Sustainable Fashion Spotlight & Interview: Sundays Designs

I recently had the pleasure of working with Sundays Designs (formerly Vegan Resortwear). Their founder, Edina, is so sweet and very dedicated to sustainable fashion and vegan living. Check out the interview I did with her below!

Pieces I’m wearing: Hermosa Linen Tie-Back Top Navy and Hermosa Linen Lounge Pants Oatmeal

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Sundays Designs: Allison, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your lifestyle? 

 Me: Hi! I’m from Scottsdale, AZ and currently live in Long Beach, CA. I’m a freelance graphic designer, photographer, stylist, and creative director. It’s awesome being my own boss! I also have an eco/vegan fashion, lifestyle, photography, and travel blog. 

 

Sundays Designs: You had been vegetarian for quite long time but later became a vegan. What’s your advice to those who have hard time starting Veganism or to those who are still transitioning and feeling stuck?

Me: To be honest, going vegan was the best thing I could have done for my health, the health of others, the environment and for animals in my lifetime. It’s such an extraordinary thing that you can heal your body from the inside out with plants and live a lifestyle of loving other sentient beings and our planet – and the food is amazing! When I see something non-vegan that looks and smells delicious, for example pizza, mac & cheese, or a cupcake, I just think to myself, “I don’t need this now, I can be patient to find a vegan version of this later.” It’s not about limiting your taste buds; it’s about finding alternatives that are better for you, others, the planet, and animals. 

 If you need any inspo for going vegan, there is an abundance of environmental and vegan Instagram accounts, and documentaries on the Internet that I swear by. I keep a list on my phone in case someone asks me for vegan inspiration because they are thinking about becoming one. 

Documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Cowspiracy, “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” – Gary Y on YouTube, Food Choices, Vegucated, Live and Let Live, Simply Raw, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Inc, Food Matters, Hungry For Change, Hell For Leather, 101 Reasons to Go Vegan, What the Health, etc.

Instagramers: @nutrition_facts_org, @sobeautifullyreal, @naturally.jo, @mindfuldiabeticrobby, @minimalistbaker, @nourishtheday, @bestofvegan, @vegancuts, @ehvegan, @365cleaneats, @yvonnesvegankitchen, @veganfoodpoint, @eatcleanwithsarah, @natalyahardan, @bionic_vegan, @avantgardevegan, @rainbowplantlife, @vegancommunity, @choosingchia, @loveandlemons, @theveganfiesta, @breezybalance, @lonijane, @panaceas_pantry, @veganfoodspot, @losvegangeles and @veganfatkid (if you’re in LA), @fullyrawkristina, @veganricha, @elsas_wholesomelife, @veganpregnancyandparenting (not now, but I still follow them for future knowledge haha), @vegan, @donutfriend, @cinnaholic, @eatdrinkvegan, @third_eye_vegan, @domzthompson, @veganwelcome, @crossroadskitchen, @vegetaryn, @plantpurenation, @ved_md, @veganflexzone, @farmsanctuary, @vegansofig, @ellenfisher, etc. etc. 

The reason people fail at being a vegan and end up going back to meat is often times because they lack creativity and motivation. Learning how to cook and learning how to cook vegan are both a challenge for some people and it can get boring and restrictive if you don’t intentionally seek out new things to make or have a 20-25 go-to meal ideas. If you have amazing vegan options at restaurants in your city – awesome! If not, cooking yourself will be even more essential. There are a lot of social, cultural, and environmental pressures that keep people “off track”, or “stuck in a rut”...it’s hard to change to vegan if you don’t live near many vegan options, or have family members who may be teasing you for your choices, but don’t forget; you have the resources and a massive vegan community that can help you!

My mother has her RN, MBA, and just finished her PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation and is starting a company called WellOptima, that is especially, specifically designed for helping people who are “stuck” in changing their behavior—the whole point is to help people make changes in their health and wellness that they can “maintain”. She quickly turned vegan after I did, is an encyclopedia of knowledge on this topic and can assist in plant-based living and wellness motivation if you or someone you know could use it. 

 

Sundays Designs: We know how much you love to cook! Do you have any good vegan recipe book recommendations? 

 Me: I’m much more of a “buy it and look at the pretty pictures for inspo” type of recipe book buyer than one who actually follows recipes to a tee. Thug Kitchen is wildly entertaining and sassy in the verbiage and the food looks amazing. I also like Beautifully Real Food by one of my fave Instagram gals @sobeautifullyreal. Everything is actually so beautiful and I wish I could fly to Australia just to try some of her goodies she sells at a local shop there. 

 

Sundays Designs: Do you have a favorite recipe that you can share with us?

Me: Oh my goodness where do I start?! There are so many recipes I love but I don’t follow a lot of things precisely. I more have a general idea of what I want to make or look in the fridge for what ingredients need to be eaten first. We don’t like to have food go bad before we eat it! One particular one I love for the holidays coming up is raspberry cobbler. FAIR WARNING – this isn’t “healthy vegan”; this is “naughty vegan”. My mom would always make it for Thanksgiving growing up and since I, and then my family transitioned to vegans and mostly-vegans we altered the recipe so it’s vegan as well. Side note, my mom and I hope to make a cookbook together some day where we can include our favorites! This recipe is super simple and I’m going off of memory. 

 

Vegan Raspberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

½ cup organic vegan margarine (melted) 

½ cup organic sugar (for crumble)

1 cup organic all purpose flour

2 tbsp organic sugar (for raspberries)

3 cups organic fresh raspberries 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Combine melted margarine, sugar, and flour into a mixing bowl until it’s a soft but crumbly dough. If it needs to be more crumbly, add more flour. If it needs to be softer, add more margarine. 

3. Take ½ of dough and press it into a lightly greased pan to create a thin crust – about the height of four pennies stacked. Bake in oven for 5-8 minutes while you wash and prep the berries.

4. Mix the sugar and fresh, washed raspberries in a bowl. 

5. Take out crust from oven and spread raspberry mixture on top. Take the remaining ½ of the crumble dough and disperse evenly on top. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until top is golden brown. 

6. Top off with some vanilla vegan ice cream or eat as is! Enjoy!

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Sundays Designs: We think a vegan lifestyle should go hand in hand with living a sustainable lifestyle. When did you become more conscious about this lifestyle, and what inspired you? 

Me: I always said I would never be vegetarian, and then I turned 15 and my brother and his friends were blowing up little guppies and tiny critters in the backyard with explosive because boy teenagers (queue the eye roll) and I said on a whim that after that night I wanted to be a vegetarian because of animal cruelty. They all mocked me and said I’d never last. So at first I did it to show them that I could, and then I really became to love it and learned more about it.  

Then college happened and I had a random vegan roommate for a summer my junior year. I never wanted to go vegan because I loved cheese, sweets, and all my designer purses/shoes too much. I loved fashion and luxurious things. I wanted to be comfortably unaware; I knew if I saw the documentaries I wouldn’t be able to look back. Whelp, you guessed it… I watched the documentaries and she turned me real quick – only took about a month for me to go vegan haha. 

At first, I only ate vegan and still wore my leather/suede shoes and bags even though I kinda felt guilty. It wasn’t until the summer after college when I was moving to Long Beach where I realized I had to cut down my wardrobe by at least 1/3rd. This meant I had to get rid of all the animal products. Almost everyday that summer I would go to work and come home and list my non-vegan pieces on Poshmark or eBay as well as clothing that wasn’t my style or didn’t fit anymore. It was a lot of work and I was actually very sad about letting some things go but it was much needed. I had a shopping addiction since I was in high school and certain pieces made me feel so good. It was difficult but after that transition it got a lot easier.

From there I started learning more about sustainable, ethical, and vegan fashion and fell in love with fashion all over again. But this time, it was different. It was about being a conscious consumer with everything - what’s on your plate, what you wear, and the products you buy and use. Now, I use every chance I get to educate friends, family, and strangers on the affects our purchases have on the planet and most of them are in complete disbelief. I also have become an avid compost scrap collector, recycler, and bring my own containers and utensils everywhere. I’m not zero waste, but I definitely try to do low-waste living as best I can. I feel like a whole new person than I was three or four years ago. 

 

Sundays Designs: What are the most important aspects to you regarding ethical and sustainable brands? 

Me:

1. Has to be vegan - obviously

2. Sustainable materials  - linen, modal, tencel, organic cotton, recycled cotton, eucalyptus, hemp, bamboo, etc.

3. Sustainable production - methods that enhance sustainability like less water, less waste, zero waste, eco friendly factory, safe/natural dyes, etc.

4. Ethical production - workers treated fairly, fair-trade, no sweatshops, etc.

5. Country of origin - Generally, the USA, Europe, Australia, and Canada have better and safer regulations for workers than Asia, Africa, and Central/South America. However, it depends on the factory – I’ve heard of some in Mexico and India, for example, that are higher quality and more sustainable and ethical than alternative factories in the USA. 

6. Charitable and give to philanthropic causes - Love this one! Bonus if the charity is sustainability, vegan, animal welfare, or environment related.

7. Transparency - I love to see photos of factories, workers, etc.

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 Sundays Designs: What’s your fashion look? 

Me: My fashion look is mostly bohemian, and mixed with romantic, edgy, and vintage/retro. 

 

Sundays Designs: What’s your opinion on “sustainable” leather, silk and wool products? Could these be ever sustainable? 

Me: This is a highly debated topic and everyone is open to their own opinion, but for me, I do not find these materials sustainable or ethical. The only argument you can make for “sustainable leather” is if you bought something secondhand at a thrift or consignment store, but even then it doesn’t check off the “ethical” box for me because I’d be walking around with a dead animal on my feet. Saying leather is a “bi-product” of the meat industry and that using it is sustainable because it’s not going to waste is just naïve; leather on its own is a huge industry and billions of animals are slaughtered for it, not just cows. 

Although I no longer purchase wool or silk, I’m much more lenient on these than I am with leather products. I think out of my whole closet I may still have a couple silk or wool-based pieces but I’m in the process of weeding those out and selling them. Harvesting wool is often unethical as wool farmers often gash, cut, and harm the animals in the process of cutting their wool from their bodies but the process itself doesn’t kill the animal. There are some “ethical” wool harvesters that boast about how well they treat their sheep, but it’s still not our wool to take even though it’s a much more natural fiber than the typical plastic-based wool alternative, acrylic. As for silk, this is a more natural fiber as well compared to the plastic-based polyester. The process of harvesting the silk kills so many worms. To be honest, I really don’t like bugs and the process kind of grosses me out just thinking of larvae and their cocoons. Basically, leather kills the animal, wool harms the animal, and silk kills most of the worms but I don’t consider them to have the morality or consciousness that a cow, pig, sheep, etc. would have. 

 

Sundays Designs: As a photographer who loves to travel, what’s your favorite location you have been so far, and what’s on your bucket list? 

 Me: My list is never-ending! It’s too hard to pick one, but some of my favorite places I’ve been to are Morocco, Belize, Thailand, Laos, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Italy, Alaska, Israel, and Spain. My top three places on my bucket list right now are Bali, Costa Rica, and Iceland. 

 

Sundays Designs: Do you prefer AirBnb or eco-resorts? 

Me: I’ve only stayed in one true eco-resort and it was the vegan Stanford Inn in Mendocino, CA. Cha Creek in Belize was very eco-friendly as well and a beautiful hidden gem in the jungle. They were amazing but I do love the flexibility of Airbnbs. It honestly depends on if I’m on a trip with my family or if I’m with friends. Family – eco resort 100% (also, mom and dad are paying). Friends – Airbnb 100% because it normally ends up being cheaper, we have more space, and you have way more freedom. 

 

Sundays Designs: What changes do you want to see in the fashion world in the future?

Me: I’d love to see more vegan, sustainable, and ethical options popping up! I want to see more designers and brand seeking alternatives. The information, resources, and materials are out there; I think there just needs to be more effort put in by consumers. The more consumers demand, the more shift we’ll be able to make! 

I also really struggle to find trendy vegan wide brim hats, so if there’s someone out there reading this that has been thinking about doing this, PLEASE DO. So many of them have wool, leather, and suede on them and it’s pretty disappointing. I get most of mine off of Poshmark but settle for the cheaper made ones because they are “vegan”. Most other fashion pieces I can find cute and vegan though. 

In addition, shout out to Stella McCartney for basically being the only luxury vegan brand. I think if more big designers and brands followed her example, people would think going vegan would be a whole lot easier. People are all about convenience, if it’s convenient to buy vegan at any price without scarifying quality or trend why wouldn’t you?

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Big Sur feat. Kindom Shop, Slide Belts, Proof, Mad Hippie, & Zealous

Last month, some friends and I camped in Big Sur-- it was a really good time in a beautiful setting, despite some interesting challenges along the way!  The trip included me, Dan, (@deer_dann), Ish (@ohheyits_ish), and Erikson (@eriksonerise), as well as Eddie (@edikins) and Joy (@_madewithjoy) who joined up on day two. While we had originally planned a larger creative trip mixing models and photographers, we made the most of our photographer-heavy clan, and still had fun!

The four of us left from Bakersfield at 4 a.m. on Friday to get a step up on the Big Sur Memorial Day weekend holiday surge. I was in fine form, having pulled an all-nighter to finish up some work on my laptop, so I was glad to not be driving. Our winding, twisting road trip there took some unexpected detours from Highway 1 road closures, and as well as an occasional hurling stop for my car/motion sickness--always a possibility on a real curvy road, especially when I am NOT driving!

Although we had arrived to the campgrounds before 8:30 am, there were no available or unreserved camping spots at either of the two camping options. Oh, did I mention we did not have a “reservation”??--(not recommended on holiday weekends, lol) . Luck was definitely on our side, however, since later on that afternoon, a nice lady at one of the campgrounds ended up giving us a place to park.  It wasn’t a legit “camping spot” because it didn’t have a grill or bonfire pit like the others, but it was a nice open space with lots of trees. We were grateful and happy to have a place to stay, so all was good.

Once we set up camp, we went down to the beach to walk around and explore - SUCH A BEAUTIFUL COAST. OMG. We definitely loved our time there.

We went back to camp to eat dinner and have some s’mores (mine were vegan obvi) We didn’t stay up too late as it was cold at night and we all wanted to bundle up in our sleeping bags.

Joy and Eddie (surprisingly) found us on day two and set up camp next to us. I say surprisingly because our campground and the surrounding 30 minute drive radius was a complete dead zone for cell phone service-- totally “off the grid”. We used a nearby pay phone  (a first for me!), to leave Joy a detailed voicemail describing our exact location. They never would have found us otherwise if they had already lost “service”. How much we depend on technology, even when we are trying to escape it!

Over the next two days, we explored the Big Sur coast, checked out McWay Falls, went into town, hung out at the beach, and got some good photography content for a few brands that Dan and I were working with.

The brands I had partnered with were Kindom Shop, Slide Belts, Proof, Mad Hippie, and Zealous.

Kindom Shop is an online boutique specializing in products made of sustainable, natural, reclaimed, and indigenous materials. The grey Madison Column Dress, Kaile Cosmic Universe Convertible Dress, and black Kira Convertible Ruffle Sleeve Top are all Kindom and made from reclaimed fabrics.

Slide Belts are not a vegan company, but they did just come out with a vegan women’s collection of skinny and thick slide belts. I’m wearing the brown/gold and black/silver combinations.

Proof is primarily a sustainable eyewear company that gives back to the community, however they do have other travel inspired goods. They use biodegradable, recycled, and natural materials and have a socially conscious business model. I'm wearing the Wilder Eco sunglasses in matte black/grey lens.

Mad Hippie is a vegan and cruelty free skincare company that gives back $1 of every web sale to conservation. They are sold in natural health food stores and markets as well as in Anthropologie and Free People. I featured their exfoliating serum, face cream, antioxidant facial oil, vitamin c serum, and their vitamin a serum - seriously some great skincare products.

Zealous is a sustainable home goods online store. The Beech Wooden Plates were used for the s’mores photos. These are biodegradable (obviously) because they’re made from wood!

I loved my time in Big Sur, and am excited to return!  Hopefully next time we can get a bigger group of friends, models, photographers, and significant others--AND we’ll have a reservation or stay in a cabin or AirBnb!  

Not showering for three days while trying to look and feel decent in photos was definitely a bit of a struggle for me, but still lots of fun!  

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Flagstaff / Grand Canyon / Sedona feat. Eco Brand Groceries Apparel and Lillian & Co

As spring winds down and turns into summer, my schedule has gotten so busy that I’m actually writing this a couple months late. I really need to be more prompt in writing after a trip! I went on a trip to northern Arizona at the end of March and into early April with my parents and boyfriend, Zach, during his grad school spring break.  Here is the short and sweet version, and some info Groceries Apparel and Lillian & Co.—two companies I worked with on this trip.

We drove from Scottsdale to Flagstaff and spent the afternoon there. We enjoyed a Thai vegan lunch at Red Curry, and went on a short hike nearby after lunch. We then continued our drive north to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Once we arrived at the Grand Canyon, we checked into El Tovar for two nights--a beautiful historic hotel right at the rim--and did a little sunset walk—it was simply spectacular.  The location I would rate 10/10, hotel 7/10—very nice, but dated, older, smaller rooms—so much history!  The hotel and surrounding Grand Canyon area had instituted strict conservation measures due to a water shortage.  All food service in the dining area and throughout the hotel used disposables since washing dishes for a hotel would use excessive amounts of water.  While my inner “eco-warrior” was uncomfortable with using all the plastic and disposables, sometimes there are other more immediate priorities to address. The Grand Canyon surrounding area was experiencing a water and environmental crisis. AHH!! It was actually kind of funny sitting down to a fancy restaurant and being served on paper and plastic plates and dishes.

The Grand Canyon was seriously so stunning! I have been to the Grand Canyon a few times, but each time it takes my breath away with how beautiful and vast the canyon really is. It is just impossible to capture its true expanse and majesty in a photo.  We did all the touristy stuff there is to do on the south rim for two days and ate at the 3-4 local restaurants there.

We then made our way down to Sedona where we stayed at the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa for a few nights. We hiked, we ate, we explored, we enjoyed the spa, we watched the sunset, and we enjoyed each other’s company! We also went to one of my favorite Arizona restaurants, Picazzo’s. Although it’s not a vegan or gluten-free place, the menu has sooo many vegan and gluten-free options. I’m not gluten-free, BRING ON THE BREAD – but as a vegan, I do feel the celiac’s struggle with eating out sometimes.

I worked with sustainable fashion brand, Groceries Apparel, on this trip which was so much fun--I love spreading their message! Their factory is based in Los Angeles (I toured it last September!), they sustainably source materials, dye “in house”, use 100% organic and recycled fabrics that don’t kill the planet, and are ethical all the way around in their business practices. I’m wearing cream organic cotton Lindsey Top, black eucalyptus fiber Cypress Tunic, black eucalyptus fiber Mariah Top, and the navy eucalyptus fiber tencel Magnolia Cardigan. Their products are so soft, biodegrade, are free from all the toxic chemicals and are classic pieces that won’t go out of style.

I also had the pleasure of working with Lillian & Co, which is a USA-based jewelry line, which empowers women through thoughtful and inspirational messages. I’m wearing “Wandering Free” in rose gold and “Adventure Is Out There” in gold. I love the adventure and explorer vibes, so these messages are personally inspiring to me, but there are so many other inspirational and faith-based messages for all types of women and their interests and values.

Overall, my road trip with my favorite people was so much fun. Can’t wait to do it again sometime soon!

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What constitutes eco and ethical fashion?

When people ask me about my interests, and I tell them "eco and ethical fashion", many have never heard of these terms--and so there is often some confusion about what I am even talking about.  So I'm here to clear things up and provide you with some information and perspective on something very near and dear to my heart. 

"Eco" (ecological or sustainable) fashion is clothing that is kind/good to the EARTH, and "ethical" fashion is kind/good to PEOPLE (and animals).  Eco fashion is not always ethical, just like ethical fashion is not always good for the environment--but when your fashion items are both eco and ethical, its a win-win for both the environment AND people! 

Photo by me, taken at MATE the Label, Headquarters in Los Angeles, a brand dedicated to sustainability.

Photo by me, taken at MATE the Label, Headquarters in Los Angeles, a brand dedicated to sustainability.

EXAMPLES OF "ECO FASHION" PRACTICES:

-Buying secondhand from a thrift or consignment store (this is the most sustainable option): 1. These items are discarded or donated as the owner no longer wants them. If these are not given to a secondhand store or new owner they will be thrown away, likely into landfill waste. 2. You can use less gas by shopping at small, "local" thrift and consignment stores that are often within your own community.  3. You are literally REDUCING your total purchases at a normal retailer, the cost of the item (your wallet thanks you!), and your environmental footprint, REUSING someone’s discarded clothing, and RECYCLING the items back into your closet so the pieces can have a new life. 

-Buying secondhand from an online store such as Tradesy, eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, Depop, thredUP, etc. Buying online as opposed to in person is slightly less sustainable as you have to factor in environmental pollution from packaging materials and shipping/transportation.

-Buying something secondhand that is still new from online or in-store. Not all secondhand items have to be "used". Although buying new secondhand items is slightly less sustainable than buying used, it still offsets the manufacturing and production impacts in comparison to buying new straight from the company or retailer. A great item to buy secondhand that is new is swimwear, as it seems unhygienic to most people to purchase swimwear worn by other individuals. 

-Using more sustainable fabrics such linen, hemp, modal, tencel, etc. Bonus if you use organic! 

-Using recycled fibers, fabrics, and materials. An example would be using old plastic bottles to spin into fibers and then into fabric to make a new shirt. 

-Upcycling fabrics and clothing items. This is not to be confused with recycling as upcycling does not go through a shred>spin>new fabric cycle that recycling does. Upcycling keeps the general fabric components. An example would be cutting up an old t-shirt and making a reusable grocery bag out of it. 

-Purchasing products from companies who implement sustainable practices and elements in their production, factories, packaging, etc. 

-Purchasing products that use natural dyes like vegetables or seaweed instead of harsh chemical dyes that impact your health and the environment.

 

EXAMPLES OF "ETHICAL FASHION" PRACTICES:

-Having a "Sweatshop" free environment: There should be no harsh working conditions for the employees, all the design and production and shipping facilities and factories must comply with state/country regulations and standards.

-Fair Trade: Workers are compensated fairly for their work in accordance with regulations and wage guidelines.  

-Any initiatives, programs, partnerships, etc. that a brand may have that is dedicated to social/environmental good.  An example could be an artisan jewelry company that donates a percentage of profits to the World Wildlife Foundation or charity wellness programs for the artisans who make the jewelry. 

Taken at MATE the Label Headquarters. Wearing vegan hat, MATE the Label organic cotton tee, thrifted vegan belt from Poshmark, Boyish by Her jeans made from 30% recycled denim and 70% BCI cotton (Better Cotton Initiative) designed by one of my best friends Nicole Azevedo, and vegan Coconuts by Matisse x Free People booties.

Taken at MATE the Label Headquarters. Wearing vegan hat, MATE the Label organic cotton tee, thrifted vegan belt from Poshmark, Boyish by Her jeans made from 30% recycled denim and 70% BCI cotton (Better Cotton Initiative) designed by one of my best friends Nicole Azevedo, and vegan Coconuts by Matisse x Free People booties.

OVERLAP - CAN BE BOTH ECO & ETHICAL

Made in America: Most clothing items made in the United States are not necessarily eco-friendly or sustainable. However, if the clothing is made in the United States, wages and working conditions in American factories are usually better than in other countries, due to stricter regulations and workplace standards. However, there have been reports that there are still sweatshops in the US where workers are not earning minimum wage, or are required to work long hours or work in other potentially hazardous conditions, so try to do some research. By shopping local(ish), you also cut down on transportation pollution. Something shipped within the same state or country has much less of a transportation environmental impact than something shipped from overseas. Some companies take greater measures to implement sustainable practices and materials than others. Depending on the company or brand though, you could be shopping both eco and ethical made in the USA items! Bonus: by purchasing items within country or state lines, you're also supporting the economy and hardworking Americans! 

Made in Europe, Australia, or Canada generally have similar working conditions to the US. 

Vegan Fashion:

Vegan fashion includes clothing items that are free of any animal products! This means no leather, suede, wool, silk, cashmere, fur, etc. The debate of vegan fashion needs to be addressed--you can make the case that it is eco or unsustainable and you can also make the case that it's ethical and non-ethical.  Every situation requires a bit of thoughtful analysis--Here are a couple of examples:  

Example 1: Company X sells Vegan shoes for ($10 - $30)

-Eco: Good because you're using much less resources to produce the fabrics and materials to make the shoes. Bad because this particular company is known for its pollution, harsh chemicals, etc. to produce shoes--thus potentially harming both the environment and workers' health. 

-Ethical: Good because you're not harming animals, but not so good because this company may cut corners in taking good care of their employees, and not pay them a fair wage for work, and there have less than good working conditions in their factories. 

Lower price point items are typically made cheap, do not last as long, but are much less likely to have animal products, whereas most more expensive items (unfortunately) are made with animal products and are durable. This is not the case with all brands and items though.

Example 2: Company Y sells Vegan shoes ($500+)

Eco: This company as a brand is dedicated to sustainability efforts in every area of its development and production.

Ethical: This brand is ethical all the way around - to humans, animals, and the environment. 

Promoting and practicing sustainable initiatives. Environmental sustainability is both a concern for both ethical fashion and eco fashion. While it is both eco and ethical--there is sometimes a conflict in that you can't always afford to buy the most expensive items you'd like--a good time for shopping for resale.

 

Reflect

I hope this information helps you think about the purchases that you make and the types of companies you support. This has been quite the learning process and journey for me over the last few years and I’m always learning more about this topic and am happy to share with you all. As sustainable/ethical fashion awareness grows, so does the industry. Consumer demand drives companies to make changes, so the more we learn and talk about these issues, the more companies will shift their mindset. Let’s #MakeShiftHappen! 

Terranea Cove X Vegan Boutique: MooShoes

A couple weeks ago, I went out on a little day adventure with one of my girlfriends, @imadilife, to Terranea Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes, California to shoot for MooShoes! I came about MooShoes from an Eco-Sessions event I went to in Downtown Los Angeles a month or so ago focused on vegan fashion - count me in! I met many vegan fashion lovers, some vegan-curious attendees, and some awesome vegan brands and companies - one of those being MooShoes! And so came, the partnership with the vegan boutique on this lovely shoot!

In my first look, I styled both the Matt & Nat Shareen black purse as well as the Novacas Olivia Heeled black sandals. For those of you who don't know Spanish, "No vacas" means "no cows", aka animal free! Both the purse and the shoes were such high quality, they could have fooled anyone into thinking they were real leather. Very comfortable sandals as well!

I styled the Good Guys Daisy Booties in black in my second look. No joke, these are probably some of my favorite boots I've ever worn, with the exception of them being too big on me haha (last pair!). You can dress them up, dress them down, and the heel is only a few inches so you can wear them all day! Definitely worth the extra dough for versatile, ethically made killer booties!

In my third look, I'm carrying the Matt & Nat Parabole bag in brown and wearing the BC Footwear Valor Sandals in sand.  These items paired so nicely together and are neutral enough to wear with most outfits! BC Footwear in general is a more affordable vegan-friendly shoe brand and these ones were awesome with their lace-up detailing. The purse is pretty versatile and has a long shoulder strap to be worn at your sides or crossbody too. 

Overall, I had the best experience with these products and with MooShoes as a company! My hope is to bring veganism (no, not just food!) mainstream and show others that you can be stylish without harming others, the planet and your health. There's no need when there are plenty of vegan friendly options nowadays! One of the hardest parts of my transition to living a full vegan lifestyle was giving up animal based fabrics like leather and suede (aka 95% of my shoes and purses)! This was pretty difficult for me as I have always been fashion and shoe obsessed. I had a realization though - that I can live a kinder, happier, (and still fashionable :D ) life with less material possessions and rid my closet of items where someone had to die in order for me to enjoy them. There is a guilt and burden you feel when wearing animal based fabrics once you look at it from that perspective. There are also environmental and human rights/safety implications as well that are a big issue... but that's all for a future blog post! Companies like MooShoes make it so easy to shop ethically and responsibly - no checking labels, tags, materials, etc. - just shop freely and shop with compassion!

That's all for now babes! and remember...

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Venice Beach x Noa Elle

I recently did a collaboration with California based brand Noa Elle and I'm here to share with you my experience and thoughts! They were so sweet and the products they sent me were really high quality. I headed out to Venice Beach in Los Angeles for a photography meet-up with @pursuitofportraits and ended the event shooting for Noa Elle with my model gal pal @carly.reyy (go check her out!). 

In my first look, I'm wearing their Brie Top in Nude which has a lace up front with tassels. The linen material is a little shear but is a perfect spring or summer top, just add a neutral bralette! In my second look, I'm sporting the gauze blend Jewel Tunic in Clay. It's a little too short for a dress but just pair it with some flowy shorts and you're good to go!

These pieces were beautifully crafted and designed in Downtown Los Angeles and support local commerce. My favorite part of working with brands like Noa Elle, is that there is a common goal among us - to fight fast fashion with high-quality items produced in a fair trade and safe environment. The fashion industry has been very cheapened and it is our job as consumers to seek more ethical brands to purchase our products from. It was a pleasure working with Noa Elle and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking cute, contemporary, and affordable clothing made ethically in the USA!

San Juan Capistrano X Bead & Reel Ethical Boutique

It is so inspiring to me to work with brands and companies that share my values and passion for a healthier planet and world. Bead & Reel prides itself on an ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. You can shop by your values including fair trade,  female founded, artisan made, gender neutral, made in the USA, gives back (percentage of profits go to charity), made to order (combats textile waste!), nonprofit, organic, vegan (anything without animal products), plant-based (slightly different from vegan - products that are plant derived without the use of animal products), recycled (made from recycled fibers), upcycled (made from same fibers, just repurposed), vegan company, and zero waste. Most consumers are unaware of how the products they buy impact the environment, their own health (harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals!), and other people (ever heard of sweatshops?). Both my goal as a sustainable style blogger and the goal of Bead & Reel is to change the way people shop and have them be more thoughtful of their purchases and lifestyle. 

I styled three pieces from the boutique to showcase how fashionable and trendy ethical fashion can be! My friend, Autumn aka @grlwithbangs, was my lovely photographer and tour guide of San Juan Capistrano as we sought out some cool photo spots! My first look was the Rujuta Sheth Harem Jumpsuit. The jumpsuit is vegan, artisan made, and is a female founded brand. Rujuta Sheth is a New York based charitable brand that works with independent nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering women and developing artisan businesses in India and supports fair trade. In my second look, I'm wearing the 5-in-1 Long Infinity Dress by Orgotton. Even though this dress says 5-in-1, it can honestly be worn 20-something ways! I styled just a few of these but there is definitely room for creativity with this one! Loved this piece and its' timeless, classic style! The dress is vegan, organic, made to order, made in the USA, and is a female founded company. Orgotton is a Philadelphia based brand focusing on ethical practices, organic materials, and local production. It had been sprinkling just a little bit of rain during my first two looks, so it was fairly wet out and my hair was getting pretty flat by my third (haha), can you tell? Thank goodness this look came with a hat! I styled the Navita Sleeveless Tunic by Sevya. The tunic is vegan, comes from a female founded brand, and supports fair trade. Sevya is an eco-friendly handmade collection that benefits local artisans and funds need-based development programs throughout India. 

The journey to a more sustainable lifestyle does not happen overnight, but by being more thoughtful in your purchases (especially clothing!) you'll be on your way! To learn more about the ethical boutique and ethical fashion in general I encourage you to check out Bead & Reel online! That's all for now babes, until next time! XO

Sevya navita sleeveless tunic:

Rujuta Sheth Harem Jumpsuit: 

Orgotton 5-in-1 long infinity dress:

Saltwater Luxe Collaboration

This was probably one of my favorite shoots I've ever done! I had the pleasure of working with Saltwater Luxe, a casual luxury brand based in Long Beach, California. No joke, their office is two minutes from my apartment!! As you guys know, I'm a huge advocate of ethically sourced goods and Saltwater Luxe is Los Angeles made (yay no sweatshops!), and often sources vintage fabrics reducing their carbon footprint. Their style is beachy bohemian with a little adventure. Toria Webber (model) and I sought to capture the wanderlust #SWLBabe vibe and hit the road on a day trip to Angeles National Forest just east of Pasadena. Side Note: I highly recommend going on a weekday, there were barely any cars or people! We also ventured around some neighborhoods around Pasadena. It was so much fun and I can't wait to work with Toria and the gals over at Saltwater Luxe again in the future!

Local Nomad Collaboration

Explored around Papago Park in Tempe with my sorority little, Elizabeth for a shoot! We collaborated with Local Nomad Shop in Uptown Plaza in Phoenix and I styled the looks. All their pieces have such a cool back-story and the store owner, Lauren, seeks to find super unique, ethical, and sustainable vendors. As you guys know, I'm a huge advocate of local and sustainably sourced goods (especially ones that are cute..hehe) so it was great to work with Local Nomad Shop! Working with companies that share your values and interests are important in order to be genuine to yourself and your audience. I understand that it may be difficult at times to always be wearing/eating/using sustainable products, but every little bit helps!

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

One of my oldest and best friends, Kelsey Hughes, and I decided to go on a day trip to Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ about an hour or so out of town. I was amazed on how much there was to do out there! We just went on the main trail which passed through multiple greenhouses, a bridge, a creek, and a short scenic hike around the area.

I recommend going here during the winter because everything is outside, not much shade, and your going to be drenched in sweat, likely getting a sunburn in 90+ degree weather if you don't. Unlike most national parks, scenic areas, and nature spots, there is an actual address to pinpoint where you are going and there is a huge parking lot which makes life way easier. You likely won't have cell service all day either and there aren't any food or snacks to buy so make sure to pack your own food! This is definitely worth a trip and makes for an awesome get-out-of-town day trip with friends!

Denim Shirt (Kelsey) - American Apparel

Black Distressed Skinny Jeans (Kelsey) - Topshop

Cream Fringe Sweater (Allison) - Free People

Vegan Suede Brown Hat (Allison) - Gigi Pip

High-Waisted Blue Denim Skinny Jeans (Allison) - Free People

Brown Vegan Western Booties (Allison) - Coconuts by Matisse

Black Vegan Suede Hat - Free People

Army Green Denim Shirt (Allison) - American Apparel

Taupe Shirt (Kelsey) - Kastlfel 

High-Waisted Black Denim Skinny Jeans (Allison) - American Apparel

Maroon Fuzzy Sweater (Allison) - Kensie

Black Tri-Blend Racerback (Allison) - American Apparel

Vegan Waterproof Hiking Boots (Allison) - Jeffrey Campbell, purchased on Poshmark

 

 

AZ Road Trip

I went on a road trip around Arizona with some of my girlfriends (Courtney, Blake, Alex, Tiffany, and Brooke) and it was such a blast!

Driving from Scottsdale, we went to Sedona on Day 1, hiked around Bell Rock, went to the downtown, saw Christmas carolers, and ate at a bomb Mexican place for lunch. We then spent the night at Alex's family's cabin in Munds Park, just a little north of Sedona. Alex's parents were SO nice and went up there earlier that day to set everything up for us. Her mom even left dinner in the fridge. So sweet.

On Day 2, we drove through Williams, had lunch and explored the area, then got to the Grand Canyon around 3pm. The Grand Canyon was FREEZING! We got some good photos (and laughs) there but we were not prepared for how cold it was. We were originally trying to spend the night in the Grand Canyon, but they have little lodging around the area and we didn't want to get hotel rooms. We ended up finding an amazing Air Bnb in Page about two hours north. It was way better than we were expecting!

On Day 3, we went to a crepe place for breakfast (I got vegan creme brûlée oatmeal with berries!) and then were on our way to Antelope Canyon. We decided to go to the lower part of Antelope Canyon from the reviews I saw online. It was cheaper (I think $28 or something), less crowded (supposedly), there was more climbing and stairs, and you didn't need to make a reservation. However, the tours did have a good amount of people and it was difficult to capture photos without strangers in the background. We left Antelope Canyon to travel to the instal-famous Horseshoe Bend on Lake Powell. The views were gorgeous and Courtney was giving us all heart attacks with how close she got to the edge (smh). We then began the drive back to Scottsdale (about 5 hours) and Alex dropped us off at our places. It was such a great trip with such great people. 

KEEP READING...  :)

I also partnered with a brand called Kastlfel for this trip and we got some really cool photos of their merchandise! Part of the reason I was so drawn to Kastlfel was their commitment to sustainability. As you guys know, I'm secretly suuuuper granola/hippie when it comes to the environment and ethically/sustainably sourced products. Their clothing is made from recycled plastic bottles and is actually so practical and soft! You could say I'm a HUGE fan.