What To Do To Avoid These 12 Most Offending Endocrine Disruptors

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If you didn’t catch our last blog, read Why You Need To Know About This 12 Endocrine Disuptors to understand why it’s so important to avoid them.

Each offender is listed below with ways to avoid each:

BPAs:  This is largely found in plastics, so avoiding plastics all together would be great, but we know how hard that is.  Some things you can do:  Cut down on canned foods.  You may never have noticed the coating inside, but many cans are lined with BPA.   Try giving up plastic bottles and foods in plastic, and never microwave anything in plastic.  Plastics that are particularly concerning and to avoid are anything marked with PVC, 3V, PS, PC, or the numbers 3,6,7 (you’ll find these in the triangles such as on the bottles of bottles.) When someone asks you at the register if you need the receipt, say no.  Thermal paper is coated with BPA and enters the bloodstream quickly, especially if you’ve cleaned your hand with hand sanitizer as those are “dermal penetration enhancers.”  Not all plastics contain BPA, but if you stay away from those above you’ll be better off.  Also, with those bottles with the 1 underneath, they are made with PET.  It’s easy to remember that with the 1,  it’s made for single use and can contain dozens of chemical additives. Using them more once discharges more bad stuff.

Dioxin:  Ok. These are pretty bad because they are long-lived and build up in our body and the food chain.  Unfortunately since they are so pervasive in the environment we can’t entirely avoid them, but contaminants generally accumulate in the fat of animals, so eating less meat and trimming fat off helps.

Atrazine: Used as a herbicide widely on food crops, especially corn, the easiest way to avoid this is by eating organic. Since it’s also made its way into drinking water invest in a water filter.  There are many water filters that use carbon that remove it.  These can be easily researched on the internet.

Phthalates:  You’ve probably heard of these.  They are incredibly pervasive especially in plastics and cosmetics.  Avoid the recycling number 3 in the triangle when you see it.  Also “fragrance” often times covers the use of phthalates in personal care products.  Because they are used as lubricants in products, you’ll find them in such things as shampoo, laundry detergent, nail polish, and air fresheners. Soft plastics are often softened with phthalates so be aware of that.  Believe it or not, they are also in food…for you macaroni and cheese lovers, 10 varieties of boxed macaroni and cheese products tested for phthalates in their cheese powders. :(

 Perchlorate:   Since it’s found mostly in our produce and milk,  it’s difficult to avoid, but you can get rid of it in drinking water with a reverse osmosis filter.  Making sure you have enough iodine in your diet will help as perchlorate inhibits the function of your thyroid gland.  Iodonized salt is an option.

Fire Retardants:   Since they’re found in couches and upholstered chairs containing polyurethane foam don’t reupholster.  Some states have banned flame retardants, like California.  Otherwise look for TB117 labels on mattresses, pillows, and furniture made with foam and avoid or replace them.  Healthystuff.org is a good resource for doing research on products.

Lead:   Often in old paints, the best way to stay clear if you are in an older home is keep your home clean and rid of dust and replace old windows.  Lead is also found in pipe fixtures.  In 2014 federal law lowered the limit to .25% but prior to 2014 it was common to find new fixtures with up to 8% lead.  Water filters are the best way to protect yourself from lead in piping or fixtures.   Lead is also found in soil, so if you are doing some farming of your own there are low cost tests just to be on the safe side!

Mercury:  Replace old tooth fillings, don’t touch a broken thermometer or broken fluorescent light bulb that contains mercury with your bare hands, or vacuum it up for that matter.  Look at labels on cosmetics especially those marked anti-aging or skin lightening and don’t buy them if they contain “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric”, or “mercurio” or “mercury.”   Also, consider eating less shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish.   This FDA link will help you with fish that are safe and unsafe to eat, especially important if your are pregnant.   As an alternative to these fish, farmed trout and wild salmon have a lot of healthy omega 3s without the toxicity. 

Arsenic:  Coal fired power plants, mining, and agricultural pesticides contribute to its presence in the atmosphere.  Most of the arsenic we absorb is ingested, goes quickly in the bloodstream and is removed in our urine, but at high doses is a poison and can be lethal and cause cancer.  Best thing to do is to eat organic to avoid arsenic sources.  Foods high in arsenic:  Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli and cauliflower as inorganic arsenic is attracted to the high levels of sulfur in these vegetables. Depending where the rice is grown, it can also have high levels of arsenic from the ground water.   Dark-meat fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, bluefish, swordfish and salmon can also contain high levels.  This arsenic is organic as it exists naturally in seawater, so it is considered safer. 

PFC’s:  Since these are surfactants that make things non-stick, try avoiding those.  They are in Teflon pans, stain and water resistant coatings on clothes, furniture and carpets.   The more we are exposed to these, the more they accumulate in our bodies and can’t be removed so limiting these as much as possible is a good idea.  Ninety nine percent of Americans already have these in their bodies, so they are persistent and doesn’t look like they are going away any time soon.

Organophosphate pesticides: The best way to avoid these is by eating organic and washing your fruits and vegetables.  Don’t use pesticides in your home or garden, and be careful to exposing yourself to tick and flea medications for your pet.  If you see “chlorpyrifos” in a product stay away from it.  You’ll find it to kill bees, fleas, wasps, hornets, termites and roaches. Most people who are poisoned are often exposed to this chemical.  If you use these pesticides on your lawn, remember that you can bring this chemical inside with your shoes, so consider taking your shoes off at the door.  Check out www.ewg.org/foodnews to learn more.

Glycol Ethers :  We are exposed to these through solvents for resins, paints, varnishes, gum, perfume, dyes, ink, cleaning agents, liquid soap, and cosmetics. Avoid products that have ingredients such as 2- Methoxyethanol and 2-Ethoxyethanol and 2-Butoxyethanol and Methoxydiglycol.  A good resource to use is EWG’s Guide To Healthy Cleaning:  www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners.   For example the Swiffer contains Butoxypropanol and other nasty stuff.  It’s rated a D on EWG’s guide.

While it takes some effort to incorporate new habits and changes, ultimately it's empowering to make choices that feel good for your health and the planet.   It's also a strong statement to companies showing them that compromising products are wrong.  By choosing to avoid what we don't want we are sending our own clean message.

 

Get To Know Your Cotton; Fun Facts

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I recently attended an organic cotton event where one of the cotton growers had grown red cotton and was trying to discover the demand for it. I left surprised that there had once been four standard colors of cotton - green, brown, red and tan.   Here are some other fun things to discover about cotton:

  • Naturally colored cotton originated about 5000 years ago in the Andes.  Most of the naturally colored cotton that exists is attributed to having been created by indigenous peoples of South America.  By the 1990's most of all of the colored cotton cultivated in South America, Central America, Africa and Asia had been replaced with white commercial varieties.   The cultivating of naturally colored cotton is now relatively rare. 
  • Cotton flowers are bisexual, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs and can thus self pollinate.
  • Cotton is one of the oldest known fibers in history and has been harvested, spun and woven in the same way around the world.  It may have existed in Egypt as early as 12,000 BC.
  • European and American currencies are made of cotton.  U.S. currency paper is made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen.   Crane and Company has supplied the U.S. Treasury with currency paper since 1879.
  • Cotton fibers vary in length and color, and determine the grade of the cotton.  The longer the length the better.  Short staple cotton which make up 85% of production is up to 1 1/8" long, long staple fiber is between 1 1/8" and 1 1/4" long and  extra-long staple fiber is between 1 3/8"and 2" long.  The longer the fiber the softer and more durable it's considered.  Pima cotton, Egyptian cotton, and Sea Island cotton (extra rare) are all extra long staple. 
  • Confused about organic cotton?  Organic cotton uses non-GMO seeds, no toxic chemicals in its production.  Conventional cotton accounts for 16% of worldwide pesticide and 7% of the world's insecticide usage.  Organic cotton preserves natural ecosystems and is healthier for farmers.
  • Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of cotton produced.  The average organic cotton farmer farms about 11 acres, which is relatively small. 
  • Why cotton towels? Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water.
  • In 1905 the Wright Brothers covered the wings of their aircraft in cotton they considered it so durable. 
  • And finally, cotton candy is not made of cotton! :)  

 

 

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! 

 

 

 

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. 

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...

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 

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.

Sarah Jessica Parker and her Little Black Dress

Actress, activist and entrepreneur, Sarah Jessica Parker is at it again. After forays into the fashion world with the launch of a shoe collection and fragrance, the style icon is taking on the most iconic fashion statement with her new Little Black Dress collection. Better yet, the LBDs will be proudly made right here in America. According to SJP, first "surprise" silhouette will debut next month at Bloomingdales with a larger release for the holiday season. Sarah is the latest celebrity to enter the sustainable fashion space following Olivia Wilde, Rosario Dawson, Amber Valletta, Stella McCartney, Pharrell and Anne Hathaway to name a few.

If only Carrie Bradshaw had a chance to wear one of these dresses. We can imagine how delighted she'd have been.

 

 

Fashion Faux Pas: Why is The World's 2nd Dirtiest Industry Not Represented at Climate Week?

Imagine going to an Italian restaurant and not seeing pasta on the menu. Or going to a parent-teacher conference to learn that math and science isn't part of your child's curriculum. Or signing up for a healthcare plan and discovering that none of your prescriptions are covered. 

Welcome to Climate Week. With over 90 different sanctioned events throughout New York City, there is a gaping hole in the critical discussions taking place. Climate Week has failed to address the world's second dirtiest industry: fashion. 

 Photo Credit: Fairfashioncenter.org

Photo Credit: Fairfashioncenter.org

Over the past 8 years since Climate Week was set in motion, fashion has barely registered, taking a back seat to finance, food, even faith. 

It's as if the whole industry is still recovering from fashion week. Important conversations on the future of green tech, impact investing, and smart cities are all ongoing while fashion sleeps off its hangover and silence emanates on the role it can play in igniting its potential to help solve climate changes. 

Given its size and scope, environmental transformation of the fashion industry is the most under reported and valued piece in achieving the UN's climate change objectives. While fashion is currently the world's second dirtiest industry as measured by the effects of its pesticide usage, toxic dye runoff into waterways, the sheer volume of waste (both manufacturing waste and post-consumer waste), and destructive water and land usage among other factors, accelerating the potential of fashion as a force for good could solve many of the environmental challenges being discussed this week and make the importance of climate change relatable to millions of consumers.

Fashion is uniquely positioned to unleash enormous social and environmental good.  It is the only global industry that could affect change for almost all of the UN Millenial Development Goals including reducing waste and pollution, protecting lands and cultures, empowering women, ending slavery, promoting fair labor, and restoring biodiversity. 

Currently, cotton, chiefly grown for fashion, uses 22.5% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides, while only accounting for 2.5% of agricultural land. The majority of these pesticides are laced with harmful toxins and cancer causing carcinogens. Within 20 years, the biodiversity of the sprayed fields are wiped out. Rivers and water sources surrounding cotton fields are often too toxic to drink from. Humans too, are affected.  Between 25 to 77 million agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning.

 Photo Credit: Levis Strauss

Photo Credit: Levis Strauss

 

Organic cotton only accounts for 2% of global cotton production. Increasing that number even 5x would go a long way toward saving the earth and its people by protecting huge swaths of land and water biodiversity.

So too would decreasing the amount of toxic dyes in our clothing. As many as 8000 synthetic dyes, hundreds that are toxic, are known to be used in fashion production resulting in 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide. According to the UN, water pollution and water scarity are the two biggest impediments towards defeating extreme global poverty. Facts like that make the 1,800 gallons of water used to make a pair of jeans seem almost criminal. 

Fortunately, companies have taken significant steps to address pollution and water usage. Levi's has developed "water-less" demin production (a process that has been adopted by other denim brands) saving tens of millions of gallons of water per year. Companies like Color Zen are developing new ways to dye fabrics with minimum to no environmental footprint. Vegetable dyestuffs are now increasingly gaining market share. 

Nevertheless, progress will be limited unless we tackle fast fashion and its insatiable marketing of consumerism that fuels the 1.2 trillion dollar a year clothing industry. 

In 1950, 98% of Americans clothing was made in the U.S.A. Today, that number has been flipped. Only 2% is made here. Meanwhile, adjusted for inflation, the price of your average t-shirt and jeans has dropped almost 8x in that same time frame. It's no wonder that when the shirt at an H&M in Soho is the same price as a burger down the street, we as a society no longer value the integrity of our clothes. This has led to a throw-away culture that acquiesced to Americans tossing 10.5 million tons of clothing a year into landfills (which accounts for 8% of all landfill waste).

 Photo Credit: Bionic.is

Photo Credit: Bionic.is


Companies like Bionic yarn, which has created a stronger thread made from plastic water bottles, and Recover, which is able to recycle cotton, offer hope. So too does the rise of the slow fashion movement.

As long as fashion is not included, change can not fully occur. Until the industry and climate activists alike demand action, fashion's potential as a force for good will be spun as a tale of regret. 

Why East Africa is Banning Western Clothing Donations

Every few months you open your closet and are horrified to find once neatly stacked sweaters falling out? You try opening your dresser drawers but can't because too many socks are crammed in there. It's Friday night and you go to pick out an outfit and find yourself choosing between 12? We know the feeling.

Like most Americans you crack and decide in a you're-already-30-min-late-fueled-hysteria that you are going to simplify your life and clean out your closet. The next morning you reluctantly give away dozens of pieces of clothing and feel proud of yourself for giving back.

Ever wonder where those clothes you donated go? Well... While you may donate them to a charity in the states, across the African continent second-hand clothes from developed countries are ubiquitous. East Africa alone imported $151m of second-hand clothing last year, most of which was collected by charities and recyclers that you gave to in Europe and North America.

In response, earlier this spring several African nations did something bold. The East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organisation that counts Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda as it's members, proposed a ban on imported used clothes and shoes. The aim is, to encourage local clothing production and development of lost textile industries. Such a move won't be easy. The reason East Africa's clothing manufacturing sector which once employed hundreds of thousands of people closed, was because donated clothing and cheap imports undercut the prices. That means that clothing prices will rise. But it also means that jobs will come back.

This past week, Tanzania, one of the member states, took an important step towards bringing jobs back. Jenista Mhagama, Tanzania's minister of state released the following statement: “We’re determined to end the importation of used clothes and shoes by 2018. We have organized series of training for young Tanzanians so that they are well-equipped with tailoring skills, who will be employed in the current clothes-making factories and those which are coming in.” 

This is a big trial to see whether or not the plan to bring manufacturing back to Africa can really work. In the meantime, support the EAC's goals by properly recycling your clothing or donating them to local shelters in your local community. You can recycle clothing here: http://modavanti.com/modacycle

 

 

 

Famous Fjällräven Bags Is Making Major Sustainable Moves with their New Backpacks!

Famous Fjällräven Bags Is Making Major Sustainable Moves with their New Backpacks!

Re-introducing the re-Kanken bag. Fjällräven's first foray into sustainable fashion.

5 Innovative New Textiles to get you Excited about the Future of Fashion

5 Innovative New Textiles to get you Excited about the Future of Fashion

Imagine wearing clothes made of plastic water bottles. Or Pinatex (fibres from pineapples) or fibers made from chewed gum (yes, really. No it's not gross). Welcome to the future of fashion

5 Killer Jeans Companies That are Made in America

Donald Trump talks a lot about "making America great again,"  yet that famous hat, with that very slogan on it, isn't made here on our shores. When asked why not, his reply was that "it's very hard to have apparel made in this country," and nobody is willing to make stuff here.

Well, what Donald Trump says turns out not to be true. Here are 5 incredibly authentic, high-quality denim brands that are proudly making America great again. 

1. Baldwin Denim

A relatively new brand that's not even a decade old, Baldwin Denim has already made its mark with high praise and top marks from GQ and Vogue. Worn by the likes of JZ and Jason Sudeikis, Baldwin Denim is proudly made in factories in Kansas City and Los Angeles. You can find pairs for both men and women on their site starting for about $200

Baldwin Denim: http://baldwin.co/

 

2. BLuer Denim

A favorite of Row+Rue, Bluer is not only made in America, every piece of the jean is sourced here. From the cotton, to the recycled buttons to the zippers, everything is designed, handcrafted and constructed here in the USA. With offices in Portland and factories in L.A. Bluer is certainly making America great again. What's even better is that for a starting price of $90 these jeans are downright affordable. Grab your pair here:  http://www.bluerdenim.com/

 

 

3.  Buck Mason

Buck Mason was founded with the ideals of Americana at its heart. Their selvage denim is sourced from mills in North Carolina while their style eschews fashion trends for timeless design and durability. What makes Buck Mason’s so special is the simplicity with which they design their jeans. Constructed in L.A. Buck Mason is quickly solidifying its reputation as one of the best American Made denim choices on the market. Head over to Buck Mason's site to try a pair on: https://www.buckmason.com/

4. Taylor and Stitch  

Much like Bluer Denim, Taylor Stitch can proudly boast of a completely American Made supply chain. Each design is hand sewn in California with fabric sourced from Greensboro, North Carolina, hardware from Lawrenceburg Kentucky and leather from Curwnesville, Pennsylvania. This handmade approach means that Taylor Stitch brings an almost nostalgic personal touch to its designs. If you want to really feel throwback, you can go to one of its "workshops" to get an even more personalized denim experience. Another similarity to Bluer Denim is their matching killer price points. A pair of Taylor and Stitch will only set you back $100 further proving that American manufacturing can still compete! 

Taylor and Stich: https://www.taylorstitch.com/

 

5. Tellason Unlike almost every U.S. made jean company where the denim is made in L.A., Tellason is made in San Fransisco and the brand seems to capture the mix of bold innovation and imagination that defines the region. For founders Tony and Pete launched attention to detail and quality were indispensable. Eight years since launching Tellason, it looks like they are on to something. Unlike the others on this list, Tellason jeans are more of an investment with most pairs well above $200. However, if you can afford the luxury, you won't regret it and you'll keep these bad boys for years. 

Tellason: https://www.tellason.com/