Ecologique Fashion | Blog
Ecologique Fashion is a sustainable fashion PR and events consultancy based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Something French

I’ve recently found a new appreciate for the scarf – especially when in the city. I often toss one in my bag as I leave the house just in case I run into an unexpected chill. Scarves not only provide warmth and comfort, they have the ability to add a certain je ne sais quoi to many outfits. The majority of ready-to-wear scarves on the market today are a dime a dozen (almost quite literally) and made from cheap, synthetic materials.

Not long ago great value was found in ones scarf. A woman might invest in one, two, maybe three. They were made in silky and sumptuous natural fibers and bought thoughtfully. These scarves were made to last many years and would enable a person to refashion and freshen up their minimal wardrobe.

Létol‘s aesthetic and manufacturing practices bring me back to that simpler time. Specializing in authentic jacquard, each Létol scarf is designed and woven in an artisanal atelier in the South of France. They are made with 100% GOTS organic cotton and finished simply with a wash of “Savon de Marseille”- a famous vegetable olive soap. The company also claims that they their products are three times more eco-friendly than any other product made of conventional cotton.

Find out more about Létol.

5 Consciously Made, Luxury Gifts To Give This Holiday

With all the uncertainty and unveiling we’ve been subjected to as of late, there’s never been a more imperative time for us to exercise our right in being a conscious consumer. If you are choosing to buy gifts this holiday season, its important to be mindful of who made them, what they are made of and who they benefit. Because ethically made things are the better kind of things, here’s my holiday wrap up of consciously made luxe gifts you’ll feel good about giving:

Call of the Vialed


Call of the Vialed proves that you can lead a conscious lifestyle and smell fantastic doing it. Their artisan crafted perfumes are made in Oakland using classical techniques and the purest quality plant essences (in addition to CO2 extracts, absolutes, resins, and cold-pressed meadowfoam seed oil). No synthetic, unpronounceable, numeric ending ingredients here. The brand also procures only fairly traded and sustainably cultivated materials and ingredients – vegan and free from animal testing.

Each Call of the Vialed parfum comes with its own unique aroma psychology, sure to make whomever you are gifting feel appreciated. Not sure which scent will fit their fancy? Try Call of the Vialed’s Set of Specimens, a sampler of 5 -.25mL parfums.


Indigo Handloom


In support of weavers in rural India, Indigo Handloom creates stunning textiles infused with ancient arts, handskills and weaving techniques like real ikat, jamdani, jacquard, and batik. The brand is passionate about using only the finest and most luxe cotton, linen, silk and wool – never petroleum ladin synthetics. Their products are also made without electrical energy, coal nor emissions. In fact, for every scarf made on handloom as opposed to machine loom, enough energy is saved to power a desktop computer for 10 hours.

With dozens of styles and colors to choose from, Indigo Handloom’s handwoven scarves make the perfect gift for the compassionate adventurer in your life.




Despite ongoing jokes about receiving socks during the holidays, these ones won’t disappoint. Treat their feet to the comfiest socks they could ever own by Vreseis. Founded by Northern California based farmer and scientist Sally Fox, this holiday season Vreseis has released an exclusive line of socks made with organic FoxFiber cotton. FoxFiber is a naturally colored, super soft heirloom cotton that grows in multiple colors like green, beige, brown, white and sienna. The socks are made entirely in the USA, spun and knit in North Carolina.

3 pack, of two brown pairs and one green pair, makes a thoughtful gift for the person in your life who has everything — ’cause they probably have sock monsters too.


Threads Worldwide


Threads Worldwide is a socially impactful collection of accessories that benefit women in hardship- providing them the skills and employment they need to achieve their dreams. Amidst the champagne, a crystal gift set is a radiant way to ring in the ever awaited New Year! The set includes Dharla earrings with lavender crystals and gold, as well as an elegant Taal bracelet with adjustable clasp.

While your loved one benefits from the healing properties of the stones, they will also feel good knowing that their fashionable adornments support women rescued from sex trafficking in Asia.


1 x 1


Since ‘baby, it’s cold outside’, surprise them with a sweater made regionally on the West Coast. Ethical fashion brand One by One believes in wardrobe staples that surpass trend. In partnership with a 125-year old sustainable ranch in Oregon, they released a humane wool collection of knits manufactured fairly in Los Angeles.

The mini capsule includes 2 super soft styles (one of them unisex) in 2 colors.  Timeless and highly crafted, it will become your giftee’s trusty fav for years to come — and be able to biodegrade (as opposed to live in a landfill for hundreds of years) when they are done enjoying it.



Cover photo by Joanna Kosinska

Threads Worldwide: Fair Trade Accessories That Go Beyond ‘For Women, By Women’

Think of all the earrings, necklaces and bracelets you’ve acquired over the years. What are their stories? Do you know where each piece came from, what they are made of, or who made them? Are they proudly hung on a diy organizer or tangled up in a big I’ll-deal-with-it-later mess somewhere in the abyss of your closet?

For centuries humans have worn jewelry as symbolic tokens of protection, luck, heritage, and love. Highly coveted, these handmade adornments have been passed down through generations embodying the stories of the many lives that each had touched- building sentimental value over time. In recent years, procuring jewelry and accessories has become as mindless as ‘I’ll add fries to that’. Inexpensive replicas of trend-driven styles flood fast fashion outlets across the world. Although they too come with a story, it’s generally a much uglier one. The majority of cheaply produced accessories are made at the expense of workers, the environment and your experience as the wearer. Would you reconsider the power of your dollar if you knew that the earrings you had bought on impulse for a party might be directly linked to the abuse or enslavement of another woman?

Threads Worldwide brings value and human connection back into the accessories we wear to express ourselves. Started in 2011 by three women who met in college, the company works with artisan cooperatives in several countries to not only lift women out of poverty, but allow them to thrive. They also create life-changing entrepreneurial opportunities for women in the United States through “Fair Trade Partnerships” that enable women to establish their own jewelry business while engaging others with the power of their purchases.


In addition to being one who is very passionate about reuse, current projects have led me towards an appreciation for Indian handloom textiles. I was thrilled to find Threads’ Suraj Necklace – a design that marries the two. I love that the necklace is made from wooden beads wrapped in kantha (recycled saris) and topped with a fun tassel. The pattern-on-pattern statement piece makes solids pop and adds dimension to a simple t-shirt and jeans. 

What strikes me even more about the Suraj Necklace are the stories of the artisans that make it. The sales of this necklace provide women in India the opportunity of economic advancement and social mobility. One of these women is Prema. While pregnant, Prema become widowed and found it difficult to support herself and her newborn daughter. Her uncle introduced her to work with a fair trade organization that partners with Threads. This work has provided her stability and hope as well as onsite childcare.


Threads Worldwide 2016 Fall Catalog

For those looking for a set of go-with-everything danglers to give as a gift or for themselves, the Zway Earrings answer with elegance.  Meticulously constructed from recycled metals and bullet casings, the earrings are made by women in Ethiopia who are HIV positive- many of whom have been ostracized from their communities. Instead of feeling outcasted and turning to begging, the artisan cooperative that Threads Worldwide partners with teaches these women handcrafting skills so that they can earn an income in a supportive work environment.

The holistic philosophy behind Threads Worldwide connects women in a symbiotic way that knows no borders. It also reminds us of a common thread that permeates us all: compassion. It is very humbling yet empowering to know that what you are wearing has the ability to help another woman not only survive, but give her the ability to make her dreams a reality.


You can find the Suraj NecklaceZway Earrings –and many other beautifully curated styles that were handmade by women around the world– on Threads WorldwideIf you’d like to learn more about Threads Worldwide, please check out these other articles by my colleagues at the Ethical Writers Coalition:

  1. Weaving Tales of Empowerment with Threads Worldwide” by Leotie Lovely
  2. “Every Thread of Every Woman has a Home at Threads Worldwide” by Saint Sisters
  3. “Fair Trade and Sustainability Go Hand-in-Hand at Threads Worldwide” by My Kind Closet
  4. “Can Earrings Change the World?” by Terumah


[Sponsored Post]: Please note that the jewelry mentioned in this post was gifted to me by Threads Worldwide as a project through Ethical Writers Coalition. I only work with brands that align with my values and all opinions aforementioned are my own.

I Tried On Skunkfunk’s Zero Waste Collection

While helping organize San Francisco’s Fashion Revolution Day, I had the opportunity to reconnect with designers I had previously worked with on various projects as well as meet new brands and sustainable fashion enthusiasts within the community. June Ortiz and Marion Tsr, of Skunkfunk San Francisco, were a couple of those lovely people. Amongst our meetups and activities they introduced me to Skunkfunk’s newest capsule project- a zero waste collection. For those unfamiliar with the term, “zero waste” is a technique in which a designer or pattern maker will create a cut and sew garment utilizing the entire piece of fabric they are working with so there are absolutely no off-cuts going to landfill. Just FYI: It is estimated that each time a garment is produced 15% to a 20% is wasted.

Anxious to check out the collection myself, June, Marion and I made a date at Skunkfunk’s mission district boutique. Although I had heard of Skunkfunk, I was unaware that they had been around since the mid-nineties and became popular through the European festival-scene. When I entered their beautiful San Francisco eco boutique I was amazed at how many styles they offered. In addition to ethically made clothing, they had handbags and accessories – including some really cool geometric-inspired paper totes that are waterproof and recyclable. What I enjoyed most was feeling the luxurious organic cotton softness of each top, dress and pant. One thing you truly miss out on when shopping online is the tactile quality of what you are purchasing.

Inspired by my visit, I wrote a piece about Skunkfunk’s collection for Ecouterre where I interviewed Alvaro Razquin, head of design at Skunkfunk. Check it out to learn more about Skunkfunk’s sustainable efforts and their awesome zero waste collection.







skunkfunk-12 skunkfunk-11


Below are a couple snaps of me enjoying the Skunkfunk’s Zero waste Calathea style. I really enjoy it because I can easily restyle both top or skirt into new outfits, plus the material is extra comfy- it feels like wearing pajamas. There is a button on the back that let’s you cinch in the top or let it hang loose as I did in the second pic. Love the versatility!





What We Did In San Francisco For Fashion Revolution Week

Over the last 5 years I have spent living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area as an ethical fashion consultant, my network of local makers and brands has grown- from fashion designers, milliners, metalsmiths, jewelers and shoe makers to weavers, knitters, farmers, natural dyers, textile artists and creators in between. I am proud to say that I pretty much have access to an entire supply chain within my own backyard. Every time I meet someone new, the conversation often goes to “Well, do you know Sally Fox the organic cotton farmer?” or “I know a local knitwear designer or dyer who can help you with that”.

While Fashion Revolution Day was on its way, I had an urge to bring all these talented folks to one space. I reached out to Luke Swanson, West Coast Coordinator for Fashion Revolution Day to assist me in an attempt to start some conversations and connections in our local fashion economy with an official sustainable fashion community meet-up last March. This was followed by creating a Sustainable SFBay Facebook group, so that we all could connect in the digital realm, and I organically adopted the role of organizer for these sustainable fashion socials.

It was truly amazing to see about 50 – 60 people attend our first impromptu meeting on a weekday evening at a local brewery. After that, we partnered with the 25th Street Collective and Hiroko Kurihara who was kind enough to offer her space for other meet-ups in preparation for Fashion Revolution Day.

What began as a response to the worst garment factory disaster to date, the Rana Plaza complex collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that killed 1,134 and injured over 2,500 in 2013, Fashion Revolution Day has ignited an international movement demanding transparency and radical change in the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased. This momentous grassroots campaign, consisting of tens of thousands of supporters in over 80 countries, has encouraged consumers to “be curious, find out, do something” by engaging on social media with the brands they purchase fashion from and asking the question:“#WhoMadeMyClothes?”

There was no way the Bay Area was going to sit this one out.

We held two more meet-ups before we collectively decided on three events to produce to commemorate the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse, as well as remind wearers of clothing to ask “who made my clothes”, which included:

1) A Fashion Revolution Kick Off Party and Panel Discussion featuring guest panelists Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed, Shamini Dhana, founder of Dhana Inc. and Associate Producer for the True Cost movie, and Starre Vartan, travel journalist and founder of Eco Chick.

FRD SFBAY Panel Video Preview

(A video recap of the panel discussion can be found on the Facebook event page here: part 1part 2.)


2) A Slow Fashion Pop-Up event in collaboration with Skunkfunk featuring apparel by New Market Goods, Tonle, Annaborgia, and the Tripty Project.



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3) A Fashion Revolution Day Press Event +  “Who Made Your Clothes” FASH MOB Parade through Union Square in downtown San Francisco.

San Francisco marched in a “fash mob” parade, sponsored by Wildlife Works Apparel – the world’s only carbon neutral, fair trade factory protecting wildlife in Kenya, to ask for greater transparency in the global fashion supply chain. Co-produced by Ecologique Fashion and Eleanor Amari of LOLA Creative Agency, the parade’s objective was to ask for greater transparency in the global fashion supply chain.

The “mob”, consisting of models, designers, sustainable brands and ethical fashion supporters, recognized Fashion Revolution Day, a grassroots campaign sparked in response to the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that happened three years to the day, leaving 1134 people killed and 2500 injured.

Fash Rev 7

More than fifty people strong, the fash mob commenced in Union Square, continuing down Powell St. and into the Westfield Mall with participators cheering  “Who Made My Clothes? Ask.” and holding bright signs as well as a parade banner, made from upcycled t-shirts, that read “Fashion Revolution”. Shoppers who joined the march were given the official San Francisco Fashion Revolution t-shirt by Wildlife Works Apparel, screen-printed locally by Social Imprints.

Fash Rev 5

Fash Rev 8

Participating brands, of which all are San Francisco Bay Area based, included Wildlife Works Apparel, The Tripty Project, Skunkfunk, Fibershed, Indigenous, Synergy Organic Clothing, Soko, New Market Goods, Ways of Change, Callina, PACT, Indosole, and Okiino.

Special thanks to Chanel Fu, stylist, Lindsay Stevens PR, Bare Snacks, Makeup artist Olga Pirmatova of Tokyo SF, Photographer Bryan Berry of Lola Creative Agency, and Remake for videography.



Slow Fashion pop-up photos by Daniela Degrassi | Fash Mob photos by Bryan Berry




Traditional Patterns and Dyeing Techniques Emerge for Spring/Summer 2016

Previously written for EcoHabitude.

This Spring/Summer ’16, trend isn’t the only thing dictating the fashion calendar. The emphasis is on conversation pieces that tell a story, and fashion enthusiasts are feeling more connected than ever to the makers and cultures that inspired or created their outfits. Lively color, mimicking native flora, is also in demand. With the momentum of the slow fashion movement comes a resurgence of natural dyes and earth-inspired patterns that replace toxic, synthetic dyes with color derived from plants, minerals, wood– even insects.

Spring 2016 Trends :: Nature Dyed

Natural dyes aren’t something new, they’ve been around since the bronze age. It was only in the mid-19th century that synthetic dyes were introduced and began their wide-spread into many of the products and clothing we use today. Over time, the craft of natural dyeing took to the underground, but has stayed alive through traditional cultures of North America, Africa, Asia, and the Scottish Highlands. Shibori, a Japanese art of dyeing where the cloth is bound, stitched, folded, twisted or compressed before being dropped into the dye vat, has also resurfaced this season. With shibori, one can create gorgeous geometric shapes and resist patterns without having to machine print onto fabric.

modern shibori

Hexagon Silk Scarf : Modern Shibori

This year, many designers have partnered up with natural dye experts, artisans and foragers alike to integrate this ancient art form into their lines. Some are even learning the technique themselves and basing entire collections upon these gorgeous color ways and irregular effects. Take for example, San Francisco based Elizabeth Brunner, founder and lead designer of sustainable fashion brand Piece x Piece:

“Honestly, it never really occurred to me as to why I decided to learn how to dye on my own. I guess I’m stubborn in a way because if I really want something, I figure out how to roll up my sleeves and get it. It can be really hard sometimes but it’s always gratifying. With dyeing it was the same, it started small then I just kept saying to myself… ‘now let’s try this’. The rich natural colors of those first experiments ended up being my muse and inspired me to evolve my brand and take it to the next level.  

My creative process is simple. I do what feels right. With the new collection it was about creating a non-toxic collection. Organic cotton is starting to become more prevalent, why not take it even further and demand less chemicals in the dyeing process too? For me, it’s a small positive contribution to a bigger issue, but every effort to make things better, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.”


“The rich natural colors of those first experiments ended up being my muse and inspired me to evolve my brand and take it to the next level.”

Elizabeth Brunner, Piece x Piece


piece x piece

Eva Silk Jacket : Piece x Piece

As the weather warms up, many of us are re-introduced to the outdoors as the season brings with it the ever-awaited music festival. From Coachella to SXSW, people are gearing up to get back in touch with their roots. Expect to see a lot of bold, ethnic patterns inspired by African, Navajo and Andean cultures. Speaking of bold, a revival of thick chunky bracelets, long earrings that dangle to shoulder, and chocker-esque statement pieces that rest at the base of the neck will be accessorized.

Spring 2016 Trends :: Ethnic Bold
 Like natural dyeing, we are seeing traditional crafts emerge this year, peaking the interest of the mainstream – and rightfully so. These handmade works of art have a history and uniqueness all their own. Through conservation of these invaluable skill sets we can help them survive while supporting the economic wellbeing of the people that make with them. Many fashion companies are doing just that by partnering up with artisan collectives in places like South India, Peru and the Thailand Burma border.

ikat estwst

Pochampally Ikat Shoulder Sling : EST WST

Socially focused company EST WST works with handloom weavers in rural Nepal and India to create authentic rucksacks, messenger bags, slings and ipad cases from traditional handwoven textiles like dhaka, a staple in western Nepal, and ikat, a resist dyeing technique used to create tie-dye effects through weaving . These crafts are quickly vanishing with the rise of machine wovens. EST WST co-founder, Jhana Clayton told us:

“The first factory to start weaving dhaka in Nepal once employed, housed and fed 400 weavers, now they have 25. Although technology will always progress, in rural areas there’s a huge problem with power shortages and extended daily blackouts; the incredible thing about handloom textiles is that they don’t require the use of electricity. Through the practice of weaving these authentic fabrics, women can work from home instead of migrating to the overpopulated, polluted city. They can earn a sustainable living from home, without having to compromise time with their children or time caring for their land or livestock. This is where slow fashion can be so empowering: it produces more jobs and provides economic opportunity in remote regions, usually for women who would otherwise have a very hard time earning a living wage.”

“Through the practice of weaving these authentic fabrics, women can work from home instead of migrating to the overpopulated, polluted city. They can earn a sustainable living… without having to compromise time with their children or time caring for their land or livestock.”

Jhana Clayton, Co-founder of EST WST

Pesticide use is also a problem in the area resulting in high rates of depression and farmer suicides in rural Andhra Pradesh, not to mention the contamination of local water sources. In response, the use of EST WST ikat, made from organic cotton and azo-free dyes, not only supports fair wage opportunities for the weavers, but in purchasing an EST WST ikat product, you are helping save enough fresh water for somebody to drink for a year.

layered cuffs ways of change

Layered Cuffs : Ways of Change

Conscious consumerism, a new form of philanthropy, can also offer a way to support those affected by conflict and migration by connecting them to a global community. Ways of Change, a fashion brand inspiring change through community development, works directly with artisan refugees living on the Thailand Burma border to create gorgeous brass jewelry utilizing skills that have been passed down for many generations. We spoke to the company’s co-founder Lauren Baird:

“From the start WoC has worked in collaboration with refugee artisans because we wanted to help in the preservation of the traditional Kayan and Karen jewelry making skills that were otherwise dying out due to a lack of sustainable income. It allows us to create truly unique and one of a kind collections that are both inspired by modern designs while simultaneously capitalizing on traditional skills. The best part of the whole experience for me is watching the younger generations learn these traditional skills and become so excited about keeping their culture alive”


“The best part of the whole experience for me is watching the younger generations learn these traditional skills and become so excited about keeping their culture alive”


Lauren Baird, Co-founder of Ways of Change


In addition to helping secure a livelihood for artisans, a portion of Ways of Change profits go towards community projects focused on empowerment and sustainable living, providing support to refugees as they become repatriated, resettled or integrated into local communities.

The Not-So-Secret Contents of My Handbag

Some say you can tell a woman by what she carries in her purse. Although I’m not sure about all that, I do know that the items in my bag at any given day reflect how cluttered or calm my head might be. I’m happy to say that I’ve given up my hoarding got-to-be-prepared-for-anything purse days and now settle for a few basics in addition to my wallet, phone and a good shade of lipstick. Packing light and being conscious of the things that I carry in my bag – including the bag itself – has truly enhanced my busy lifestyle.


Future Glory | Moto Tote – Noir

For the past year and a half, the Future Glory moto tote has been my on-the-go savior with a strap. This open bag (no zipper) allows me quick access to the items within it. I can even slide my laptop into the bag for meetings. It’s a great carry-everywhere bag that goes with pretty much every outfit. I was most attracted to the bag because of its quality, knowing that I wanted something that would last me many years. The moto-inspired tote in made with durable, domestically sourced full-grain leather and is side channel stitched for sturdiness. Handcrafted in San Francisco, all Future Glory bags support social causes in the Bay Area. A portion of my purchase went to Because Justice Matters, a charity for victims of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.



Alder New York | Natural Hair Powder- Eucalyptus

Last winter, I had the pleasure of attending the Brooklyn Fashion +Design Accelerator‘s annual awards ceremony. The night was full of happy faces, delicious wines, even an impromptu dance party.  As I was walking down the aisle of designer workspaces, I came across a table of natural beauty products and couldn’t resist checking them out.  Lucky for me, I hadn’t packed any hair powder so I became giddy in finding a variety of scented hair powders all to my liking – it was simply serendipitous. I think I spent a good twenty minutes sniffing their products (ok, so I’m indecisive) and finally opted for the eucalyptus powder (added bonus of clearing my sinuses!). I carry said powder in my handbag on the daily and regularly use it between washes.

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t get the long, voluminous hair my sister did, so Alder New York‘s natural hair powder gives my locks the after-work boost they needs to brave the rest of the day. I also have bangs (le sigh) which can be oh-so-cute one moment and then look like a 50’s-greaser-gone-bad the next. A little dab of this natural powder at the base of my bangs fixes them right up. As mentioned, this hair powder also works as a ‘poo alternative between washes – which is actually better for your hair!

Another thing I love about this product: it comes in glass as opposed to plastic. This not only makes the container easier to recycle and reuse after use, glass just translates quality and consciousness in a product to me. Made in small batches in Brooklyn, NY Alder New York’s natural hair powder formulation is free of talc, paragon, sulfate, formaldehyde and animal products, relying only on rich rice powder, kaolin clay, horsetail powder and essential oils. The company, originally founded in 2011 by David J. Krause and Nina Zilka has expanded their line to everything from soaps and activate charcoal masks to salves and pomades. Check out the entire product line here.



Calypso Glow | Moisture Rich Body Oil

I was introduced to Calypso Glow (another rad NY-Based company) through an introduction from Drakeford PR (thanks Dominique!).  I heard such great things I had to check it out. And boy am I glad that I did – my skin has never looked better. Their moisture rich body oil is like a sweet Caribbean spa escape in a bottle. First off, the smell is like non other as they’ve been able to capture lemongrass is such a way that it invigorates you without being overpowering. Sometimes, in lieu of perfume, I rely on this body oil as perfume.

Unlike other body oils I have tried, Calypso Glow’s Moisture rich body oil is never sticky and absorbs quickly into my skin leaving it rich and buttery without clogging my pores. I like using it right out of the shower, but throw it in my handbag for needed moisture throughout the day. It’s literally a thirst quencher for my skin! The key ingredients? Sustainably harvested coconut oil, omega 3 and 7 fatty acids, seaweed extracts and USDA certified organic essential oils. Founded by Patricia Bentham, Calypso Glow is inspired by the natural healing power of the Caribbean sea. Scope the rest of their luxurious product line here.



Schmidt’s | Ylang-Ylang Calendula

If you haven’t hopped on the natural deodorant train, do it now and don’t be afraid of being stinky ’cause I’ve done the research! Since 2008, I’ve been in search of the perfect natural deodorant that would let my pits breath and stay healthy, while keeping stickiness at bay. Say hello to Schmidt’s, my new best buddy and soon to be yours…

I’m sure you’ve heard that commonly used deodorants and antiperspirants have been found to contain harmful ingredients including aluminum, parabens and more. These compounds get absorbed by the skin and mimic estrogen, which promotes the growth of breast cancer cells. Being someone who doesn’t have time for all that, Schmidt’s made it easy for me to go natural without it ruining my social life. They truly set new standards for natural deodorant and with very few ingredients, and great scents to choose from, are able to maintain a product that is made vegan and cruelty-free. Schmidt’s is such a game changer, I’m tempted to buy their deluxe 5 pack and start passing them out to friends and family.

I opted for their ylang-ylang calendula flavor in glass container, but they also have products available in stick applicator form so you won’t be going out of your convenience-zone stay fresh. Being an always on-the-go kinda person who often times rushes out of the house forgetting deodorant, I have one jar reserved exclusively for my handbag while keeping another in my medicine cabinet. The consistency of the product is smooth, smells great and keeps me dry (and smelling fresh) all day even after a work-out. As if it couldn’t get any better, their product’s are made locally in Portland, Oregon pleasing my desire to support our local economy.

Living Zero Waste: An Interview with Bea Johnson

Previously written for EcoHabitude.

Do you ever wonder how much waste you personally generate in a week? Is it one trash can full? Two? More? On average, each American throws away 4.38 pounds of waste per day (EPA). What can we take from this? Well for one, we have become too fixated on disposables and one-time-use products (think face cleansing wipes, paper towels, razors, plastic bags, q-tips, etc.). We are also accustomed to buying products with packaging because we think it’s safer than not.  What would our lives look like waste-free? We caught up with Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, to get the scoop on what this lifestyle means to her and how it has greatly influenced her choices as a consumer.

You’ve been living waste-free since 2008. What inspired you to embark on this lifestyle?

It’s something that came gradually into our lives. It’s not something that I planned on doing. What happened was that we were living in a large home in the suburbs and we were wanting to move to an area where we could walk to things because living in the suburbs meant we had to take the car everywhere. We decided to relocate to Mill Valley to be closer to an active downtown, and in running short of finding the ideal home, we lived in an apartment for a year. We only moved in with the necessities and put the rest in storage.

During that year we found that by living with less, all of a sudden we had more time on our hands to do things we enjoy doing. We were able to go on picnics and hikes and discover the California coastal region, it also gave us time to take an interest in learning about environmental issues. When we finally found a home and went to retrieve our things from storage, we ended up getting rid of 80% of our belongings. We turned off cable and only watched documentaries and read books. What we found is that we began to think about what we would be leaving behind for our kids. We decided to change our ways for the sake of the future.

A glimpse into Bea Johnson’s zero waste home

A glimpse into Bea Johnson’s zero waste home


Describe “Zero Waste living” in one sentence.

The zero waste lifestyle is about reducing your household waste as much as possible- it’s a lifestyle based on experiences instead of things.

Was it challenging introducing a zero waste lifestyle into your family?

We were six months into it and my kids didn’t even notice. Kids have simple needs and as long as those needs are met (as long as they come home to a cookie that they like after school or cereal they like in the morning) they don’t need anything else. They’re happy. Adults are the ones that are creating the complications. And if you ask my kids, “What does zero waste mean for you? It is hard?” they’ll say “zero waste is really my mom’s thing”– and they’re right because in the end who is the person who brings waste into the home? It is the person that does the shopping. Zero waste is more about what we do outside the home than it is what we do inside the home. So it’s when I shop with reusables, when I shop second hand and the fact that I have exchanged everything in our home that was disposable for a reusable– it is by doing these things that I have been able to stop waste from coming in to our house in the first place.


Bea’s minimal office and studio


Recycling has become a popular means of “going green”. What are some of the misconceptions involved with the simple act of recycling?

People believe that whatever they put in their recycling can is actually going to be recycled — that is not true. There are actually a lot of materials that don’t get recycled. For example, there are plastics that are not recyclable because there is no market for them or because they are difficult to recycle. Some of the plastics that are lucky enough to get recycled, such as #1, #2 and #5  (those are the three that get recycled the most), there is a market for. But, unfortunately once those plastics are recycled into another product, they become a product that is no longer recyclable. For example, if you recycle bottles to make a park bench that bench cannot be recycled.

For you and your family’s clothing, you shop only second-hand. Can you offer any tips regarding what you look for when you shop?

I am not shopping all year long. I only shop for clothing twice during the year: in mid October and mid April. First I ask my kids if they have any special requests (colors, brands) and then I know what to keep an eye out for. I look for good quality. For myself I look for versatile styles that I can dress up or down depending on whatever I do (all of our wardrobes fit in carry on). I don’t look at brands at all. I look for how it is made. I look for natural fibers. I like wool and sometimes find cashmere. I like silk and cotton… and definitely leather shoes!

I think some people have issues with second-hand clothing because they think it’s going to stink or that the clothes are not going to be good quality. It’s not true. Plus, second-hand doesn’t necessarily mean thrift store– it can be from a flea market, high end consignment store and you can find anything second hand on ebay. When you buy new, you have no idea what an item is going to go through. A second hand item has already gone through the test of time and you can already tell what it’s going to look like after it has been washed.

Bea’s pantry filled with reusables and bulk foods

Bea’s pantry filled with reusables and bulk foods

What can businesses and makers do to make a zero waste lifestyle easier for their consumers to adhere to?

It’s good to think about the lifecycle of your product: what is that product going to become once it has been consumed? It is one thing to choose to make your product from materials that are environmentally friendly, but once you put these materials together what is happening in the end? Is the product recyclable? Compostable? I personally look for things

that are already made from something else. Businesses need to think about communicating the end life of their products to the consumer via a card, or by printing directly on the product itself. That way the consumer knows what to do with the product in the end.




As a society, we are so obsessed with things being clean and sanitary. From our bodies to the things we buy– we are hyper-hygenic. In ways, this stigma can keep people from willingly adopting a zero waste life. What do you think can change this frame of mind?

Our society is definitely becoming germaphobic. This is because the consumer is listening to the marketer. The marketer is telling us that for each application we need a different product to clean the walls, the floor, the counter, the bathroom. Marketers also like to say that their product is going to kill all these germs and be better for you.  We’ve been cleaning our entire house with castile soap and white vinegar and we are actually not as sick as we used to be. It’s the consumer that needs to stop listening to the marketing schemes. We’re not idiots. We know what the truth is.

Bea’s simple cleaning products

Bea’s simple cleaning products


Any final words?

The zero waste lifestyle is not what people expect it to be. It’s something that people think will be draining, but it’s actually the complete opposite– it’s freeing. It doesn’t cost more, it costs less. It doesn’t take more time, it takes less time and frees you up for doing more important things. It’s also healthier for you because it rids your life from toxic products.

My methodology:

  1. Refuse the things that you do not need
  2. Reduce the things that you do need
  3. Reuse by buying second hand and swapping anything disposable for a reusable alternative
  4. Only recycle what cannot be refuse, reduce or reuse
  5. Rot (ie. compost) the rest



For more tips on zero waste living, check out Bea’s blog here, or purchase her book, Zero Waste Home. Also check out her app bulk to help locate grocery stores near you that carry bulk products that don’t require packaging.


Photos provided by

Style Ethique: Stuck in the 90’s

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I’ve got perma 90’s nostalgia. Perhaps everyone wants to stay in their teenage years minus the uncomfortable awkwardness. For me, the 90’s was about imitation – which is ironic because I’m obviously about embracing ones true self/beauty/whathaveyou. I think it is just a super amusing time to look back on because of all the experimentation- most of it ending up in goofy failures with clothing, make-up and hair. It also wasn’t until the late 90’s that I looked forward to presenting my physical self and styling my clothes.

90’s styles I’ve never been able to quit are as follows: clippies, cropped tees, adrogyny, grunge, brown lipstick, exaggerated eye liner, olive green, grunge and anything with a hood. What’s more is that anytime I come across a piece of clothing with said hood, I instantly become intrigued. It is because of this, and my passion for ethical fashion, that led me to discovering Animana – an ethical brand and boutique in Paris that create gorgeous knitwear and home decor. Hanging around near home on a warm Saturday afternoon, I based my comfy, loungy look around their super soft and airy Fandra Sweater. I find it a great piece for Northern California’s transition from winter to warmer spring. (Read more about Animana on Refix).




Fandra Sweater  – AnimanaGirdle PantsPrairie Underground

Hammered Copper Bangle- Steamy Lab, Copper Hoop Earrings – Life San Francisco

Booties- Crossroads Trading Co.

Photos by Emmanuel Peter

Sober up with these Satisfying Mocktails and Tea Tonics

Previously written for EcoHabitude.

The champagne is gone, the new year is here and I’ve gotten myself into a deep contract of resolutions. One of these resolutions being to give up alcohol. While I am no means an alcoholic, I do enjoy a seasonal cocktail or glass of vino from time to time- most often when visiting with friends. Now at day 17 of my pact, I’ve learned a few things about myself in the abstinence of alcohol.

The positives (+):

  1. I feel a lot more productive
  2. I’m in higher spirits with less mood swings or anxiety
  3. My skin is looking more dewy and moisturized


The negatives (-):

  1. I never noticed how tough it was to be social or celebrate events or occurrences without the presence alcoholic beverages
  2. It can be difficult finding alternatives to alcohol when you are at a bar  + it’s hard being around drunk people when you are sober (you may start asking yourself:  “These people are my friends?”)
  3. I crave the bubbly sensation of cocktails and the smooth texture of a rich glass of red wine


Being too proud to hop off the sober boat just yet, I began researching recipes to please my palette and tips to reduce my social woes. In doing so, I bought a soda stream, dusted off my juicer and started pinning like a mad women in search of substitutes. From detoxing juices and cleansing elixirs to down-right delicious mocktails and tea tonics.



Probably the first step in taking the ode of no alcohol for any period of time is detoxing from any damage past consumption has done.

Lemon Ginger Detox Drink


Adapted from The Harvest Kitchen


2-1/2 cups boiling water

1 organic Meyer lemon cut into slices

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

optional: 2 teaspoons honey


  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Turm the heat off and add the lemon, ginger and turmeric.
  3. Let steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain and drink at room temperature or reheat (but don’t bring to a boil).



Maca Chia Morning Drink


Adapted from Free People blog


1 cup almond milk (learn to make your own!)

¼ cup chia seeds (soaked in purified water or almond milk overnight)

1 teaspoon maca powder

1 teaspoon matcha powder* (or way more, depending on how much caffeine you like)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch pink Himalayan salt

optional: 2 teaspoons coconut sugar


Combine everything in a glass jar, tighten the lid, and shake!



Natural Energy

Without stimulants like alcohol or coffee (yep, gave that one up too), I’ve relied on beverages with natural whole foods to give me a buzz… those that won’t drop me mid-day.

Chia Colada!


Photo: Well + Good

Adapted from


¼ cup chia seeds soaked in ½ cup filtered water for 5 minutes

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 banana

2 cups refrigerated coconut milk


Blend together in blender and enjoy!


Cacao Banana Smoothie

cacao banana smoothie

Photo from


My own personal breakfast replacement fav…


1 frozen banana

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

16 oz almond milk

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)


Mix in blender and voila!



A Well Deserved Treat  (aka alcohol replacements that are almost like the real thing)

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to operate on a reward-system. Do a good deed, get a treat. Finish a long day at work, have a drink. “You deserve a break today”. It’s up to us to correct our reward-system by swapping out addictive “treats”  for something more satisfying for our bodies and brain…  

Strawberry Fizz


Recipe from The Owl’s Brew


1 Part The Owl’s Brew Pink & Black tea crafted for cocktails

1 part Sparkling Water

Serve chilled or over ice

Garnish: fresh organic strawberries


Mix together 


Iced Green Tea Mojito  


Adapted from Primally


1 Pitcher of Unsweetened Iced Green Tea (or a green tea blend for kicks)

Per serving:

3 mojito mint leaves

2 slices cucumber

½ lime, juiced

optional: ½ – 1 teaspoon pure raw honey


Optional: extra lime slices and mint leaves for garnish 

  1. Squeeze the lime juice into a glass.
  2. Add the mint leaves and the cucumber slices to the glass and muddle until the leaves are slightly bruised.You can also use the back of a spoon if you don’t have a muddle.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and add your iced green tea.
  4. Add raw honey to taste.
  5. Stir well and garnish with additional mint leaves and lime slices, if desired.