Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Paper Fashion + Bow and Drape = Local, Ethical Fashion Magic

bow and drape collaboration with paper fashion made in the usa

Announcement: two of my personal faves have come together to make sustainable fashion magic!

Bow & Drape is a company that custom makes women's clothing in classic silhouettes in New York. Pieces are made to order to customers specifications and size requirements, including details like choosing different fabrics or cuts, which means inventory and usage of fabrics are much more efficient than if the entire line were pre-made for each season. The custom-made model also builds more of a relationship between you and the clothing. You can plan the details yourself and get something you'll wear for years to come.

Paper Fashion is a super-talented fashion illustrator that I discovered when she did an etheral (and amazing) collab with The Glamourai and Genlux magazine. I love what's she done for Bow and Drape!

While Bow and Drape had many options for an edgier girl in fall and winter (think jumpsuits with leather details and sequined midi pencils), this most recent collaboration and their resort collection embodies a pretty prepster's warm weather daydreams.

Shop the full collection:

for ongoing updates on my favorite eco-friendly finds.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NYFW Fall RTW Collections: The Sustainable Edit

The ethical fashion folk are big into neutrals for Fall 2014. They've also embraced the oversize silhouettes and futuristic minimalism of their conventional counterparts, as you will see in the collections below (all via Below, I've put together a few of my favorite looks from the ethical fashion runway crew, and also shared a bit about why each one is considered to be an "ethical" brand.

Edun Fall 2014 RTW
Edun  via

Edun is a global fashion brand founded by Ali Hewson and Bono in 2005 to promote trade in Africa by sourcing production throughout the continent and adhering to fair trade principles in all its dealings. Although the brand struggled at first to balance its ethical mission with quality and luxury design, 85% of the collection will be manufactured in Sub-Saharan Africa under the direction of its newest creative director, Danielle Sherman (formlery of The Row and T by Alexander Wang). You can shop Edun at Barneys and many other luxury retailers. 

Organic by John Patrick Fall 2014 RTW
Organic by John Patrick (via

Organic by John Patrick is ethical and organic fashion made in New York. You can shop it HERE.

Christopher Raeburn Fall 2014 RTW collection ethical fashion
Christopher Raeburn (via

According to, "he is focused on sustainability-meets-chic, demonstrated by his first look, a beige "teddy bear" faux-fur gilet. He used what are termed "cabbages" in the schmatta business (meaning, remaining cloth scraps from original pattern cuttings) to refit and remake this instantly desirable piece. The process is called up-cycling, in which high-end garments are fashioned from reused materials without compromising on desirability. (Incidentally, that gilet was born out of Siberian military coats that otherwise would have been on the scrap heap. And this tells you all you need to know about Raeburn.)
Shop him HERE.

SUNO Fall 2014 RTW collection ethical fashion
Suno (via

Max Osterweis and designer Erin Beatty produce most of the line by employing  artisans in Kenya, although Suno has since expanded its business to include production in Peru, India, and NY. 15% of the profits on certain products, such as their canvas sneakers, is donated to foundations such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a Kenyan preservation devoted to the protection of endangered elephants and rhinos. Shop them on Net-a-porter and The Outnet

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Merits of Monochromatic Dressing {Winter Style Formula}

paige jeans navy sweater color blocked dressing

WEARING: Paige Verdugo Ultra Skinny Jeans (made in USA); Second-hand sweater and heels from Secondi (similar vegan, handmade heels HERE and HERE); Scarf stolen borrowed from huzzband. PHOTOGRAPHY: Victoria Corkhill

6 paige jeans navy sweater color blocked dressing

2 paige jeans navy sweater color blocked dressing

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paige denim made in usa outfit detail ethical style blog

7 paige jeans navy sweater color blocked dressing

Last weekend, I threw on a second-hand sweater and heels with my new jeans from Paige Denim, which, by the way, I LOVE. They're made in the USA, super stretchy, on sale, and super comfy with a perfect fit. Huge win.

One of the easiest ways to build a sustainable, timeless wardrobe is to be comfortable with monochromatic dressing. Wearing one color is also the easiest way to look "pulled-together" with very little thought or effort when you're in a rush. Whether you choose black, grey, camel, etc., you will look neat and polished with very little accessorizing, and you can throw in a contrasting shoe for more visual interest.

Special tip: stand around near a contrasting monochromatic building, such as NW DC's Masonic Temple, for added effect. ;)

Shop organic, made in the USA and otherwise eco-friendly ways to get this look:

for ongoing updates on my favorite eco-friendly finds.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry {My Fair Edit}

Last week, I shared five ways you can celebrate Valentine's Day ethically, and that included my recommendation to look for sustainable jewelry options. As promised, I've put together my favorite pieces from brands who are providing ethical options for those who want to sport some bling that is kind to the earth and the people on it. 

Regardless of whether you're making a jewelry purchase now or years from now, one of the best things you can do at the store is ask whether the line you're looking at is part of the No Dirty Gold campaign, where the jewelry is made, and if there are any vintage pieces you can see. 

If you're shopping online, search Etsy for "recycled gold" and you'll find plenty of beautiful options like the ones below:

2 ethical jewelry options

All three of these Etsy shops use only recycled gold and ethically sourced jewels in their affordable, beautiful pieces. There are many more like this available if you simply search for "recycled gold," but Michelle Lenae is my favorite of the three.

This company made my wedding ring (seen up close here in this post from last winter) using recycled platinum and conflict-free diamonds from Canada. Their tasteful rings start at $495 but move all the way up through the $20,000 price point. They also have a collection of antique rings you can shop.

These pieces are a little more aspirational in price:

3 ethical jewelry options

Alberto Parada
Alberto's jewelry contains only reclaimed (recycled) gold - gold from the existing supply chain that is recycled and refined. By choosing to use reclaimed gold, Alberto does not contribute to the environmental destruction, waste, and social injustice caused by metal mining. Alberto's jewelry is handcrafted and manufactured in the United States using conflict-free diamonds and fair-trade gems and he is a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign.

Monique Péan
Using only recycled gold, Monique Péan is committed to fair trade labor and giving back to the communities she works with in her supply chain (learn more here). Bonus: her jewelry is stunning, on-trend, and so so cool. Why? SHe incorporates dinosaur and woolly mammoth bones in her jewelry! I would never, ever get tired of explaining my dinosaur ring to anyone who would listen. Oh this old thing? No really, it's like, super old. IT'S MADE OF DINOSAUR. Shop her Barneys collection HERE.

Shop their luxe vintage collection, all of which was made in the USA. I wouldn't mind wearing that cuff on the top left to the theatahhhh, amiright?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Style Formula: Distressed Denim Skinny Jeans, Big Fuzzy Sweater, Oxfords

jbrand skinny jeans brogues and fisherman sweater ethical style blog

WEARING vintage fisherman sweater by Shopklad on Etsy (several similar HERE); JBrand Jeans (similar HERE);  Shoes by AGL (similar HERE in metallic) PHOTOGRAPHY by Victoria Corkhill. 

7 jbrand skinny jeans brogues and fisherman sweater ethical style blog

4 jbrand skinny jeans brogues and fisherman sweater ethical style blog

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3 jbrand skinny jeans brogues and fisherman sweater ethical style blog

5 jbrand skinny jeans brogues and fisherman sweater ethical style blog

Given the arctic conditions we endure here in DC, I have been living in my new (but old) vintage fisherman sweater. You might see 10 more ways to wear a giant warm sweater over the next month here on My Fair Vanity, and I apologize to any readers living in warmer climates, but it is really, really cold here. Like, really cold. And, 10,000 ways to wear one item is pretty green, amiright? So far I've only done three ways to wear an item in one post (three ways to wear plaid!), but the sky is the limit now, folks.

The shoes are my AGL patent oxfords that I found this summer. Email exchanges with the company told me that they are a third-generation family-owned business, and that they still use the same factory in Italy to make their shoes that they did when the brand launched. I can tell from wearing them that these shoes are comfy, well-made, and will last for years, which is very important to me bc I'm doing my best to build a wardrobe that is not only ethical but also free of disposable 'fast fashion.' I'm always on the lookout for another pair of AGLs and these metallic ones are verrrry tempting...

I found my J Brand Jeans used on Ebay after scouring the interwebs for some skinny, distressed denim that was made in the USA. So below, I've put together the results of my search for you to shop. Note: many of these jeans are deeply discounted and/or last pairs, so click fast if it's your size.

Monday, February 3, 2014

5 Ways to Have an Eco-friendly, Ethical Valentine's Day

five ways to celebrate valentines day ethically

1. Do Something (instead of buying something). 
Have dinner with friends or a loved one at your favorite restaurant that focuses on local, organic and/or seasonal ingredients. In DC that means Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle, Farmer's Fishers Bakers on the Georgetown Waterfront, Palena or Ripple in Cleveland Park (I hear Ripple is like a little Portlandia in DC bc the staff knows so much about each ingredient), or Big Bear Cafe in Capitol Hill.

You could also try out the new organic spa in Alexandria, (Nusta Spa), or patronize your local playhouse or dance company. 

2. Sustainable Sexytime
If you have big, romantic plans for the weekend, execute them in sustainable style by choosing made in the USA, organic or fair trade underthings and sleepwear. Check out made in the USA brands like Only Hearts or Hanky Panky at your local department store, or go upscale with handmade Ari Dein from New York.  A while ago, I put together a shop-able post on eco-friendly lingerie and sleepwear, should you want to start there.

3. Fair Trade Chocolates
The cocoa trade is an industry with a horrible human rights record, and unfortunately, it's all of the big name companies you know who are still "working on" cleaning up their acts. I play it safe by looking for both a fair trade and an organic label on my chocolates, and it pays off in both karma and taste! A few of my faves are Theo chocolates, Salazar (the sea salt and coffee bar will change your life), Divine Chocolates and Green & Blacks, all available at Whole Foods and many other upscale grocers. You can also order plenty of fair trade chocolates and candies via 

4. Eco-friendly Greeting Cards
With the incredible variety of handmade cards printed on recycled stock available not just from Etsy but from your local stationary store, there's no reason to purchase cheap cards made in China. See my Valentine's Day Pinterest Board for a few places to start on Etsy, and when in a physical store, just turn over the card to see where it's made and what it's made of, or better yet, ask an associate to point you towards the cards that are made in the USA or printed on recycled paper.  Just asking the question is a gentle way of being a mini-eco-activist.

5. Ethical Jewelry
If you're going to bring the bling for your lady or manfriend this Vday, there are many companies to choose from in a variety of price points that can provide you with ethically made jewelry. For me, 100% ethical means recycled metals that are made in countries with strong labor rights, such as the USA or Europe, or vintage pieces that have zero impact. 

This represents a change in my "policy" here at My Fair Vanity. Up until now, I've said that "made in the USA" is enough. However, after learning more about how gold mining works, who is involved, and what it does to communities, I don't think I can advocate using metals that are not recycled. To learn more about the kind of damage that mining can bring to towns, cities and families, you can watch this short video about a little girl named Senna who comes from La Rinconada, a mining town in Peru, read this report by Human Rights Watch on mining in Tanzania, or check out the No Dirty Gold campaign. You can even pledge not to tarnish your love this Valentine's Day should you be so inclined.

Tune in later this week for an expanded report on some of my favorite ethical jewelry vendors who are using vintage, recycled and other sustainable materials. Until then, ask your local jeweler if they carry lines that participate in the No Dirty Gold campaign. A few to start with are Monique Pean, Alberto Parada, and Brilliant Earth, but more to come!

Shop ethical Valentine's Day alternatives below 
and on my VDay Pinterest Board :)


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