Fashion revolution: Who made your clothes?

Today is one of those days where I think I should combine my fashion blog and my vegan blog. The topic on both is the same. See, it’s Fashion Revolution Day today. This day marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed over eleven hundred people and injured thousands more. Spotting vegan clothing is easy. No animal products? Check. But look behind the scenes and the human and environmental ramifications are big too.

I’m joining others as we ask, “Who made my clothes?” Check out Instagram hashtags for #fashrev, #whomademyclothes, #fashionrevolutionday, and #whomadeyourclothes for lots of inspiring photos. You might see photos of people wearing their clothes inside out to show the labels–transparency in fashion!

who made my clothes?

I know who made my clothes!

Lois Eastlund label

Lois Eastlund made my dress. It looks fantastic (even inside out) because it’s handmade and she paid a lot of attention to detail. She’s a NY-based vegan fashion designer and one of the founders of La Fashionista Compassionista–an awesome (and free) online magazine that you should get your hands on!

Lois Eastlund dress

Moses made my boots. They’re handmade in a factory in LA. The all-vegan company, Nicora Johns, is helping to keep the US shoemaking industry alive. When I bought my boots, I got a photo of Moses in the shop where he made these. No animals or humans harmed!

Nicora Johns boots

Crystalyn Kae made my purse. It’s glazed fabric. Another great leather alternative. I met Crystalyn when she was located in Seattle. She’s based in NYC now, but you can find her amazing bags in stores nationwide and on her website.

Crystalyn Kae purse

Roque from Get Hell Bent made my cuff. It’s made from recycled bicycle tires. I have three of her cuffs. They’re so edgy and tough!

accessories

I made my earrings! It’s fun to create. My simple drop-chain earrings were easy to make and have become my go-to pair. They match everything!

I don’t know who made my tights. So it’s not a perfect outfit. But thinking about where my clothing comes from has opened my eyes. I heard 1 in 6 people is employed in fashion. But who are they? What are their working conditions like? How environmentally friendly is the factory? Animal skins require so many chemicals to turn them into leather and not decompose. And leather is an inherently cruel industry.

Fashion isn’t perfect, but I love knowing where my clothes came from and who made them. My goal is to buy exclusively from sustainable, ethical companies. Sometimes that means things cost more. But do I really need thirty $8 tank tops? What if I had eight $30 tanks? They’d last longer, and I’d be putting my dollars where my values are.

Let’s start a revolution!

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Vegan purses by Crystalyn Kae

Sometimes when people become vegan, they’re at a loss about their fashion choices. So many shoes and bags are made of leather. I recently wrote about leather shoe alternatives and leather-free purses. But I have to call out one amazing company: Crystalyn Kae.

I met the woman behind the name when I was at Urban Craft Uprising, an alternative craft bazaar, a couple of years ago. I loved that the bags are handmade of sustainable materials. Crystalyn even has an all-vegan collection on her website. These bags are made of wool-free tweed, glazed fabric, and non-leather microsuede. Some of the other bags are made with reclaimed leather and vintage wools. That’s why the entire brand isn’t vegan; none of the leather is sourced new though.

Crystalyn Kae purses

I’m most impressed with the glazed fabric. It’s a leather-look material created by painting rubberized glaze onto fabric. I’ve had my bags for a while now and they show no signs of wear. The glaze doesn’t crack or fade. The black Matinee shoulder bag is my daily purse, and after two years of throwing it around, it’s still photo-worthy! The green Troubadour tote is strong enough for me to lug around my heavy, ancient laptop, and roomy enough for my gym clothes. The clutches are great for evening but are practical too. They easily hold my cell phone, lipstick, keys and wallet. And the wrist strap makes it easy to hold–even when I’m dancing!

Remember that all the bags are designed by Crystalyn and handmade by her in Seattle and New York (Crystalyn recently relocated to NYC). You can buy them on her website or from over 40 boutiques across the country, including one of my favorite vegan stores, Moo Shoes.