fair trade

Ethical Valentine’s Day Outfit

Happy Valentine’s Day, belles!

I have always loved Valentine’s Day, regardless of whether I’ve had a significant other or not. I adore love and warm, fuzzy feelings. I love celebrating all of the important people in my life who I love, including my friends and family members. I love the excessive amounts of pink and glitter, and of course, I love the chocolate!!

I’m keeping it fair trade on the day of love this year in this black and gold dress by Threads 4 Thought (it’s hard to see the gold in the photos, but I promise there is gold thread in the stripes!). Am I the only person wearing black on Valentine’s Day? I think the black is sophisticated, while the gold adds a festive touch. And I love that the dress is work appropriate, but also cute for an evening out. Not having to change or think about multiple outfits = winning in my book.

Fair trade black dress by Threads 4 Thought | Très Belle

I’m also wearing this adorable gold vine headband by Headbands of Hope, a for-good business that gives a headband to a child with cancer for every headband purchased. They have some seriously adorable headbands, too…from workout bands to delicate pieces you’d wear to a black tie affair.

Gold Vine Headband from Headbands for Hope. For every headband purchased, a headband is given to a child with cancer! | Très Belle

And of course, y’all know I worked some fair trade chocolate into a special treat for hubs tonight. Shhh, it’s a surprise. 😉

Did y’all put any thought into your V-Day outfits? Are you excited about today or totally over it?

xoxo Laura

 

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Ethical Fashion for 70 Degree February Days

As a North Carolina native, I am no stranger to our state’s penchant for mood swing weather. Just this past weekend, we woke up to the sound of sleet then enjoyed perfectly clear skies and 60 degree temperatures all afternoon. In fact, we’ve had quite a few 70 degree days lately, and it’s still early February! It’s definitely not time to pull out spring clothes yet, so I’ve gotten to wear some of my lightweight darker colored items that I haven’t had out since fall.

Fair trade amulet necklace + made in the USA Annabelle top + Free People leggings from Poshmark |  Trés Belle

I adore this made in the USA Annabelle tunic, which I purchased at The Flourish Market (my fave!). The warm color feels appropriate for winter, while the lightweight fabric matches the actual temperature outside. My layered amulet necklace is also from The Flourish Market and was handmade at a fair trade artisan coop in India. The gray Free People leggings are another ethical fashion find from Poshmark, an app and website where you can buy and sell gently used clothing (it’s my latest obsession). Topping it all of are my black riding boots, which are actual repurposed riding boots from my childhood equestrian days. Hooray for an entirely made in the USA/fair trade/eco-friendly outfit!

Layered amulet necklace made by fair trade artisan co-op in India  |  Trés Belle

How do y’all dress when it’s still the dead of winter and 70 degrees out, especially when you know it’s just going to swing back down into the 20s that night? Would love to hear/see your ideas!

xoxo Laura

A Year of Fair Trade Fashion: Closing Thoughts

The Inside Out Ethical Fashion Challenge 2016 | Trés Belle

I seriously cannot believe it has been 12 months since I took on a challenge to exclusively purchase fair trade clothing for an entire year. I’ve discovered that sticking exclusively to fair trade-certified products is nearly impossible, fallen in love with a few fair trade/ethically made brands (see here, here, here, here, and here), found a local store where I can shop for ethical clothing, and been aghast at times by the lack of ethically produced options in the fashion world (see here, here, and here). While I did have to give up some convenience, it hasn’t been that hard to make ethical choices, and it has made me reflect a lot on my consumeristic habits and the way my purchasing choices impact others. All in all? 100% worth it.

This post is supposed to be about my closing thoughts on buying fair trade fashion, but I really feel like I’ve only just begun. There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I’ve wanted to write about but haven’t had the time, so many ethical brands yet to share, so many areas of the ethical fashion world yet to explore. This challenge has permanently changed my life. While I may not be as strict in the future about buying fair trade-certified clothing, I do hope to buy ethical clothing 99% of the time, whether it’s fair trade, organic, made by a Certified B Corporation, sustainably produced, secondhand, or sweatshop-free. I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy my ethical fashion posts, because they’re here to stay!

Here’s to continuing to vote for a better world with our dollars in 2017!

xoxo Laura

The Flourish Market: Ethical Fashion Store in Raleigh, NC!

Y’all have heard me talk about The Flourish Market before…remember this post about the amazing ethical fashion truck right here in the Triangle? In a fabulous turn of events, The Flourish Market actually opened a brick and mortar store in downtown Raleigh about a month ago! I may or may not have been a couple of times already…

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

I love the peace of mind that comes with walking into a store and knowing that anything I pick up has been ethically made. I can turn off the critical, questioning wheels turning in my head and simply enjoy the shopping experience!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

One of my favorite things about the clothing, jewelry, and accessories that The Flourish Market carries is that the prices are on point. Sure, they aren’t as cheap as Target, but they’re actually much, much better than the majority of boutiques you find in Raleigh. You can walk into any store in Cameron Village and easily drop over $100 on a shirt, but my purchases at The Flourish Market are always much less than that. Buying clothing that’s good to the makers and also good on my wallet? #winning!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

TriFABB (the Triangle Area Bloggers group) had their holiday party at The Flourish Market earlier this month. In the photo below from the party, you can see me (on the right) wearing one of my recent purchases from The Flourish Market. I have worn this red dress to multiple Christmas parties this year…it’s the perfect color for holiday festivities!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

via Molly Stillman of still being molly

Hit me up if you ever want a shopping buddy to go with you to the new store….I just might be able to sacrifice a little bit of my time for such drudgery (wink!).

xoxo Laura

P.S. – This is not a sponsored post. I just love sharing things that I love with my belles!

Ethical Fashion Gift Guide on Just Jess

This week I wrote an ethical fashion gift guide guest post for my friend Jessica’s “12 Days of Gift Guides” on her blog, Just Jess! If you’ve still got some holiday shopping to do, go check it out. There are suggestions for UNC fans, Carolina Panthers fans, yogis, fashionistas, and above all, folks who care that the things they wear are doing good in the world.

Angela Roi vegan leather cross-body bag on the Just Jess Ethical Fashion Gift Guide | Trés Belle

And if y’all want to buy a thing or two off the list for me, I won’t complain! (wink!)

xoxo Laura

Inside Out Fair Trade Fashion Challenge Update: October

The Inside Out Ethical Fashion Challenge 2016 | Trés Belle

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done an update on my Inside Out fair trade fashion challenge, and I have a confession to make. I’ve bought some things that are not fair trade certified (!!!). Let me explain a bit more.

The first time that I bought something non-fair trade was an accident. I’ve written before on the blog about The Flourish Market, an ethical fashion truck in the Triangle area. I was initially under the impression that everything on the truck was fair trade certified, and was surprised when I discovered that this adorable blue and orange top from Grace & Lace that I had purchased was not, in fact, fair trade certified. Oops! While many of the products that The Flourish Market carries are indeed fair trade certified, others are ethically produced but do not necessarily carry an official stamp or label.

Floral Grace & Lace Top | Trés Belle

When I emailed Grace & Lace to inquire about their sourcing, they were quick to respond. Their products were originally all made in the USA, but due to quick growth of the company (probably because of an episode of Shark Tank!), they outsourced some of their manufacturing to Asia. Per the Grace & Lace representative who emailed me, “We continually have our team members visit each of our mills to ensure quality work environments.”

At this point, I felt torn about what to do. Should I discontinue shopping at The Flourish Market, withdrawing support from a locally-owned small business on a mission to sell ethically-produced fashion, in order to stick to my own strict rules for this challenge? My prayer from the beginning of the challenge was that it would result in a significant and enduring heart and behavior change for me rather than just following the rules for a short amount of time and then kicking them out the door as soon as the challenge was over. The more I thought and prayed about it, the more strongly I felt that developing habits that would stick and supporting a local business with the same ideals that I have for fashion were more important than being a hard-ass about the rules.

So, I’ve made an exception for The Flourish Market during these final few months of my fair trade fashion challenge. I’m still drawing a hard line when it comes to other non-local ethical fashion companies that aren’t certified fair trade, but I do see myself loosening up a bit after the challenge is officially over and purchasing from these companies given that a strict fair trade-certified approach is difficult to sustain.

I’ve purchased a couple of additional non-fair trade, ethically-produced clothing pieces from The Flourish Market and hope to have photos of them on the blog soon!

xoxo, Laura

Inside Out Challenge Update: My Ethically Made Handbag by Angela Roi

Well, I’ve technically broken my commitment to exclusively buy fair trade clothing/accessories this year. However, it was not a decision that I took lightly…in fact, I debated buying this Angela Roi Sunday Tote II handbag for six months before I actually bought it!

But first, can we take a minute to admire its loveliness? Okay, thanks. 🙂

Ethically Made Handbag by Angela Roi  |  Trés Belle

So. Fair trade handbags are difficult but not impossible to come by. The ones I looked at were either a satchel design in lightweight cloth that I knew would be destroyed within a week or leather, which I felt reluctant to buy due to my wannabe vegan tendencies. I really wanted to buy a non-leather bag if at all possible.

I had stumbled across Angela Roi bags before I started my fair trade fashion challenge and had fallen in love. They aren’t certified fair trade, but they are sweatshop-free (and vegan!). I agonized over whether this purchase would count as cheating on my fair trade fashion challenge, but ultimately decided to move forward since my purchase was still values-centric and because I couldn’t find a comparable bag that was certified fair trade.

Ethically Made Handbag by Angela Roi  |  Trés Belle

Bag pictured above with my fair trade jumper by my favey fave, Threads4Thought.

I’m not going to lie: This is the most expensive handbag I’ve ever purchased, and that’s even using the handy dandy $20 off coupon code I got for signing up for emails. Thankfully, I can say that I have been 100% satisfied with the money I spent. The craftsmanship and materials are high quality, and the size is perfect for someone like me who carries their entire life with them wherever they go. The neutral color lends itself to any outfit/season, making it incredibly versatile. Because it was an investment, I’ve been far more motivated to take care of it rather than throwing it around like with previous handbags. I think it will last a long time.

What do you think, belles? Love it or hate it? Anyone else out there running into problems finding certain fair trade accessories or clothing pieces?

xoxo Laura

Inside Out Challenge: “True Cost” Fashion Documentary

Last week, my good friend Traci and I went to a screening of the documentary True Cost, hosted by Redress Raleigh. We had heard that it was about the ethical, humanitarian, and environmental problems associated with the modern fashion industry and figured it was a perfect movie to watch as we continue in our Inside Out fair trade fashion/beauty product challenge.

It’s hard for me to find adequate adjectives to describe this documentary. Moving, convicting, fascinating, and heartbreaking all come to mind. I stared in shock at images of waste water from leather factories and blinked back tears as I listened to a young woman in Bangladesh describe her working conditions and the consequences her job has had on her family. As someone who has done some research on the fast fashion industry, I was not shocked at some of the statistics, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself learning new information throughout the movie. I highly recommend this film to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or level of interest in fair trade/ethical/eco-conscious/insert-your-favorite-buzzword-here fashion. It’s incredibly interesting.

Anddddd…great news! True Cost is currently on Netflix! So add it to your queue and get watching, friends. You can also rent or buy it on Amazon, iTunes, or the True Cost website.

And in the meantime, check out the trailer:

xoxo Laura

Fair Trade Tennis Shoe Crushing

As you all know by now, I am doing a fair trade fashion challenge this year that involves exclusively purchasing fair trade clothing, jewelry, and accessories. I am in need of a new pair of tennis shoes (mine are sporting more than one hole at this point), and was hoping to find a nice fair trade pair to purchase. Ha! I did find some, but they are made in France, and the cost/logistics of shipping them here to the U.S. are a little too daunting for me. But before we get into all of that, join me in crushing on these sneakers by Veja:

Veja Holiday Low Top Black Oxford Grey | Très Belle

 

Veja Holiday Low Top Groseille Nautico Rose Fluo Fair Trade Sneakers | Très Belle

If you’ve ever shopped fair trade, you probably know that the number of actually fashionable fashion options out there can be slim. I was impressed by the design of these sneakers! They are actually something I would want to wear.

Veja Holiday Low Top Suede B-Mesh White Pierre Fair Trade Sneakers | Très Belle

The price of the sneakers themselves isn’t at all bad: 109€, or $123. However, international shipping is where things get tricky. Veja offers free international shipping on orders over 150€, but unfortunately, only two pairs of  women’s sneakers on the entire website meet that minimum (and neither pair is one I am interested in). So, I would be facing a shipping charge of 25€, or $28. Yikes! Perhaps more daunting to me is the difficulty of returns should the shoe not fit. I would be responsible for paying international shipping AGAIN to send the shoes back over the pond for a return or exchange. This isn’t practical, cost-effective, or wise in my opinion.

Anyone know of other fair trade sneaker brands? Please send them my way! Otherwise, I will be waiting until after my year is up to look into other ethical options or begrudgingly schlep myself to the nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods for a shopping spree.

xoxo Laura