Conscious Closets + Enrou

I love Jessica Willison and Ann Wang, the entrepreneurs behind LA fashion brand Enrou. One thing I'm learning on the Conscious Closet's journey, is that shopping is hard! Finding pieces that are both affordable AND fashionable? Nearly impossible.

Enter Enrou and clothing designer Mayamiko! Not only are the materials ethically sourced, but the pieces are handmade in Malawi providing over 15 hours of work for women there. 

I loved learning more about Enrou and the ways they are using fashion for good. Take a moment and check them out!

All photography by Brian Tropiano

Outfit details above: Mayamiko Celtic Thistle A-line Skirt: $46.75; matching shell top: $32.73. I paired it with a turtleneck from Gap, an old faux fur vest and old boots. 

This little Mayamiko designed Shift Dress is made from 100% reclaimed Italian wool and retails for $80.75. I paired it with my white hat from Westerlind, dainty necklaces from The Brave Collection also available at Enrou, my favorite bracelet from Tribe of Dreamers, and black Nisolo Austins for something unexpected. I'd love to see it paired with this little denim jacket from Urban Renewal. Maybe my next Conscious Closets purchase? 

A Conscious Closets' Christmas: Part 1

There's nothing I love more than giving. So you can imagine how much I freak out over Christmas.  I am beyond excited to present a curated list of some of my favorite conscious closets christmas gifts just for you and just in time for those cyber Monday steals.

I'm offering gifting guide in parts. This section is for gifts less then $50.00. The next section will be gifts greater than $50.00, and then I'll do one last one for men. (We can't leave them out!)

 From the bottom of my heart, thank you for shopping ethically this Christmas season. 

Cheers! ~Johanna


Gifts Under $50

Conscious Closets + Botanica Workshop

Saturday's in. That's my dream. It rarely happens these days with all that's going on around me, work, relationships, events, travel, etc. All these things are wonderful, but can pull one in so many directions. When I think of vacation and rest now, I think of home. I think of a quiet morning in bed with coffee from the French Press and a good book. I think of dancing in my living room to Blue Suede Shoes, or let's be honest, anything Taylor Swift. These pictures are a reflection of a Saturday well spent, at a home I love surrounded by people I love.

I'm so thankful to Botanica Workshop for letting me spend my dream Saturday in their beautiful loungewear. Consciously made pieces I will treasure. Ladies, do yourself a favor and put one of their items on your Christmas list. And when you wear it, let it remind you of the importance of surrounding yourself with beauty and rest. 

All images by Brian Tropiano

How Many Slaves Work for Me

The heart behind Conscious Closets is people. I firmly believe everyone is valuable. Everyone is worthy from fashion bloggers to celebrities and athletes, to the little girl in India mining for the mica that goes into all our sparkly makeup. We all have something good to offer this world. We all have a story to tell. We should all be able to live our lives in freedom. This is 2015 after all. 

So one brave day I asked myself the question. Based on my lifestyle and my closet, how many slaves work for me? Can I know? Do I want to know?

The answer was yes. Because truth brings change, and I was ready for change. 

I went to www.slaveryfootprint.org, it's an enlightening tool started by my company, Made In A Free World, that can literally tell you how many slaves work for you based on the way you live, how many cars you drive, TVs you own, how many pairs of shoes you have or blouses or dresses hanging in your closet. The site takes about 6 minutes to input all the data and then spits out the number.

The most meaningful and terrifying number I've ever seen in my life.

How many men, women, and children toil in horrific conditions so I can have my $20 boots or $5 tee or even a $1000 Chloe bag. No company is immune. But what I learned going through this process wasn't just the amount of slaves working for me, but also that I had too. much. stuff. Period. I was shocked and frankly surprised at how extravagant my lifestyle was. No one needs as much as I have. And especially not on the backs of children. 43 to be exact.

43.

How many do you have? 

 

 

 

Conscious Closets and Coco

I recently re-watched the lovely film Coco Before Chanel, and once again was inspired by Gabrielle's gumption, creativity, beauty, and love of all things minimal, understated and elegant. I picked three of my favorite looks from the film and created my own Conscious Closets versions. Everything in the pictures below were just things I had laying around in my closet, except for my fall splurge, the perfect Janessa Leone straw hat that I have lovingly named, Coco. Take a look below for all the Conscious Closet details and quotes from Coco Chanel herself.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. ~Coco

Pantsuit from Ay Que Vintage bought for a mere $22; button down from Everlane; leather belt from a shop in Amsterdam but similar here; shoes old

Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. ~Coco

Dress from Shop Ethica; Shoes from Nisolo; Jacket old.

Jacket: Theory thrifted; Button Down: stolen from my husband's closet; Skirt: Vivian Chan: Shoes; old; Belt (for similar see above)

Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not: it is the opposite of vulgarity. ~Coco

Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity. ~Coco  All images by  Brian Tropiano

Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity. ~Coco

All images by Brian Tropiano

A Guide to Curating a Conscious Closet

Re-posted from Darling Magazine.

ConsciousClosets_JohannaTropiano_photosBrianTropiano0013.jpg

I love fashion. My obsession dates back to my time as a toddler when I would cry if my mom wouldn’t let me wear a dress every day.

I also love my work in anti-trafficking. I work for an organization called Made In A Free World, and we help companies identify and eliminate slavery deep in their supply chains. It’s a pretty cool job – one that I’m convinced is my calling — but I must confess that my passion for fashion and my passion for working for an NGO directly conflict. As many of you understand, good fashion is expensive and working for an NGO, well, let me just say, I’ll never be a millionaire.

So, what’s a do-gooding fashionista to do in order to look good on a budget?

I recently ordered three pair of boots from a big-box mall store for a total of $6o. Problem solved, right? You gotta love that fast fashion. Cheap clothes that are always on trend?  Perfect! They shipped them to me, yet, as I anxiously unwrapped the package I started to get a knot in my stomach.

Next thing I know, questions just kept coming to me. Questions like, who made these boots? Where are they from? What are the conditions of the workers? Was child labor involved?

The sad answer? I have no idea. So, here I am working incredibly hard to fight for people’s freedom while at the same time, I’m enslaving them with my own consumerism. I recognized that something had to change.

I decided at that moment to no longer buy any article of shoes, clothing, or jewelry unless I knew who made them or where they came from. Over the past several months, this has been a radical change in my life as I have sought to change my closet from a consumerist one to a conscious one, and to do so without destroying my budget.

For those of you who, like me, care about where and how things are made and are interested in learning more about ethical shopping, here are a few of the tricks I’ve learned in creating my “Conscious Closet”:

love fashion. My obsession dates back to my time as a toddler when I would cry if my mom wouldn’t let me wear a dress every day.

I also love my work in anti-trafficking. I work for an organization called Made In A Free World, and we help companies identify and eliminate slavery deep in their supply chains. It’s a pretty cool job – one that I’m convinced is my calling — but I must confess that my passion for fashion and my passion for working for an NGO directly conflict. As many of you understand, good fashion is expensive and working for an NGO, well, let me just say, I’ll never be a millionaire.

So, what’s a do-gooding fashionista to do in order to look good on a budget?

I recently ordered three pair of boots from a big-box mall store for a total of $6o. Problem solved, right? You gotta love that fast fashion. Cheap clothes that are always on trend?  Perfect! They shipped them to me, yet, as I anxiously unwrapped the package I started to get a knot in my stomach.

Next thing I know, questions just kept coming to me. Questions like, who made these boots? Where are they from? What are the conditions of the workers? Was child labor involved?

The sad answer? I have no idea. So, here I am working incredibly hard to fight for people’s freedom while at the same time, I’m enslaving them with my own consumerism. I recognized that something had to change.

I decided at that moment to no longer buy any article of shoes, clothing, or jewelry unless I knew who made them or where they came from. Over the past several months, this has been a radical change in my life as I have sought to change my closet from a consumerist one to a conscious one, and to do so without destroying my budget.

For those of you who, like me, care about where and how things are made and are interested in learning more about ethical shopping, here are a few of the tricks I’ve learned in creating my “Conscious Closet”:

1. Less is more! This has been a huge change for me, but I’m getting much more comfortable with loving and wearing one beautiful dress or one amazing pair of heels a season rather than buying five cheap dresses or five cheap shoes and then throwing them away.

2. Shop small, slow and mostly American made. No more fast fashion purchases. There’s a reason that clothes at big, corporate companies are cheap. They use cheap labor that can’t easily be tracked.

3. Check the labels. It’s good to be aware of the places where your clothes are made. Are they made in China, Indonesia or Bangalore, or right here in the US?

4. Bring the classics back! No more funky patterns or wild colors. My current style is all about a beauty and grace that will last a lifetime.

5. Buy pieces that complement each other! And mix them up! I love pieces that can transition from casual to elegant with the simple switch of a necklace or bag or shoe. When you buy better quality and more expensive pieces, then versatility is key. The pieces in my closet can all be worn multiple ways and with multiple things.

6. Thrift, thrift, thrift! This is by far the best way to start your ethical fashion journey on a budget.

7. Only keep or buy things that bring you true joy. I ask myself this question before every potential purchase. If the item doesn’t bring me joy, I don’t buy it, nor do I keep it.

8. Go slow. Don’t feel as though you must get rid of EVERYTHING from before. I don’t have the dollars to replace every shoe and article of clothing with all consciously made things, so I wear the ones from before while acknowledging to myself how they may have been produced. Grace is good.

9. Vintage en vogue! I love finding awesome vintage shoes, jewelry, and sunglasses especially.

There are some awesome ethical companies out there with really good design. Below is a starting list of fashionable companies doing things consciously and with transparency. No company is perfect, but the goal is to be better, and there are so many others if you do the research.

BASICS

DESIGNER

BLUE JEANS

CURATED SITES

SHOES

HANDBAGS

JEWELRY

FAIR TRADE

UNDERTHINGS / SWIMSUIT / WORKOUT

I hope you find this enlightening and helpful as you think about your fashion choices moving forward. But I also want you to give yourself grace! It’s not an easy transition, and it’s not for everyone. However, I continue to find that this crazy life is a beautiful journey, and my hope is to always travel mindfully and consciously.

I pray the same for you.

What are your favorite conscious companies?