sustainable fashion

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

 

 

 

Fashion Designed to Help Refugees

Fashion Designed to Help Refugees

This fashion designer created the very definition of "fashion for good."

Talk Dirty To Me: Explaining Ethical Fashion To Friends

We came across this story from a friend on Facebook. She already gets it (you'll figure out what in a little bit). Anyway, this story is so good and covers basically our eternal life struggle that we had to share it in its original form.

Here's the intro (below). Please read the whole article here from Remake.com For those of you in the sustainable fashion, you'll get this. For those of you not, take notes. Enjoy:

"Remember when, a long time ago, the words “organic” and “GMO” were big downers, and instead of being cool and eco, organic food lovers were seen as hippie weirdos? Whole Foods wasn’t always filled with sexy, yoga-pants-wearing kale eaters. At some point in our recent past, granola and kombucha were super strange, and the people who consumed them were even weirder.

Now think of a bright and sunny display of organic fruits and vegetables, a wall full of coconut waters, and a packed grocery store filled with reusable bags and glass water bottles. Welcome to 2016! This is what the people want! According to the Organic Trade Association, organic food sales have increased from $3.6 billion to over $39 billion in the last ten years. (That’s a lot of kale, people). What changed was simple economics: consumer demand drove the trend and now all of a sudden it’s really cool to be that kombucha-loving weirdo.

But for anyone who has tried to approach their friends to talk about ethical fashion (as we have!) thinking surely this will be the next organic food, here’s an interesting fact: people don’t like the truth. Shocking, we know, but a number of recent studies including one by the Harvard Business Review concludes that not only are people uninspired by conscious fashion, they are downright annoyed by people who do care. Finding them to be weird, unfashionable and boring.

Sharing the truth behind the true cost of our fashion is important. But it’s as important to practice how to talk about it. Here are 3 tips to rock sustainable talk without coming off as preachy and being tuned out."

Curious? Read author Allison Doyle's tips here. 

 

 

 

The European Union to Ban Carcinogens in Fast Fashion

The European Union is set to take a groundbreaking step in the move to clean up the fashion industry. After several months of studying the effect of nearly 300 substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR), The European Union Commission announced it intends to its results to enforce a restriction of such substances in a range of consumer articles including textiles and apparel. 

“Textile articles and clothing were selected as a first test-case because of the high likelihood of a prolonged—or multiple short-term—exposure of consumers to CMR substances being potentially present in those articles,” the Commission said in a statement. “The list of CMR substances (individual substances or groups) covered by this possible restriction would be added as a specific appendix to Annex XVII to REACH and could be regularly updated, as appropriate.”

The products are divided into three groups: classified dyes, carcinogenic amines, other substances, and petroleum and coal stream substances, which can be used as raw materials in the supply chain. The list also includes phthalates, flame retardants and pigments, all harmful materials which have been found in brands such as Zara, Victoria Secret, Joe Fresh and others.

The list of toxic chemicals in clothes, which was compiled in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and member states’ competent authorities, is a major step not only for the health of European citizens but also in admitting and substantiating the fact that fast fashion has a major toxicity problem.

Hopefully this report will go along way towards raising consumer awareness and force the fashion industry to finally clean up it's act. 

 

 

 

Eileen Fisher Becomes Largest Fashion Company to Become a B Corp

Eileen Fisher took another major trailblazing step in creating a sustainable legacy by officially becoming a B Corp. With over 800 employees, Eileen Fisher becomes the latest and largest women's apparel company to be certified as a B Corporation as well as the largest B Corp in the state of New York. The B Corp certification, provides a framework and certification for companies wishing to benefit society as well as their shareholders. So far, more than 1,500 companies across 42 countries and 130 industries have embraced B Corp status, including many in the apparel and fashion e-commerce space including Etsy and Patagonia.

 

“Eileen Fisher is proud and honored to become a part of the B Corporation community,” Eileen Fisher, the firm’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Being acknowledged for our work over three decades is a testament to our passionate commitment to social and environmental responsibility. This recognition allows us to take a bold step in sharing who we are and what we believe in, and to make greater impact in the world as a fashion industry leader.”


As a women's apparel company, Eileen Fisher is a pioneer in the sustainable fashion space. The B Corp is the company's latest effort in their roadmap to be 100% sustainable by 2020. 


 
 



Recycle Your Clothing Responsibly with ModaCycle

We get it...You’re committed to buying consciously and want to start with that special, new (sustainable) item, but your closet has exactly zero space.  

Take this as your official invitation to clean out your closet, but instead of throwing out those tired clothes (textiles already account for 5% of all landfill waste, after all) send them to us!  We’ll recycle them with our partners Green Tree Recycling who re-donate or repurpose your clothes, all from their New Jersey warehouse.  

In return we’ll give you $20 in Modavanti credits. 

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Step 1 - Email us at service@modavanti.com with the subject line "Modacycle" and we will give you further instructions.

Important note: We are currently not accepting shoes or jewelry (we’re working on it, we promise).

Step 2 - Once we receive your clothes we will add $20 of Modavanti Credits to your account.

Step 3 - Live your life consciously styled and guilt free!

Visit here to learn more: http://modavanti.com/modacycle/

Meet Eislee: The Scarf you wish you had ahead of Winter Storm Jonas

 

Memories of that 70 degree Christmas are long gone. If you are on the East Coast this weekend boy are you wishing you had one of these scarves in your closet right now. In case you don't, be prepared for the next snow storm.  Make sure to get one because we still have 3 months of cold, and it will definitely snow again. 

It's rare that a new brand is so on top of everything, especially the supply chain. On top of that it's even rarer to find a new brand with such amazing and responsible manufacturing. But that's what Eislee is all about. Beautiful products that make a difference in the world. 

Eislee was a brand started with the belief that creating chic, effortless apparel and accessories and producing with focus on mindful sourcing and manufacturing should not be mutually exclusive . Taking versatile designs and translating it into quality pieces by using only 100% baby alpaca yarn, knitted together in a quality production facility in Lima, Peru (which also produces for many other brands including Rag & Bone, Free People, Elie Tahari and Calvin Klein) results in clothing that you can wear everyday, and for many years to come.

Baby alpaca has a softness and texture similar to cashmere, but with extra long fibers, meaning all of Eislee pieces can handle significant wear without pilling. Baby alpaca is also eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. Contrary to its name, it comes from the neck and belly of alpacas, not the babies. Eislee's baby alpaca is sourced from the Peruvian highlands and hand-sorted to ensure the highest quality. 

Want more? Investing in quality helps create a better fashion industry - less waste and pollution, plus ethical working conditions and fair wages for the farmers and factory workers behind their  warm comfy scarves. Sounds like a win-win to us.

The Brand Story

The idea for Eislee was born in Summer 2014, shortly before Founder Sara Raffa began her MBA at Chicago Booth. While on a trip to Peru, Sara fell in love with alpaca fiber for its luxuriousness and affordability, seeing it is a unique alternative to cheap wools and overpriced cashmere. Becoming frustrated with the poor quality of fast fashion clothing, Sara set out with a goal to introduce alpaca to a broader more stylish US market in order to share this unique material and create positive social change in the fashion industry. Sara’s vision for Eislee is to build a brand that focuses on quality pieces that her customers will love to wear over and over again thanks to their lasting quality and effortless style.

The Name

The name Eislee (pronounced ai-slee) comes from a story in which a young boy is throwing starfish back into the ocean after thousands have washed ashore. An old man asks the boy what he is doing, noting there is no way he can save all the starfish before they die in the morning sun - he will never make a difference. As the young boy throws another starfish back into the ocean, he replies, “It made a difference for that one.” This story, called The Star Thrower, is written by author Loren Eiseley.

We need more brands like Eiseley in the world of fashion. To support such an incredible, designer, mission and brand you can find their beautiful scarves here: http://modavanti.com/designers/eislee

Business of Fashion Joins the Call for Tackling Climate Change through Fashion

From Imran Ahmed, Editor and Chief of Business of Fashion:

"HONG KONG, China — Beijing residents were up in arms this week, as another wave of toxic pollutants clouded the skies over the Chinese capital, making headlines across Greater China and around the world. On Monday, readings of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — dangerous because it can enter the bloodstream via the lungs — reached 587 micrograms per cubic metre, more than 23 times the World Health Organization’s recommended limit for human exposure and literally off the charts (the upper limit of the scale tops out at 500). So thick was the smog that drivers had to use their headlights in the middle of the day and the most daring pedestrians were donning carpenter masks.

It's the latest sign of a planet in the midst of a climate crisis, in a year which will go down as the warmest year in history. Meanwhile, Chinese president Xi Jinping, US president Barack Obama and other global leaders were gathering in Paris for the highly anticipated COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris with the aim to devise a global action plan to address the issue.

As one of the largest and most polluting industries in the world, fashion must also do its part. I invite you to revisit the stimulating and ongoing discussion on #BoFVoices about how fashion can be more sustainable. It's a clear call to action for all of us."

As Imran wrote, it's time to get involved and do our part to tackle climate change through what we wear. 

Fashion: The Forgotten Industry in the Paris Climate Talks

 

It seems strange that Paris would forget about fashion. After all Paris is the city of style, romance, Hermes and Dior. It's even stranger that a climate change conference, where the sole focus was limiting global warming, that fashion would hardly get a mention.

After all, fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world. So why wasn't limiting toxic dyes, going after heavy polluters and cleaning up the global textile supply chain, on the forefront of the agenda?

Here are a few facts that we wish the delegates at the Paris convention had taken a look at:

1. The Chinese textile industry creates about 3 billion tons of soot each year, and those multinational companies contributing must take the responsibility for that.

2. The Philippines, with compensation costs at 88 cents per hour, had the lowest hourly wage among countries studied.  Employees in the textile industry are 80% women and have some of the lowest paying jobs in the world.

3. In 2010, the textile industry ranked third for overall in Chinese industry for wastewater discharge amount at 2.5 billion tons of wastewater per year, again, a global problem and responsibility.

4.  Collectively Brits in the United Kingdom have an estimated ($46.7 billion) worth of unworn clothes hanging in their closets.  In the United State an average of 68 lbs of clothes are thrown away each year. 

 

 

Could you Love Emma Watson any more?!? Yes. Always Yes.

 

Emma Watson, social activism's poster child, has been in the news the past few weeks regarding her interview with Malala, the young woman behind the Malala Fund. Here are the highlights of the event: Emma Watson speaks with Malala about her powerful story shared via recent documentary He Named Me Malala, Malala declares herself a feminist in the interview relating back to Emma's respected United Nations speech a year ago, and Emma reflects in a heartfelt facebook message. In the message she says the following in reference to feminism:

"I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let's join our hands and move together so we can make real change."

While she is referring directly to feminism, her words carry a message that can be applied to taking a stand for matters of importance. Emma is also a strong advocate for Fair Trade and demonstrates the truth of her words by working to help design ethical clothing for People Tree. Dress like her in a handwoven scarf, vegan bag, made in the US leggings, and organic cotton beanie. That's a look to make Emma proud. We could all do to "join our hands" and move towards a more conscious future.

 

The stunning model, Alessandra Ambrosio, dresses in airport attire worthy of a gold star. The beauty of the outfit lies in its effortless glamour. She wears an air of "I woke up like this" in the casual tee, denim, and tousled hair. By throwing the coat overtop, she instantly elevates the look with its drama and yet remains comfortable. Plus, a fluffy coat can double as a cozy, cuddle buddy on a long flight. Silvae designs a similar USA-made coat, perfect for recreating Alessandra's look. Style it over these black jeans, this t-shirt, and top it off with these sunglasses. You'll be looking in the mirror and singing Beyonce to yourself in no time.

 

The ever classy and feminine Jessica Alba teaches us how easy it is to style tights for the fall and winter. Who says piling on layers to stay warm can't look great? A cute, printed shift dress, paired with a hat, and booties is an easy equation to follow for the chilly months to come. Have fun mixing and matching with cardigans, coats, and jewelry. Before know it, you will forget all about that little, summer crop top and flirty skirt you like to wear. 

Start with the Farima Tunic Dress by Raven + Lily to capture the graphic vibe of Jessica's dress and, bonus points, help empower Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. Also, the beautiful hand-embroidery on cotton voile give the dress a truly special touch. Next put on organic tights with winter staple, black boots. Finally, grab your embossed handbag and you're ready to hit the street in perfect, Jessica Alba fashion.

HOW TO CONSCIOUSLY CRUSH STREET STYLE LIKE T SWIFT

 

Street style killa, T Swift at it again.

This ensemble is the perfect balance of cozy and chic. Taylor truly masters the art of layering for winter. Her oversized red sweater, similar to this one, is head turning with its vibrant color while still maintaining maximum comfort level. She layers it over a shift dress, such as this one, which is the ultimate versatile piece of the season. This is a number one on our wishlist this winter, as it is great to mix and match with jewelry, scarves, sweaters, jackets, etc. For this particular mix, she tops off the look with a basic black hat, similar one here, to keep the outfit trendy. Finally, this beautiful, eco friendly tote bag, completes the Taylor inspired ensemble.

 

 

As the holiday's approach, we can all take notes Kate Beckinsale's fashion game as she strolls through the airport in style. A current relaxed and stylish favorite, the jogger pant, is a great place to begin a travel look. Kate rocks a pair of hot pink heels, such as these, that are sure to help your family locate you when you arrive. Though, maybe a bit impractical, they certainly make a statement and there are always the back-up flats in your purse, to grab at a moment's notice. Paired with a jacket and scarf similar to Kate's, you will be travel-ready and trendy in no time. 


Recently on the cover of the WSJ. Karlie Klose shows off her inner top-fashion nerd in a rocket factory. The article talks about her initiative, Kode with Karlie, where she aims to help guide girls in the direction of computer science. She is inspiring both on and off the runway.


The 23-year old Victoria's Secret model stuns with her energy and her look in this shot. The saying "you're never fully dressed without a smile" could not be proven more true here. We love how her smile is enhanced with bright, red lipstick. We opt for an organic option by Colorganics. This plaid scarf has a similar graphic look to Karlie's scarf. These pants and this sweater coordinate well with the look without distracting from the bold outfit.

Citizen's Mark's Responsible Supply Chain is Changing the Face of Businesswear

Citizen's Mark's Responsible Supply Chain is Changing the Face of Businesswear

It was in Geneva, Switzerland that founder Cynthia Salim began to notice the lack of high quality, professional wear for young women. Having worked in a diplomatic environment at the United Nations and poised to begin a career as a management consultant, she knew full well the challenge of dressing for a job that the fashion industry did not seem to know she and her peers had need for.  From that community, the vision emerged to build a line that reflects the values of a socially conscious and empowered generation of women on the rise.