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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Zero Waste Feature: Denim UnSpun

I had the chance to work with zero waste brand Denim UnSpun and did a little interview for them as well. The zero waste method that they use is super cool! Essentially you go to a place that does full body scans where it takes all your measurements. These measurements are then sent to the brand for manufacturing. I went to Rapid Scan 3D just a few minutes from my place in Long Beach. This production method is much more sustainable than typical brands that mass produce. The jeans are very customizable; you can pick length, color, fit, rise, etc. Stoked that I got to work with Denim Unspun!

Denim Unspun: What inspires you to promote sustainable fashion?

Me: I’ve loved fashion ever since I was little, but I didn’t realize the devastating impact the industry is having on our planet until a few years ago. After being vegetarian 7 years, then going vegan 3 years ago, I started to be more conscious in my fashion purchases as I was trying to avoid animal products. I got more and more knowledgeable on the topic and it became something that I HAD to share with the world. It’s a topic so many people have no idea even exists or care about and we need to change that. The betterment of the planet, the health and well-being of others (workers/manufacturers/laborers), our own health (yes, the clothes you wear can effect your health by leaching toxins into your skin!), and not hurting or killing animals are my inspiration. 

 

Denim Unspun: In what ways has conscientiousness made you look and feel even better?

Me: I wouldn’t say I necessarily look better by dressing conscientious, but my sense of style is still just as strong as it once was, however it has evolved through the years to be more mature (“adulting” you could say!). I’m just much more particular and thoughtful now in the things that I buy and wear. However, I do feel more emotionally and consciously happy knowing that I’m causing the least amount of damage as I can - that I’m not living with blindfolds on like most of the population. 

 

Denim Unspun: Seeing that your feed is very nature-bounded, what do you think is your connection with nature?

Me: I’ve always loved traveling, adventures, being outdoors, and connecting and appreciating our mother Earth. It fills my soul with so much joy! In today’s world, there is so much waste EVERYWHERE, so I love to see areas where the environment is clean, it gives me hope! 

 

Denim Unspun: What do you think is the future of fashion?

Me: The fashion industry isn’t going anywhere, but it will evolve. I see more and more ethical, sustainable, and vegan brands popping up all the time. Sure, not many of them are super huge, but the more we support them the bigger they’ll grow! 

There are some really cool advancements going on with different plant based fibers like fabrics made from coconuts, pineapples, mushroom, oranges, grapes, apples, kombucha, yeast, etc., but for now, I think it will primarily be the more popular and commercialized plant based or sustainable fibers like bamboo, linen, tencel, modal, hemp, recycled polyester, recycled cotton, organic cotton, and eucalyptus. 

I think the stigma of secondhand fashion is also starting to shift. Shopping secondhand is the single biggest way to shop sustainably because the items already exist and you’re creating less demand for new items from the manufacturers, less waste, and less pollution. I was brought up in a wealthy area that deemed secondhand shopping was only for poor people, so that was in my head for quite a while growing up! Now that I’ve had my “vegan, ethical, sustainable awakening” (haha), I’m much more educated on the topic and almost exclusively shop secondhand. Also when shopping secondhand, I make my buying allowance only the balance/credit that I’ve accumulated from selling so it keeps it at a nice cycle and I’m not dipping into my bank account for shopping. I would say 95% of the newer items in my closet that are not secondhand were a part of a collab with a sustainable, ethical, and/or vegan brand. 

 

Denim Unspun: For anyone who wish to start buying sustainable fashion, what would be your first piece of advise for them?

Me: Think secondhand first! Thrifting in-store can be a little exhausting, I get it! If that’s too much for you, try Poshmark, Ebay, Mercari, Tradesy, thredUp, Depop, etc. You can also be more specific with online because you can narrow down the exact thing you’re looking for rather than scouring a whole store in-person so it can save you time. Unfortunately, with online though you also have shipping fees, transportation pollution, and have to wait much longer to get the product. Thrifting in-store is more sustainable and is more for leisure shopping. There are also other fun things like secondhand subscription boxes like Material World and clothing swapping sites like Swap Society. If you’re not looking to buy secondhand, seek out ethical, sustainable, and vegan companies. You vote with your wallet, and it’s always best to go with a company that has similar values. 

Don’t think that you need to be perfect or give away your clothes that aren’t “sustainable” or pieces from fast fashion brands. It takes a while to accumulate sustainable pieces, however, wearing what you already have is the biggest way to make an impact.  This is the part of the fashion industry that’s often overlooked. How we care for our clothes and how often we wear them makes a difference! For example, having a piece from a fast fashion brand that you’ve had 10+ years and worn 100+ times gives it a long life cycle and although the garment itself wasn’t made sustainably, how you care for it can be. In contrast, you buy something from an ethical brand that you maybe wear 5 times before you’re over it and then give it away/sell it; it’s life cycle with you as the owner is much less. Hopefully, if this is the case, you can give it a nice home with a different owner, rather than it going to donations or landfill.  

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Seattle Feat. eTruism, Bel Kazan, & Boody

Welp, when two of your best friends move to Seattle you go visit asap!! This was a great trip and I had so much fun with @imdanielwoods and @ohheyits_ish. I stayed with them in their cozy Seattle apartment for 4 days and 3 nights. We explored the city, visited the Big Four Ice Caves, went to Pike Place Market, a greenhouse, waterfalls, and hung out with friends. I partnered with a few sustainable brands on this trip as well; eTruism, Boody, and Bel Kazan. Seattle definitely did not disappoint and I can’t wait to go back and visit!

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Yosemite Feat. LNBF, Gaston Luga, Baume, Boody, Krochet Kids, Blanca Flor, & Fazl Socks

I had an itching to do some wilderness exploring and shooting so I assembled a small group of creative gal pals; Stephanie (@stephanieklotzphoto), Hannah (@hannahrosesesser), and Rachel (@notrachelmcadams), and we went on a 3-day, 2-night glamping trip to Yosemite National Park.

We stayed at one of the housekeeping units in the park. It’s basically a roof, bunk beds and a full size bed, a couple power outlets, covered by curtains and a fire pit, bear storage locker for all food and anything with a scent, and a table for meals. It wasn’t much but it was the perfect set up for what we wanted. It was kinda like camping but we didn’t have to set up tents and had a little more security with the bear lockers.

Over the course of the trip we visited a lot of the popular tourist destinations in Yosemite Valley, took lots of photos, made s’mores, wandered and explored! We worked with a handful of awesome sustainable brands also on this trip including Leave Nothing But Footprints (LNBF), Boody, Gaston Luga, Baume, Krochet Kids, Blanca Flor, and Fazl Socks. It was such a great time getting to adventure with these rad gals and I can’t wait to do it again!

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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! 

Pinecrest Cabin feat. Gentle Fawn

Went to Pinecrest, CA a few weeks back with some friends and it was such a great trip! Our crew consisted of Kalista (@listyyloo) and her boyfriend Colton (@coltrainkilla) who were kind enough to host us at her family cabin, Daniel (@deer_dann) and his boyfriend Ish (@ohheyits_ish), Kelsey (@princess_kelbelle), David (@d_ardill), Erikson (@eriksonerise), as well as my boyfriend Zach (@zstude). 

I partnered with Canada-based brand, Gentle Fawn (@gentlefawn), as well for this trip and was able to get some rad content of their pieces. The green floral kimono, tan pattern kimono, lace-up v-cut sweater, pink lace dress, and green floral dress are all Gentle Fawn. 

We had a weekend full of adventures including photoshoots indoors and out (one of my fave things obviously), going to Pinecrest Lake, trekking around in the snow, eating lots, watching 90s movies, hanging by the fireplace, David getting his drone stuck in a tree, etc. But perhaps the biggest adventure of the weekend was staying in a cabin with eight other people and having the water pipes frozen! This means no showers, no washing hands/dishes, no flushing the toilet (unless you replace the water in the back of the toilet with a bucket of water from a leaky pipe), etc. It was unfortunate, but also was so funny and memorable.. boy will we have stories to tell forever! 

Zach was even such a trooper and (reluctantly) did couples photos with me! He's not a fan of photos at all, which is actually ironic knowing me haha. Dan did a great job with them!

I'm really looking forward to spending more weekends like this with friends in the upcoming year. They're so special, so much fun, all the photographers and models get bomb content, and it's loads of adventure without loads of cash. As much as I would love to take extravagant trips all the time, there are more affordable options nearby of places I've never been to that I'd love to check out! Perhaps the next one will be Big Sur or the PNW? We'll see. You'll have to stay tuned! 

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Ethical Companies that are Making a Difference: Artisan & Fox

I feel as though it's important to highlight companies who are really making an effort for change. Whether it is environmental sustainability, humanitarian, health, or animal welfare issues - it's game on. Artisan & Fox is an ethical artisan based marketplace where you can find unique pieces made humanely all over the world. By purchasing from artisan-based companies rather than big corporations, you're cutting out the fast fashion crap that's no bueno. Fast fashion has serious impacts on our planet, on the manufacturers (dyers, sewers, cutters, laborers, etc.), and you - the people wearing the clothes! Don't believe it's that bad? Watch the documentaries True Cost or Riverblue or read more about the effects of fast fashion in the Beyond the Label "How to Shop for Shi(f)t" sustainable fashion guidebook my team and I published this fall. 

When I received my choker necklace from Artisan & Fox, everything it was packaged in could be considered zero waste and plastic-free. How do they do this you ask? They have foldable cardboard boxes that fit your item and use folds rather than plastic tape to adhere together, the shipping label was paper with a sticky back (no tape!), the inserts were paper/cardstock, and they used a canvas reusable sachet for the necklace. It made me so happy to open the package knowing that it was prepared so consciously with respect to the environment. I was given a card telling me who made my choker. It was made in Kenya by artisan Ojiko - so cool!

The transparency with companies like this amaze me and keeps me wanting more. I want to support and hear the stories of the men and women who craft pieces, who love what they do, and who are treated ethically and fairly. I wish to not hear about the atrocities that fill the lives of fast fashion workers, because I hope there comes a day where consumers will value quality pieces made humanely rather than a $5 tee made my an abused child worker in Asia and there won't be those stories to tell. But until then, all we can do as consumers is to speak with our wallet (and voice if you're like me!!) and educate ourselves on what goes into making a piece of jewelry, a garment, shoes, etc. and how they effect you, the workers, and the planet. Thank you Artisan & Fox for being a true example of an ethical humanitarian company - and for my necklace of course! :)

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Mammoth Lakes feat. Lovestitch Clothing

Ever since I saw the most mesmerizing photo a year ago with a girl in steamy hot natural pool surrounded by snow, I knew I needed to visit Mammoth Lakes! Took me a while to plan and get a crew together after I first learned about it, but needless to say it was one of the most fun and memorable trips of 2017! I collaborated with Lovestitch Clothing @lovestitchclothing on this trip as well, so many of the looks I'm wearing are from them - the blush tied top, paisley printed long sleeve maxi dress, and the black floral long sleeve dress. Loved these outfits for the vibe of the trip!

The lovely ladies that accompanied me on this trip were Hannah Sesser (@hannahrosesesser), Sarah Lydia (@thesarahlydia), Haley Hudson (@darlinghaley), Jazlyn Sward (@jazlynnicollete), and Claire Dean (@clairealydean). Chiara Spee (@chiaraspee) joined us for the first day but unfortunately was not feeling too well so she headed home early. After we carpooled up to Mammoth and met at ZPizza, we shot around the Mammoth Visitor center until dark and made our way to the Airbnb. We struggled for an hour or so getting into our Airbnb.. turns out when you view your trip itinerary from the email they send you and on your account online it doesn't include the dreadful scavenger hunt your host messaged you months back to get the keys. Haha what a joke it was. We thought we were going to have to turn around and drive six hours home because we couldn't get in and couldn't afford to drop another few hundred dollars on a hotel nearby. Thankfully by the grace of God we were able to get ahold of someone who gave us information about where to retrieve the keys. Definitely was freaking out for over an hour, but once we got inside all was good. We finished off the night at a bomb Thai restaurant. We had a very veg-friendly crew on the trip so ordering and eating out was a dream because we could all share!

Saturday started off with brunch and then off to Convict Lake. It was such a beautiful site - snowy peak mountains surrounding a cool blue lake. It was so windy though, almost blew us over a few times. Shot around and explored the area and then went to lunch. We decided to try and find these magical hot springs that I had heard so much about. Turns out the visitor center can't even tell you about them because they don't have proper facilities or bathrooms so we had to go off of some random blog post directions. We parked the second car (Sarah's) before we headed out on a bumpy dirt road. Sarah's front right tire got caught in a sunken hole filled with water and we couldn't get the car out! At this point, we we're freaking out, thought we had to call a tow truck, have my car tow her car out, etc. neither of which were good options. We ended up finding a random toilet seat in the lot and covered the hole with it so Sarah could maneuver her way out of the hole while we all pushed the car (in our decked out outfits mind you). It was quite the site to see haha but it worked! So we all hopped in my car and went down this sketchy dirt road for about 20 minutes before we realized the hot springs were nowhere close to there and we'd made a wrong turn. WWOWWW. All of that just to have to turn around because we messed up. We ended up making the most of it though and finally found where we were supposed to go about 2-4 miles away. Ah-ha! We finally made it to the magical hot springs! We walked down a wooden path for about ten minutes only to arrive to have each hot spring packed with people. At this point, it was almost sunset and we didn't have much time to shoot anyways. We made a decision to come back for sunrise the next day to shoot instead and for now just hang and shoot around the area. So back to the Airbnb we went for the night to share stories, snacks, drinks, and talked for hours.

Sunday we woke up around 4:45 to catch the sunrise at the hot springs. Since we had been there the day before but didn't shoot in them, we knew right where to go this time around. There were a couple people there at that time surprisingly but we worked around them and everyone was pretty friendly. I photographed the girls and then snuck some in of me at the end that Hannah and Jazlyn took. These shots though - so good! Life and trip complete!! We finished up and headed back to our Airbnb within an hour or two. We packed up our things and finished off our trip at brunch before carpooling back down to Los Angeles. Seriously had the best time with these girls on this trip. Mammoth Lakes you will be missed!! Until next winter!

 

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Joshua Tree // In A Desert Daze

Welcome to the desert!! Yay! Definitely one of my favorite places for a mini getaway in California.  I had the opportunity to shoot with some pretty awesome girls and rad brands on this trip. The models included Allison Kelly (@butwhatshouldiwear), Raeann Langas (@raeannlangas), Ally Rubbo (@allyrubbo), and myself (@allisonsherman4 / @allisoncarolcreatives). I also photographed when I wasn't modeling and was accompanied by other photographer Kate Mitchell (@sixthousand.minutes). Included brands we worked with were Shop Lux Clothing (@shopluxclothing), The Little Avocado Shop for jewelry (@thelittleavocadoshop), San Diego Hat Company for (most) of our hats (@sandiegohatcompany), and Elison Rd (@elison_rd) for clothing as well. One of my fave mostly vegan shoe brands, Coconuts by Matisse (a branch of @matissefootwear), we got to shoot for as well! We had the cutest airbnb to shoot around, explored the area, and shot until dark. Thank you all for such an awesome time, you rock!

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Mendocino - Eco Travel & Vegan Resort, The Stanford Inn by the Sea feat. Feroshchick

Over Labor Day Weekend, my dad planned an awesome family trip for us to Mendocino! There were many things to celebrate as it was my 24th birthday on the 4th, my brother, Nathan, and his wife, Deanna's, 3rd wedding anniversary on the 12th, and my mom's 60th birthday on the 13th. So it was pretty much a celebratory present for us all to have a nice trip together and see each other. My boyfriend, Zach, came as well. 

We all flew from different cities and met in San Francisco. Zach and I came from Long Beach, Nathan and Deanna from Tucson, and my parents from Phoenix. It took a while for all of us to land, get the two rental cars, and be on our way to Mendocino. 

We stopped for a lovely lunch at a cute vegan Mexican place called Gracias Madre in SF (not to be confused with the West Hollywood Gracias Madre - completely different restaurants!) that was fab. Unfortunately, San Francisco was in a heat wave with 100 degree weather and no place has AC so that was a brutal few hours in the city. Found a cute bookstore boutique with some vegan baked goods too so my dad and I got some pastries. 

We then continued on our way to Mendocino on super windy roads through the mountains, forest, and coastline. Such a beautiful drive! I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, "why would they go to Mendocino out of all places?" Well... it just so happens that Mendocino is home to North America's eco-vegan resort, The Stanford Inn by the Sea, which my mom and I have been dying to go to! 

To give a little background, I was vegetarian for seven years and went vegan over two years ago. My mom is a bit of a health nut and soon became vegan once I did after learning of all the health benefits, treatment of animals, and environmental impacts. Over the last six months, the two of us have had quite an effect on our other family members and friends. 

Nathan, Deanna, and my boyfriend, Zach, eat mostly vegan with the occasional cheat meal, and my father, Scott, eats mostly vegan as well with mainly pastries being his cheat. All pastries are "vegan" in Scotty's eyes haha. Deanna's family also has adopted a more plant-based diet as well as many of my parents' friends. 

Although it was late at night, we were welcomed at The Stanford Inn and then got settled into our rooms. The lobby was cozy with couches, a fireplace, plant-based recipe books, vegan lifestyle books, local vegan wines (I know I know, it's weird that all wines aren't vegan, it should just be grapes!), toys, nik naks, etc. I could tell this place was going to be a blast. These people get me!!

In the next couple of days, we did a lot of fun things together! We explored the resort and their facilities, the garden, went in the pool and jacuzzi, went mountain biking through the forest, explored the nearby city of Fort Bragg, went canoeing, ate sooo much delicious vegan food, and went to the little downtown area of Mendocino. We saw otters, crabs, and seals too while canoeing because it was an estuary -  it was like a river/ocean which was super cool and different! We also celebrated my birthday on the 4th! 

The drive back to San Francisco was much shorter than the drive there. Nathan, Deanna, Zach, and I left on Tuesday as we had school/work to get back to but my parents stayed a few extra days and continued their road trip up the coast to the Pacific Northwest. It was such a wonderful trip with my fam and Zach, my heart is so full from it! 

I also recently collaborated with vegan-friendly bohemian boutique, @feroshchick, so many of my outfits pictured are thanks to them! Shop my looks here: Sleeveless Midi Dress with Lace DetailMatilda Lace Tank, Sleeveless Ruffles and Lace Dress (sold out - sorry babes!),  Draped Ribbed Sweater Poncho,  & Boho Striped Ribbed Cardigan.

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Death Valley x Tony Bridal & The Secondhand Society

A few weeks ago, I went on a day trip with some photographer and model friends to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley. I don’t know why we decided to go here in summer because we almost died of heat exhaustion haha but the photos still turned out amazing and we have memories to last a lifetime.

I recently collaborated with two different companies and thought this trip would be perfect to shoot them at. I have been looking to shoot a bit more bridal stuff because – let’s be honest – brides have the money to spend on photos and ya girl needs more paid gigs! Plus, I’m all about a romantic fairytale type of shoot. Tony Gallegos (@tony.bridal) is a local Long Beach wedding dress designer from Mexico.  Him and his husband came along on our adventure and it was such a pleasure to have them! The two dresses were very elegant and detailed in their construction - seriously so stunning!

The other brand accompanied on our excursion was the Secondhand Society (@secondhand.society). They are a recycled fashion subscription box company that sends you personally styled pieces once a month ranging from purses, dresses, accessories, pants, etc. – whatever your preference is! You fill out a style quiz with your likes/dislikes and sizes prior to receiving a box. They even check out your Pinterest fashion boards to make sure they’re picking out styles you would like! I received a complementary box from them with a dusty blue BCBGMaxazria dress, black and grey printed Free People kimono, gold fan brooch, gold and black circle earrings, and a silver/turquoise bohemian style bracelet. The box value is insane – just the retail price of the dress is likely $150-$250 but you get 4-5 pieces for as low as $27 a box (depends on the plan that you choose)! There are so many subscription boxes out there, but very few are committed to sustainability issues. By using thrifted, vintage, and recycled fashion finds you are working towards decreasing textile waste and manufacturing emissions, off-setting your carbon footprint, giving unwanted clothes a new life, and the list goes on! One of the easiest ways to live more sustainably is to shop secondhand – but still keep in mind to buy quality over quantity!

Our trip consisted of 14 photographers and models collaborating and creating content collectively. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s such a beautiful experience and makes you feel so alive to be exploring, wandering, and working with new friends and old to create not just to create art together, but memories as well. The best photos are the ones that have a story behind them or the ones that make you feel something. That’s what we hope to gain on these trips. We made photo stops along the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, shot at Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America), the rainbow rocks in Death Valley National Park, and ended the evening shooting at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes until dark. We took a moment on our way out of Death Valley to get out of our cars, star gaze, a few of us attempted to get some Milky Way shots on our tripods, lit sparklers, and danced in the lone road to music.  There were no other cars for miles, just us and the desert. You know those moments that you’ll remember forever - those moments that make you feel like you’re apart of something so much bigger? This was one of those moments.  So much love to all the people that came and to our trip coordinator Laurence (@photosby_laurence) for making it happen! Can’t wait for our next adventure together!

Embracing the Pure Life

Jenny, founder and designer of Pure Life Jewelry, sent me a few pieces from her newest collection and I’m obsessed! All of her items are handmade in Phoenix, AZ (Yay, my hometown!). With her small batch production, being crafted in the states, and sweatshop free environment she is doing wonders for ethical jewelry. By purchasing her products, you’re also supporting the economy and local business. We are all guilty of purchasing items from overseas or from companies who likely don’t have the most ethical practices, but by choosing quality over quantity, local over import, etc. we can make a difference. Plus, her pieces are so cute and definitely fit the gypsy boho vibes everyone is going for nowadays (lol me).

I headed out to one of my fave coastal photo-shoot spots, Terranea Cove, in Rancho Palos Verdes. It’s also one of the few places in that area with 24/7 free parking! I was shooting a girlfriend of mine (@serenalisaa) and her boyfriend (@drlord) for some content. I’m trying to expand to couples photography as well as portrait/lifestyle. Anywhoo, I was able to sneak in some shots at the end!

In my first look, I’m wearing the Dreamer Necklace and Pyramid Mixed Metal Ring accompanied by my newest recycled fashion find (rust sweater) from Buffalo Exchange.  You can really tell how carefully crafted her pieces are and I thought the golden and copper tones of the jewelry matched well with a warmer shade and outfit.

My second look included the Moonstone-Moxie: Radiate Love Ring which I paired with a high-collar tank and patterned velvet kimono.  These I had purchased way back in the day before I had even heard of sustainable fashion, but the top is Brandy Melville and my kimono is from the notorious mom store Chico’s. Can you guess who I was shopping with when I got this? Yup, mom haha. The silver and light purple stone on the ring complemented the costal ocean vibes and my cooler toned neutrals.

One of my favorite parts about working with small American businesses is that you get a personal interaction with someone and form professional relationships. It’s more than just seeking ethical and sustainable companies to work with. Jenny was such a pleasure to work with and is so passionate about what she does. It can be difficult to start a jewelry business (or any business for that matter), so show her some love and check out her work! 

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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:

Big Bear, California feat. DeLezhen & StyleWe

I recently went on a trip to Big Bear, California with some of my creative peeps! Originally the group was supposed to be pretty big but it narrowed down to just four of us: @koltinsullivan (early bday boy and group organizer, yay!), @snow.fox_, and @rex.dude. We all met up at Koltin's house and carpooled from there. It was only about an hour and a half drive to the airbnb in Big Bear. We explored the area and shot at a few different locations until dark. There weren't many options for dinner haha but we ended up finding a nice Chinese restaurant called Dynasty where we all chowed down. We relaxed at the cabin and Koltin continued shooting some artsy indoor stuff with Rex and Cindy until bed. The airbnb was huge and could have fit like ten people, so it was super spacious with just us four!

We had a lazy morning the next day and then began to scope out some more good places to shoot. We were later accompanied by @lisajstarrett and @elliepanger and shot two looks for each of them. We had originally planned to stay until sunset, however we were getting tired and a little pictured-out from the weekend and decided to head home a little earlier. Koltin was a superstar driver and drove the whole way (again) while the rest of us (maybe just me haha?) instantly fell asleep for the drive. We arrived at his house and said our goodbyes and parted ways. 

I also partnered with a few brands on our little excursion: DeLezhen and StyleWe. Delezhen is a USA-made small jewelry company that makes the cutest dainty pieces! They sent me a white and gold druzy necklace (pictured in photos 3-5). It's super versatile and can go with so many outfits! Love love love it!!

As for StyleWe, this is my third time partnering with them on a shoot - yay! They sent me two pieces as usual for me to style, one of these is the Blue Lace Up 3/4 Sleeve Stand Collar Denim Mini Dress and the other is the White Vintage V Neck Floral-embroidered Midi Dress. Honestly, I was kinda up in the air about what type of setting I wanted to shoot these in because they could both totally work for a beach theme too haha but I like how the nature vibes from Big Bear turned out even better! I joked on my Instagram that the maxi dress could have gone one of four ways: 1. beachy 2. pregnant lady 3. mariachi band or 4. a super unrealistic (yet totally cute) adventure in nature with it.. obviously I chose option four lol. Needless to say, this trip was a blast! I'm so thankful for the memories as well as DeLezhen and StyleWe for the goodies! 

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Joshua Tree & Salton Sea Feat. Peoples Project LA

I went to a photography meet-up a few weeks ago hosted by @rubyjamesphoto, @irenerudnykphoto, and @jessicakobeissi. I found out about it through another photographer friend @messinaphotos. The meet-up was at 6pm in Echo Park... so by that time it was already dark and surprisingly windy and cold. Sounds kinda sketchy to meet a bunch of random people you don't know in a public park when it's dark outside haha but it all worked out okay. I was talking in a big group and we all thought it would be a good idea to do a day trip to Joshua Tree and the Salton Sea and started a group message. Our group of 7 or 8 people turned into just 3 of us,  @koltinsullivan, and myself!

Koltin and I planned the meet-up for his place and started reaching out to models, photographers and other creatives! We ended up getting a group of 7 (@serenalisaa, @juliaamotta, @exit_the_minute, @photosby_laurence, @asantov, @koltinsullivan, and myself) leaving from Glendora and met another group of 4 (@brittneyborowski, @heysalem, @sarahwaseaton, & @justinomega) at Joshua Tree.

Big shout out to @peoplesprojectla for some of the goods I shot with in Joshua Tree! I love working with local brands and love even more when they are committed to philanthropy and the environment. Peoples Project LA is partnered with Heal The Bay,  which is a non-profit organization dedicated to making our coastal oceans safe, healthy, and clean. Ten percent of the proceeds from Peoples Project LA go to Heal The Bay - YAY! Their stuff is so cute too! I'm wearing a gray top, light blue floral dress, and denim jacket from them. 

After Joshua Tree, we went to this random Mexican restaurant  for lunch that was actually pretty good. There we met another one of Brittney's friends, @gregkantra. Lunch was pretty fun with all of us but then the group split up after and the original 7 of us continued to the Salton Sea!

The Salton Sea area was pretty much deserted but we surprisingly found 2 people living around there and lots of puppies haha. The sand was more just like crushed fish bones and your shoes would sink into this salty toxic mud.. honestly pretty gross and smelled kinda bad. We were there around sunset and the sea was so serene, it looked like glass and was almost an optical illusion because there was no movement in the water!

We shot until it was dark and then did the long drive back to Koltin's (about 2-3 hours) and everyone went their separate ways! This was probably one of my favorite shoots to date because I met so many awesome creative people, went on an fun day trip, and got a lot of good content! Can't wait to do a shoot something like this again!

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