Guest Post: Outraged Over Oreo

Many have heard the tragic story of Oreo the dog who survived being thrown off of a building by her owner and who was recently euthanized by the ASPCA. The ASPCA has been criticized for putting her down. The following is a response to some of the criticism from someone who loves animals and works with shelter dogs everyday…

First of all, euthanasia is defined as “easy death” and occurring in a “relatively painless way as an act of mercy”. The accusation that the man neglectfully, cruelly, and dishonestly, chose instead to kill Oreo using a drug called “Fatal Plus” (the brand name, not the actual drug name of Sodium Pentobarbital) is misleading and manipulative. You can be upset that the dog was euthanized rather than transferred to a no kill facility, but please, make your argument solid by representing facts instead of bias.

I take personal offense at the statement that large shelters are in reality staffed by those who would rather “perpetuate the violence and betrayal by killing”. As a staff member responsible for performing euthanasia, I can tell you that euthanasia is never easy, far from enjoyable and an unfortunate reality for many of these shelters.  We are an open admission shelter (unlike no-kill facilities). Which means, we never turn an animal away. Because we choose (and yes, it is a choice) to evaluate animals and not rehome -or allow the animal to spend the rest of its life in a kennel as can happen at no-kill facilities- for aggression, we are able to take in on average 65 healthy, behaviorally sound dogs and puppies per week. Dogs and puppies that were facing euthanasia at other shelters due to lack of space and resources. I agree that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but starting a smear campaign against an animal welfare organization due to a difference in philosophy only leads to a further lack of public support, ultimately resulting in more euthanasia decisions. Until there is not an animal shelter left in the country who daily faces euthanasia of perfectly easy and rehomeable animals, I will defend the decision to euthanize aggression rather than transfer to another facility. Once every behaviorally sound dog/cat/ferret/parrot/rat/rabbit has a home, then the animal welfare community should begin making those great strides in behavior modification and rehabilitation.

Quick Note: Soap, DDR and tiny computer thingys

This is old news for geeks and gamers already flocking to DigitalSoaps to procure clever hand-crafted soaps, but you should definitely check them out if you haven’t already. These gaming inspired soaps have become so popular that the creator had to cut back on working her “real” job-it’s no wonder with fun items such as Mountain Dew scented Nintendo NES soap and coconut lime verbena scented Space Invader soaps. Even more exciting is the fact that these products are made with no animal ingredients:

“The soap bases I use are natural and vegan – No animal products, animal testing, detergents, sulfates or sugar solutions. I’ve been obsessed with finding quality, great ingredient soaps. I found a high quality source of soap base and combined two interests: A love of all things geeky and a love of being clean.”

Awesome. In case you are thinking of giving these as gifts, order by December 5th if you want them in time for Christmas.

Looking for a fun holiday gift project? Even if you’re not a DDR fan, this handbag is pretty cool (it even says so right on it!) and not to difficult to make.

The creator of this bag, Liz McLean Knight, also makes cute jewelry out of computer hardware-not sure if she recycling old, used parts, but the point is that a person could if they wanted to-as far as I know anyway.

Quick Note- DIY Handbags or: What You’re Getting from Me for Christmas

Refashioned Bags

Just came across this book and I am so very, very excited! Excited enough that I had to share right away. 

Even though I don’t have as much time for this kind of thing as I would like, I really do enjoy making stuff and typically when I get down to sewing something, it starts out as a purse. It may not end up as a purse, but hopefully this book will remedy that -once I get my hands on a copy, that is. Until then, I will continue to be inspired by other creative folks who are making awesome bags out of some interesting materials:

Sailcloth bags-said to be incredibly sturdy. I love their summery look. This skull bag is my favorite.

skull sailcloth

Construction netting– cute, structured bags available at maliadesigns.com. Bonus: proceeds go to fight human trafficking and increase economic opportunities for women.

Mod Blue handbag

Juice packets– colorful and fun, these items are constructed of 100% recycled materials and assembled by workers who earn a fair wage.

 woven wooden handbag

Vintage fabric– not too surprising in terms of the materials used, but I threw these Kim White bags in because they are adorable and reversible.

reversible bag brown wallpaper

Finally, here’s a video on how to repurpose old books into cute purses. Enjoy!

Hilary Duff’s Edgy-Glam Compassion-ized

So of all the starlets Disney has churned out of its factory, I dislike Hilary Duff (and Raven Symone) the least. I’m not even sure why that is, but suffice it to say I’m not here to bag on her-in fact I quite like what she and/or her stylist have done here. I’m just going to inject a little compassion into this fun People Style Watch spread. After all, proclaiming leather pants to be her go-to item for looking edgy is practically a cry for help. Someone with Hil’s fashion budget and creativity can easily integrate sustainable and cruelty-free purchases into their wardrobe. Behold!

Hilary! from People Nov 2009

Starting with the ensemble on the far left- I was able to find an organic cotton dress from SUST that works great for this look. Since it lacks the sparkly embellishment that makes HD’s dress, let’s add this fun vintage brooch from Michelle’s Vintage for a little bling. (Did I just type the word “bling”?)  Moving on…for HD’s croc print clutch, I decided to go a little smaller, and chose this pleated, snake print clutch by Shiraleah available at Alternative Outfitters.

Mod dress SUSTDimensional Brooch Michelle's VintageMarilynBlkClutch Alt Outfitters

The shoes are somewhat more problematic-not because I couldn’t find a non-leather equivalent, because I did find a perfect imitation. The fact that this dead ringer is only $8 is trouble because I’m guessing that the workers who assemble cheap knock-offs of Jimmy Choos for online strip club wear outlets probably don’t earn a living wage. Just a hunch. So I had to depart slightly from the silver snake print gladiator and go for these gorgeous silver shoes from Beyond Skin.Beyond Skin’s shoe line is completely vegan and they are known for their ethical business practices as well.

silver snake gladiators amiclubwearbeyond_skin_poppy_vegan_silver_heeled_sandal_shoe_sd

Moving on to the bottom right of the page-Adorable crocheted bag by Autonomie Project available at Nimli, wide black belt with faux croc print buckle- these are pretty easy to find just about everywhere. Had a little difficulty finding a slip with long fringe like HD’s but I couldn’t resist this vintage fringe dress, which could be done with or without the belt, from Robin Clayton Vintage. Add these patent peeptoes from Neauaura available at Shop Humanitaire and we’re set!

crocheted clutch from nimli

Neuaura Maybelle at shophumanitaire

vintage fringe dress robin clayton vintage

Finally, top right- HD’s edgy denim look made more animal and eco friendly with these almost booties available at Ragazzi Vegan, and fair trade, organic cotton jeans from Equa -find a sharp object and distress ’em yourself if you must. As far as her top goes, it’s hard for me to tell what’s going on in the photo, so I’m going to let Hil really make a statement here and put her in this “Live Green or Die” tank from Alternative Outfitters.

vegan booties ragazzivegan

Black Jeans Equa

LiveGreenTank_BlkAzuri organic cotton scarf from Nimli

Matt and Nat Kogan clutch

Rounding out the accessories, I think HD would love this Black Kogan clutch by Matt and Nat. The black Azuri scarf from Nimli is organic cotton and comes in an amazing variety of colors.

And with that I must wrap up our little virtual shopping extravaganza. Hope you enjoyed it- I know I had a great time. Let’s do it again soon.

Cheers!

Guest Post: Ecouterre.com is Go!

The following is a guest post by a wonderful friend and New Yorker who agreed to check out Ecouterre’s launch party for us:

When Gina asked me to attend and write up the launch party for the website Ecouterre at Kaight, a Manhattan boutique specializing in eco-friendly clothing, I was hesitant. I am woefully ignorant about matters of sustainability and eco-consciousness, having decided a while back that my personal share of environmental activism has been covered by the fact that I haven’t driven a car in fourteen years. In fact, the only thing I know less about than eco-consciousness is fashion. Recently a friend described my wardrobe as, “A mish-mash of men’s shoes, H&M blouses, Rachel Zoe-esque cocktail rings, and therapist shawls. But not in a good way.”  Thanks, friend! Nevertheless I agreed to attend, lured by the promise of free vegan cookies and Gina’s pledge to call me “scoop” for an indefinite period of time.

Ecouterre is a website devoted to “the future of clothing and textile design,” dedicated to “showcasing and supporting designers who not only contemplate cut, form, and drape, but also a garment’s social and environmental impact, from the cultivation of its fibers to its use and disposal.” Their launch party was held at the Lower East Side shop Kaight, which showcases “emerging and independent designers” who utilize organic, sustainable and recycled materials. Here are some of my personal highlights from the shop’s wares:

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Yuka Yoneda, Ecouterre’s lovely New York editor, is modeling the Circle Cascade Necklace, which was being raffled off during the launch party. Sadly, I did not win this beautiful piece from The Andean Collection, makers of environmentally friendly and socially conscious fashion who employ fair trade principles with their artisans. The jewelry is made is from unique materials like acai seeds and tagua, and is available for sale through their website (www.theandeancollection.com).

In the background of this shot you can see stacked candles by A Scent of Scandal, a line of hand-poured, 100% soy-wax candles made by a Californian brother and sister team. I tried to get a photo of the disturbingly named “DILF” scented candle, but it didn’t come out, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

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It felt a bit stalkery to follow Ms. Yoneda around all night asking her to model things, so I had to awkwardly take a of picture myself in order to showcase this adorable hat by Stewart and Brown, makers of eco-friendly knit-wear (www.stewartbrown.com).

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These vegan shoes are by Calico Napa and are sadly too rich for my blood at $345. Which is perhaps just as well, because I’m not certain how to wear them. With socks? With jeans? Something tells me that if I lived in Williamsburg, I would know the answer.

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I wouldn’t wear these $99 dollar Melissa Joy Flocado shoes, but I’m happy that they exist in the world.

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This $280 dollar Ashley Watson vegan bag would be my new work bag, in a world where magic fairies paid my cable bill.

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These raspberry cookies by green caterers Rabbit Mafia were delish. I was sampling them when I overheard this conversation:

Boy Fashionista: “Did you hear Marc Jacobs is coming?”

Girl Fashionista: “Really?!?!!”

Boy Fashionista: “Well, his assistant.”

When the PAs of New York’s fashion elite start showing up at a party, it’s time for the Bevins of the world to skedaddle. If you happen to visit Kaight, I recommend you do as I did and head a few doors down to An Choi for an awesome Banh Mi sandwich (vegan toppings available). After dinner I walked past Kaight again to head towards the subway. The store had indeed filled with the beautiful and the eco-conscious, who were drinking organic cocktails and spilling out onto Orchard street.

I bid farewell to Kaight and gave one last, long, loving glance to these Joan Holloway-esque necklaces on display in shop. If eco-conscious fashion is wrong, baby, I don’t want to be right.

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Reducin’ and Reusin’ Baby!

I like to shop. I have always liked to shop. As much as anyone who has been raised in a society based on consumption likes to shop, I like to shop. However, I also like our planet, and animals and people. I don’t want to contribute excessively to the degradation of the environment, the suffering of living creatures or the exploitation of human beings. So, I am trying, as many of us are, to think carefully about my purchases when I do have to make them, and how to reuse what I already have. And I am really excited about that last bit because I just came across a list of very cool websites via green my style that are all about that. These are a few that really got me to thinking…

1. Make Do and Mend – no-frills site with great tips on making things over and also good info on the social and environmental costs of overconsumption.

2. Swishing – remember back in junior high when you and your friends used to borrow each others’ clothes? (Jennifer B., wherever you are, I’m really, really sorry it took me so long to return your Guess jeans back in the 8th grade.)  This is just like that except you have a party and everyone brings an item of clothing to swap. You and your pals don’t where the same sizes? No prob! Swapping accessories works just as well. ( Looks like this is a big deal in the UK, but a quick search for this type of activity in the US was unsuccessful…surely it’s happening though. I will continue searching. ) OK so my searching for US clothes swapping parties was hampered by the fact that I used “swishing” vs. “clothes swapping”. Ms. Scarr pointed out that they have lots o’ swaps in Oregon and I found some in San Fran.

3. What’s Mine is Yours – feeling anti-social? This is swishing online. Users can also buy and sell items here.

4. Oxfam DIY – tips on refashioning old items into new ones. Second hand clothing for this purpose can be purchased on the site. More info on Oxfam in this fun video:

5. Wardrobe Refashion – if you are rolling your eyes and thinking: I am already way of ahead of you sister, I am an upcycling machine! then take the pledge at Wardrobe Refashion:

I pledge that i shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Hope you find these as inspiring as I did. Have fun! 🙂