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Life in the Time of COVID

We’re all in the unknown right now. Living in quarantine, separate but together. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our operations have come to a complete halt.

Unlike major e-commerce sites, we rely on small businesses for our fulfillment services. Like us, they have suspended operations for the health of their employees. Our global supply chain has been thoroughly disrupted during this crazy time. We’re playing by the rules and keeping our health and safety our number one priority.

We’re still here as a source of information for you and will continue to share stories, articles, tips on how we can maintain our sustainability and sanity as we live in our new reality. xx

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How to Make Community-Supported Agriculture a Part of Your Life

Joining a farm share or community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a direct way to support small farms, buy fresh local produce, and expand your fruit and vegetable horizons. The model—traditionally centered around produce—has expanded in recent years, and many of them now include fish, meat, grain, and more.

If we want to support our bodies and the greater planetary body, we’ve got to begin reconsidering every choice we make — including what we eat. When we lift our fork to mouth, take our food-to-go, or buy lettuce, we’re contributing to our future world.

Sure, walking our talk can be challenging. Being conscious of every action is not a tenable option for most of us, considering that we lead busy, fast-paced lives. However, although it’s likely not realistic to change everything about your life right now, the good news is that you can start small and still make a difference. 

One way we can impact our health and the world around us is by supporting local farmers and producers. Community-supported agriculture, a business model that’s been around since the early 1980s, connects people directly to local growers. CSAs cut out the middle-man and create a link between farmers and the citizenry. 

Why Choose Community-Supported Agriculture?

As our environment becomes increasingly inundated by plastic, we must reduce our waste. When you visit the supermarket, you probably notice that much of what you buy comes in a plastic container or wrap. One could argue that food producers should invest in eco-friendly packaging, especially since plastic recycling is not happening in some cities. While many CSAs deal solely in produce, some sell other foodstuffs, and they tend to use minimal, easily reusable, or recyclable materials, such as cardboard boxes. 

CSA Eco Friendly Packaging

Supporting local produce also means that you’re cutting down on emissions. Most food travels 1640 km before it gets to you. Your food’s footprint, or “foodprint,” is more or less carbon-intensive depending on the shipping method. For example, a plane creates more emissions than a cargo ship. There are other factors at play here as well, like what you’re eating. A beef-heavy diet has 1.73 times the carbon footprint than a beef-free diet and 2.2 times that of a vegan diet.

Since your CSA grows everything locally, you’ll also be more connected to seasons. Although they won’t be able to provide everything you’re used to buying from the grocery, you’ll partake in the bounty that’s grown close to home. We might not be able to quantify this in the traditional way, but if you’ve ever eaten a carrot right out of the ground or discovered a new favorite vegetable at your winter farmer’s market, you’ve experienced this joy.

I Buy Organic Produce. Should I Still Join a CSA?

Join a CSA

Some organic farms are a part of big-agriculture. And big-ag is generally not so concerned with environmental effects. In Cuyama Valley, CA, the groundwater has been depleted by food conglomerates and other, stranger bedfellows, such as Harvard, for years. When you join a CSA, your money goes to farmers. Instead of supporting corporations with vague intentions, you’re supporting people who are connected to the land. 

Sounds great, right? So why isn’t everyone a part of the CSA movement? Folks, we’ve reached our elephant in the room moment: What do you do with that strange produce? If you’ve been a part of a CSA before and couldn’t find a way to use all the rhubarb, you’ll know what we mean.

Take It One Meal at a Time

Like much in life, making the most of your CSA comes down to habits

I can only speak for myself, but I’ve noticed that I tend to make choices that value convenience over my and the earth’s health when I’m stressed. That’s also when I’m more likely to start yelling obscenities over someone else’s driving style — or lack thereof. 

I think part of the reason we make choices of convenience is to sustain what’s unsustainable in our daily lives. There’s no scientific basis for that thesis, but I encourage you to look at your habits and dig in. What’s happening when you reach for the unhealthy thing: Are you stressed? Overworked? Feel like you have no other option?  

CSAs ask us to slow down. For example, in our local box this week, dandelion greens and Chioggia beets were on offer. What’s a girl who doesn’t like beets to do? Well, this is what CSAs ask us to figure out. How can we connect with our food?  

To do this intelligently, we need to examine why we make the easier choice. And then we have to make the seemingly harder choice, well, easier. Joining a CSA is one way to reconnect to the land, participate in your community, and create health and wellbeing. It might take some work at first, but it’s probably easier in the long run.

How to Find Your Perfect CSA

If you’re convinced, great! It’s time to find the perfect CSA. Local Harvest lists them by region and is also a wonderful resource.

CSA Large Box

Once you’ve found the program that fits your lifestyle, consider how you’ll make it work long-term. Your box will be full of vegetables that you may have never seen before, and once you see some of them, you may never want to see them again. The key to a successful relationship with a CSA is being willing to go on a culinary adventure every week. Whether that means Googling “top ten things to do with parsnips” or getting a subscription to Milk Street, how you approach this challenge is up to you.

If you join a CSA and it’s just not your thing, remember that there are other ways to contribute to positive change. Find what works, and keep making one small change at a time.

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The Best Sustainable Design from FW20 Fashion Month So Far

The arrival of 2020 brought with it one key sustainability message for businesses and individuals alike: the clock on is ticking, and fast.

This article first appeared in Eco-Age.

Starting in Copenhagen, the FW20/21 fashion month has set a high precedent for the role of clothing in the climate conversation. Beatrice Murray-Nag investigates the best sustainable design showcased so far, through both materials and messaging. 

The arrival of 2020 brought with it one key sustainability message for businesses and individuals alike: the clock on is ticking, and fast. 

Fashion is certainly no exception here, with its sheer pace and global influence putting the industry under fire to rethink its tight show schedule in favor of a slower, more sustainable approach. The start of the FW20/21 season held a clear question for the most important event in every designer’s calendar: can fashion month prove its relevance in a changing climate?

Yet as FW20/21 gets underway, the season’s schedule is quickly showing that these exact qualities of reactivity and cultural license can make fashion a critical voice in the climate conversation. Beginning with the unveiling of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s action plan to reduce its impact and move towards a zero-waste business model, this fashion month has seen designers acknowledge the problem face on, before presenting a series of creative solutions through their shows and new collections. 

From the materials to the messaging, labels are using their shows to promote a radical rethinking of industry norms, challenging paradigms such as studio waste and exclusivity with their designs. Upcycled fabrics, recycled dyes and innovative plant-based fibers have put the planet on a global stage, encouraging more responsible practices within the industry while emphasizing the urgency of the problem at hand. A line-up of immersive events has served as lesson in the importance of creative communication, proving that fashion month can be used to promote positive change and pioneer a new way of thinking about the problems facing the planet. Here are some of the best examples from the schedule so far.

London

VIN + OMI AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Vin + Omi

A fantastical vision of the future of fashion, Vin + Omi’s FW20 catwalk was an unadulterated celebration of inclusivity and innovation. The radical design duo scrapped all stereotypes by inviting people of all shapes and sizes to walk their runway, clad in their signature sustainable fibers. From silk scarves made with the Savoy hotel’s waste plastic bottles to slogan dresses woven from British nettles, the collection acted as a think tank for sustainable ideas. None of the designs will be sold on, proving it possible to celebrate creativity without the need for consumerism.  

RICHARD MALONE AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Richard Malone

Richard Malone is at the forefront of an exciting new generation of designers integrating sustainable practices into their production, from ground to garment. As the winner of this year’s International Woolmark Prize, the Irish designer’s fully traceable supply chain starts with the regenerative farming initiative that he has set up to harvest fibre crops in Tamil Nadu, India. Combining an uncompromised aesthetic vision with an end-to-end attention to the environment and made-to-order business model, Malone presents a radical alternative for the fashion industry.  

PHOEBE ENGLISH AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Phoebe English

Phoebe English tackled two of the fashion industry’s biggest carbon costs this fashion week: the production and transport of raw materials. Taking the use of deadstock fabrics to a new, localised level, English asked designers from around London to donate their studio waste towards her FW20 collection. The result was a sleek monochrome collection that combined Katherine Hamnet’s surplus cotton with offcuts from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Martine Rose into impeccable silhouettes, cut using a zero-waste technique. 

GFX X PATRICK MCDOWELL AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

GFX x Patrick McDowell

Known for his collections made from deadstock fabric and studio waste, Patrick McDowell’s FW20 collection came in the form of a swap shop hosted with Global Fashion Exchange’s Patrick Duffy. Held as part of the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion Exhibition, the pair providing a welcome antidote to the celebration of ‘newness’ that comes with fashion week, instead encouraging visitors to switch up their wardrobes by swapping garments between each other. Visitors were also invited to reinvent old garments using upcycled Swarovski crystals, while McDowell’s collection existed as an evolving selection of items as they passed through the swap. 

PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

Design duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi are no strangers to sustainability, having crafted trend-transcending romantic silhouettes with upcycled fibers for some time. The FW20 collection saw the brand create of designs made from 50% recycled or upcycled materials, achieving their signature punk-touched aesthetic through deadstock tweed from British mills and surplus army camouflage materials. Patchwork knits from recycled wools were a highlight, shining a spotlight on artisan craft. 

New York

COLLINA STRADA AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Collina Strada

Widely recognized for her colorful fashion shows that bring a touch of fun to the climate conversation, Collina Strada’s FW20/21 offering did not disappoint. Playfully entitled ‘Garden Hoe,’ the collection was a celebration of all things earthly and eco, featuring a grass-covered runway and a real vegetable patch. Over half of the designs themselves were made from rose-silk, a more sustainable alternative created from rose petals, with the rest of the collection crafted using deadstock materials. The real star of the show? The return of the rhinestone-encrusted water bottle famously carried by Maggie Williams. 

THE ARLOW STUDIO AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION AT GLOBAL FASHION COLLECTIVE SHOW

The Arlo Studio

The Arlo Studio launched its debut collection ‘Gone Bush’ at the Global Fashion Collective show. Inspired by the Australian outback, the designs told a timely tale about the fragility of natural beauty – a motif mirrored as much in the garments themselves as the production techniques behind them. Charlotte Terry and Julianne Propsting, the creative couple behind the label, minimised the environmental impact of their collection by using deadstock materials and partnering with print company Think Positive Prints who favour small-batch digital production and recycle their inks.

PH5 AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

PH5

New York-based brand PH5 is building on the relationship between design and technology for a lower impact fashion future. Known for its innovative knitwear that blends architectural forms with avant-garde production, the Chinese-born design duo takes a quasi-scientific approach to sustainability. The FW20/21 collection was inspired by skiwear’s blend of fun and functionality, with each design created on 3D knitting machines for a zero-waste manufacturing process. As well as being the key to PH5’s signature sculptural shapes, this practice eliminates the need for pattern cutting and allows old samples to be unwound and repurposed.

CHROMAT AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Chromat

A bold and unapologetic display of diversity, Chromat presented a FW20/21 vision founded on equal representation and ethics. Its signature swim-come-sportswear was presented in a gender-inclusive space where everyone was free to be their true self. Both the producers and planet were granted this same respect, with the collection produced from regenerated nylon in safe, ethical and fair-wage factories across New York City and Sofia, Bulgaria. The brand even worked with a team of divers to rescue old fishing nets and create a closed-loop system in which the nylon can be recycled infinitely without losing quality.

NIKE SPACE HIPPIE SNEAKER SUSTAINABLE

Nike

Nike proved that prioritizing the planet isn’t just for new labels with the launch of the Space Hippie sneaker collection this New York Fashion Week. Made from scrap material found on its factory floors, every step of the production process has been used to lower the overall carbon footprint of its four debut designs. With recycled yarn uppers and repurposed foam soles, the collection showcases a future-proof opportunity for a more circular footwear industry.

Copenhagen

CARCEL AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Carcel

Kicking off Copenhagen Fashion Week in a way perfectly aligned with its newly announced Sustainability Action Plan, Carcel turned the traditional catwalk on its head for the opening event. By partnering with women in prisons in Peru and Thailand, the Danish label aims to improve their lives by providing financial independence and skills training. Rather than showcasing a new collection this season, Carcel’s founder Veronica D’Souza used the opportunity to play videos of the artisans producing different garments, before inviting the audience to walk the catwalk themselves and be part of the change.

RAVE REVIEW AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Rave Review

Rave Review’s FW20/21 show opened with the words of Greta Thunberg’s UN speech, setting a high precedent for the Swedish brand’s latest collection. With a goal to create beautiful clothes without exploiting the planet, creative duo Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück put upcycling in the spotlight once again for Copenhagen Fashion Week. The line-up featured looks crafted from floral bedspreads, velvet curtains, plaid rugs and old jacquards, perfectly tailored into Scandi-esque silhouettes with a high-end feel. While the show began with a message of anger, it closed with one of hope as to what can be done with the materials already in existence. 

GANNI AW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Ganni

Copenhagen’s cult brand Ganni used Fashion Week to spotlight two important issues in one – female empowerment and sustainability. The label commissioned work from different women artists using upcycled materials and Ganni studio waste for its ‘202020’ pop-up kiosk this fashion week. Recycled glass paperweights featured next to crochet accessories made from leftover yarn from previous collections, proving that creating something beautiful doesn’t have to involve energy-intensive production of virgin materials. True to the show’s message, the brand also launched the Ganni Lab to showcase the work it is doing in order to lower its environmental impact. One such initiative is its carbon compensation partnership with the Clean Cooking Project in Nepal and Ghana which empowers women on the ground and reduces harmful emissions from stoves by proposing clean cooking solutions instead.

HENRIK VIBSKOV FW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Henrik Vibskov

Facinated by seemingly meaningless rituals, Henrik Vibskov’s FW20/21 collection focused on the meditative act of bathing. The semi-surrealist show saw a pop palette accessorised with everyday items such as toothbrushes and shower caps. Made from 95% sustainable materials, the collection confronted the question of sustainability with a fun, tongue-in-cheek tone of voice that proved that creativity and conscious consumption go hand in hand. Of particular note was the outerwear offering, crafted using 100% recycled PET bottles and reused wool from Norway.

RAINS FW20 SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Rains

Danish brand Rains showcased a collection inspired by getting back to nature and slowing down. Pieces were designed for longevity and adaptability, featuring different fabric coatings for a smooth transition from wet weather to dry. Colours were inspired by natural dying and vegetable tanning, while the sustainable highlight of the show was the plant-based fibre developed for their jackets and puffers, eliminating the need for plastic or animal-derived padding. The fibre, Sorona by Dupont, releases 63% fewer greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to nylon 6. 

Featured

Sustainable Jewelry Brands For Women

While many argue that there are a slew of challenges to create responsible jewelry, we found the following companies who are elevating the standard of what should be our expectations from this industry.

This article first appeared on Fable Eden.

It’s no secret that the creation of jewelry can have a negative impact on the planet, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. For centuries, mining has destroyed land and communities all over the world. But today, there are jewelry companies that are flipping the traditional model on its head to create fair-trade, sustainably-made pieces that will last a lifetime.

Precious stones and metal mining is known for its negative effects on the environment, the health of miners, the communities surrounding the mines, and those affected by the supply chain. Toxic waste that is a byproduct of gold mining is full of cyanide and toxic heavy metals and is often dumped into our natural bodies of water.Mining companies dump more than 180 million tons of hazardous waste into rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide. According to Slate, this is “probably the biggest environmental concern associated with gold mining.”

“Mining of precious metals can be environmentally destructive, and many mines operate with a disregard for the indigenous peoples and humane practices.” – Do Amore

Today, however, some companies and the creators behind them are working to produce jewelry with zero negative environmental impact, actually bringing positive impact to the communities they work with. While many argue that there are a slew of challenges to create responsible jewelry, we found the following companies who are elevating the standard of what should be our expectations from this industry.

All of the following utilize fair-trade practices and materials, do not pollute or negatively impact the environment, and adhere to strict supply chain standards. They ensure fair wages and working hours, no child labor, and have a positive social impact in some capacity. A few of the companies are certified B-Corps, which means they must meet strict standards of verified social and environmental performance.

Sustainable Jewelry | Aurate Ear Jacket

AURATE

Aurate creates beautiful, simple jewelry with a bit of an edge. Their pieces are sustainably handmade in New York City by seventh-generation craftsmen. All of their gold is 100% recycled and their conflict-free diamonds adhere to the Kimberly Process. Aurate says they “scour the globe to source our pearls and precious gems from family-run establishments supporting local communities.”

Every design goes through a five-step testing process by their in-house team and each piece is made to last for generations. They even come with a lifetime guarantee. Although their pieces are a little bit more on the “investment” end of the price scale, they keep overall prices down by operating locally (no import taxes), recycling excess materials, and producing pieces on a made-to-order basis so they don’t have to pass on the extra inventory costs.

Price: $$$

Sustainable Jewelry | Raven + Lilly Earrrings

RAVEN + LILY

Raven + Lily is a certified B-Corp and a Fair Trade Federation member that produces beautiful statement jewelry and handbags, as well as everyday accessories, made from upcycled and ethically-sourced materials. They are a carbon-neutral company that uses eco-friendly materials and works with women to create handmade products. They also contribute to the micro-loan program supporting female entrepreneurs in East Africa.

“We believe design can bridge any gap — traditional and modern, near and far, people and planet. We look to the women in our lives for inspiration and design for the way we live. Each piece is responsibly made with high-quality, sustainable materials and expert craftsmanship to create everyday luxury. For over 10 years, we’ve been committed to responsible production.”

Raven + Lily works in Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Cambodia, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, and Malaysia, seeking out design partnerships with artisan groups of impoverished women to provide them with sustainable employment.

Price: $$

Sustainable Jewelry | Soko Chain Necklace

SOKO JEWELRY

Soko Jewelry is a certified B-Corp that strives to balance profit with purpose. They empower local communities by paying their artisans wages that are 5X more than at the average workshop. “Your purchase promotes artisan innovation + entrepreneurship,” according to their website. They also use technology to empower their artisans. Soko created a “virtual factory” and a scalable product solution.

Soko creates minimalist designs that are an ode to the natural, modern, and historical landscape of Kenya. Their jewelry is handcrafted with eco-friendly, locally-sourced, and recycled materials using heritage techniques. You’ll see their pieces made from brass, reclaimed cow horn and bone, and off-cuts of wood. Soko creates everyday basics, including small hoop earrings and cuff bracelets, simple necklaces, and delicate bow earrings. They also have trendy collar necklaces, statement earrings, and more.

Price: $$

Sustainable Jewelry | ABLE She's Worth More Cuff

ABLE

ABLE produces ethically-made minimalist jewelry, fashion-forward clothing and accessories, and home goods. They are “challenging the culture of the fashion industry by creating transformative opportunities for women.” At ABLE, they employ and empower women as a solution to end poverty, and aim to provide a high quality of life to their employees. Unlike most companies in the U.S., ABLE publishes their wages.

“We’ve found that partnering with local community leaders results in a more powerful economic transformation rather than trying to command change from the U.S.”

Their jewelry is made in-house in Nashville, TN, and their leather goods, clothes, and shoes are made by manufacturing partners in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and India.

Price: $-$$

Sustainable Jewelry | Nisolo Thick Hammered Band

NISOLO

Nisolo’s vision is to “To push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction–where success is based on more than just offering the cheapest price–a direction that not only values exceptional design, but the producer and the planet just as much as the end consumer.” Their jewelry is intentionally designed for long-term use and ethically made. All producers are paid “beyond” fair wages, healthcare, and provided with a healthy working environment. Nisolo is also a certified B-Corp. You can read more on their extensive impact report here.

Their simple designs can be worn daily. The jewelry and footwear are well-made, but they don’t have a vast selection, which is a (positive) sign that fast-fashion is not their forte.

Price: $-$$

Sustainable Jewelry | Do Amore Engagement Ring

DO AMORE

Do Amore is an incredible engagement and wedding ring company–and I’m not just saying that because it’s where Will purchased my engagement ring. Founder Krish Himmatramka is determined to help end the world’s water crisis while creating sustainably-made jewelry. They have built 25 wells in five nations, which has provided clean water to nearly nine thousand people.

Do Amore is creating a “sustainable solution to save lives” by providing clean water and training communities on good sanitation and hygiene practices. Nine thousand people now have access to clean water that didn’t before. Women and children spend less time being sick and collecting unsafe water, and more time in their jobs or in school.

“Every part of each ring is crafted with the highest standard of ethics in mind. From ethically sourced diamonds and gems, to recycled precious metals. Even the box you receive your ring in is handmade from one of the world’s most sustainable woods.”

The stones they offer include conflict-free diamonds, lab-made moissanite which requires no mining at all, and ethically-sourced or lab-created sapphires. All rings are made from recycled precious metals that come from suppliers who do not deal with the international mining community. 

Each Do Amore ring is handmade in the U.S., which means safer working conditions for employees and more environmentally-friendly processes overall. Their packaging is made from Jarrah wood, one of the world’s most sustainable woods, with zero plastic content. The Jarrah wood is sourced from forests in New Zealand and Australia that perpetually grow and harvest the trees while preserving biodiversity, soil, water, and air quality.

Price: $$$

Sustainable Jewelry | Brilliant Earth Diamonds

BRILLIANT EARTH

Brilliant Earth was founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg. Beth was unable to find an engagement ring that represented her values and Eric was passionate about the idea that responsibly-sourced jewelry could be a tool for social change, so they worked together to create Brilliant Earth. 

“Our mission is to make jewelry as beautiful as it can be. We are passionate about cultivating a more transparent, sustainable, and compassionate jewelry industry.”

As a part of their commitment to environmental responsibility, their jewelry is crafted from recycled precious metals and arrives in FSC certified packaging. They offer Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds™, a standard that ensures the mining does not finance rebel movements, protects against human rights abuses, minimizes environmental degradation, maintain safe and responsible labor practices, and supports community development. They also donate five percent of net profits to help build a brighter future in mining communities, in the communities they operate, and beyond.

Their commitment to sustainable supply chains and ethical practices are the reasons I chose Brilliant Earth for my wedding bands! Another cool thing about the company? They are the first jeweler to offer blockchain-enabled diamonds at scale. They work with Everledger, a Blockchain technology company, to define “next-generation standards in the jewelry industry and continuing our leadership in promoting transparency and responsibility.”

“The cutting-edge blockchain-based technology has been integrated with our supply chain to seamlessly and securely track gemstone origin and provide greater consumer assurance for responsible practices for a collection of blockchain-enabled diamonds.”

Price: $$$-$$$$

Featured

Is Bespoke Fashion the Most Sustainable Idea Yet?

Bespoke fashion promises to be one of the most sustainable and disruptive ideas in the industry. But can brands deliver personalized, high-quality clothes in a 2-hour shipping and $7 t-shirt world? The short answer is; no. At least not yet

Bespoke fashion promises to be one of the most sustainable and disruptive ideas in the industry. But can brands deliver personalized, high-quality clothes in a 2-hour shipping and $7 t-shirt world?

The short answer is; no. At least not yet.

But perhaps that’s not a problem. If you’re reading this, you likely value sustainability over speed, and you’re not alone. People want sustainable products.

However, even the most environmentally committed among us have gotten used to things being fast, and if there’s one thing bespoke fashion is not, it’s fast. So why might made-to-measure clothing be the next big thing? To answer that, it’s critical to understand how the fashion industry has evolved over time, as well as how we can work slower fashion into our fast-paced lives.

A Brief History of Fashion

Before the first sewing machine was patented in February 1842, big-box behemoths and direct to consumer brands were far in the future. So was a somewhat consistent sizing structure. You couldn’t just go to a store and pull a crinoline off of the rack or buy a cute corset online — you would have needed to either make it yourself or engage a tailor or seamstress.

In 1831, the first ready-made store in the U.S. opened in New York. This led to a cascade of events over the next 100 years, including some shady (to say the least) labor practices. Factory workers experienced horrific events, like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 145 people, mostly young girls, in 1911. Unfortunately, cheap, fast fashion still correlates with dangerous working conditions, as we learned in 2013 when the Rana Plaza collapse killed 1100 people in Bangladesh. Which is the main reason BUHO was born. While we are going through our renovation, why not try these brands we love.

Why Consider Ready-to-Wear Alternatives?

Our appetite for clothing is killing people, and it’s destroying our planet. Although thrifting and purchasing eco-conscious clothing are steps in the right direction, microplastics and not-so microplastics are still filling our oceans. Fires are raging. And the trash from our clothing is filling our landfills and being burned into our atmosphere to the tune of one garbage truck per second. That’s where bespoke, or made-to-order fashion, could make a real impact. Since it’s not mass-produced, it creates less waste. 

And it allows people with any kind of body to enjoy thoughtfully designed clothing. The fashion industry is notorious for its sizing problem, and people who don’t fit the standard have few choices. When things are made-to-measure, the only standard is whether it fits.

The resurgence of the atelier isn’t exactly new. Since the early 2010s, bespoke fashion has been quietly making a comeback with brands like eshakti, and quite a few polished menswear brands, including those on London’s famed (and long-established) Savile Row

What About the Price? 

It’s true. Made-to-order clothing is not cheap. Although Klarna, Afterpay, and other online payment services help, there’s no getting away from a higher price point. But how much do you already spend on clothes? And how much would a piece that fits your body perfectly be worth?

Tailor-made Meets High Fashion: 4 Brands You Must Know About

Now that you’ve justified your future purchase, here are four of our favorite womenswear brands.

Maison Cleo

Maison Cleo

Talk about a complete obsession: Maison Cleo makes every piece by hand in France. Couture scrap fabrics and innovative designs combine with your measurements to create wearable art, like the PALMYRE ecru mohair jumper. Their online store is open once per week, on Wednesdays, at 12:30 PM Eastern Time. 

Olivia Rose The Label

Olivia Rose the Label

Olivia Rose Haddock makes every item in her collection by hand in Edinburgh, U.K. She does it all — from sourcing and design to sewing, packing, and writing love notes to her clients. Although she offers standard sizing, all it takes is one email to get a made-to-measure piece.

Fame & Partners

Fame & Partners

Fame & Partners isn’t just a bespoke company (you can find their brand at Free People), but everything can be made-to-order and made-to-measure. Founded in 2014 by former venture capitalist Nyree Corby, they aim to offer tailored clothing with a quick turnaround. We like their minimalist aesthetic and close-to-zero-waste ethos.

Careste

Careste

Careste is high-fashion and direct to consumer. Founded by e-commerce and fashion industry veterans Celeste Markey and Elizabeth Shah, Careste offers made-to-order clothing in 21 sizes and can make anything to-measure. They work with a high-fashion manufacturer and base production in Shanghai. We love that they only use 100% natural fabrics and provide free alterations if your piece doesn’t fit perfectly. 

It’s Time to Bring Sewing Back

If couture isn’t in your budget, consider making your own clothes! If you don’t know how to sew, the magical world of Mary Porter Moore will make you want to learn. In this Lily article, the fashion maven describes how she started — by committing to making 12 garments in 2108. That seems like reasonable ask, right?

It does, until you realize that Mary studied textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design and worked for Diane von Fürstenberg. Here’s a goal for the rest of us. 

How about learning to sew and making one wearable garment in 2020, say a skirt? Sewing opens up a world of eco-friendly possibilities. You can hem your jeans when they’re too long, take in the waist of that incredible jacket you left at the thrift store, or just finally alter the clothes that have been sitting in your car for a year.  

I never learned to sew, because frankly, I was bad at it. But I’m inspired to dust off the sewing machine and give it another try. I’m also close to ordering a silk dress that’s been made with love, just for me. If bespoke is the next step in the clothing revolution, I’m all in.

Featured

Our Founder

BUHO is founded by former Peace Corps volunteer, tech / media executive, non-profit founder and social justice advocate, Maria Casey.

Her days serving in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh just after 9/11 opened her eyes to the toxic implications the textile industry had on its workers and surrounding communities.

Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2004

Piles of waste surrounded her village in Savar and the streets as she commuted by rickshaw to the internet cafe in Rana Plaza. It wasn’t until the devastating collapse in 2013, when the rest of the world finally took notice. Yet six years later, much of the industry has returned to business as usual.

Growing up in an international family, Maria has always looked for ways to combine social good with her business acumen and couldn’t ignore her experience in Bangladesh.

So after spending 15 years scaling startups across gaming, e-commerce, and tech in New York and Los Angeles, she took a summer hiatus in Thailand with her partner. It was then that the idea for BUHO began to take shape.

After noticing a hole in the market for easy ethical and sustainable clothing discoverability and months of research, she launched BUHO to make this process much easier for consumers in March 2019.

Her goal from the start was centered around simplicity while also building something that would leave a minimal impact on our natural resources, and that could teach her daughter the importance of conscious consumption, providing fair wages to impoverished communities and environmental conservatism.

She has served on the boards for various non-profits throughout Los Angeles and New York, currently serving as a Board Member for ACLU SoCal. She has always been an advocate for women’s equality and active in her communities. She currently lives in Venice, CA with her lifetime partner Ken, their daughter Adelina, and dog Rosie. Learn more about Maria’s story here.

Maria Casey, Ken Ackermann

Top Sustainability Leaders

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re rolling out a three part series to highlight the badass women who are leading the charge for sustainability. Whether they are spearheading innovations in sustainable fashion or mobilizing millions in climate strikes, these ladies top the charts.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re rolling out a three part series to highlight the badass women who are leading the charge for sustainability. Whether they are spearheading innovations in sustainable fashion or mobilizing millions in climate strikes, these ladies top the charts.

The following list by no means captures all of the amazing women pushing for systemic change to combat the climate crisis, but is a snapshot to show that regardless of age or background, we can all do our part.

STELLA MCCARTNEY

Stella McCartney Sustainable Fashion

Stella McCartney has been exploring sustainable and ethical fashion since she started her brand in 2001, at a time when it seemed like an eccentricity – or even a nuisance – to many in the industry.

Fast forward to today, her unwavering moral commitments have put her in an interesting position as an activist in the fashion business, leading the force to create the systemic change most needed in the industry.

DAME JANE GOODALL

Dame Jane Goodall | BUHO

Dame Jane Goodall is known for her exceptional research of chimpanzees in Tanzania. She lived in Gombe Stream Game Reserve from 1960-1975 with her family.

In 1977, she co-founded the Jane Goodall Institute to work with communities living near chimpanzees to launch alternative sustainable livelihood projects that improve their incomes and their capacity to take care of natural resources. She became a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002.

EILEEN FISHER

Eileen Fisher | BUHO

Eileen Fisher has always been a pioneer of sustainability in the clothing industry, having started her Renew collection more than 10 years ago and now working to be 100% sustainable this year.

She recently introduced a new zero-waste initiative called “Waste No More” is merging architects with designers and ethics with business, to bring more awareness to the massive environmental impact that the fashion industry continues to have on the planet.

LIVIA FIRTH

Livia Firth | BUHO

Livia Firth is the founder of Green Carpet Challenge, a project that encourages celebrities to wear ethical designs at high profile events & catapults sustainable style into the spotlight.

She is a global ambassador for Oxfam, was awarded the UN Leader of Change award in 2012, and a women’s rights campaigner, launching The Circle — an advocacy group working to overcome poverty and empower women around the world — with Annie Lennox.

EMMA WATSON

Emma Watson | BUHO

There is no better advocate for ethical & sustainable fashion than Emma Watson. Her activist sensibilities can be traced back to her teenage years when she first shone a spotlight on the destruction caused by the fashion industry in the early 2000s.

She was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, and that same year launched her UN Women campaign HeForShe.

DAME ELLEN MACARTHUR

Ellen MacArthur | BUHO

After Dame Ellen MacArthur‘s retirement from professional sailing in 2010, she launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity focusing on a transition to a circular economy. Working in education, business and fashion, the foundation emerged as a thought leader to establish a circular economy on the international agenda.

She was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 and appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honour.

GRETA THUNBERG

Great Thunberg | BUHO

Greta Thunberg began a global movement by skipping school. Starting in August 2018, she spent her days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament and a movement quickly grew.

In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with President Trump and inspired 4M people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history. She was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2019.

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”

Greta Thunberg

How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Some commercial hand sanitizer contains ingredients as scary as the germs they protect you from, so why not make your own? This is an excellent project for kids and adults.

Some commercial hand sanitizer contains ingredients as scary as the germs they protect you from, so why not make your own hand sanitizer from ingredients you select? This is an excellent project for kids as well as adults since the project can be expanded to include a discussion about hygiene and disinfection. You’ll save money, protect yourself from germs, and can customize the scent of the hand sanitizer so it doesn’t smell medicinal.

How It Works

The active ingredient in this hand sanitizer recipe is the alcohol, which needs to comprise at least 60% of the product in order to be an effective disinfectant. The recipe calls for 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (grain alcohol, most commonly available at 90%-95%). Please don’t use any other types of alcohol (e.g., methanol, butanol), as they are toxic. Also, if you use a product that contains a lower percentage of alcohol (e.g., 70% alcohol) then you need to increase the amount of alcohol in the recipe or it won’t be as effective.

Essential Oils in Hand Sanitizer

In addition to adding fragrance to your hand sanitizer, the essential oil you choose may also help protect you against germs. For example, thyme and clove oil have antimicrobial properties. If you are using antimicrobial oils, only use a drop or two, since these oils tend to be very powerful and might irritate your skin. Other oils, such as lavender or chamomile, may help soothe your skin.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bowl and spoon
  • Funnel
  • Bottle with pump dispenser

Materials

  • 2/3 cup 99 percent rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • 8 to 10 drops essential oil, optional

How to Make It

Nothing could be easier! Simply mix the ingredients together and then use the funnel to pour them into the bottle. Screw the pump back onto the bottle and you’re ready to go.

  1. Gather Your Ingredients.

Make sure you have your rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and optional essential oils ready and measured out.materials used for diy sanitizer

2. Mix Ingredients.

Add all ingredients together in your bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon.

3. Pour Into Your Bottle.

Using the funnel, carefully pour your DIY hand sanitizer into the bottle of your choice, screw the top of your bottle on tight, and begin using.funneling ingredients into a recycled soap bottle

Article first appeared in The Spruce. Written by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. | Updated 3/10/20

Our Ethos

BUHO is more than a retailer—we’re a way of life. We’re working to overturn the fashion industry’s destructive model and create a better one. We make it easy for you to shop good with curated sustainable, ethical, and vintage items for women, men, kids, and home, and operate under the ethos that looking good and doing good are one and the same. 

BUHO Sustainable Fashion

We source sustainable and ethical brands from companies who are giving employment to marginalized communities and allow customers to shop in a trusted environment by the values that are most important to them.

Our business is closed loop, sourcing only sustainable and ethically made brands, using 100% compostable and biodegradable packaging, working with carbon neutral shipping providers, and incentivizing customers to send us unwanted clothing that we distribute to non-profit partners or break down into new materials. 

Putting The Planet First

BUHO is rooted in an uncompromising commitment to sustainable contemporary fashion that’s easy to find, fun to wear, and earth-loving. Founded by social justice advocate Maria Casey, our company was born out of a belief that fashion can do better, because we know better. We are members of 1% For the Planet and going through our B-Corp Certification process.

Sustainable Fashion

All of our brands are ethically sourced, environmentally sustainable, fair trade, handmade, or curated vintage for women, men, kids, and home. We unite the world’s best ethical brands under one roof, creating a trusted and safe shopping environment. You can rest assured knowing that when you’re shopping at BUHO, we’ve already done the hard work for you, sourcing only the best brands that do good for our people and our planet. 

Breaking The Mold. 

The traditional fashion industry’s success depends on a linear model of make, sell, wear, and dispose. BUHO is here to break that model, bringing together quality products and convenience. We make it easy for you to minimize waste by getting your gently used, unwanted clothing into the hands of people who need them or directly into our upcycling program. 

Because, let’s face it, the facts are grim: 

And it doesn’t stop there. Annual global textile production has doubled in the last 15 years, and by 2030, it’s projected to grow 63 percent. 

Considering that production already exceeds 100 billion garments, and adds 1.2 BILLION TONS (about 200 times the Pyramid of Giza) of greenhouse gas emissions to our atmosphere, the situation is dire. 

The American obsession with fast fashion is rooted in convenience and immediate satisfaction. We need to do some soul searching. The “I want it. I’ll buy it, snap a pic, post, and now I’m done” ethos is toxic for us and our planet. 

When you wash those cute polyester and faux leather fast fashion digs from the fun night out only Instagram remembers, half a million TONS of plastic microfibers end up in our water. That’s 16 times more plastic than the cosmetic industry’s microbeads. Your choices have a direct impact on our oceans, and they are in crisis

Clothing in landfill
Environmental engineer measuring air pollution on the municipal landfill.

Making Sustainable Fashion Accessible

We’re committed to making it easy for you to make choices that are good for our planet. With every order you place, you’ll receive a prepaid return label for your unwanted clothing. Simply follow the enclosed steps, fill the bag, and drop it in the mail. Simple. Your donations will either go to new homes or be upcycled into new threads, and you’ll get store credit to make it even easier for you to shop good. 

Putting It Into Practice.

Plastic is a big part of the fashion industry’s waste problem, and most plastic ends up at sea, which is taking a significant toll on the health of our oceans. That’s why we only use the best compostable packaging, made by our friends at The Better Packaging Co

We also proudly use only carbon neutral shipping partners, which means that the carbon generated by your order is offset by environmental groups dedicated to removing carbon from the atmosphere. 

Compostable Packaging

BUHO. Shop Good

Meet Our Founder

AS SEEN IN

Excuse Our Renovation

We all have spring cleaning to do sometimes…. so while we do ours, we hope you’ll enjoy our BUHO Journal with tips on how to live a more sustainable life and insight into the companies and innovations leading the change. Here are some of our favorites:

HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR BETTER WATER SYSTEMS

Drip by Drip is the world’s first NGO committed to tackling the water issues in the fashion and textile industry. Aurélie Rossini shares with us some of the key water issues driven by the garment industry in Bangladesh and how we can advocate for better water systems. Learn more.

WHAT DOES ‘SUSTAINABILITY’ IN FASHION REALLY MEAN?

BUHO’s entire mission is to highlight and endorse sustainable and ethically-made clothing and homewares. But what exactly does this mean? Terms such as sustainable, eco, green, ethical, and conscious are currently tossed around with abandon with greenwashing appearing everywhere, but in reality, they’re so much more than just another millennial buzzword. Learn more.

BE MORE LIKE GRETA

When 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg learned about the climate crisis, she stopped eating, talking, and going to school. While you don’t have to go to those extremes, you can still act! If you’d like to heed Greta’s call, read on to learn about five easy things you can do to help change the course of the climate crisis. Learn more.

IS FRUIT FIBER THE FUTURE OF TEXTILES?

If cotton is a fundamentally unsustainable crop, what is the future of the beloved t-shirt? The answer might be fruit fiber. Today, raw material innovators are imagining a set of alternatives to cotton, which will allow us to evolve the t-shirt into a more sustainable staple. These new innovations in fruit fiber are based around a commitment to using fruit waste. Learn more.

5 WAYS TO RAISE ECO-WARRIORS

Everything that Generations X, Y, and Z are doing to help reverse the effects of climate change and environmental degradation is crucial and certainly impactful, but the real future of this planet is in the hands of Generation Alpha. Learn more.

APPS FOR A MORE INTENTIONAL LIFE

Check the news on any given day, and if it’s not another Twitter rant (what did he say this time?), it’s footage from another natural disaster forever changing our landscape. So rather than waiting for everyone else to start doing their part, here are our 10 favorite sustainability apps that help us be more intentional every day. Learn more.

EASY WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR FOOD WASTE

Roughly 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. That’s 1.3B TONS! Yet, world hunger is on the rise. What can you do about? A lot actually. Taking these 5 easy steps below is a great place to start. Learn more.

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below to get VIP access to our new store!


Water First. Fashion Second.

By Aurélie Rossini

This article first appeared in Fashion Revolution and is written by Aurélie Rossini with Drip by Drip.


Drip by Drip is the first NGO dedicated to solving fashion and textiles water impacts. Below, Drip by Drip’s Aurélie Rossini shares with us some of the key water issues driven by the garment industry in Bangladesh and how we can advocate for better water systems. 

Water footprint, Water Scarcity, Water Crisis – Sound familiar?

If you haven’t heard these words before, now is the time.

If you think about it, 71 % of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. A number that has remained fairly constant over time, whilst the population has continued to grow. With that in mind, fighting climate change can’t happen without acknowledging that the world’s water resources are in crisis.

Water scarcity may be an abstract concept to you since water cannot be “lost”, but it is a harsh reality for others. In Bangladesh, the second-largest apparel producing and exporting country in the world, the rapid, unplanned and unregulated growth of the industrial sector is imposing increasing water stresses.

Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to Climate Change… but it’s also threatened by water scarcity. 

At first sight, Bangladesh can appear as a country of water abundance. With more than 700 rivers flowing through its lands and an annual average rainfall of 2,000 mm, about 1,121.6 km of water crosses the borders of Bangladesh annually. Unfortunately, the country has to deal with great disparity as the availability of its water considerably fluctuates throughout the year. Moreover, the three main rivers (Brahmaputra, Meghna, and the Ganges) originate in other countries, thus the amount of water that eventually gets to Bangladesh is limited, leaving the Bengalis with little control over how much water they receive from these sources and in what quality.

The existing challenges imposed by the geographical conditions of the country place priority on water management. Unfortunately, declining groundwater levels, as well as deteriorating river water quality have increasingly been reported in the last decades.

Have you ever read on your T-shirt label that 2,700 L of water was used for its production? It is proven that the textile industry is heavily dependent on the water environment. Not only does it have an enormous water footprint in terms of agricultural consumption but also in terms of water pollution. In garment production, water is used for the cultivation of raw materials (cotton for example) but also in the manufacturing processes such as dyeing, tanning, printing, and washing. The nature of these processes involves high use of salts, dyes, bleaches, and chemicals, containing hazardous pollutants such as heavy metals. Effluents that are thereafter discharged without proper treatment into the rivers. It is estimated that over 625,000 tonnes of chemicals from the textile and leather industries enter the rivers every year. This number may be shocking for some, but it sadly is the true price of fashion.

Unregulated consumption and pollution – Two serious threats to natural water resources

Industrial wastewater in Bangladesh is significant: more than 4,000 MLD every single day, a number equivalent to 20,000 Olympic swimming pools!

Arsenic contamination of groundwater has been reported by many governments and donor agencies. Among them, the World Health Organization stated that “the levels of arsenic in Bangladesh have contributed to the largest mass-poisoning in history”, affecting an estimated 30-35 million people there.

Still, need more convincing facts?

Dhaka, Bangladesh © Benedikt Fuhrmann

It is important to note that 79% of industrial water – as well as most of the urban water supply – is sourced from groundwater with a substantial level of unrecorded industrial water abstraction. As a result, depletion of groundwater levels has been observed, with an average decline of about 3 meters per year. The heavy reliance on groundwater by the textile industry is consequently threatening domestic water use – and evidence shows a greater decline of groundwater levels in areas with textile clusters (e.g. the groundwater level in Dhaka has dropped by 10 meters per year during the years of 2000 to 2010).

As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Bangladesh equally suffers from water scarcity. According to the 2030 Water Resources Group, if water demand for the textile sector does not decrease, it will result in additional water demand of over 6,750 megalitres per day by 2030. An amount that is impossible to source from the groundwater without risking the livelihood of the local population.

“Bangladesh needs foreign buyers and brands as much as they need Bangladesh”

In recent years, international brands have been under increasing pressure from their customers, shareholders and the public eye to improve the environmental and social compliance of their supply chains.

Water resources management in the textile industry is an important issue; an issue recognized by the Government of Bangladesh at the highest level. Textile trade associations have acknowledged the existing water issues, however, unless the risk of losing business increases, it is generally felt that there is little or no incentive to improve water management at factories.

So who shall we blame for the existing water pollution and scarcity in Bangladesh? Neither the economic system that values profit first nor the fashion brands alone. We’ve created Drip by Drip because we believe that players share a responsibility to guarantee the preservation of the national water resources. That is why we are on a mission to develop and implement innovative solutions to tackle the water issues in the fashion industry – from fibres over fabrics to production.

Our solutions for the industry

First and foremost, the responsibility lies with the textile industry to implement better water management structures such as central effluent treatment plants and closed-loop-systems. We are implementing tailor-made solutions, easily and cost-effectively integrated into factories to enable them to release the water back into the natural water cycle.

Together with our network of partners, we conduct research and perform training to help public organizations gain a deep understanding of the current situation. From our point of view, governments and public organizations have the potential to become game-changers here.

Our tool for consumers

You, me, us, as citizens, also play an important role. First, we can consider the water consumption in our wardrobe. Would you like to know your water footprint? Calculate it here with the first prototype of our Water Playbook!

Second, we have the opportunity to make informed purchase decisions: Choose clothes made from fibers that are less water demanding (for example, synthetic fibers like Modal or Tencel or rain-fed organic cotton) and look at where the fibers come from and prefer those that come from countries where water scarcity is not an issue.

You are now ready to make a sustainable change. We count on you!

Learn more on:

https://dripbydrip.org

https://worldwaterday.org

https://waterplaybook.net