GUIDE // 10 places to buy an ethical & artisan made rug

GUIDE // 10 places to buy an ethical & artisan made rug

Let’s start with why you should buy an artisan made rug. First and foremost, like most industries, the modern rug industry runs on cheap labor, including child labor, often forced child labor. Modern rugs are cheaply made with synthetic materials and harmful chemicals and so, like fast fashion, are not made to withstand generations. These modern rug making practices are threatening to eliminate the traditional art form of hand looming rugs by skilled (adult) artisans. Purchasing an ethically made rug ensures that this traditional art form lives, provides fair living wages to artisans and gives you a high-quality rug that is made to last. Win win win. Here are 10 companies where you can buy an artisan made rug online.

 

 

1 // Armadillo Co.

ethical rugs artisan made rug rugs that give back

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Fair trade practices. Made with natural & sustainable fibers. Gives back.

BEST FOR // Oversized heirloom rugs.

NOTE // Check out their We Made Too Many section for some good deals.


2 // Berber Wares

ethical rug artisan made rug rugs that give back

ETHICS // Artisan made rug from Morocco. Gives back.

BEST FOR // One-of-a kind Moroccan wool rugs.

NOTE // Free US Shipping.


3 // The Citizenry

ethical rugs artisan made rugs

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Sustainable materials. Fair Wages. Gives back.

BEST FOR // Flat-weave accent rugs.

NOTE // Free US shipping & returns.


4 // Lorena Canals

artisan made rug ethical rug machine washable rug

ETHICS / Artisan made rug using natural materials & dye. Gives back

BEST FOR // Colorful rugs for kid’s rooms & high-traffic areas.

NOTES// Machine Washable! Free shipping over $75.


5 // Minna

ethical rug artisan made rug

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Natural materials & dyes. Fair trade wages.

BEST FOR // Cozy & contemporary shag rugs.

NOTES //  Free Shipping over $250


6 // Oh Happy Home

ethical rug artisan made rug rugs that give back

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Fair trade principles. Gives back.

BEST FOR // Oversized modern cotton rugs.

NOTES // Based in Australia. Heavy rugs cannot be shipped internationally.


7 // Pampa

ethical rug, artisan made rug

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Fair trade principles. Natural materials.

BEST FOR // Earth-toned mini rugs.

NOTES  // Based in Australia with international shipping available.


8 // Revival Rugs

vintage rug, vintage turkish rug, ethical rug

ETHICS // Vintage artisan made rugs. Re-dyed with natural dye.

BEST FOR // One of a kind vintage Turkish rug.

NOTES // Free Shipping over $50


9 // Under the Nile

ethical rug zero waste rug artisan made rug

ETHICS //  Non-toxic. Fair trade certified. Made with organic cotton.

BEST FOR // Rag rugs for play mats, kitchen & laundry room.

NOTES //  Machine washable & hand-loomed with leftover scraps from their clothing production.


10 // West Elm

fair trade rug artisan made rug ethical rug

ETHICS // Artisan made rug. Fair Trade Certified.

BEST FOR // Modern rugs for every room.

NOTES // Search “Fair trade” to find all West Elm’s fair trade certified products.

Top Photo: Armadillo Daisy woven rug. You know what goes great with rugs? Blankets.

 

 

 

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Ethical Fashion

A Beginner’s Guide to Ethical Fashion

You’ve read about the detriments fast fashion is having on our planet. You care about the people, including children, working in unsafe factories for little and often no pay. You want to shop better, but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. That was me too, and years into this ethical fashion journey, I still often feel overwhelmed. But, I also know this issue is too important to simply stop caring. So I want share a simple resource that has helped me on this ever-evolving desire to support sustainable fashion.

When I first started researching fair fashion, I saw an ethical fashion pyramid that really helped me understand the hierarchy of sustainable fashion. I couldn’t find the original one, so I decided to recreate my own.

IG Ethical Fashion Hierarchy

I think a huge barrier to shopping ethically is finances, and while I do not deny that this barrier exists, it absolutely does, I’ve personally found that supporting ethical fashion is more a matter of changing my mindset than changing my closet. That’s why the bottom of the pyramid is wear what you own.

1 // WEAR WHAT YOU OWN

Maybe, like me, when you learned about the horrors of fast fashion, your first feeling was guilt. I looked at the tags of my clothes and discovered that most were made in Bangladesh and other countries with extremely high risks of worker exploitation. I wanted to replace all these clothes with better clothes. However, I definitely couldn’t afford that. And if you can’t afford it, it’s not sustainable.

Turns out the most sustainable and ethical option was to wear what I already owned. The truth is that I didn’t really need new new clothes. And when I started viewing clothes more as a need, and less as a want, this simple change of mindset revolutionized my thoughts on fashion.

Having said that, I enjoy fashion and have since I was a little girl. There is nothing wrong with liking fashion or wanting to dress fashionably. The problem is when our wants interfere with other’s basic human rights, like what is happening in fast fashion. Fast fashion bets on people viewing clothing as seasonal and disposable, instead of investment pieces.

2 // MEND AND ALTER

In addition to wearing what you already own, it’s equally important to care what you already own. Before practicing ethical fashion, when my clothes became worn, I simply donated or tossed them. Mending clothes didn’t really cross my mind, probably because the cost of clothing was so little. However, mending is such a simple way to lengthen the life of your clothes and keep them out of landfills. Patch holes in jeans, sew buttons back on and treat stains.

Altering your clothes is another great and often forgotten option.  If you’ve gained or lost a few pounds, it’s easy to assume you need a new wardrobe, however most clothes can easily be altered up or down a couple sizes. Find someone who does alterations and help support local jobs while also giving clothes new life.

3 // BORROW AND SWAP

This point is often left out in ethical fashion posts, but borrowing and swapping clothes is an easy and affordable way to practice fair fashion. Unless you plan on wearing something 30 plus times, try borrowing from a friend. Clothing swaps are another great sustainable option. Organize a clothing swap with a few friends and come home with some new clothes.

4 // BUY QUALITY SECONDHAND

Before buying new, ask yourself, can I buy a quality version secondhand? The word quality is really important to me because the world of secondhand and thrift shopping can so easily become another version of fast fashion. No, you’re not buying new, but buying from a thrift store, only to re-donate a few weeks later is continuing the cycle of waste since the majority of clothes we donate are not resold.

However, I do really love thrift store shopping and the majority of my clothes are secondhand. When shopping secondhand, I always try to ask myself the same questions as when I’m buying new:

Will this last?
Will I wear it 30 plus times?
If the fit is not perfect, can I have it altered?
Are the fabric and seams quality?

Also, check out this post if you want some more simple tips for thrifting.

5 // SUPPORT ETHICAL BRANDS

Finally, when you’re ready to buy something new, support ethical brands. Your dollar does have power. Shopping ethically is going to cost more, a lot more, however if you’ve followed the pyramid, you probably won’t be buying that many new pieces. And while this hierarchy is a pyramid, it’s also cyclical. Once you’ve bought that new piece, wear it often, take good careof it, mend it and then properly donate it when you’re finished.

Hopefully this pyramid will help you on your ethical fashion journey. Do you have any  more tips for practicing sustainable fashion?

 

Ethical Wish List // Royal Home Decor

Ethical Wish List // Royal Home Decor

Like everyone else in the world, I’m obsessed with The Crown. The production design is unmatched! Inspired by the decor, I’m putting together an ethical wish list of artisan made and secondhand vintage finds inspired by the royal family.

Typically, I’m a terrible TV watcher. I have zero loyalty to shows and immediately quit when I’m bored. It drives my husband crazy. I’ve finished only three shows in my life, but have now watched both seasons of The Crown twice. Yes the acting is marvelous and the writing impeccable, BUT but it’s the lavish and detailed world that have me watching on repeat.

From the wallpapered rooms covered with paintings to the floors overlapped with rich rugs, everything is decorated to English perfection. I couldn’t live in a more different place–a small white apartment in sunny California, and while I do love a simple space, I also think a few choice pieces of richness and texture are the perfect compliment to so much white. So here’s a favorite ethical finds to add a bit of the royal life into my everyday.

// Horse Bookends //

Queen Elizabeth is a long-time lover of horses. In the show, her office often shows paintings and statues of horses. These bookends are a win win to me–beautiful, practical and second hand! From EBTH, an online estate sale marketplace. If you haven’t discovered EBTH, prepare to be addicted.

second hand vintage ethical horse bookends

// Brass Pen //

I love how the Queen is often at her desk writing letters. Even if you’re just writing the grocery list, class it up with this beautiful pen that will last for years. Refillable ink makes this pen an amazing eco-friendly find! From Poketo.

eco-friendly ethical pen with refillable ink

// Cream & Sugar Set //

Who doesn’t love the British tradition of tea time? This vintage cream & sugar set is the perfect mix of intricate and yet still modern. From Etsy.

vintage second hand cream and sugar set

// Painting // 

Apparently the British Royal Family has the largest private art collection in the world. While you can’t compete with that, a painting, especially if it’s in an ornate frame, is beautiful way to add some richness and depth to a room. This piece is from EBTH. Other great places to find art are antique & vintage stores, and did you know that you can shop Goodwill online? Yep, it’s like a secret Ebay.

vintage antique painting and art

// Vase //

TOP PHOTO // Fresh flowers are everywhere in The Crown and this beautiful vase is the perfect display. Ethically sourced and handmade by artisans in Morocco. From The Little Market. 

 

 

Ethical fashion on a Budget

Ethical fashion on a Budget

I can’t afford ethical fashion. Oh I daydream and drool over beautiful clothes, but in reality I barely buy these enviable items. I have a baby, live in one of the most expensive cities in the US and owe a mountain of student loans. Spending $300 on a dress is not my reality.

However, I firmly believe in the detriment of fast fashion, from the treatment of workers to the depletion of natural resources. I know the facts and ignoring them is not an option. And yet sometimes I have to buy new clothes. So over the years I’ve developed a few simple tips on how to shop ethically on a (very) small budget.

Tip 1 // Schedule Shopping 

These days shopping is a past time, an almost mindless activity like eating popcorn in front of the TV. But if you’re really on a budget, than shopping ethically requires planning, like months and months planning. Think about your closet and what items you will need next season and the season after that and the season after that. For example, if you know that next summer you’ll need a new swimsuit, don’t wait till next summer to buy it. Instead, buy it at the end of the current summer when it’s likely to be on sale. Maybe you can’t afford ethical fashion at full price, but you might be able to afford it on sale, especially if you plan ahead. Find some shops you love and then sign up for their newsletters and follow them on IG so you’re the first to know when sales hit.

Tip 2 // Think Thrifty

Before heading to the mall, check out your local thrift or consignment stores first. Or if you’re more into online shopping, search ThredUp for second-hand deals, or Etsy for vintage finds. Chances are they’ve have what you need, potentially at a better quality and lower price. If you’re new to thrift shopping and want some tips, check out this blog.

Psst:: You can also get $10 of  your first ThredUp order with this code: http://www.thredup.com/r/RH97X5

Tip 3 // Wear Well 

You can’t afford the ethically-made piece, you tried to buy second-hand with no luck and you need something, now. We’ve all been there. My advice? Buy the highest quality thing you can afford and then wear it again and again and again. Have you heard of the 30 wears challenge? The idea is that before you buy something new, ask yourself, “Will I wear this 30 times?” If you wore that piece once a week it would take 7 months to reach 30. So another way to ask is, “Will I still want to wear this in a year from now?” If everyone committed to wearing clothes 30 plus times before buying new, it would dramatically alter the fast-fashion industry. Instead of buying throwaway pieces, buy pieces that you love and that will become closet staples.

Tip 4 // Mend your Mindset 

We’re surrounded by a culture of consumerism and maybe like me you live in a city that is obsessed with fashion. It’s easy to feel insecure when everyone from the downtown party to the local park seems to be dressed effortlessly cool. I’ve had countless moments of insecurity about what I’m wearing. It takes time to alter your mindset when fast fashion is so ubiquitous. I constantly have to remind myself why I believe in slow and ethical fashion. We’re so disconnected from the process of creating clothes that it’s easy to forgot that real people are involved in every step. But a real person’s hands had to plant the cotton seeds and sew the seams, so in my moments of insecurity I remind myself of those people’s hands.

How about you? Do you have any tips on shopping ethically on a budget?

 

 

 

 

Tips for Thrifting

Tips for Thrifting

I grew up in a tiny Tennessee town where there was only one thrift store–a Goodwill, that despite the number of residents, always promised a surprising find–perfectly worn overalls, designer scarfs, linen dresses. It was here that my love of  thrift store shopping began, scourging the aisles every Saturday for a good deal.

Over ten years later, I still love thrift store shopping, yet my motives for second-hand shopping have expanded. In addition to the thrill of a good deal, I’m also trying to help break the detrimental cycle of fast fashion by embracing slow fashion. Better for the planet. Better for the people. And better for your wallet–that is if you know how to thrift shop well.

Thrift shopping is just another waste of money if the clothes you buy simply hang in your closet before eventually being ditched back in the donation pile. I know because I’ve done that countless of time, but over the years I’ve also slowly discovered some tips and tricks to making sure that my thrift store goods become wardrobe staples. Here’s how.

First, the DONT’S.
Don’t buy things simply because they’re cheap. 

When I first started thrift store shopping, I would buy anything if it was cute and cheap. The price always justified the purchase. Example: I have no idea where I’m going to wear this sequin top, but it’s only ten dollars. That ten dollars was a wasted ten dollars because I never once wore that sequin top.

Before I also never cared about brands, but now there are brands that I shy away from buying. These are the brands that I know won’t hold up new, so they are definitely not going to hold up used. (Forever 21, H&M–I’m looking at you.)

My goal is to not buy cheap clothes cheaper, but to give new life to well made clothes.

Don’t buy clothes you aren’t going to fix. 

Second, I simply don’t buy clothes that need any sort of fix, even if it’s an easy fix, because I will not fix it. Oh the money I’ve wasted on dresses that just need a shorter hem or shirts that just needed one button replaced. This is definitely a more personal tip. Some people might actually do those quick fixes but not me. My friend won’t buy anything that needs dry-cleaned because over the years she’s realized she will never get that 100% silk dress dry-cleaned. Know thyself.

Now, the DO’S. 

Have a game plan. 

With a child and work and general life, I rarely have time to meander when thrift store shopping.  So I try to enter with a game plan. Plus I often feel overwhelmed by the semi-organized chaos that characterizes most thrift stores, so I find it helpful to have a plan. Mine looks like this:

I always look through the dress section. Dresses are typically more forgiving with sizes so if there’s not a fitting room in the thrift store, or you don’t have time to try something on, you’ll probably have better luck with a dress than most clothing items.

I also always look through the children’s section, especially the overalls, because overalls on babies are the best. And buying kid’s clothes brand new is kind of waste of money.

Pay attention to fabric & details. 

If I’m in a hurry, my strategy is to go through the rows and pull out items based on fabric and color / pattern.You can learn so much about the quality of the piece just by touching. I’m personally attracted to wool and silk, because I know these fabrics will hold their quality for years.

Avoid certain sections. 

It’s tempting to want to look through every section of the store, but it’s impossible and also a time-waster. Focus on the sections that work for you and avoid the sections that don’t. For example, I rarely find jeans or shoes that fit. However I’m tall with huge feet so this is just something I’ve learned about me. So I tend to avoid these sections so I don’t waste a bunch of time and end up frustrated.

I also try to avoid the sweater section. Why? Because I LOVE sweaters and already have way to many considering I live in Southern California. Again this is personal to me, but I think it’s helpful to focus on the articles that you really need and will wear consistently.

Be picky! 

While I’m shopping I pull anything that initially grabs my attention. And then once I’m done shopping, I analyze what I have in my hands and ask myself a series of questions.

Will I actually wear this?
Do I already own something very similar to this?
Do I own something to wear this with?
Will this look good on me?
Is it in good condition? (No stains or holes. No missing buttons. Good stitching.)

After this whole process I normally eliminate about 75% – 100% of the pieces in my hand. I try to only buy pieces that I will wear and that will last.

How about you? Do you have any thrift store shopping tips? Or, if you’re not into thrifting, what’s your favorite way to practice slow fashion?