9 Ethical Fashion Brands That Are Equally Chic

9EthicalEcoDesignersToday is Black Friday and it’s the beginning of the holiday fashion season. I’d like to challenge you not to buy anything if you can’t answer #WhoMadeMyClothes? There are some brands that you might already be familiar with like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney and Barbour but here are nine others that I really love. Some I’ve known for awhile while others are relatively new discoveries and all of them are ethical fashion brands that are equally – and utterly – chic!

A chat with designer Daniel Silverstein

Zero Waste Sustainable Designer Daniel Silverstein

Daniel Silverstein

I am all about supporting local design talent and when I saw Daniel Silverstein’s Zero Waste top in my instagram feed it immediately caught my attention. And then when I learned about the concept behind it…let’s just say it’s going on my Christmas list of what I will be giving as gifts.

And being the slightly obsessive type that I am I decided to interview him to learn more. Daniel’s one of the talented designers whose studio is at Manufacture New York, an industrial space in Brooklyn where designers and manufacturers work side-by-side allowing the designer’s to make small runs of products and keep the whole process in New York.


Bicoastal Beauty: Origins Charcoal Body Wash & Detox Body Scrub

In the interest of finding and sharing fabulous beauty products I’ve teamed up with my cousin Amy to test items and write reviews. She lives in LA and tends to have a more low maintenance beauty regime while I live in Brooklyn and tend to believe more is…well, more!

Our first products, courtesy of Origins, was from their Clear Improvement line. First we have to say we’re huge fans of Origins and their commitment to natural ingredients and earth-friendly practices. The products we tried were the Purifying Charcoal Body Wash and Detoxifying Charcoal Body Scrub.

This unique line is created with Bamboo Charcoal that draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion… and who doesn’t want that?


File under Brilliant: Angela Donhauser’s postal jacket

A brilliant bit of recycling

A brilliant bit of recycling

Last night I meant to go to the party at Club Monaco where Sean Lennon performed but somehow ended up in the Bronx instead. While I’m sorry to have missed seeing Sean and Charlotte, the party in a large warehouse space was quite extraordinary. It was Lucien Smith’s Macabre Suite and you can Google it to see more about it. Sorry I’m being a bit lazy but what I want to share with you now is this jacket I’m utterly obsessed with. It’s made of those impossible-to-rip mailing envelopes from the Post Office and after seeing it a few times over the course of the evening I went up to the woman wearing it and complimented her on it. She introduced herself to me and said she was one of the designer’s of threeASFOUR which happens to be a line I’ve always loved as well. Anyways it’s a very cool jacket that almost inspires me to try it myself!

My New Classic: The Barbour Beadnell Waxed Jacket

Barbour Jacket
skeetInstaI have recently made a personal commitment to being more considered in what I buy. I try to buy from places that are both ethical and sustainable in their production practices and/or from consignment stores. (The latter I’ve found to be a great place to find barely worn designer jeans!)
Barbour totally fits into this ethos. If you’re an urban dweller like me you might not be as familiar with this brand. Barbour is a family owned business that espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing. And as way of introduction they invited me for a day of fly-fishing and skeet shooting at the Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook NY.
Wait. What?!?

I am known for the quote “I like nature through a window” so there was much amusement when friends found out that I accepted their invitation. But I’m up for any adventure. That day they took a group of us to the Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook NY where we had lunch before a fly-fishing lesson followed by skeet shooting. (which if like me, you have no idea what that is, involves shooting clay pigeons). It was like a live video game to me and I actually hit 4 out of 5 targets!
BarbourWanderInstaMy friends the lovely Wanderlust Girls, Abigail and Emily also happened to be there so we made a trio of blondes. It was a fun event and a great introduction to this classic waxed jacket. #BarbourExperience

From Fashion Week 2016: File Under Highly Questionable

For some reason blogs never seem to saying anything less than glowing about fashion week. But isn’t that kind of like giving every kid a trophy just for trying? I mean, we can’t all be winners right? To that end here are a few things that struck a wrong chord this past season.

Weird Body Emphasis

weird Body Emphasis

Marco De Vincenzo, Dolce Gabbana, Gucci, Moschino

Okay, I get wanting to place emphasis on certain body parts. Normally this is done with things like cut-outs which highlight cleavage or legs. Marco De Vincenzo’s optical illusion makes it look like she has only one boob, while Alessandro’s top for Gucci put bright red flowers that kind of function like over-sized pasties on a flat chested model which could inspire bad jokes about blossoming buds… Then there’s Dolce & Gabbana’s wheel that could double as target practice if you’re targeting a pudendum. However that might be considered subtle in comparison to Moschino’s arrow pointing to the same region that helpfully says “Entrance”. (Actually Jeremy Scott gets points for not even pretending to be anything but obvious and campy in his approach)

PS women don’t want to look like cows

Proenza Schouler make great bags. Seriously their PS series have achieved near cult like status and if you go to their site bags are what you first see. And in their defense normally I think they make some pretty amazing clothes but I was struck by how awful these pieces were. Guys, no woman wants to look like a cow (and I did an unscientific test where I showed the black and white dress image to many people and without any coaching they all said “oh, that looks like a cow”) and if a model looks bad the average woman is going to look…well I can’t even think about it.

Inspired by Nasty Gal

The last of my ire goes to Hedi Slimane’s latest Saint Laurent collection. Fast fashion is always accused of stealing looks from major designers because let’s face it: it happens. (see this if you’re clueless on the subject) But never have I seen the reverse and to such perfection. This collection looks like it’s straight from the racks of Forever 21 and Nasty Gal. Seriously, if I wanted to waste time I would have found these same looks on those sites to prove it to you. But I don’t have to because you know exactly what I’m talking about. And when I think of the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent I find this a very sad state of affairs. For realz, yo. I don’t have any issues with slip dresses, denim overall shorts or graphic animal sweaters (though I prefer Kenzo’s tiger from a few seasons back). But I do object to the idea that this is anything new or how much it costs when I can buy basically the same thing in the local mall if I want. Which, you know, I don’t. However for the most part the fashion cognoscenti has completely sipped this particular kool-aid so I can’t see the Saint Laurent’s look changing anytime soon.

Fashion Week Trends -S/S 2016

Okay, let’s see: there’s the ’70s, gender-free, fringe, new neutrals, new colors, new denim (especially wider and frayed)and an emphasis on fabrication like the use of laser cut or embroidery – both because the end product is more beautiful and more difficult for fast fashion to rip-off. But looking at the month of fashion weeks it struck me that there is an edginess right now in fashion that is reflecting the edginess in life. As the worldwide economic recovery seems to never fully recover (creating a legion of freelancers, air b-n-bers, UBER drivers and people in their 20s still living with Mom) and ISIS keeps growing and the refugee situation keeps worsening…it’s no wonder it feels like the entire world of fashion lives on Xanax and champagne. With that in mind here are the trends that caught my eye.

Pattern Overload


Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Mary Katrazanou, Marc Jacobs.

Sure we’ve seen “print on print” for awhile now. But this season it’s positively vibrating. I feel like I have ADD just looking at these.



Celine, Stella McCartney, Chanel, Prada

Plaid for spring evokes neither coy schoolgirl nor Kurt Cobain. It’s more of a “Go Big or Go Home” kind of statement.

My 3 Year Old Dressed Me


Chanel, Vetements, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs

“Oh, I want to wear that. And that. And that too.” Anyone who has ever had or  been a little girl knows this story. Apparently designers like this idea too! Seriously take the first three things in your closet and put them on and you could look completely on trend. I am not judging, just observing…although I will add that I do not even begin to understand the hype around Vetements and what Balenciaga is thinking!

Candy Girls

Alexander McQueen, Mary Katranzou, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli

Alexander McQueen, Mary Katranzou, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli

I don’t know if these looks are inspired by the Japanese Lolita girls or are simply their wet dreams but wearing these looks can give you a sugar high.

A Touch of ’80s


Dries van Noten, Max Mara, Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli

Am I the only one hearing “Tainted Love” when looking at these images? The past few seasons have really had a ’60s mod or ’70s vibe but I am here to tell you that the ’80s is coming back. So raid Grandma’s closet and your local thrift store for toppers that make you look like a footballer (of the American variety)

Punk Princess


Philipp Plein, Anthony Vaccarello, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton

Punk is never dead. ‘nough said.

Next post: Fashion Week Hall of Shame!

NYFW Daniel Silverstain

Those of you who know me from StyleDefined NYC might remember that I have never been one to throw up bad phone photos minutes after a show was over. That always feels like a bid to inspire FOMO in others and that kind of “proof of life” feels dead on arrival IMHO. Or, maybe I’m just lazy. Either way if you want to see typical fashion week photos please look elsewhere. Here are two of my personal favorites from his show…which was very well done by the way so check it out for realz yo! (here)
Daniel Silverstain S/S 16Daniel Silverstain S/S 16

The Verge Collective at NYFW

What is queer style?

There certainly has been plenty of chatter about “gender free” and “gender neutral” clothing but to me that sounds positively unsexy. D’ya know what’s gender neutral? A strait jacket, for one thing…
Seriously, the fact that challenging gender norms is even part of the conversations is encouraging. But there is more to this than a slideshow in the New York Times. Gender nonconformity is not gender free – it’s refusing to play by the rules that society has laid out about how you should present yourself. It’s about defining your own style.

Take a look BEHIND THE SCENES at all of the transcending talent that is bringing you the Largest Queer New York Fashion Week Event and Runway Show in Partnership with Brooklyn Museum on September 17th, VERGE NYFW

Video by ChronicallyLate

dapperQ, bklyn boihood, Posture Magazine, and Die Young, Die Happy Productions (D.Y.D.H)

have partnered to spotlight eight independent designers whose work is systemically rooted in notions of gender nonconformity and its intersections with race, ethnicity, and culture. The vision of Verge is to become a platform for the un-defined and the conceptually-minded, while maintaining a prominent level of accessibility to the greater community.

The designers/labels include:

3 picks for New York Fashion Week

A few fashion week picks
Note: this post starts with some personal rambling, to get to my picks skip to below.
This Wednesday starts fashion week –what I have referred to at times as camp for fashion lovers: meaning twice a year you see people you haven’t seen for 6 months but will continue to see with regularity for the next 6 days. The exchanges begin with recognition of mutual fabulosity followed by “So…which shows are you going to?” The answer to this question is often evasive as though sharing your hand at a poker table and range from a listing of every show and presentation available – translation: I am at fashion week solely for my Instagram account and to humble brag to “Oh, I am so over fashion week.” Translation: you are seeing me at perhaps the only show I was invited to this season. (more…)