Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category

get your {fashion} fixx

December 8, 2011

I just had to take a little break from making toothpaste and body scrubs for this weekend’s holiday fair to tell you about this amazingly fun experience I had last night. As you may know, in addition to my love of herbs and natural body care, I love to remake things. Well, last night I got to play around with some tired old and moth-eaten clothes, remaking them into some fabulously fun frankensteined fashion (oh wow, who loves alliteration?).

Down in DUMBO there’s this hidden little gem of a place known as Metamorfixx, home and studio of Petra Hanson, fashion designer, artist, musician, and now teacher. She gave me and 2 other friends lessons on how to take our worn out duds and make lovely new ones using various techniques. Two of my favorites were the sew-free t-shirt knot and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the super industrial Merrow serger.

Petra shows us this cute tank dress she made using the knot technique.

I took a t-shirt Livi got from a stoop sale and an old moth-eaten sweater to make this get-up I call Björkenstein.

I found out about Metamorfixx from my dearest friend Livi (Olivia Cleans Green), after she went to an Evolver reskilling event where Petra demonstrated her fabric “fixxing” skills.

Livi doesn’t usually where trousers, but she loved the look of this tuxedo pants jumpsuit. She fixxed it by cutting off the legs and inserting triangle-shaped fabric where the old inseams were. In the back, for added flare, Livi used some blue satin from a formal dress she’s had in her closet for many moons.

So how can you get your fashion fixx? Get in touch with Petra. She’s now teaching small workshops like the one I attended last night. You bring the clothing and she supplies the notions and know-how. It’s *sew* much fun! (Yeah, I know I’m a dork).

baa is the word

November 18, 2010

The secret word that is!

The grand opening of Icebreaker of New Zealand’s first TouchLab store in New York City is Wednesday, December 1!  And anyone who shops at the new Icebreaker store and says the Secret Password (“BAA BAA”) at check out will receive 10% off at checkout between now and January 1, 2011.

The 2,500-square-foot SoHo store will be Icebreaker’s flagship, located at 102 Wooster Street (betwn Prince & Spring) across the street from Patagonia’s SoHo store (look out Patagonia!).

If you don’t know about Icebreaker and their totally traceable, ethically sourced wool, check out this post (or this one) I wrote about them a while back. (See also their site.)

More incentives to visit Icebreaker…

You can also enter to win 1 of 50 pair of Icebreaker merino socks to people who help spread the word about Icebreaker’s first New York City store. See I can tell you from experience, these are some seriously awesome socks!

Plus, they’re giving away a trip for two to New Zealand, including an overnight at a merino sheep station (farm).*

What’s so great about Icebreaker’s merino wool goods?

Natural and sustainably produced Icebreaker merino regulates body temperature in both hot and cold weather, is highly breathable to prevent the clamminess associated with synthetics, and protects the wearer from the sun’s harmful rays. It’s also “no stink” without washing, resisting odor for days – sometimes weeks – saving water and detergent versus stinky synthetic materials. Plus, the wool Icebreaker uses comes directly from the farm, so Icebreaker can ensure ethical sourcing and animal welfare.

Icebreaker believes “nature is better than plastic.” I do, too.

*As part of the grand opening, Icebreaker will give away a trip for two to New Zealand. Entrants must visit the store and try on an Icebreaker merino garment and complete the entry form. The prize includes airfare from New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to New Zealand, one night accommodation on a merino sheep station (farm) in New Zealand, and an Icebreaker layering system for two. See the store for complete details.

change your underwear

November 16, 2010

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m doing Brooklyn Green Team’s No New Clothing Challenge – a 3-month new clothing fast. Not to brag, but it’s not too challenging for me. Buying used, swapping, hand-me-downs, whatever – most of my clothes are new to me but not straight from the factory. Except for undergarments. And luckily the Green Team’s challenge gives participants a pardon for the skivvies, because I just found this new undies brand that I’m thinking of giving a try. (Wow! I’m getting personal now aren’t I?)

The brand is called PACT. All of their underwear, for women and men, are made with organically grown cotton. But that’s not all! They give 10% of all of their sales to a range of causes, including one of my faves, The Green Belt Movement.

Creative Growth Splatter Bikini

The Green Belt Movement Boxer

Oh yeah, and then there’s this. All of the packaging is either reusable or compostable (read: no plastic). Their goal is to provide a no landfill product that you’ll love.

Learn more about PACT and get a pair or two for you or your loved ones!

no new clothing challenge

November 4, 2010

(Image: Posh Girl Vintage)

I dare you to buy no new clothes for the next 3 months!

(GASP!) Is it possible? You can bet your bottom dollar it is. I buy just about all of my clothes from second-hand/vintage shops (except for the intimates, that is). I’ve scored lovely clothing items at swaps, too (read: free clothes!).

What inspired this dare? The Brooklyn Green Team – self-described as a team of Brooklyn superheroes dedicated to reducing our environmental impact and inspiring othershas started a new challenge to buy no new clothes. They didn’t give a time frame in their message (below), but if my memory serves me – and I have been eating my ginkgo nuts these days – their challenges last for 3 months. (Also see below several compelling reasons why one would want to eschew new clothes.)

How will I accomplish this 3-month marathon of nothing new? I can take some cues from The Uniform Project or Brown Dress and wear the same dress in different ways for many days. If I’m craving something “new” I can scour Etsy and ebay for retro duds, or seek out unique finds following Brooklyn Based’s timely post on Brooklyn’s bevy of vintage boutiques. I can also make or remake my clothes a la Threadbanger. Or I can just make do with what I’ve got – limitation leads to creativity!

So I’m taking the challenge to buy no new clothes for 3 months – won’t you join me?

From the Brooklyn Green Team…

We’re going old-school (is 3 years old school?) and digging in our closets to bring back our
No New Clothing Challenge!*
Join us in going vintage, thrift, recycled, hand-me-down or eco-friendly. Every single action has an impact in some way somewhere on this planet. Because of globalization, we are often disconnected from the impact of our everyday choices. For example, our new fall shirt might be made with cotton that requires 1/3 lb of chemicals to produce and manufactured in a pollution-emitting factory far away.

Let’s make a positive impact and equal the balance. Support local shops owned by locals that dig out wearable treasures from the past and present. This will make you more stylish because five other people aren’t wearing it to work. Unleash your inner fashionista, while helping the planet. Worried about bedbugs? Us too. Throw your clothes in a dryer right away to kill them off OR you could put them in the freezer for 2 weeks (really)!

More compelling reasons to do it:

  • The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.
  • 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.
  • The materials used to make our attire are often environmentally toxic and require significant amounts of energy and water during the manufacturing process.
  • The 12 to 15 percent of people who shopped at consignment and thrift stores in 2006 saved 2.5 billion pounds of clothes from re-entering the waste stream.
  • The manufacturing of nylon emits nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with a carbon footprint 310 times that of carbon dioxide.
  • According to the USDA, in one year alone over 50 million pounds of pesticides were used on U.S. cotton fields. Pesticide and fertilizer use on cotton has been linked to ground and surface water contamination, and the pollution of drinking water. In California, cotton ranks third in the state for total number of pesticide-related illness. Fish and wildlife and also impacted, with pesticides causing migration die-offs and diminished reproductive capacity.

For those of you living in the New York City area, we’ve attached a list of vintage and second-hand clothing stores in our area.

Brooklyn is Vintage Store Mecca. Here are a few we know and like:

There are also clothing swaps:

Want to host a Clothing Swap? Rachel Avalon lays out the fundamentals in this video.

If you would like to join the Challenge, please email
and say, “Yes! I’m ready to join the No New Clothing Challenge !”

Questions? Email us. (
Read our [blog] ( for occasional updates and helpful bits of information.
Stay tuned for an invite to a challenge encouragement get-together…

You are all Super-Duper Heroes!

*Challenge does not apply to underwear or environmentally friendly clothing. We think it’s only fair.

cupcakes & clothes for haiti

January 16, 2010

Just got this special message from Kaight, eco-conscious fashion shop that I wanted to share:

Dear Friends,

By now, we are all well aware of the tragedy that has struck Haiti. We know everyone is doing their best to help, and we would like to make donating as easy on you as possible. On Monday, Jan., 18, we encourage you to bring in any clothes that you would like to donate to the residents of Haiti. We will ensure that they get donated through “Fashion Delivers“. As a thank you for your participation, we will be serving cupcakes by Rabbit Mafia, and offering 10% OFF on any purchase that day. We will be operating at regular store hours and will open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you on Monday.

Thank you for your support!

Kaight is located at:
83 Orchard Street, NYC
(212) 680-5630

give synthetics the boot (bag)

October 1, 2009

Icebreaker, maker of some of the finest Merino wool activewear around, will be “bagging synthetics” next week.

Starting Monday, October 5, the New Zealand based company will be taking your stinky old synthetic, petroleum-based t-shirts (think polyester) and turning them into reusable marathon shoe bags in the Paragon Sports store window, on the spot, and for absolutely free.

Bonus for marathoners and aspiring marathoners: get 26.2% off your Icebreaker GT purchase and get a free pair of Icebreaker socks (from Oct 5 to 12).

So why should you ditch your old synthetic tee for a Merino wool one?

Synthetic tees:

  • stink after a run
  • feel unnatural
  • are made from oil

Icebreaker merino apparel:

  • made from all-natural wool from free-range Merino sheep
  • feels soft to the touch
  • has natural wicking abilities
  • doesn’t stink when you sweat in it
  • non-polluting
  • biodegradable
  • suitable for all seasons

Plus you can run in Icebreaker apparel for weeks without washing it, so energy costs are reduced and less detergents are put into the environment. Read more about Icebreaker’s ethos.

And here are the details for the event:

Monday, October 5 to Monday, October 12
11 am – 7 pm
Paragon Sports
867 Broadway at 18th Street, NYC

design for a living world

July 13, 2009

When I look at the tag inside a t-shirt to find out its origin, that “Made in Bangladesh” label is only telling a tiny part of the story. Sure, the shirt may have been sewn together in Bangladesh, but where was the cotton grown? Where was it spun, woven, and dyed? How many hands touched that one t-shirt in order to be sold in a retail shop in the US?

Design for a Living World, a fairly new exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum developed by The Nature Conservancy, removes the mystery of origin, at least in part, of some of the items we might encounter day to day. It shows us that natural is beautiful and knowing the source and inspiration of design is powerful.

Take, for example, the organic sheep’s wool rug designed and knit by Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma. We see the sheep of Lava Lake Ranch in Hailey, Idaho, grazing on pasture. We see the raw materials, the just shorn wool, all balled-up and dirty with brush. And then each subsequent stage of preparation, from the cleaned wool, to the spun yarn, to the giant knitting needles, to the finished product. Many sheep, some farmers, and one woman. There’s no questioning the source, the process, the final product.

Several other materials and products are displayed, showing the region of origin, a peek at the people who are stewards of that land, who harvest the materials, and a profile of the designer. Alaskan salmon skin clothing from Isaac Mizrahi, FSC-certified red maple furniture from Maya Lin, and, my favorite, vegetable ivory jewelry of the Pohnpei ivory nut palm tree from Ted Muehling (manta ray earrings below).

Surrounded by these beautifully executed designs, all as sustainably created as possible, I still left wanting more information. How do these products compare to their conventional counterparts? Considering how (relatively) few steps are required, how few hands touched these products, does that make them more or less accessible to the general public? Of course, the designs on display are not meant to be sold in stores, but how could they serve as models for those that are?

I hope that I’m underestimating the impact this exhibit might have on a young designer, or a seasoned designer looking to turn over a new leaf. And I hope that designers like Isaac Mizrahi, who has churned out (not-so-sustainable) designs for Target, and now Liz Claiborne, will not just see this project as a one-off but as a guide for the goods they design in the years to come.

Design for a Living World
Now through January 4, 2010
Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
2 East 91st Street New York, NY 10128 | 212.849.8400

nothing over $30 sale at the greenloop

June 13, 2009

You read that right. The Nothing Over $30 sale is on at the Greenloop, online eco-boutique. What better time to introduce some low-impact, high-style items into your wardrobe?

You can get adorable duds like this Stewart & Brown organic cotton dress for only $29.99! (it was $138)

Or this sweet fair trade organic cotton Loomstate tee for just $19.99! (it was $60)

Greenloop was recently named best online eco-boutique in Treehugger’s Best in Green Awards.

house of organic sale

May 29, 2009

Ekovaruhuset (aka, House of Organic), purveyor of premium organic fashion is having a huge sale next week.

House of Organic is an itsy-bitsy boutique at 123 Ludlow St (just south of Rivington), but it’s jam packed with lovely organic dresses, denim, tees, and more. Details on the sale below:

We are having a massive ONE WEEK SALE next week and we want to invite you to enjoy 50% off of nearly everything in the store. All Veja Sneakers, Bergmans shirts, Fin dresses, Kuyichi jeans, Pjux shoes, Katherine Hamnett Tees, Knowledge Cotton Apparel … just about EVERYTHING (excluding designer items) will be 50% off!

Sale will last from Wednesday, June 3rd until Sunday, June 7th. Come quick to enjoy these amazing prices on our amazing organic goods!

loomstate sale at greenloop

May 1, 2009

This Swan’s for You!

These days, I’m trying to focus on buying less, especially new things. But there are a few things I’ll buy new – underwear and Loomstate 100% organic cotton t-shirts. They might be the softest t-shirts I’ve ever owned.

I just got myself one on sale (along with some Pi organic cotton undies) at Greenloop.

And in case you didn’t know, Greenloop recently won best online fashion shop from Treehugger’s Best of Green Contest.

So take advantage of this great sale and stock up on some super soft organic cotton goodies at the Greenloop!