers spent a couple of weeks in India for a month to experience what happens behind the scenes in clothing factories. (I don’t remember the title of it).

Making a Difference With Eco Friendly Clothing

Going green doesn’t mean you should swap up your whole wardrobe with only organic clothing. Now I’m not going to chant “Save our earth” because I am guilty of buying new stuff all the time. I’m talking about making a difference even if it’s just a small one.

Like for example using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags to carry your grocery. Just imagine if 100 other people do the same, or how about 1000?

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Eco Ideas for Updating Your Wardrobe

Whether you follow fashion trends or not, spring is a time when a lot of us find the need to shop for some new clothes. When I shop, my first stop is always a second hand store. In LA, I really like Wasteland and Crossroads Trading Company. If I can’t find what I need at a second hand store, my next choice is finding the most eco company I can that makes what I need.

How I Shop For Bear

When I was pregnant, my girlfriends shared with me their old maternity clothes, and gave me hand-me-down clothes for Bear. For my baby shower I asked people to bring stuff their kids had grown out of instead of buying new stuff. Two friends who have boys gave me most of the clothes Bear wears. As he has grown, I’ve passed these clothes along and it feels really great. I remember having tons of hand-me-downs when I was little too. Yay, mom!

A Cool Idea: Host a Clothing Swap Party

A great idea is to ask around and see if your friends are interested in getting together for a clothing swap party. The way it works is everyone brings all the clothes they no longer need –clothes they would have donated or given away. Set up all the clothes in your living room, and start “shopping.” Try things on, take pictures, have fun! You can draw numbers and take turns or just make it a free for all. Serve kind snacks, or make it a potluck.

I know of someone who does this with her girlfriends every year on Super Bowl Sunday – she calls it Lady Bowl. Sounds so fun!

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Eco-Friendly Clothing Care Tips

Caring for your clothing properly is good for your clothes and the environment. Your clothes will last longer and typically less energy will be used in their care. Whether it’s hanging up the clothesline for the first time or buying eco-friendly laundry detergent, following are some tips for taking care of your clothes in an environmentally conscious way.

  • Limit dryer use to save energy, money and your clothes. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes fading colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
  • Just add salt. Adding just a couple of teaspoons of table salt with your detergent, can make your clothes brighter. If you add a half a cup of salt it will prevent colors from running. To get out yellow stains in white clothing soak them for about an hour in a mixture of boiled water, a tablespoon of salt and a quarter cup of baking soda. Check out how stuff works for more uses for salt with your laundry.
  • Baking soda added to detergent, cleans, deodorizes clothes and makes them brighter.
  • Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
  • Switch to cold water wash. Doing so not only saves energy but using cold water prevents colors from bleeding or fading which it tends to do with hot or warm water.
  • Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
  • Keep lights, darks and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and your clothing in good shape.
  • Use eco-friendly laundry soap. Detergent that is green is made up of natural materials rather than chemicals and is biodegradable. Most markets now carry these natural products. A few popular ones are made by Method, Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation.
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5 Back-to-school Fashion Tips for Middle Schoolers

In many ways, middle school can be a tough time, and a kid’s fashion choices are no exception. In those sometimes awkward years between elementary and high school, kids’ clothes might suddenly seem babyish, and outfits meant for teenagers can seem too grown up.

So, finding cool clothes for middle schoolers is all about thinking outside the box. It’s not just about hitting the mall for a whole new wardrobe: Layering and accessorizing can make a few items of clothing go a long way. Shopping at vintage and consignment stores can save you lots of money, and smartphone fashion apps let you find new ways to wear clothes that are already in the closet.

On the next page, our first piece of advice might sound like an invitation for disaster, but it can work.

Share Clothes with Siblings

This idea isn’t for every pair of siblings. It won’t work if there’s an age difference — and it definitely won’t fly if you fight like cats and dogs. But if you have a sibling who’s about the same size and you happen to have similar fashion sense, why not share a wardrobe? You can mix and match pieces from each other’s closets or go shopping to buy things together. If you don’t want to share everything, you could make a pact to pool your money for big-ticket items you both want but might not be able to afford otherwise. Even if you’re not total BFFs, we bet you can get along well enough to snag two wardrobes for the price of one.

Layer and Accessorize

Not everyone can wear a totally different outfit every day of the week, so why not use things you already have to make well-worn clothes seem new again? If you feel like you’re wearing jeans and a T-shirt every single day, spice things up by layering a bright tank top under — or throwing a jacket over — the whole thing. Layering short sleeves over long sleeves is a cool twist, too. And chances are no one will ever guess you’re recycling outfits when you put a fresh twist on them by adding headbands, jewelry and belts. Shopping for accessories can be a whole lot more fun (and definitely less stressful and expensive) than shelling out for a week’s worth of clothes!

Use Fashion Apps

Need some fresh outfits for school but don’t have the funds for a whole new wardrobe? If you’re lucky enough to have a smartphone, you can use fashion apps to download photos from your closet and create outfits from what you already have. Apps like Stylebook let you mix and match photos and see your old clothes in a whole new light. So it’ll save you money — and all that time and effort changing clothes in front of the mirror! And if you’re looking to splurge a little, check out Teen Vogue Haute Spot and Seventeen Fashion Finder. With the click of a phone button, you can buy the latest trends straight from the pages of the magazines.

Shop Beyond the Mall

While it’s convenient to shop at a mall because of its sheer number of stores in one location, it’s easy to end up looking like everyone else. Hitting up consignment and vintage stores for back-to-school looks doesn’t mean you’ll end up with mothballed 1980s clothes that your parents wore in middle school (although the ’80s are, like, totally back these days). It might take a little bit of digging, but you’ll probably be able to find practically new — and cool — stuff for a fraction of the price you’d pay at the mall. And you can kill two birds with one stone if you sell some of your old stuff to a consignment store: You’ll clean out that cluttered closet plus get credit to buy new-to-you clothes at the store!

Experiment With Your Style

Understandably, many middle schoolers just want to blend in. Rocking the fashion boat can bring a lot of unwanted attention, but it can also be liberating. Don’t be afraid to stand out and have your own style! If you see something cool, wear it on the first day of school and tell everyone it’s all the rage in France. Even if no one really believes you, they’ll still be curious — and you’ll definitely score points for being a risk-taker. As long as you’re in compliance with your school’s dress code and sticking with age-appropriate outfits, experiment with looks until you find one — or several — you like. Chances are your classmates will be following your lead soon, instead of the other way around.

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Season start at Marlowe

The month of August in Hamburg has finally become a summer month. Since it is fitting that the first shirts armedangels are eingetrudelt with us.

We are delighted that we now have this company from Cologne with us ” in the boat “. Boy designs that do not compromise on sustainability and fairness, for us were the ” gift ” of the last PREMIUM in Berlin. Been a while they were for us a ” label to watch” because us their enthusiasm, their creativity and imagination has impressed. With their new, colorful shirts and their extended collection of chinos, sweaters and dresses have Armedangels us now completely convinced!

Also new with us isat STUDIO JUX from Holland. Urban Wear, slightly avant garde, very trendy, but always in style, while ethical and sustainable in production: They have now won the Sustainability Award in Holland. Looking forward for STUDIO JUX and for us!

The third member is JALFE from Denmark: typically Scandinavian in form and color are the shirts of JALFE. Bold colors, simple cuts, binding off -color – now a favorite part – and then the charming accent of the sympathetic designer when she speaks German with us! The wool and Biobaumwollshirts are there already and are already hanging in the shop!

Now is fair time. In January Marlowe drives nature – green fashion first on the Berlin Fashion Week, in order to look for new fashion.

Only after Berlin, and the end of January it comes to INNATEX, formerly International Natural Textile Fair, now International Fair for sustainable textiles. – This already takes you to change true to the name change.

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Is Fair Trade Fashion also Bio Fashion? And vice versa?

Our Lana Fashion customers ask us more and more frequently as and where you stand as well detects whether a garment organic or fair.

That’s actually quite nice, it shows once again that it is a shirt, dress or a pair of jeans from the outside not to see if it is eco. This is with fashion as with food. And even then there are several organic label and markings. And indeed : Fair Trade does not mean organic! But Fair Trade is a declaration by the manufacturer that they let their people work under fair conditions.

This is very important, but not organic! Organic is known by the acronym organic, organically grown. That this is also fairer than konventuoneller cultivation, almost goes without saying, if you know that get ” normally ” vast amounts of insecticides on the fields and thus also in the lungs of farmers. Nevertheless, then the further manufacturing process can be done under appalling conditions for people and the environment. Often you now find in our shop the small green sign with the white T -shirt, the GOTS label.

For example, at a Biojeans or a dress. This means then that the entire garment from bio-fibers or by using a list of environmentally friendly ingredients and process color produced is in compliance with sound, socially acceptable working conditions. This is sort of a platform on which they could agree on a larger international scale. We find it quite great what happened there in a short time : suddenly there is such a seal, and suddenly all want it and keep!

But many is this Platform is still too low, they want it even better, both on the ecological, as well as in the area of fairness: thus, there is also a somewhat less well-known “premium” label that IVNBest label, which in all is somewhat more stringent and therefore assured of eco and fair even more important.

Is better known to most people the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. But that has nothing to do with organic and fair, – which measures only the toxins in the finished product.

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Basic outfits for summer

And those are the basics of the basic wardrobe:

Black Marlene trousers made of linen : These pants are an absolute combiner miracle. They can be styled to casual or classy.

White Long Blouse : This handy unit can be worn at the beach over your bikini, with a belt as a mini dress or casual with open pants and top.

Purple Wrap Dress : A straightforward, but chic summer dress is suitable for all activities in which it happens not so casual.

Coloured Skirt Sarong -Style: This striking statement part can be both more casual, and combines very noble.

Black and white tops: Genuine all-rounder that can be worn alone or under blouse, blazer, cardigan or denim jacket.

A purple, a red and a striped T -shirt : The colored T-shirts dress up neutral basics, while can be implemented with a striped shirt of the maritime look.

Kaftan : A tunic or caftan are secret weapons to look slim and chic on the beach. Also for breakfast or lunch at the hotel at the beach, they are ideal.

Red bikini and black swimsuit: Whether swimsuit bikini and now look plain or patterned better depends on your figure and of course on your personal taste. While I love both, but mostly to grab the simpler versions, if I have to decide.

Black Belt: Fits to the pants and will even continue to cut shirts or blouses to FIG.

Black sandals: A Basic, with which the vacation day is almost completely overcome.

Sandals with heel in snakeskin-look: The nude shade goes with everything. With these shoes dress, skirt and even evening caftan be compatible.