Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Fashionably-Green Semester

In retrospect, the best part of writing weekly blog entries this semester about eco-friendly fashion and beauty is that I was able to combine my daily life--obssessing over, Vogue and US Weekly--with my life at school. My advice to anyone who wants to write fun, seemingly effortless articles and stories: write about what you love. If you are interested in your subject, it will come through to your reader on the computer screen, newspaper, magazine, or wherever you throw your words down.

Throughout my blogging experience, I came across amazing shops and Web sites carrying everything from organic cotton tees to make-your-own eco-friendly scents and everything in between! To wrap up for the semester, I wanted to leave you with a master list of the great places and Web sites I found carrying eco-friendly fashion and beauty products.

  • American Apparel-special-edition sustainable t-shirts
  • Urban Outfitters-Organic cotton printed tees (the one I am wearing in the photo above is from Urban)
  • Toque de Pasion- Eco-friendly clothing, jewelry and handbags from South America
  • Salud Spa Bar-Make your own natural face masks and scents
  • Loomstate for Barneys- Comfortable, stylish designs gone green specifically for Barneys New York
  • Alternative Outfitters-Vegan wedges, pumps and boots
  • Majorica-Organic pearls in all shapes, sizes and colors
  • Alexis Bittar-Eco-friendly jewelry-known for their funky bangles
  • Eileen Fisher-Organic tees and tunics
  • 7 for all Mankind-Special-edition organic jeans
  • Stella McCartney-High-end vegan designer handbags and clothing pieces
  • Stella McCartney Care-A new organic skincare line
  • Steve Madden-Special edition eco-friendly shoes
  • The Greenloop-TONS of eco-friendly jewelry, clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories
  • Red Flower-Biodynamic bath and body products made from flower petals
  • Saffron Rouge-An online beauty store carrying all-natural and biodynamic products
  • Hardwear by Renee-Recycled tire handbags and cuff bracelets
  • Reusable Bags-An organic, stylish alternative to plastic grocery bags
  • Moonrise Jewelry-Colorful and original eco-friendly jewelry
  • Lucina Eco-Friendly Jewelry-Environmentally-safe jewelry named after Roman goddesses
  • Carlos Miele-Organic cotton t-shirts designed by celebrities specifically for the deisgner's green line
  • Giorgio Armani-The Armani Jeans Ecology Project promots green jeans
  • Phillip Lim-His all organic line, "Go Green Go", will debut exclusively at Barneys New York
  • Velvet Leaf -Sustainable clothing by 18 and 20-year-old designer sisters
  • Ecoist-made from colorful recycled candy wrappers-these were given to celebrities at the MTV Latin Video Music Awards!
  • Eco-Handbags -a site dedicated to different brands of bizarre and fun recycled bags-materials range from sailboat sails to chopsticks, zippers to juiceboxes
  • Novica-a company of National Geographic, these coconut shell and recycled wood bags are for the core naturalist
  • Eco-Friendly Handbags -made from 100% reclaimed rubber inner tubes
  • Pibiones-luxurious woven styles made from bamboo, coral and wood
  • Flat-Bags-sporty messenger bags derived from recycled tires and rediscovered fabrics
  • Eco Girl Handbags-colorful with large, overt designs-for all the drama queens out there
  • Five Accessories -made from eco-friendly materials in Bali, Guatemala and Honduras
  • Pristine Planet -fair-trade beaded coin purses
  • Her Design by Helen Riegle-Artistic and architectural handbags worn by celebrities
  • Jason's Organics-Organic shampoo and conditioner made for all hair types
  • Eminence-Great-smelling body souffles
  • Desert Essence-Organic body lotions and body washes for instensive treatment
  • The Coconut Hut-Organic body scrubs in holiday scents like candy cane and eggnog
  • Fresh-All-natural cleansers, lotions and makeup

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Green Beauty Into the Holidays

Green, clay-like toothpaste. Doesn't sound like something you want to clean your mouth with, right? Well, according to Bethany Stauffer, a beauty expert at La Encantada's Product by Maria Martin, this clay-based paste from Fresh works wonders.

Fresh is a very luxurious, all-natural line, Stauffer explained. According to the Sephora Web site, who also sells Fresh products, the line was started by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg when the pair realized that there was a lack of beautifully-packaged, sweet-smelling soaps that actually worked available on the market. After developing their very first soap line, the ideas kept running and the twosome continued expanding into the beauty industry with everything from lotions and cleansers to perfumes and body scrubs.

Eventually, Fresh began creating products made with Umbrian clay. According to Stauffer, white clay (which is what this green substance is made of) possessed mystical qualities in old civilizations, and which is why it was originally used on the body. Toothpaste is not the only umbrian clay product that Fresh carries. Additionally, the line sells umbrian clay masks, cleansers, treatment bars and face lotions. According to Stauffer, if you can get past the initial shock of the greenish tint (and the not-so-pleasant scent), it is obvious even after the first use that your teeth feel cleaner and whiter.

One of Fresh's popular and high-end items is the Creme Ancienne ($250 for 3.5 oz.). According to Stauffer, this French product is handmade by monks in a monastery and harvested once a year. Ingredients include rosewater, beeswax, borax, chamomile wax, meadowfoam oil and vitamin E.

On a different note...
With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, I found some festively-scented organic bath and body products that are just what you need to get you in the holiday spirit.

This Web site is PACKED with special edition organic, holiday-scented body scrubs. Scents include Gingerbread Sugar Cookie, Pecan Pie Divine, Eggnog Cupcake, Candy Cane Chai Latte, and many many more that sound good enough to eat!

This moisturizer claims to moisturize, heal and repair with ingredients such as organic pumpkin seed oil, organic jojoba oil and a blend of organic pumkin seed and licorice leaf.

For firming and toning, this all-over body cream claims to burn body fat tissue and regenerate collagen fibers, reducing the appearance of cellulite. The cinnamon works as a stimulating agent and the paprika serves to revitalize. Eminence also carries other holiday-inspired lotions in scents like chocolate souffle and sugar plum.

Smelling almost like apple pie, this shampoo is said to cleanse hair without weighing it down. Jason's Organics products are sold at Wild-Oats Health Food Stores nation-wide, as well as through their online store.

Stock up on these special-edition products, because after Thanksgiving they are sure to fly off the shelves!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Celeb-Worthy Environmentalist Handbags

I wrote about all sorts of eco-friendly bags and totes just a couple weeks ago, but I simply can't get enough! Helen E. Riegle, designer and founder of Her Design handbags is someone that I can't allow myself to skim over without mentioning.

Riegle's artistic, sometimes-architecturally styled handbags have been seen on a multitude of high-profile celebrities including Helen Mirren (The Queen), Lacey Chapert (Mean Girls), Eliza Dukshu (Tru Calling), Rick and Kathy Hilton (Socialites), Nikki Reed (The O.C.), and many others.

Riegle said she has always been passionate about fashion, but specifically creating environmentally-friendly pieces. She was born in England and received a Bachelor of Arts in Design. After her education she spent years traveling and designing exhibitions. "I was frustrated that I couldn’t find beautiful products that were made in a responsible way. With so much waste and pollution in manufacturing I was determined to do my business differently," Riegle said.

A year before the actual launch of the company, Riegle spent her time researching materials, factories and patterns and her first official collection became available to the public in 2004.

To further enhance the original quality of Her Design handbags, each individual bag has its own tag attached that describes the inspiration derived from the particular piece. Despite the individual nature of each bag, Riegle said that her biggest inspiration stems from Vicorian designer William Morris. She was especially influenced after reading his book, "The Grammar of Ornament", published in 1856, Riegle said.

According to Riegle, the materials used for Her Design handbags are extensive and well thought out for each individual design. Some of the materials she uses regularly include:
  • Organic Cotton (the dyes used are low-impact, fiber-reactive, low-sulfur, low-metal and formaldehyde-free)
  • EcoSpun (from recycled PET plastic bottles-a lower energy level than traditional fleece)
  • Hemp (sustainable and does not use as many chemicals when growing as cotton)
  • Tencel (a type of linen that is biodegradable and made from a synthetic fiber from wood pulp)
  • Treetap (a natural version of leather)
  • Pendleton Wood Flannel (its health impacts on the earth and on humans are evaluated regularly- "Cradle to Cradle certified")
  • Nytek (a vegan alternative to leather that is three times stronger than traditional animal leather)
Not only do Her Design handbags top off a glamorous, modern look, but they also contribute to many charities. According to Riegle, Her Design has donated to Healthlink, NRDC, Plan USA, Sierra Club, Special Olympics and UNICEF. Some of the environmental organizations that Her Design has contributed handbags to for fundraising purposes include The Children's Nature Institution, Go Veggie! and The Nature Conservancy.

Stylish, environmentally-friendly handbags are everywhere right now- in every shape, size, color, texture and recycled material. For future reference, below is a list of Web sites selling green-chic bags that I think deserve attention:
  • Ecoist (made from colorful recycled candy wrappers-these were given to celebrities at the MTV Latin Video Music Awards!)
  • Eco-Handbags (a site dedicated to different brands of bizarre and fun recycled bags-materials range from sailboat sails to chopsticks, zippers to juice boxes)
  • Novica (a company of National Geographic, these coconut shell and recycled wood bags are for the core naturalist)
  • Eco-Friendly Handbags (made from 100% reclaimed rubber inner tubes)
  • Pibiones (luxurious woven styles made from bamboo, coral and wood)
  • Flat-Bags (sporty messenger bags derived from recycled tires and rediscovered fabrics)
  • Eco Girl Handbags (colorful with large, overt designs-for all the drama queens out there)
  • Five Accessories (made from eco-friendly materials in Bali, Guatemala and Honduras)
  • Pristine Planet (fair-trade beaded coin purses)

Thanks for reading!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Seeing GREEN on the Runway

High Fashion doesn't always have to mean fur coats, crocodile-skin shoes and leather bags. Check a small clip of Velvet Leaf's sustainable fashion show from San Francisco Fashion Week 2007.

Velvet Leaf is a sustainable clothing line with designer status that was started by 18-year-old and 20-year-old sisters Laura and Beckey Carter in 2006. Velvet Leaf provides creative, artistic styles with 100% eco-friendly materials. What's great about Velvet Leaf is that yes, they use organic cotton in all of their designs, but they are also 100% ECO SKAL Certified. This means that they use certified fair trade factories for manufacturing purposes. There are many guidelines for becoming SKAL Certified and Velvet Leaf covers them all.

Velvet Leaf has been featured in magazines like Teen Vogue and Nylon, which means that eco-friendly styles are beginning to reach not only the high-fashion crown, but the trendy teen crowd as well.

The Velvet Leaf Web site already shows the spring and summer '08 designs and many of them are very fashion forward but yet wearable at the same time. Think crisp, white dresses with billowy sleeves and a short length, tattered sleeveless tops with hoods, and clean, black overalls (without the farmer factor) layering a white blouse.

Velvet Leaf is not the only designer-status clothing company going green. Both Giorgio Armani and Philip Lim have specified green pieces as well. Philip Lim's white organic cocktail dress is lined in sustainable silk and uses untreated and undyed cotton. This dress is the debut for what will soon be the Philip Lim "Go Green Go" collection, sold exclusively at Barneys New York. The dress sells for $595.

Armani, the king of evening wear and glam has been green for some time. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, the Armani Jeans Ecology Project began in 1995 for the purpose of recycling old jeans and making new ones while eliminating the chemical additives. This idea was so ahead of its time in the mid-90s that in 1996, a year after the first pair of ecology jeans was created, they were placed on display in the Innovations Exhibition at the Science and Technology Museum of Milan. Armani even created a line for men and women of designer pieces made out of hemp. Over the years, the Armani Jeans Ecology Project has continued to expand and develop especially as the green movement has become increasingly popular in the past couple years.

Also, environmentally-concerned Brazilian designer Carlos Miele designed an entire collection of t-shirts that will debut this month ($40 each, sold at Carlos Miele boutiques). As seen in the November issue of W Magazine, 20 percent of the sales from each top will go toward the Rainforest Foundation. The money that is earned from the profits will be used to educate native peoples how to protect and save their rainforests. Actresses Scarlett Johansson and Camilla Belle as well as model Caroline Trentini lent a helping hand in the rainforest t-shirt design project.

Once you see a page dedicated strictly eco-friendly living and environmental style in top fashion magazines like Allure (October '07 issue), In Style (November '07 issue) and Cosmopolitan (November '07 issue), you know green is here to stay. As we all know, Cosmopolitan, the best-selling women's magazine in the world, is a high-style, high-beauty and highly-sexified mag. This month's issue portrays beautiful Sienna Miller wearing a t-shirt that says "The People Versus Global Warming", for, as well as pages of green and organic beauty treatments and tips. As someone who would rather devour the latest Vogue or W than eat or sleep, it seems to me that the green theme is by far the best 'trend' I've ever seen splashed across those precious pages.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good for the Earth Gems and Jewelry

Finish off eco-friendly outfits with elegant, fair-trade jewelry

So far I have covered organic and fair-trade beauty products and skin care lines, vegan and environment-friendly bags as well as all types and styles of organic clothing. All very stylish, earth-friendly items, but what about the ultimate accessory: JEWELRY? This week I am focusing on two green jewelry lines called Lucina Eco-Friendly Jewelry and Moonrise Jewelry, neither of which make you think of 'hippie chic', in that hemp jewelry paired with a crochet hat and Birkenstocks kind of way.

Moonrise Jewelry, founded by Meredith Restein and Liz Watson is based out of Virginia and uses fair-trade, semi-precious gemstone beads, said Restein. The gems are eventually transported to the Moonrise studio, being closely tracked along the way to ensure environmental practices. The gemstones are originally found in mines in Latin America as well as the United States. Some of the gemstone beads that Moonrise uses include Black Jasper from Oregon, Brazilian Amethyst and Mexican Fire Opal. "They have all been extracted from the earth using the most environmentally-sensitive practices (most by hand), and cut in their model Chinese factory which protects workers' rights, safety, and health while providing exceptional compensation and benefits to workers," said Restein.

Other fair-trade and eco-friendly materials used by Moonrise include bamboo, seeds, orchid blossoms (one of the more popular materials in the company), recycled glass and Tiger Ebony Wood Beads. Also, the metal components of the Moonrise pieces are made by members of the Fair Trade Association, frequently using recycling silver, added Restein.

Restein and Watson work in Eastville, VA. and live in Northhampton County, an area known for its abundant natural environment. "In our small community, this is an entirely new way of doing business and we are among a handful of small businesses in the area who are demonstrating to others that people, planet, and profits aren't mutually exclusive," said Restein.

The necklaces made with real orchid blossoms are always a crowd favorite for Moonrise, specifically the Kona and Molakai necklaces (see right). Restein said that her favorites come from the Eco-Jewelry collection, including the Ely Necklace, Manila Earrings and Bengal Necklace (above).

Moonrise Jewelry's pieces were also shown at the Mercedes-Benz L.A. Fashion Week on October 15 in attempt to promote a greener lifestyle.

"Buy a necklace, save the rainforest", founder and owner of Lucina Eco-Friendly Jewelry Shauna Alexander Mohr says. Lucina is another fair-trade, eco-jewelry line that I really love, and was featured on a "Going Green" segment of the Today Show (Midnight Blue Tagua Silver Layer Bracelet, left).

Lucina is creatively and originally named after a Roman goddess. "Lucina" is the Roman goddess of childbirth, and Mohr was inspired to name her company after such a goddess because of the connotation and relation it had to the company's particular mission and jewelry pieces: "classic, feminine and inspiring," Mohr said. "Roman mythology is definitely classic, nothing is more feminine than childbirth...," she added.

Prior to creating eco-jewelry, Mohr was a fair-trade coffee buyer for ten years, working closely with people in environmentally sound regions of the world. After the birth of her daughter in 2004, Mohr had a desire to continue her work with the people in these regions, specifically focusing on the women. "Women make about 80% of handcrafted products in the world, so when you buy Fair Trade handcrafted products, you're supporting women and families. I thought if we could get these products to U.S. designers, they could combine these exquisite influences from around the world and create jewelry with a distinctly upscale and modern feel," Mohr said.

Some of the gemstones used by Lucina are bought from Women for Women International programs in Afghanistan. In addition to Women for Women International, Lucina is involved in other philanthropic organizations as well and donate a percentage of their sales to Hands to Hearts International and Women's Edge Coalition.

According to Mohr, Lucina likes using materials that have a positive impact on the environment, such as Taqua, or "vegetable ivory". The material "is one of our favorites because it is a rainforest nut, sustainably harvested, hand-carved and dyed by Fair Trade artisans in Ecuador. The gentle harvest of tagua literally keeps biologically diverse and critically imperiled tropical rainforests intact," said Mohr.

Whether you are out to save the rainforest or simply look green-chic, Moonrise Jewelry and Lucina can help you accomplish your goal.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Good-bye Plastic Bags!

What used to be known as an environmentally-sound way to carry your groceries has turned into a full-blown fashion trend. Anya Hindmarch's famous, limited edition "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" bag is sold out everywhere. According to the Anya Hindmarch Web site, you can no longer purchase one of these bags in the United States, and it is also sold out in the UK. Its anticipated launch in South East Asia was cancelled due to concern for customer safety. And at $6.75 a pop, the bag is very inexpensive when compared to the Anya Hindmarch collection handbags, which run in the mid-hundreds.

If you don't already have the most popular canvas shopping bag around, don't fret! As the canvas bag craze becomes trendier by the minute, there are lots of options for eco-friendly bag lovers.

If you are interested in carrying a designer status eco-bag, Hindmarch's is not the only option. Stella McCartney, known for creating vegan designer wear, has a new canvas bag coming this spring. According to the Bag Snob Web site, the Stella, $495, is due out in June and is made out of organic cotton.

If you are looking for stylish canvas bags to carry your groceries in instead of (gasp!) plastic bags that are provided at the supermarket, try Reusable Bags (my favorite are the "Modern Totes"). Reusable Bags is a Web site that specializes in providing customers all types of reusable bags for carrying food items, baby supplies, etc. The Web site also includes a great amount of news and information about the environment and the harm that plastic bags cause to our environment. My favorite feature is the constantly moving count of how many plastic bags have been consumed this year (at the top of the home page). Right now we are at 430,851,469,272...I can't keep track of all the bags, the count moves so quickly!

Now if you are looking for a bag that you can carry around at night or make a statement with, check out Hardwear by Renee. These are some of the most unusually-made, runway-worthy bags I have ever seen. Each bag has its own style, with clean and modern lines. Owned and operated out of Oregon by Renee Christopher, the recycled bags are made out of inner-tube tires, scraps of wood and reclaimed water hose. When asked how she came up with idea of creating such a bag, Christopher said that she has "always loved the idea of recycling, it just made sense to me! The inner tube handbags were a spin off from the Runway style. Inner tubes just seemed like the perfect material to use sense there's a surplus of blown inner tubes. The recycle wooden base comes from wood scraps off fish planks from a factory in the North West."

Christopher said that despite the process being challenging at first, the creation of the recycled bags, better known as "Highway Bags" becomes easier. "The most labor intensive part is the cleaning process. Each tube goes through three different cleaning cycles. Because of the natural curve of the inner tube, designing the bags to include the curve can be a challenge. The material can also dull a sharp pair of shears very fast," Christopher said.

Christopher has always been an artist at heart. She won a scholarship for ceramics in college and her hobbies have included pottery and jewelry making. After she got married and did not have a lot of money, Christopher sold her wedding dress to buy a sewing machine. "Being freshly married and poor, I didn't have the luxury to splurge on handbags, so I made my own...and Hardwear was born," Christopher said.

Not only does Hardwear by Renee sell unique recycled bags made out of tires, but her collection includes jewelry as well. Christopher said that the most popular recycled item are the recycled cuffs, as well as the Highway Bags with writing on them or with the nozzles on the handles. According to the Web site, the recycled tire bags run for $65 and tire cleaner should be used for cleaning.

Christopher has a new line of recycled jewelry as well, and the pieces are made out of a sign material called Perspex. Both pieces to the left are from Christopher's Perspex line.

I was surprised and excited to find out that some pieces are even sold here in Tucson, at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

Whether you are looking for a trendsetting recycled bag that is sure to turn heads, or simply a stylish and cute bag to carry your groceries in, the green trend continues to grow and you are sure not to run out of choices. So have fun, save the earth and take your pick!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Biodynamics are a Step-Up from Organic

Today I am talking about a new organic beauty trend that I just learned about myself. It is called Biodynamic and I read about it in the November 2007 issue of Shape magazine (on news stands now). Red Flower, a popular organic skin care line, as well as an all-natural skin care online store, Saffron Rouge, both carry biodynamic products. According to Jill, a Saffron Rouge beauty advisor I spoke with, "Biodynamic means that they practice organic planting and cultivation and there are no herbicides or pesticides involved in the growing of the plants. The plants are then harvested based on the solar system, as it is believed that when the planets are aligned a certain way, the plants are most potent, which is why they are harvested at this time." As described in Shape magazine, "if you consider yourself to be a true purist" you should be using biodynamics. Instead of simply avoiding pesticides and chemicals in creating the products, biodynamics actually nourish and feed the soil in a healthy way.

According to a Red Flower representative, their mission is "to create a 100% pure and sustainably sourced body wash and body lotion that exceeds every expectation of scent, moisturization and performance. By 9 am the average American puts more than 1,000 chemicals on their skin. Red flower sees a better way to start and end the day. We have created a nutrient for the skin and earth."

Red Flower takes a unique approach to organic skin care. The skin of 100% organic flowers is used to create body washes, lotions and scents. Red Flower has always created pure, organic skin care. However, biodynamic products raise the standards for those who crave an even more holistic approach to skin care. Not only are the actual products as pure as they come, but the packaging is eco-friendly as well. "Flower skin is packaged in p.e.t. plastic, the same plastic that is used for water bottles which makes it the most recycled and recyclable type of plastic," said the Red Flower representative.

The representative told also told me a few ingredients they regularly use and why:

  • Biodynamic Honey***: This is a flower nectar that includes "hygroscopic properties that actually attract moisture from the air", while still thoroughly cleansing the skin.

  • Wild Blue Green Algae: Contains "chlorophyll, B vitamins, beta carotene, pro vitamin A, lipids, active enzymes, essential amino acids."

  • Spirulina: An organic hydrating mechanism.

  • Laurel: Soothes skin and fights bacteria.
***According to the representative, "the bio-dynamic honey used as a key ingredient is produced in its natural habitat. Honey from this family of flowers is known for its rich, gingery tone and flavor." This honey is free of any dyes, perabins, sulfates, petrochemicals and preservatives, the representative said.

Red Flower has been featured in many publications and magazines for their unique approach to creating good-for-the-earth products. Check it out!

As I mentioned earlier, Saffron Rouge is a great place to find organic skin care and beauty products. According to Jill, "We carry organic products yes, and include all ingredients for every product, so if there are some that are considered to be 'yellow flagged' we make our clients aware, so they can make the choice for themselves". Their biodynamic page includes products like:

According to the article in Shape Magazine, two other biodynamic brands to try are Jurlique and Dr. Hauschka. Enjoy!