Day 15... again with the restyle! At first I dread it but then I have fun mixing and matching!... here's an old skirt with a tank top and a new H&M tencel shirt with one of my favorite new necklaces made from Bombay Sapphire liquor bottles!... my Miss Daisy dog approves!
Day 14... about a subject close to my heart... fitting! This is what I do for a living so I am well aware that the most common complaint about why something isn't worn is because of the fit. I have many times bought a cute style only to hate its armhole or sleeve (and have torn out sleeves to reshape and put back in so I could move my arms)! I highly recommend finding a sewing friend or professional and making those clothes fit you!... or. even better take up sewing. If I can do it anyone can!
Day 13 is a fun one, does it give me permission to go shopping?!... Researching sustainable fashion options! I've been doing this over the past few years and committed to only buying sustainable options so I love finding ones I haven't heard of. When I need something new I do a google check of sustainable options and read through the blogs to find a good option. Once I find a brand I like I follow them for sales updates and try to continue to support them. Many sustainable brands are also on Amazon, including PACT which often has their organic socks/underwear on the lightening deals!
To start when I want to get out and shop here's my favorite local Milwaukee area sustainable shopping options:
* Whole Foods - Yes, it's not just for groceries. They have a small section of clothing, including some local brands. Check online for sales, usually around the holidays.
* H&M - This can be overwhelming but look for the labels with the green "Conscious Collection" hangtags. Those are from sustainable options such as organic cotton, tencel or recycled polyester.
* Fyndig - They are in transition now, looking for a new home but I ran into their booth at an event and bought lots of great fashion items I only read about!
* ReSource - I love this new spot of all recycled or eco friendly finds. Lots of great accessories including some from local artists.
Online here are my go to's:
* Fair Indigo - Still local to me, some people from my ex-employer Lands' End, left to start this fair trade company!
* Patagonia - So innovative, been doing it way before every one else.
* Matt & Nat - This was my first sustainable fashion purchase. About 6 years ago was in Texas of all places when I came across a beautiful handbag made from recycled water bottles. I had to have it and still use it to this day and get tons of compliments on it!
Day 12 of the sustainable fashion challenge is a repeat... I am not a fan of repeats, but she's right. I need to mix it up more. So I pondered and pondered... here's what I came up with. Fancy leggings I don't wear much (I'm not fancy!) along with that Milwaukee tee (that makes me laugh because I bought it in Spain!) and a sparkly black fair trade crochet necklace and black tank top... should work for going out to watch the Wisconsin Badgers game tonight!
Day 11 of the Sustainable Fashion Challenge is a fun one! I love to re-purpose. I've made container gardens out of worn out reusable shopping bags, pillows from old flour sacks, wine bags from old plaid shirts and even unraveled a sweater to reuse the yarn! Right now I'm really into t-shirt cutting/mixing up. Here's a work in progress making a new shirt to wear to the upcoming concert using 2 old U2 concert tour shirts (instructions to come after I finish it... still pondering more updates!).
Day 10... halfway through! Today's assignment is a great lesson in sustainable fibers.
Here's a few others I found interesting in my studies...
Sources: Fashion Institute of Technology / Sass Brown, Eco Fashion Talk
Day 9 is not my favorite topic... budgeting. Being a creative type finances really bring me down. I mean I've been there and needed to budget but with our small living we easily stay within our means. I'm naturally frugal; many dog walks have me bringing home finds from the neighbor's trash! When I do shop I'm always on the look out for sales. Here's a few sites that help with that mission:
The Greenbacks Gal - Great reference for all things natural/organic. Get on her newsletter for tips on great deals.
Ebates - You do have to sift through lots of conventional places but they do have sustainable brands such as Nike, Rodale's & Gaiam.
Retail Me Not - I never check out without checking here first for discount codes.
Any others I'm missing?
Day 8 is about mending... a necessary evil! I love sewing but hate hemming, sewing on buttons and all those other boring but necessary skills! I'm even walking around outside with a coat that has 2 buttons in the pocket that fell off so I will complete this assignment and sew them on as soon as I'm done typing!
I love today's suggestions on finding how to's online!.. wish that was an option as I was learning. My learning was from reading several books and was a star home ec student that loved sewing as soon as I leaned how! It was the first thing that clicked and I could do well. So well that against most sane people's advice I studied Apparel Design/Manufacturing in college. Now working as a Technical Designer I tell factories how to sew all day long so I need to sometimes tell myself to sew on that button or adjust that hem and think about those in that factor on the other side of the world following my instructions.
I still do enjoy sewing and keep up with reading on it. Lately I've been pondering taking a few classes or workshops for some inspiration. A few on my dream list are:
Alabama Chanin Workshop - I love what Natalie Chanin created in Alabama, besides beautiful clothing, the community around creating it and bringing back good old made in USA charm.
The Makerie Retreats - I would love to be transported away into the pages of Sweet Paul Magazine... or one of their retreats! I see them crafting it up on instagram and would love to join the party!
Etsy Labs - Somewhere I saw an image of the Etsy offices and it's as awesome looking at I imagined. But what I can't get out of my head is the labs and crafting events!
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting... if you know of any awesome workshops I should put on my list please share!
I should mention that I am lucky enough to live not terribly far from one of the best sewing teachers on PBS (we went to the same college and studied the same program!), the Sewing with Nancy, Nancy Zieman! Her Sewing Weekend is a lot of fun with some great seminars.
Anyway, back to the boring part of sewing... mending! Here's a recent project of mine on the topic. I don't know why I bought jeans already ripped up. I'm too old for that. I quickly realized I hate having holes in my jeans and patched them up in kind of a quilting manor. I put a purple/pink swirly cotton print and hand stitched with pink thread. I love the pop of colors much more than I liked the breeze of all those holes!
Day 7 is getting tough... I spend my work days surrounded by piles of clothes so getting creative with my closet can be overwhelming... I read the challenge during my mid day workout and immediately dreaded it. Ugh... I'm not the kind of gal to pull out a pretty dress and tone it down for my casual office. I spent a few meetings daydreaming about the contents of my closet and remembered a closet in the basement I haven't addressed... it's a sort of archive of my professional life filled with all sorts of garments I've made or specified and fit!.. I remembered back to one of my favorite places to work early in my career and the few pieces I held onto and may be able to pull off still many many many years later... yes it's a men's safari shirt but if I put it with that cute zipper belt and metal doiley turned moth necklace my aunt made me I can call it a redress!.. this could become addicting!
Day 6 of the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion challenge is telling me to give my clothes away!... something I enjoy doing because I've found some great local options. Here's what I do with my unwanted items:
Sell - It takes a bit of work but a good reminder to only buy things I really love and will last a long time!
* eBay - If it's like new and a popular name brand I'll list it. I tend to save a big pile and do a few every day for a month or so to keep a good assortment and offer shipping discounts on multiple items.
Trade In - This is my favorite option! I have a few places I rotate among in my area.
* Lela's - This great 3rd Ward boutique takes seasonally appropriate gently used apparel! You set up a consignor account, bring in your items on Tuesday (or by appointment on another day). They are particular on what they take but what I love is when your item sells it goes onto your account so when I come in to drop stuff off I usually have a credit waiting for me to shop away with! The store has a great selection of resale items, new small designer labels and some local items.
* Swanky Seconds - I've only shopped this great resale spot but the ladies were so great I plan to bring a few bags here from this last clean out.
Any other suggestions for places I should check out in the MKE area?!
Donate - For the random items or off brands that I can't find a trade for I donate for those much need tax deductions!
* Easter Seals - I have a regular pick up from this local charity that takes both clothing and household items. What I like about it is I don't have to go anywhere. I just box it up and they take it away!
* Free the Girls - My favorite yoga studio, Core Essence is a drop off location for this great charity that collects bras.
Recycle - This is a topic I've but a lot of research into and have found some great options.
* Milwaukee Textile Recycling - They have bins all around the city for you to drop bags of clothing items into. They have several channels of processing items. For large amounts of items, they will do a pick up.
* City of Milwaukee Shoe Recycling Program - Used shoes (excluding high heels) are accepted at several locations around the city.
* Blue Jeans go Green - This is my favorite recycling program! Take your jeans to the retailers listed on this site and you can trade them in for a discount on new jeans. They send the jeans to a converter in Arizona that turns them into insulation that is donated for use in Habitat for Humanity homes.
* H&M - Another one I love is taking my worn out clothes to H&M to trade in for a discount coupon. They have several methods of processing their collections with any profits going into research on textile recycling options.
I hope this information helps make it a little easier to find ways to reuse clothing items!
...an adventurous vegetarian from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that enjoys exploring her new home state of North Carolina with her husband and two dogs.