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8.12.2016

Beautiful NYC Walk And Talk With Ethical Fashion Academy

Twas a hot and humid summer evening, but I was glad to be able to join a bunch of like-minded folks on the Beautiful NYC Walk and Talk hosted by my friend Nathalia (of Maria Loves Green) and Francisca Pineda, creative director of the ethical footwear company Bhava.
In remission from Hashimoto's, Nathalia believe that food is medicine and wants to empower women to make informed decisions about their diet, personal care products and fashion choices. Francisa has spent almost two decades working in the fashion industry since graduation from Parsons and taught Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design at FIT (where she met Nathalia) and established the Ethical Fashion Academy to build a community and share her passion and knowledge. With these two ladies in charge, you know you are in good hands!

I often take visitors on my personal curated tours of the city, so it was nice to be in the backseat for once and let someone else take the lead.
Stop 1: Eileen Fisher at 395 W Broadway
Eileen Fisher started the business with only $350 in the 1980s and it has since grown to 1100 people strong with retail presence in the US, Canada and the UK. Known in the industry for her elegant, timeless designs, she wants women to be able to experience the magic that happens when you put on a piece of clothing that has been pared to its simple, pure essence. 
They are committed to manufacturing their clothing in the US, using organic and sustainable fibers and reducing their carbon footprint. Their website encourages you to go behind the label and provides radical transparency into their processes. 
They also started a non-profit intiative Green Eileen where you can recycle your gently-used Eileen clothing at the store for credit, and the donated clothing is resold at Green Eileen stores or upcycled at their community-building craft workshops. All proceeds go to supporting programs that work with women and children.
Stop 2: Coco-Mat at 49 Mercer St
Coco-Mat is an eco-conscious European mattress store that uses 100% natural materials like seaweed, horsehair, cactus and coconut fibre in their construction, and no metal (which means no springs!) is used. A family-owned business founded in 1989, all their mattresses are handmade in Greece by local artisans. They also offer pillows, duvets, linen and other sleep-related accessories.
This was the most inviting store of the entire tour, and especially relevant since we are currently renovating our new apartment but their mattresses would set you back anywhere from $1,400 to $27,000. Maybe in my next lifetime!
Stop 3: Alternative Apparel at 281 Lafayette St
Alternative Apparel is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and started as a blank T-shirt company when founder Greg Alterman decided to recreate an old gym shirt he had. Their clothing is very affordable and stands out for being comfortable and well-crafted. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their manufacturing process, with more than 70% of their garments made with sustainable materials and processes, and they partner with factories that pay fair wages and have safe labor conditions for their workers.
They also stock the full range of fellow Atlanta green beauty brand Little Barn Apothecary in the store, so that's another incentive for you to pop by!
Stop 4: Credo Beauty at 9 Prince St
Credo Beauty has often been dubbed the Sephora of green beauty and it's easy to see why. The walls of the brightly-lit store are lined with the best of the industry, with brands like Tata Harper, Kjaer Weis, RMS, One Love Organics and Juice Beauty to name a few. They abide by a list of dirty ingredients that will never be found in any of the products they carry, so you don't have to worry about having to decipher ingredient labels like you would have to at other beauty boutiques. 
They also have a unique Clean Beauty Swap service where you can bring in any of your beloved beauty staples and have the staff recommend you cleaner, healthier and equally effective alternatives. (If you shop from them online, the resource is available here.) I recommend you sign up for their mailing lists because they regularly host a lot of in-store events.
Stop 5: Red Flower at 13 Prince St
We concluded our tour at Red Flower,  right next door from Credo Beauty. Founded by Yael Alkalay with the vision to help people create ritual and beauty in their everyday lives, the inspiration for Red Flower came about after an intense stroke in her late 20s made her realize how essential it is to live fully, with appreciation and awareness.
Yael's global background and upbringing is reflected in the collections created around body-care rituals all across the world from the hammans in Morocco to the onsens in Japan, with products ranging from body washes, lotions, shampoo and conditioners and bath salts as well as perfumes, oils, balms and their signature candles. Everything is botanically based, 100 percent vegetarian and paraben-free.
Nathalia and Francisa
There's nothing to stop you from starring these places on Google Maps and wander through on your own, but what made this tour so special was the opportunity to hear from the store managers who really brought the brands and products to life, and the connections I made with the other ladies on the tour. 
P/S: Francisa is now based in Abu Dhabi with her husband and happened to be home for three weeks, so I feel incredibly blessed to have met her!

You can read more about the Ethical Fashion Academy and sign up for updates here

2 comments

  1. EcoThreads7:44 AM EDT

    What a great article to read! Thank you for providing a new and creative way to explore a city & to see what it has to offer. Ethical fashion is such a crucial and essential part of our lives in this day and age & we all really need to become more educated on the issue. Thank you for providing a key insight by highlighting places to shop, and things to see whilst in New York for a wide range of items/products. I really enjoyed being able to get a little snap shot into each store, and their history before being able to browse their products and learn more about each store, their values, ethics and inspiration from the information that you provided us with, and further research of my own as a result of your information. For a industry where so much is hidden, and so much is unknown it was really inspiring and great to see someone shed light onto businesses that perform and practice in ethical and sustainable practices.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and your kind words- I agree that there is so much awareness that needs to be raised for what is going on in the beauty and fashion industry, and I am very much learning as I go along! :)

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