Would You Want To MAke This Shirt?

By now you've probably read or heard about the cost of fast fashion.  It's largely been a race to the bottom, where volume and low quality are supposed to be  the winning combination.  Over the years we have been successfully programmed to feel like we aren't doing well if we don't get a great deal, or if we don't have something new for that next occasion.  But do we actually like the clothes we are buying, and do they last? Are they well made and are they healthy?  It's rare that we think of clothes effecting our health, but unfortunately toxic dyes and chemicals make their way into our clothes and environment because of poor regulation and cheap manufacturing.  In cheap production, people also suffer along the way by not earning a living wage and working in compromising conditions, in essence living a life of modern day slavery.   

Not all clothes are made cheaply, but you have to ask yourself when you buy that inexpensive shirt that seems too good to be true, that maybe it is too good to be true.  If you had to take responsibility of the production of that shirt would you want to? 

Orange is the New Textile

Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena founders of Orange Fiber

Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena founders of Orange Fiber

Bananas, pineapples, coconuts and oranges... you might be thinking summer and smoothies, but did you know they make great textiles too?  Innovation is kicking in as people look for sustainable alternatives to traditional textiles such as cotton and synthetics. Cotton is  labor and water intensive, and when not organic uses large amounts of insecticides and pesticides.  Synthetic textiles don't biodegrade, are made of petroleum, and aren't so great for the environment.  Resourceful people are now finding ways to reuse waste that would otherwise be thrown away.  In the Philippines,  The Philippine Textile Research Institute estimated that banana plantations there alone could generate over 300,000 metric tons of fiber.  Pinatex, a textile that comes from pineapple leaves that are usually left to waste is showing up in more bags and shoes. The material resembles canvas and is biodegradable.  The husks of coconuts have fibrous qualities that can also be transformed into textile.  North face currently uses cocona - the textile developed that uses a combination of coconut shells and volcanic materials to make a performance wear fabric.  The newest textile is made from oranges.... that idea came out of Italy, from two Sicilian women who wanted to transform citrus byproducts into a new sustainable textile.  They created Orange Fiber, a new eco-sustainable textile that thanks to nano-technology also has cosmetic qualities, and hydrates the wearer's skin like a nourishing cream!

Now we're talking....bring on the innovation and the smoothies! 

 

 

 

The Scientific Benefits of Yoga and Breathing

This Mother's Day, we probably could all use a deep breath.  Whether it's spending time with your mom, being a mom, or remembering your mother, try to destress for the occasion. New  research has found that wellness and breathing go hand in hand.

What researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have found is that there are a handful of nerve cells deep in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind. This tiny cluster of neurons link respiration to relaxing, attention, excitement and anxiety.  Think of this area as a sort of pacemaker.   What's fascinating is that scientists were able to identify subtypes of breathing in the neuron subpopulation - such as for anxiety, chilling, or alertness.  These neurons in term activate the brain to its state of current arousal and emotion. 

There is more research to be done in this area, but it's clear that breathing plays a role in how we feel and in deep states of meditation.  It's an effective way of calming ourselves down when we need to, a type of tool for us to be aware that we have at our disposal.  For those of you yogis out there, you can feel good about your practice of pranayama, the control of your breathing to shift your consciousness...keep up your practice, and focus on your breathing next time you go to class.  And for those of you who aren't yogis, it's worth trying it out.  The mind-body benefits are clear. 

Mom did us a favor when she told us to calm down and breath....Thanks Mom!  If you can, for Mother's Day, think about returning the favor and having her share in a yoga class with you! 

Depicts the pathway from the neural cluster or "pacemaker" for breathing to the rest of the brain. 

Depicts the pathway from the neural cluster or "pacemaker" for breathing to the rest of the brain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to keep polluting chemicals out of fashion? Sign the Manifesto

By now you probably know that most of our clothing is made in a way that adversely affects people and the environment, and that the results of using toxic chemicals with no or little regulation has harmed all of us greatly.  The chemicals are staggering, and even more sadly, our fresh water supply is becoming scarcer at a time when our global needs are only becoming more pressing and greater. 

The Greenpeace Fashion Manifesto is a global movement united in the effort to end fashion's toxic pollution.  Greenpeace is asking top fashion brands to be accountable and protect our waters, eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals.

Their Fashion Manifesto:

We are a global movement of fashionistas, activists, designers and bloggers united by a belief that beautiful fashion shouldn't cause toxic pollution. Sign the Fashion Manifesto and become a part of this people power movement.

1. We believe that brands and suppliers must act immediately to stop poisoning waterways around the world with hazardous chemicals.

2. We recognise that this will not happen over night, and want brands and suppliers to be transparent about what chemicals they are releasing into the environment on the road toward toxic-free fashion. It is our water, we have a right to know.

3. We believe in rewarding and collaborating with honest and progressive suppliers and brands, and will encourage others to do the same.

 

SIGN THE MANIFESTO >>

Fashion Fights Back: How Patagonia and Indigenous are Taking a Stand for the Environment

Fashion Fights Back: How Patagonia and Indigenous are Taking a Stand for the Environment

Indigenous Fair Trade fashion is once again taking the lead when it comes to the environment. 

Launching the Modavanti mOBILIZE Collection

Last weekend we marched in record numbers. Millions took to the streets in D.C., New York, L.A., Austin, S.F., Detroit and hundreds of other cities around the world. From Honolulu to Anchorage, Miami to Maine, women and men came out in mass to make their voices heard. 

We marched too and were inspired not only by the incredible groundswell that the movement has produced but by the humanity, the love and of course the magnificently tongue-and-cheek galvanizing signs. To see men, women, parents, children, people of every faith, color, background and religion was incredibly uplifting. The energy, passion and love, electrifying. The movement can't end here. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 4.09.22 PM.png

We all need to get more involved. As individuals, we are pledging to support organizations doing great work, to call our elected officials and to speak up to injustices that affect us and others. As a tribute to the many heartwarming and funny signs that dotted the march, we are launching a new collection of activist tees so you can continue to wear your values!

Introducing our mobilize collection. If you thought the march was impressive,  just wait til you see how nasty the future will be because we are going to bring it.

While we are facing an uncertain future, one thing is clear: Our voices will be heard, we are ready to mobilize and we will not be denied our rights.

Show your support for women's rights, human rights, animal rights and environmental rights with our made in America Modavanti x American Apparel Mobilize collection.

Shop the full collection here:

Check out some of our favorites below:

Behind the Brand: Smart is Beautiful with 4 All Humanity

Behind the Brand: Smart is Beautiful with 4 All Humanity

On the Million Woman March we celebrate the empowered women, the strong women, the independent women and the men and women around the country who know that Smart is Beautiful!

2017 Is the Perfect Time to Switch to Clean Organic Beauty Products

2017 Is the Perfect Time to Switch to Clean Organic Beauty Products

5 reasons that you need to clean out your cosmetic cabinet and switch to organic beauty in 2017

A few Ways to Sustainably ring in 2017

The New Year is always a chance for a reset. A chance for a fresh start and a chance to reflect on what we all want to improve on over the months ahead. Here are 5 easy ways to commit to being more sustainable in 2017. 

1. Buy clothing that adds value not stuff to your life. 

We all have closets that are jammed with our clothes. How many of those pieces do you wear each week? Worse how often do you have to get rid of (hopefully you're using Modacycle) your new favorite top or sweater, because it wasn't made to last. Buying sustainable, well made clothing that you can proudly wear again and again is so much more rewarding than only wearing something once. Even that thrill of buying something new wears off if you don't really love it. Treat yourself to fewer, better made clothes that you know are not only special to you but good for your health, the environment and others as well. Modavanti's badge system allows you to search by what matters to you most. 

2. Switch to a non-toxic beauty routine

Like our food, conventional beauty brands in every price range- from top-of-the-line to the eye-liner in your local CVS are full of toxic chemicals. Everything from shampoos and conditioners, lotions, face washes to wrinkle serums, deodorants, sunscreens and perfumes are loaded with chemicals that get absorbed through the skin. The average person uses 10 different kinds of products daily, which amounts to absorbing almost 130 different chemicals in your body. To make matters worse, there isn't enough research that shows us just how much these chemicals, some which are carcinogens, affect our health. That's why it's equally important to switch to non-toxic, organic beauty products. If you are unsure what ingredients are in your products or are looking for an easy source to find safe products, you can shop Modavanti and visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to use their toxicity rating system (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/).  

3. Give up meat a few times a week and make sure your fruits and veggies are organic

According to Emmy Award winning documentarian Shawn Heinrichs, giving up meat once a week is the shocking equivalent of saving the equivalent carbon emissions of 3.2M cars driving daily. If you are a big environmentalist or animal rights activist, it's one of best acts you can take to lower our carbon output. However, if you still love your steak, make sure to accompany it with organic vegetables from the farmers market. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are sprayed with as many as 60 types of harmful pesticides that their thin skins, and ours, easily absorb.

4. Get involved with an environmental organization 

There are so many great groups that are doing critical work to defend our environment and wildlife. Getting involved with an environmental organization like Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund or Greenpeace is a great way to learn about environmental problems and be part of the solution. You can find local organization by state here: http://www.greenpeople.org/EnvironmentalOrganization.cfm
 

5. Yoga and Meditation 

Yoga and meditation are great outlets to find peace and quiet that have huge health benefits. Whether it's relieving stress and anxiety, decreasing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, increasing production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, increasing your flexibility or improving sleep, yoga and meditation are excellent natural ways to set yourself up for a healthy, happier 2017.  You might be a beginner at yoga, but you can look like a seasoned pro with Modavanti's athletic wear collection: http://modavanti.com/women-activewear/

8 Must-Read Books on Where Our Clothes Come From

8 Must-Read Books on Where Our Clothes Come From

What's better than laying in the sun on a warm summer day (or killing time on the subway) with a good book. Whether you're just beginning...

Done Good: The App for doing Good over the Holidays

We've been waiting for an app that could help inform shoppers about stylish sustainable alternatives and provide them an easy way to shop brands that matter. So when we heard Done Good was launching, we were thrilled! Done Good is a new browser extension and mobile app which helps you choose ethical and sustainable options when you shop for anything online. All you need to do is download the free extension, and when you search for say, "dresses," DoneGood will provide search results for products and  businesses that are committed to supporting workers' rights and environmental protection.

As a company, DoneGood's mission is to "build tech products that lead U.S. consumers to new businesses you can feel good about supporting." The extension works by scouring the earth for brands making unique products that are built-to-last, while at the same time supporting their workers, lifting people out of poverty and preserving the environment.

The best part is that you don't have to change your routine. Simply search on Google or Amazon or visit a company website say Bloomingdales or J. Crew, and when there's a DoneGood company that is a match, the extension provides it as a better option.

Modavanti is already proud to be a partner and has been featured in the new DoneGood browser extension. As a further incentive to for you to support the card, we’ve provided a $20 off discount code for all extension users. ;)

To get the discount you can download the extension here. 

How it works:

    -Install the free extension  

    -Shop online like you normally would—search on Google or Amazon, or visit company websites such as Bloomingdales or J. Crew

    -When there’s a DoneGood business that has the kind of product you’re looking for, the extension shows you a small alert

    -And you get exclusive discounts with DoneGood brands, so you can save money and do good at the same time

That’s it! You find better, more unique stuff and can feel good about where your money is going—all with no extra effort on your part.

When you support a DoneGood company, you help them succeed.  The more they succeed, the more others businesses will follow suit.  Eventually, even the big guys start to change.  The world gets better. Just because you bought something you needed to get anyway. So go on and do good this holiday season! 

 

The Causes We are Giving to for #GivingTuesday

It's been a tumultuous past month for many of us. In particular, there are many outstanding and brave organizations that are anxious about the years ahead. They are nervous that their work will become harder, that the people they help will be ostracized further, that their lands and rivers will be polluted beyond saving. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for and support the values we hold dear. In this spirit of continued commitment to fighting for what we believe in, we are doing a special #GivingTuesday sale that supports our incredible Modavanti brands and gives back to worthy organizations that can use our collective support more than ever.

Through tomorrow, everything on the site is 10% off (use code: GiveGood). 

We are matching that sale with a 10% donation in your name to 5 organizations who need support more than ever. Whether you care about climate change, civil liberties, refugee rights, women's health or Standing Rock your purchases will make a difference in more ways than one! Vote with your wallet and join us in making an impact during the holiday shopping season. 

Why we are supporting these 5 organizations:

1. NRDC: The NRDC creates solutions for lasting environmental change, protecting
natural resources in the United States and across the globe. As an organization it "seeks to influence federal and state environmental and other agencies to reduce global warming, limit pollution, and generally conserve energy and increase sustainability of commerce and manufacturing. Our earth is under assault from climate deniers. This work is more important than ever.

**The charity monitoring group Charity Navigator gave the Natural Resources Defense Council four out of four stars in its three rating categories: overall, financial practices, and accountability & transparency

2. ACLU: Since the election there have been an unacceptable and unnerving spike in hate crimes. The ACLU's mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." In response, the ACLU has stepped up it's Human Rights project which advocates for protecting immigrants rights, gay rights, and minority rights. This is more critical than ever. 

3. IRC: The Russian aided Assad regime's massacre of its people in Syria has displaced 10M people, forcing more than 3.5M refugees to flee Syria completely. Millions more have escaped ISIS, the fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and dozens of other conflict zones around the world. The IRC is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, that offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster. The IRC is currently working in over 40 countries to help the greatest influx of refugees the world has seen since WWII. 

4. Planned Parenthood: This one is easy. Women's health is under assault here in the US and globally and Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services such as "birth control and long-acting reversible contraception, emergency contraception, breast and cervical cancer screening, pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; sex education, vasectomies,LGBT services, and abortion," both in the United States and globally. Few organizations do more to promote women's health in rural and poor areas. 

5. Standing Rock: Last but not least, is Standing Rock. We have been so impressed with the tribes of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and the protesters who have joined them to protest the building of Dakota Access Oil Pipeline which is a violation of their territorial lands and endangers their main water supply that their communities are dependent on. Harsh winter and a more brutal national guard threaten the protests camps. We must all stand with the People of Standing Rock. Your donation will go to vital supplies, food, blankets, shelter and other necessary gear and items to help the protesters continue their efforts. 

Happy Thanksgiving + Why We Commit to Sustainable Fashion

Like most of you, we woke up two weeks ago in a state of shock. The election felt like a repudiation of the progress that has been made over these past 8 years. But seeing all of your facebook posts and hearing your plans to redouble your efforts to protect our accomplishments and work towards further positive change has served as great motivation to continue our own efforts in regards to Modavanti and sustainable fashion.

Considering the fight that lies ahead, sustainable fashion is more important than ever. Those who have read this blog or heard us speak on the subject, will know that fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world.

But what is not as well known is how much an agent of change sustainable fashion can be. Yes, we must push back against the big companies that are doing wrong. But we must also support the smaller labels and organizations that are producing the right way as sustainable fashion can be a powerful force for good. 

In fact, sustainable fashion is in the only industry in the world that makes progress on almost every U.N. Millenial Development Goal. Through Modavanti we have worked with many incredible brands that are creating impact through economic development by providing dignified work to textile workers, protecting the environment by reducing chemicals and waste, empowering women by offering them ownership of their artisan co-ops and rebuilding American manufacturing by proudly producing here at home.  

Whether drawn to the craft by an interest in fashion or a desire to create change, there are many designers and brands that are building a better future not just for themselves but for the collective good.

And what enormous good they are making. From The Akola Project, which through its jewelry provides training, jobs, security and hope to women artisans in Uganda; to EcoAlf, which pulls harmful fishing nets and plastic bottles from the ocean and recycles them into high-tech performance wear; to Agave Denim, which sources each detail of their jeans from mills and producers right here in America. These are a few brands making individual efforts. Yet, collectively, they are part of a growing, formidable and sustained movement.

This holiday season, as you buy your presents, it's vital that we vote with our wallets and shop sustainably. Whether you care about your health and buy organic cotton, or look for vegan leather because you are passionate about animal rights; whether you want to support your local economy or promote sustainable economic development abroad, there are hundreds of designers and brands that are standing up for your values. 

Of course, we hope you shop them on Modavanti, but wherever and however you buy this holiday season, it has never been more critical that we buy what we believe and wear what matters.

Thank you for all of the inspiration and good work so many of you have done and for strengthening our faith that yes, together we will all make a difference. It's been a long two weeks but the arc of history will always bend towards progress.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and much still left to do. Let's do it together!

The Modavanti Team 

Radically Transparent Everlane Is Suspiciously Secretive

A little more than five years ago, a new challenger to J. Crew emerged promising radical transparency. A San Francisco startup, Everlane burst onto the scene with it's direct-to-consumer prices and promises of being able to trace your products. Such claims garnered a spot on Fast Co.’s 20146 “50 Most Innovative Companies” and the coveted exponential growth (Everlane earned $12M in 2013 and doubled that in 2014). 

740x416-everlane-heroimage.jpg

The marketing was brilliant. Buzzy slogans such as the aforementioned "Radical Transparency" and "ethical fashion," its clever infographics that showed the cost of everything and its effortless Cali cool style, made it the go-to brand for millennials. So much so that mainstay brands watched with grave concern.

But something seems amiss. For a company that promises such openness in an industry long know for its opaqueness, Everlane is rather secretive. Everlane won its adoring fan base through promises it had 'disrupted' the dark side of the fashion industry by shortened simplified supply chains and the ability to show exactly how and why each piece was priced as it was. Everlane's two main claims were its "world-class factories" and the fact it had cut out the middlemen. 

It is the first point however which is increasingly under scrutiny. According to the brand, the "world-class factories" are “the very same ones that produce your favorite designer labels.”

Yet somehow, as retail-focused website Racked noted in an article last year, “For all its talk of transparency, Everlane is extremely tightlipped about internal goings-on. Preysman was the only Everlane employee offered up for this story, and no one from the design or creative teams was made available to be interviewed. Repeated requests to visit the brand’s New York office were declined.”

What gives?

As eco-fashion pioneer, author and founder of the website Magnifeco points out, "A closer look at Everlane’s website and marketing materials – complete with enormously vague language in place of definitive facts to support its claims of transparency and ethical production – reveals that there is almost certainly more at play in the Everlane model than meets the eye."

Which is to say, Everlane lists all the locations of the factories and what cities they are in, but doesn't list the name of the factories because of "trade secrets." Send up the red flag. 

As a distraction, Everlane lists the weather in the cities as well as smiling employees at each factory. Instead of listing the factories by name they tell you what each factory produces such as "The Specialty Knits Factory" or "The Casual Wovens Factory." It's hard to believe a brand that proclaims radical transparency when they hide the most important piece. That's like 

Somehow H&M is more transparent than Everlane. It identifies 98.5% of its first tier factories/suppliers by name and address, and even lists some of these factories’ suppliers. Freaking H&M! The largest fast fashion conglomerate in the world...! 

According to Everlane's founder Michael Preysman, Everlane has a relatively straightforward reason why the company can't release it's factories telling the Wall Street Journal in 2013 that the company withholds their names in order to prevent competitors from utilizing the factories that he and his team have “spent months finding.” Preysman says he simply “doesn’t want competitors moving in on his turf.” We're not sure if we are buying it. It didn't work out so well for the most recent SF CEO to promise radical disruption while still maintaining company secrets. 

Ultimately, we are huge fans of the concept and the idea. The fashion industry needs disrupting. Supply chains need to be simplified and we all have a right to know where our clothing came from. But to promise radical transparency, something no one insisted Everlane do, and yet be so evasive and opaque about where things are actually produced isn't right and goes against the company ethos of “Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.” Which is what we intend to do. We've reached out to Everlane to learn more and will update this article when we hear back.

These brands are finally utilizing the fashion industry's waste

It's amazing that fast fashion brands can sell clothing for so cheap given how much fabric they waste. Right now fast fashion retailers mainly rely on opaque supply chains that mask cheap labor practices to keep churning out $20 jeans. But such conditions have been receiving increased scrutiny ever since Rana Plaza. 

Reaping the rewards of fast fashion at such a high moral cost, no longer works for many consumers, especially when they learn that next to oil corporations, the fashion industry is the second largest polluting business in the world and one of the most abusive. 

Perhaps necessity does breed innovation after all. To help solve this environmental problem, brands, such as Beru, Reformation, and Christy Dawn are combatting the issue of waste by reusing what most brands regularly throw away. By making use of surplus materials from the large fashion houses, such as 7 For All Mankind, these designers use deadstock materials, fabric remnants leftover from other brands and garment factories.

Sofia Melograno, founder of Beru, a zero waste children’s clothing line creates her entire collection from unused textiles.

“I think there’s a misconception that eco-fashion is “crunchy granola” and not aesthetically appealing. That is far from the truth,” says Melograno.  “I like the elevated level of innovation that comes with being a zero waste designer.”

Large scale brands like H&M, Nike and others are adopting similar practices of using the materials that are right in front of them, that they've already paid for and that are the exact same quality. 

It's an obvious no-brainer. Perhaps it can be a win for consumers and the environment too. Imagine buying cheaper fashion that was made fairly. Sounds pretty good to us too.

 

GO VOTE! Why We're With Her

GO VOTE! Why We're With Her

Tomorrow, if you believe in climate change and clean air and water, women's rights around the world and the promise of entrepreneurship, there is no clearer choice for President.

The World's Most Incredible Buildings on 2016

From grass buildings to to forest chapels here are a few of the world's top buildings and Architizer A+Awards winners. Now in their 4th year, the Architizer awards is the largest architecture awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year's best new designs that "champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life." These buildings are not only architectural marvels, they also demonstrate an appreciation for nature. As you will see below, these architects revere nature and often include and utilize the natural surroundings of the buildings.

Know of more buildings that are harmoniously built into nature? Share them in the comments.