Andrea was cited for her expertise in ethical fashion.
American Airlines Seems to Be Gaslighting Its Employees Over Fashion
New uniforms seem to be making flight attendants sick — but the company refuses to pull them.
Read the article here.
Andrea was cited for her expertise in ethical fashion.
Read the article here.
Ignorance is not always bliss. More often than not, we don’t know where the things we purchase come from. We blindly buy clothes that are affordable, stylish, and reflect the latest breaking trends, without giving much thought to how they came to be. A “fash mob” (flash mob and fashion show) of local designers, ethical fashion supporters, and models marched from Union Square into the Westfield Mall on April 24, 2016 to bring this disconnect to the forefront, demand transparency in the clothing industry, and ask the question, “Who made your clothes?”
This query is at the center of the Fashion Revolution, a grassroots campaign born from the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 24, 2013. The tragedy occurred the day after cracks were found in the building; workers had been threatened with losing one month’s pay if they didn’t return to work, despite the obvious risks. Tragically, 1134 people were killed and approximately 2500 injured. The minimum wage for factory workers in Bangladesh at the time was $37 a month, despite the country being the second largest clothing manufacturer in the world, after China.
Crucial questions were raised about what our spending dollars are supporting in factories on the other side of the world. At Rana Plaza, the standard work shift was 13.5 to 14 hours, workers received two days off a month, and senior tailors earned only $12.48 a week, according to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. These low wages help guarantee that we pay low prices at many fast fashion retailers.
“It’s time to retrain and redirect the fashion industry towards a more compassionate and sustainable future,” says Joyce Hu, creative director for Wildlife Works Apparel, the world’s only carbon-neutral, fair-trade factory protecting wildlife in Kenya, and a sponsor of the San Francisco event. “Fashion Revolution is spreading a very urgent message and we are proud to be contributing to its momentum.” This message also touches on the environmental impact of the estimated 80 billion items of clothing delivered out of factories annually worldwide.
Revolutions start everyday with just one person. San Francisco resident Sandy Lam vowed to not buy new clothing after watching the documentary The True Cost. “I would shop at H&M or Forever 21 because I was able to find cheap and cute bargain items,” admits Lam. “Empathy and guilt are huge motivating factors for why I decided to only buy secondhand. People in Third World countries are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions for extremely low wages. It is literally life or death for them—all for the sake of satisfying the wants and demands of big, greedy corporations and consumers in the US. Because of this, I’ve committed to only buying clothing at secondhand stores or directly from the maker.”
Another solution is to shop locally and buy from ethical clothing producers. “Much of the fashion community in the Bay Area is dedicated to sustainable innovation and ethical sourcing,” states Andrea Plell, founder of Ecologique Fashion and co-producer of SF’s Fashion Revolution Day. “As consumers we have the right to know the impact of our purchases and these (participating) brands are doing their part by creating relationships with their suppliers and makers, exposing their stories, carefully examining their supply chains, and becoming role models for the industry.”
Lam suggests baby steps for the consumer. “Think about others, think about the planet. Every single thing you do makes an impact. Even if you can’t be extreme, buying directly from the maker or strictly secondhand, trying never hurts.”
Want to make a difference? Shop at these ethical retailers:
The world’s first and only carbon-neutral, fair-trade factory protecting wildlife. Located on an 80,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, Wildlife Works produces apparel for ethical brands such as Threads for Thought, PUMA, Soko for Asos, LaLesso, and Raven and Lily.
Founded by Andrea Plell in 2008, Ecologique Fashion is a sustainable fashion consultancy and event-production company on a mission to support a paradigm shift in the industry by promoting ethical business practices.
Indigenous is committed to fair-trade partnerships with culturally diverse artisans. All indigenous apparel and accessories are only made of all-natural fibers such as organic cotton, organic alpaca, merino wool, and silk.
Synergy Organic Clothing creates fashion-forward clothing and yoga apparel for women. They produce sustainable and organic fair-trade clothing.
Fibershed is an organization, founded by Rebecca Burgess, that develops regenerative textile systems that are based on carbon farming, regional manufacturing, and public education.
Skunkfunk is a sustainable brand that was started in the 1990s in the Basque Country. They now have stores all over the world. Their products are made from certified organic GOTS cotton, natural materials, and recycled fibers. They just released a zero-waste capsule collection for Spring.
Soko is a brand that connects consumers to Nairobian artisans of handcrafted jewelry made from sustainable materials.
Callina is an ethical knitwear brand inspired by Peru. They work with knitting organizations and artisans in Arequipa. A portion of all proceeds goes back to the alpaca shepherds they procure their fibers from.
New Market Goods
New Market Goods is a fair-trade clothing brand that works responsibly with artisans in Bangladesh to develop handmade clothing for men and women.
The Tripty Project
The Tripty Project fuses traditional handicraft with modern design to create a company that has a positive impact on community, culture, and environment. All items are proudly Made in Bangladesh.
Ways of Change
Ways of Change is an ethical jewelry brand that empowers artisan refugees through skill preservation. A portion of their proceeds go to support community projects in regions where the artisans live.
Okkiino is an apparel brand made in San Francisco with responsibly sourced materials from Italy. They share their profits with non-profit organizations for community development and ocean preservation.
Indosole is a footwear collection sparked in response to the 1.5 billion tires wasted each year. They work directly with artisans in Indonesia to repurpose tires into the soles of their shoes.
Pact is a sweatshop-free apparel company that ethically produces (mostly) underwear with organic cotton.
“Andrea Plell is the founder of Ecologique Fashion an ethical and sustainable fashion consultancy based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2007, Plell has put her background in business and marketing to work to change the fashion industry, from creating editorial content to coordinating fashion shows. Ecologique Fashion has worked with the 25th Street Collective in Oakland, made ethical shopping more accessible through the online marketplace EcoHabitude and showcased local fashion in two Fibershed runway shows. This year, Plell is turning her focus to organizing Bay Area events to build awareness and community around Fashion Revolution Week, April 18 – 24, 2016. She spoke with Fibershed to share more about how her professional path has evolved, the significance of Fashion Revolution, and what each of us can do to join the movement.”
JD: Can you tell us a little bit about Fashion Revolution Day, how and why it originated?
AP: Fashion Revolution is a global movement that demands transparency in the fashion industry. Since its inception three years ago, this grassroots campaign has encouraged us to consider the social and environmental impact of our clothes – going viral on the internet and social networks as a way to engage directly with the brands and companies we get our clothing from and asking them “Who Made My Clothes?”. Much of the clothing accessible in stores today is manufactured in other countries. Because many clothing companies are looking for the lowest bidders they often do business with factories they have never visited, and those that are not up to safety code. With the demand from the fast fashion markets of the US and UK, some of these factories are forced to meet strict deadlines which in turn end up affecting the workers in a negative way. There have been countless factory accidents due to these negligences and the disconnect we have with where our clothing comes from. One in particular sparked the Fashion Revolution and made headlines: the Rana Plaza 8-story factory building collapse on April 24th, 2013 killed 1134 people and injured over 2400. I remember the day that I saw news of this disaster on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily and thought to myself- now people will start to realize there is a problem with the fashion systems we currently have in place.
Above: (L) Plell asks “who made my clothes?” and (R) presents a Fashion Revolution event announcement; photos c/o Ecologique Fashion.
JD: It’s disturbing that it takes that kind of tragedy to bring attention to these issues in the supply chain, but I think it really, for so many people, drove home the fact that there are real people making our clothes – it’s not all automated
AP: There’s definitely a huge disconnect going on, but with the organic food industry getting us thinking about what we put in our bodies as well as our sustainable impact, we are ready to consider what we are putting on our bodies. What’s interesting too, is that a lot of people don’t know that there is a human on the other side of the thread, so to speak, as we have gotten used to associating products with machines and have began to rely too much on the conveniences of consumerism. It’s exciting to see a resurgence of DIYs and workshops sprouting about in the community and online through sites like Pinterest learning and revisiting crafts that have been around for centuries. In a sense we have the ability to become our own makers again.
JD: You’ve been working on these issues and in this arena for a few years, could you briefly give a background on what you do & how your work has evolved?
AP: My eyes were opened to the truth about the fashion industry in 2007, so since then it’s really been my passion and goal to share this enlightenment with others. Initially it started out as a blog and I began to write about ethical fashion brands in hopes of exposing them to the public. After that, I produced the first sustainable fashion event in Southern California, which included ethical designers from as far as New York and as close as San Diego and Los Angeles. I wanted to get the stereo-type of “ eco-fashion” out of the people’s head. Ethical fashion is not an itchy re-used burlap sack dress, it’s truly a garment made with the utmost consciousness and attention to detail in all arenas of its development. There’s beauty in the fibers and techniques being used. Just like when you’re eating a home cooked meal made with love, or eating an organically grown apple, as opposed to a bag of processed chips, you take a bite you can feel a sense of happy energy from that (plus, it’s way more delicious). And so with clothing, when you are wearing something that was made slowly with conscious thought, you are benefiting from a finished garment that feels richer, has its own story, and embodies a more fulfilling presence in your daily routine.
At the time that I was doing all these projects I was also in college at San Diego State University, studying business and marketing, and although it’s a great school, unfortunately for me I hated the marketing curriculum. A couple of my professors were constantly drilling into the student’s heads: “you need to sell sell sell,” and it truly hurt my soul. I remember one time, I let one of my professors know that I was producing an ethical fashion event featuring apparel that had been made with eco-friendly and sustainable materials. He patted me on the back for coming up with such a great “gimmick”- I think I went home and threw up. There were several times when I caught myself coming home from class in tears because I kept feeling an ethical conflict with the things I was being taught. But I kept going, and in doing so I made a promise to myself to use messaging and storytelling in an ethical way to bring attention only to companies doing good in the world.
Above: (L) the first issue of REFIX magazine; (L) Plell styles and (R) takes footage for a fashion film for Myrrhia Fine Knitwear; photos c/o Ecologique Fashion.
I was also working a corporate job in biotech, and felt that ethical conflict again. At the time, I was in my early twenties and going by the books in terms of what I thought I had to do for my life. It wasn’t until I became really conscious of the food that I was eating and the clothes that I was wearing, that the world opened up in a whole new way for me. I questioned everything that I had been told in the past, including my education, and the company that I was working for. I ended up quitting the job because I didn’t want to support something I didn’t want to believe in anymore. And on a whim, I moved to San Francisco, a city I’ve loved since a child, seeking conscious community. By then I evolved my blog into a magazine – REFIX– and was working with photographers, models, and ethical designers around the country was able to produce editorial spreads highlighting the beauty of slow fashion. I connected with the 25th Street Collective in Oakland, an incubator for slow food and fashion, where I met several designers of which I began to do projects with. While writing for Ethical Fashion Forum’s SOURCE on the side, I started doing creative direction and public relations with Myrrhia Fine Knitwear which gave me insight into local manufacturing efforts and materials as her business doubled as a fashion brand and knitwear manufacturer. She showed me organic cotton yarns from Sally Fox’s farm which was only an hour and a half away. This got me interested in local fiber sources, which led me to my introduction to Rebecca Burgess and Fibershed. One year after interviewing Rebecca for EFF SOURCE, I began working with the organization by co-producing the Fibershed Fashion Gala in 2013, as well as coordinating the runway show for the recent Grow Your JeansProject. Working with Fibershed immersed me in a whole other world I had previously known nothing about. I grew up in the suburbs without a lot of “natural” in my life when it came to food or products. I was a kind of that 90’s chemical child who loved trips to the drug store for scented nail polish and chewy sprees. To know who makes your clothes is one thing, but to be exposed to the farms and introduced to the farmers, the different plants and animals the fibers come from and their harvest times, as well as the native dye plants allowing an array of seasonal color palettes – the whole idea of regionalizing a garment supply chain was just mind blowing for me.
Above: Looks from the Grow Your Jeans runway in 2015; photos by Paige Green.
JD: You mentioned the ethical conflict you felt when pursuing marketing — and it sounds like that came around to really assist you in all the work you’ve been doing promoting ethically conscious/eco brands — but do you see a conflict between consumerism and environmental limitations?
AP: I think that it all comes down to becoming more conscious consumers. It really is about evaluating the things you currently have and using them – maximizing their potential, and if you need to buy, buy only what you need, and buy less of it. Learning how to extend the life of our products by fixing, mending or giving them new use. When buying new, being able to ask yourself the things like “do I need this?”, “will this product last me a long time?”. It’s a balance and somewhat of a dance, because you want to support companies or brands or makers that are doing really great things and are making strides in the industry, but you also don’t want to use that as an excuse to buy, say, 5 hats that you don’t need that are going to sit around.
JD: It seems like it’s really burgeoning and there are so many great new designers on the market or designers who may be more conventional starting to incorporate more organic materials – but the fashion industry at the same time moves so quickly and encourages people to buy in excess. And there’s a tension there between the growing ethical movement and the, ideally waning, fast fashion industry
AP: Fast fashion is definitely not the answer, although it is helping consumers catch on to the fact that they can buy fashion in organic materials. It makes me happy to see a lot of designers putting their foot down and no longer abiding by the wasteful fashion calendar that brings the pressures of new styles every week. A lot of this consumer need is driven by insecurity- I was guilty of it in my late teens early twenties too. At a young age I had a limited income and would opt for fast fashion chains to get my fashion fix, until I discovered second-hand and vintage clothing. One of the things that really moved me was looking at my own closet at the time, and looking at all my tags and thinking: oh my gosh, Made in India, Bangladesh, Mexico – all over the map, and I don’t know what any of this is made of, and why were they all falling apart in the wash?!
As a society we need to become more comfortable with ourselves – our bodies and who we are. We need to stop looking at social media and comparing ourselves to what we think we should be. I think that’s one of the major factors in always needing more, needing needing more to fill an invisible void that we’ve created for ourselves. I also think that there’s currently a lot of entitlement going on, where even if we can’t afford it, we’re trying to have this ‘princess closet’ of interchangeable outfits so that we’re always in style and so that people think better of us. In doing so we’re having such a negative impact on other communities, the environment and consequently ourselves.
Above: (L) Backstage and (R) on the runway at the 2013 Fibershed Fashion Gala; photos by Paige Green.
JD: So when it comes to Fashion Revolution day, what do you think that consumers, or clothing wearers can do to participate?
AP: Fashion Revolution encourages wearers of clothing to demand the right to know where their clothes come from by asking the brand directly on social media – twitter or instagram. Snap a pic of yourself with your top inside-out exposing the label. Tag the brand the clothing was from and ask them for example: Hi (brand), “I’d like to know #whomademyclothes ?” It has also become a tradition to wear your clothing inside-out on Fashion Revolution Day to bring awareness to the campaign.
Another thing you can do to participate is to do a haulternative. A haulternative is a different kind of haul video. Instead of doing a YouTube video about all the new things you bought from the mall, do a video about an outfit that has a story- whether it was a hand-me-down or thrift shop score, to something you made or mended yourself.
There are countless other ways you can get involved, including a “How to Be A Fashion Revolutionary” booklet available on fashionrevolution.org
JD: If people are in the Bay Area, how can they support Fashion Revolution West Coast?
AP: Since Fashion Revolution Day falls on a Sunday, we are taking over the entire week and have a handful of free events going on this month including:
I think this year the benefit of not just having Fashion Revolution day, but Fashion Revolution week allows communities all around the world to think about how we can keep the momentum of the message going all year round, and not be limited by a day or even a week. Because it is something that people forgot – people needed to be reminded about. If it’s consistent, people will remember.
JD: Do you have any books or movies that you think are really essential reading material or educational information?
AP: Yes, yes yes!!
Read the interview on Fibershed.com
This episode originally aired on June 3, 2015 on Green is Good Radio.
Ecologique is an ethical fashion consultancy that, specializes in art direction and styling, event production, public relations and marketing for the ethical fashion community. Founded by Andrea Plell, the business began with a blog, and as an outgrowth of a business degree, that exposed the darker side of business. Also the founder of REFIX Magazine, Plell independently produced the first ethical fashion show in Southern California – Ecologique Fashion, and has since been behind a number of notable events, including Urban Air Market, and the Fibershed Fashion Gala. Plell is on a mission to support a paradigm shift in the fashion industry by promoting ethical business practices.
(see full post here)
Founder, editor-in-chief at Refix Magazine and creative director at Ecologique Fashion Andrea Plell, and Urban Air Market organizer Danielle Cohen are coming to Portland for the first time ever for an eco fashion event from San Francisco: Urban Air Market.
Urban Air Market connects the art, music and eco fashion creative communities of Portland and San Francisco, with a free pop-up marketplace for sustainable design featuring 100 plus emerging and established artisans, and brands, along with live music, art installations, food vendors, and a beer garden. Eco designer and contributors for Urban Air Market are selected based on their quality, originality, cleverness and method of sustainability in design.
Plell consented to a pre-event interview with me to discuss her eco fashion passion and styling tips, here goes:
Define in your own terms Andrea what is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is fashion that takes the self, humanity, animals, the environment, and future generations into consideration. It’s the consciousness of “who makes my clothes,” “where are they made,” and “what are they made of?”
What’s most important for you as an eco-fashionista?
Re-styling clothing I already have and supporting local designers, who utilize natural, domestically sourced fabrics when I buy new.
Why is that important?
This is important because it allows me to exercise my brain and get creative with my existing wardrobe, and when I do buy new I am able to support my local economy while knowing exactly where my clothes are made and who made them.
When did you find yourself involved with earth-friendly fashion world? How did that happen?
My eyes were first opened to ethical fashion when I began modeling for Indie fashion designers within my community in my early twenties. I began to gain insight into their production processes and many of their goals for recycled and/or earth-friendly textiles. It was during this time that I awoke to the issues that our fashion industry is responsible for major damage to our oceans and environment, as well as the exploitation of people and animals.
List your top three favorite summer fashion style tips.
1. Dress up shorts with a blazer or a button up blouse with rolled sleeves for a fashionable “stay cool” professional look.
2. Give a nod to the trendy 90s by pairing a cute solid crop with a feminine high waisted a line skirt.
3. Layer a monochromatic color palette for a very fun and stylish summer ensemble. One of my personal favorite outfits is (I love this look) white on white on white on cool summer evenings.
Want to know more? Here are the Urban Air Marketplace event details.
Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Urban Air Market will present a two-day pop-up event held at Zidell Yards.
Zidell Yards is best known as a former industrial shipyard located in the South Waterfront neighborhood set beside the Willamette River and Ross Island Bridge. This landmark location has plans of becoming Portland’s newest up-and-coming district, and a host to public parks, plazas, and river access. Urban Air Market is proud to be the first outdoor shopping event to activate the space.
Early bird gets the word because the 150 attendees to R.S.V.P. will receive a free canvas tote bag upon arrival at the event. To R.S.V.P. or to apply to be a featured Urban Air Market designer, please visit www.urbanairmarket.com.
URBAN AIR is a curated marketplace for sustainable design held twice per year featuring 150 independent designers of men’s, women’s, and kid’s clothing, accessories, jewelry and home décor.
Participating designers are selected based on their quality, originality, cleverness, and method of sustainability in design. “Green” designers who are pushing the direction of fashion where it should be going inspire us. Previously known as the Capsule Design Festival in San Francisco, this free outdoor event is currently in its eighth year of success.
Urban Air Market: Zidell Yards
(Andrea Plell of Ecologique Fashion models an ensemble that shows the beautiful work coming out of our local fibershed. The Oaxacan Sky Mystic Spiral Beret is by Oakland-based O’Lover Hats. The Pyramid Infiniti Scarf, MC Jacket, and A Line Pyramid Skirt are by Oakland-based Myrrhia Fine Knitwear and are made with organic fibers by Capay Valley grower Sally Fox. Photo courtesy of Ecologique Fashion)
“Young urban designers with an interest in ethical fashion like it too. Andrea Plell of Ecologique Fashion, an eco-fashion promoter, organized the second annual Fibershed Fashion Gala last fall at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma. “We emulated what a garment supply chain could look like, with 11 looks in total by 22 designers,” she says. The designers, including several from the East Bay, were encouraged to adopt low- or no-waste production processes. Plell represents Oakland’s trendy 25th Street Collective and helped a group of associated designers open Metis Makers, a trendy slow fashion storefront on Grant Avenue in San Francisco.” Read more…
Andrea is the founder of Ecologique Fashion and the Editor-in-Chief of Refix Magazine :: an online ethical fashion and sustainable lifestyle magazine.
She is a fashion writer and eco fashion activist, as well as a publicist and art director for several eco-friendly fashion brands in the San Francisco Bay Area. Andrea is set on removing all “granola” stereotypes and showing society that sustainable style is beautiful, innovative, and here to stay.
Andrea is changing the state of fashion by educating her generation about the importance of conscious consumption, and she’s clearly doing it in style…
Tee (by Under the Canopy for Fashion Revolution Day, 100% organic cotton, made in USA)
Jacket (by Amour Vert Eco-fashion, organic cotton, made in USA)
Jeans (second-hand, thrifted from Crossroads Trading Company)
Shoes (by Olsenhaus, vegan)
Handpiece (by Elisa Gonsalves Designs, made in USA)
Necklace (by Lyons Mercantile, made in USA)
Makeup (by 100% Pure, “health food for skin”)
AWEAR is a project intended to help inspire us to think about where our clothes are made, what they are made of, and who made them. With the high speed chase that fashion has become in today’s culture, AWEAR intends to help us all refresh our style, in a community-oriented way, where we can help each other along the journey.
AWEAR is a community of mindful consumers and stylish change makers.