Ecologique Fashion | ethical fashion
Ecologique Fashion is a sustainable fashion PR and events consultancy based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
eco fashion, ethical fashion, public relations, marketing, branding, press, magazine, television, san francisco, sf bay area, sustainable, fashion, consultant, pr, agency, organic, circular economy, press event, runway show, fashion show, tradeshow, b2b
243
archive,tag,tag-ethical-fashion,tag-243,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-1.6,vertical_menu_enabled, vertical_menu_transparency vertical_menu_transparency_on,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.3.4,vc_responsive

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.

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-4

Skunkfunk-6

skunkfunk-7

skunkfunk5

skunkfunk-8

skunkfunk-9

skunkfunk-12 skunkfunk-11

skunkfunk-10

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!

 

Skunkfunk1

skunkfunk2

 

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.

12987007_10209532503334216_3977090994764316773_n

13015306_10209532502694200_9077995981165007056_n

13063076_10209532503414218_3639559054688694655_o   13063383_10209532502734201_4865698452269242559_o

12998726_10209532502654199_166059975059677605_n

13000302_10209532503454219_6828735450410930031_n

 

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.

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).

Animana-Ecologiquefashion-2

Animana-Ecologiquefashion-4

Animana-Ecologiquefashion-1

Fandra Sweater  – AnimanaGirdle PantsPrairie Underground

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

Booties- Crossroads Trading Co.

Photos by Emmanuel Peter

Edible East Bay

(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…

The Examiner

Andrea Plell is not only an example of someone who promotes socially conscious fashion, she lives it. Walking the walk while inspiring and promoting others who share her interests in ethical fashion is what Plell does through her company Ecologique Fashion, a fashion pr firm offering several creative services. Her company’s roots are explained in this interview with Plell and how she has evolved as an entrepreneur with a message of compassion and hope and a vision of a brighter tomorrow through fashion.

You are the brains behind an ethical fashion firm called Ecologique Fashion. Can you tell us what moves you about ethical fashion and why is it so important in your life?

Ethical fashion moves me because it goes beyond being fashionable or trendy, it is literally the consciousness “what am I wearing?” Much like the organic or GMO free food movement, ethical fashion poses the question of a garment’s origin; what is it made of, who it was made by and where. Additionally, ethical fashion promotes transparency in production, encouraging designers, knitters, sewers, and pattern makers to adopt less or no waste processes – taking the environment and future generations into consideration. Ethical fashion is very important to me because it promotes compassionate creation, and thoughtful design. Anyone can be a fashion designer, but to utilize organic textiles, create no waste patterns, use natural dyeing systems, pay fair wages, and/or to house your entire production line locally is what will sustain the livelihoods of our communities and environment.

Andrea at Scott Ian McFarland Event in the midst of producing a fashion premier and press event for Scott Ian McFarland’s Fall 2012 collection
Andrea at Scott Ian McFarland Event in the midst of producing a fashion premier and press event for Scott Ian McFarland’s Fall 2012 collection
Photo credit:
Photo by Melvin Harper

How do you describe Ecologique Fashion and what can people learn at ecologiquefashion.com?

Ecologique Fashion was originally a blog and fashion event that I started in 2008 upon discovering the harsh realities of the fashion industry. I didn’t know that the clothing available to me at the malls were supporting child labor and sweatshops in third world countries, or that the synthetic materials used to make affordable trendy clothing –like acrylic or polyester- were poisoning my body. In order to educate consumers on these realities and offer them sustainable alternatives, most of my blog entries included ethical designer and brand features as well as educational pieces where I would break down types of ethical fashion and unveil companies that “green washed” (talk the “green” talk, but not walk the walk). As my passion was to support ethical designers and support a paradigm shift in the industry, Ecologique Fashion eventually evolved into a pr company that now works directly with several ethical fashion brands in the San Francisco/ Bay Area offering them marketing and creative services in addition to event production and press relations.

How can the everyday consumer get involved in the ethical fashion movement and what do you consider to be the biggest roadblock consumers face when trying to become more involved?

I believe the biggest roadblock for consumers is miseducation. With the popularity of yoga, wellness, and organic foods you can tell that people are becoming more concerned than ever with what they consume, however because of this spike in interest many companies are taking it to their advantage to market in a way that uses “green” lingo, misleading consumers in order to sell their goods. For example, using the word “natural” to describe a product really doesn’t mean it has any health value whatsoever and there is no regulation that prohibits its use in advertising.

In order to involve yourself in ethical fashion the first thing to do is to become aware of your consumption – even if it means tweaking your habits a bit. Asking yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Doing research on where your clothing is coming from, what it is made of and reading labels. Being more creative and recycling clothes that already exist in your wardrobe and restyling them into new outfits. Not feeling as though you need to abide by monthly trends and creating your own fashion statements.

You also produce a beautiful quarterly publication called REFIX Magazine. What are your goals for the publication and what has been the feedback from the public so far?

In creating REFIX Magazine my goal was not only to support an ethical shift of consciousness in the fashion industry, but to also maintain a publication that promoted self-love and awareness. As a teen I was always so intrigued by the beautiful models and pretty products that dawned each page of most magazines, without realizing that constantly reading the underlying message that “I need to look like this” or “I have to buy that” did a number on my self confidence.

Since its inception, REFIX Magazine has gotten tremendous feedback from all over the world, which encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.

If you could change just one thing in the fashion world through your work with Ecologique Fashion, what would it be?

To slow fashion down. We used to have a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer fashion calendar, but jump twenty years and now there are dozens of new styles delivered to mainstream fashion outlets every week. With this comes a more frequent carbon footprint in transportation needs, increased use of easily produced synthetic textiles, the exploitation of factory workers putting in unpaid overtime in harsh conditions, and an urge for consumers to buy quantities over quality.

If consumers could instead put their dollar towards local artisans and fashion economies and ethical practices, they could support local supply chains, grow jobs, and enhance the culture of their community… making fashion much more than just another outfit.