White sand, pristine beaches, summer fashion…
I kicked summer off in South Africa, visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town. There is so much to see and experience in Cape Town. The beauty of the natural landscape along with the architecture earn it the well deserved title of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
It’s the beginning of winter in South Africa during this time of year, but we were greeted by mild temperatures in the mid 60s (a stark contrast to the cold winters in most parts of the states). The weather was perfect for exploring, though the temperature at night was cooler. We also visited during the low tourism season, so the cities and sights were not over crowded.
Our adventures in Cape Town took us from the top of Table Mountain (one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World), to an intimate walking tour of Langa (the oldest township in city), and to Clifton Beach. Clifton beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town. It’s a set of four beaches and number 4, where we visited, is infamously regarded as the beach to strut “toned figures and body building”. The water was a bit too cool for swimwear, but we did catch a picturesque sunset on the beach and dipped our toes into the ocean. The mountain provided a breathtaking backdrop and we were enclosed by the beautiful beach homes along Sea Point.
The beauty of Cape Town can not over shadow the recent dark history of Apartheid, however. Our trip would not be complete without a visit to Robben Island, a site where political prisoners were imprisoned under harsh conditions during Apartheid, including Nelson Mendela who spent 18 years in prison on the island. We toured the eerie island by bus and listened to a personal account from a former political prisoner who at the age of 19, was sentenced to the island for conspiracy against the South African government.
South Africa is a country I would love to visit again. In the coming weeks, I will be showcasing a few South African designers I discovered during the trip, so subscribe to my newsletter and learn about the latest in South African fashion!
Where are your summer travels taking you?
It is the first day of summer in the states and what better way to kick off the summer season than with a hot new series on South African designers. I’m excited to share everything over the next few weeks, from accessories to dresses and even a few all natural skin care products.
If you ever visit Cape Town, you must visit The Watershed. It’s a market near the V&A Waterfront with over 150 shops featuring locally designed products, many of which are handmade and ethically produced. It is the perfect stop to pick up unique gifts to bring home as well as items for yourself.
My shorts are by Trip Clothing & Accessories, a brand in Cape Town that creates locally handmade items, including clothing and purses. Using materials that are also sourced locally, their clothing features bold African prints in contemporary designs. The brand produces items in limited quantities, which creates an exclusive shopping experience as well. If travelling to South Africa is not in your plans for the near future, I would visit their online store if you are looking for some funky printed shorts and halter sets, which are perfect to wear to summer festivals.
I purchased a matching halter cropped top (not featured) to wear with the shorts. For this look, however, I paired the shorts with a black cropped top, purchased here.
My bag was also made by a high end fashion designer in South Africa, Dr. Pachanga. The purse, which can also convert into a back pack, has vegan leather and gold accented wax print. I love the unique styles of his bags, which come in variety of shapes and incorporate a mixture of textures and prints. Each style in Dr. Pachanga’s line is also produced in limited quantities and the bags are named after women in his life. Carine, named after the designer’s sister, is quickly becoming my favorite bag to carry.
I hope you enjoyed these items and designers as much as I do! Wishing you an adventurous start to the summer. Stay tuned for more beautiful styles and talented designers from South Africa.
Hello and Happy Friday!
If you’ve been shopping this spring, you have likely noticed a favorite color of mine throughout your favorite stores: green. Olive green, in particular, and other earth tones are staples this season evoking a sense of ease and calm through your wardrobe as we usher in the second half of 2019. While you may be hesitant to wear brighter greens, like emerald, this earthy tone of green is a more subtle but equally beautiful hue to incorporate.
A monochromatic look
I created this monochromatic look with two different shades of green. Monochromatic outfits, in which you build your look from one hue, can create a sleek and striking appearance. Monochromatic looks can also include incorporating different textures, patterns, or shades. For this look, I opted to play on different shades of this earthy green tone and wore a fitted top with a paper bag waist trouser.
Olive green, and other earth tones, compliment each other masterfully. I completed my look with dark brown platform sandals (purchased years ago). Gold and grey hues would also work well. I accessorized with a grey bow headband. If dressing for the work place look, I recommend adding a blazer to create a more professional look. I wore this look to work with a peplum blazer (not pictured).
Finally, last month was earth month and the end of April marked the 6th edition of Fashion Revolution Week. The ethically created and eco-friendly pieces in this post are an ode to creating fashion that honors the health and well-being of the people who make our clothes, as well as, the environment.
What is your favorite color to wear for spring?
“In my white tee.”
Here is a style secret. One of my keys to maintaining effortless style, even when wearing casual looks, is incorporating classic pieces that have been revamped. As a lover of statement pieces, my basics are pretty funky. There is little more alluring than an unexpected backless top and this post features a look that embodies non-basic basics.
The Elif Tie T-shirt is by The Line by K, a collection created ethically in California and designed by blogger-turned-fashion designer, Karla Deras (a woman after my own heart). These days, I am more intentional about my shopping, opting for quality pieces that can be restyled in different ways and that will also last. This top, for example, is made from Japanese cotton. It feels incredibly soft, is comfortable, and also well made.
I styled this casual look with an old pair of bell bottom jeans (purchased from The Limited) and converse sneakers.
As with any look, confidence is key. Confidence comes from within, but the proper support in a backless top goes a long way as well. Depending on the fit, an adhesive bra or petals can provide the support needed.
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With Valentine’s day around the corner, red is the color to wear if you are thinking about looks to celebrate the day of love. Wearing red can be daring on any day. It exudes boldness and confidence, and according to research, can also increase your perceived self-attractiveness (i.e a quick pick me up). Red dresses are a common go-to look for Valentine’s Day, but perhaps your plans are more casual. This look is perfect for a casual date night or a playful look to celebrate Valentine’s day, in general.
I started with a vegan red leather skirt. It is an attractive piece I knew I could style for different occasions. Color choices are important when putting any look together. The color red safely pairs with black or white, but I opted to pair the skirt with grey and other neutrals, which also work well in the contrast to the bold color. Accordingly, I styled the skirt with a patterned top and sweater that incorporated greys and other neutral colors.
I wore lace pattern stockings, a fun accent, and black converse to complete the casual look. As I mentioned, this skirt can be styled for different occasions. If you desire to create a chic look, for example, pair a red skirt with a black fitted blouse and pumps, which instantly transform the look from casual to polished.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found some helpful tips on styling red. Whether you are celebrating love of self, love for others, or a combination of the two, I hope you have a great Valentines Day!
Outfit Details: Skirt – Anthropologie ||Blouse – H&M (old) || Sweater (old) || Tights – Urban Outfitters (old) || Shoes – Converse
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…which also calls for layers and warmer materials.
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season! During the winter months, I can be spotted in long cardigan sweaters and wool pea coats (princess cuts are my favorite). When I am creating a more glamorous look, I incorporate faux furs. For this post, I am sharing how I styled my faux fur coat, purchased at Zara, over the weekend with a casual every day look and a more dressed up look.
As mentioned, faux furs are an easy way to add glam to casual looks, like the look below. For this look, I paired my coat with vintage-inspired corduroys with a retro pattern and an off the shoulder ribbed sweater. I wore this outfit on a Saturday outing visiting some of my favorite markets around the city as they hosted holiday events. I completed the look with silver metallic oxfords.
I wore this second look to a Sunday celebration. My shift dress is by Mata Traders, a fair trade company whose clothes are made by artisan women in India and Nepal. The dress has become a staple in my closet across seasons and different occasions. It is short sleeve and the material works well during the summer months. It can also be styled for colder months, like I achieved with this look. I created a playful look by pairing the dress again with my faux fur coat and over the knee socks. I completed the look with a pair of simple block heel black pumps.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found some ways to style your winter faux furs for casual and more formal looks.
Stay Warm and Have a Merry Christmas!
Welcome December! For the past few years, the month of December has been a race against time to the end of the year. It is the month I launched my blog a few years ago, the month a launched my first business, and while I was in grad school was filled with long nights over the winter break as I prepared for hitting major benchmarks in the new year (like passing my dissertation defense). While this year was filled with accomplishments, like winning awards, finishing my PhD, landing my dream job in my field, there is one goal that I have honestly made less progress on than I aimed for. This year, I am not racing to the finish line to complete it, however, and here is why.
For most of us, our day to day activities are filled with meeting deadlines, measures that we internalize for success. For you, it may not be professional deadlines at all. How about, “Did I purchase this house by this date?”, “Did I get married and have 2.5 children and a dog by this age?” I am a program evaluator, so I understand the immense importance of setting SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound) objectives. As an evaluator, I also know that a margin of flexiblity is necessary. I’m realizing that I don’t always allow for flexibility with my own aspirations and personal endeavors, however. In fact, not meeting my personal deadlines absolutely pains me. This year, however, instead of racing to the finish line I am accepting that beautiful things take time. I thought about a statement made to me my dissertation advisor when I wanted to push up my timeline to finish my Ph.D. a semester early. Essentially, goals are important and meeting your deadlines are great, but what do you gain from moving faster than necessary to get things completed just for the sake of sticking to a deadline?
I’ve made incredible progress in my new venture (developing my own fashion line), from completing a program on business development, to moving this idea from ideation to action, to identifying a co-operative for production. The road in launching your own business is challenging and unpredictable. It is also forcing me to slow down. I am respecting the process that comes along with creating something impactful, beautiful, and meaningful. Time is fluid and ultimately, God’s timing is always perfect.
Perhaps, it’s the increasingly pervasive microwave mentality that leads us to applying unnecessary pressure to get everything completed quickly. Tomorrow, or January 1st, however is another day to continue the journey. I look forward to sharing more of this journey in the coming months as I move closer to launching my first collection. What are you wrapping up before the end of the year?
From adding jobs, reinvesting in communities, environmental sustainability, and (my favorite) offering a selection of unique items – there are many benefits from shopping with small businesses. Some of my favorite women-owned and designed fashion brands are having sales this week. Support a small business today and regularly patronize the companies that are an essential piece to building our economy. Check out my fashion picks for Small Business Saturday below and catch some great sales for your holiday shopping this weekend!
I am a long-time fan of Love, Cortnie’s selection of statement handmade bags. She offers everything from her signature over-sized clutches to funky purses made with Mongolian fur. Cortnie learned to sew in her grandmother’s kitchen in 2011 and today she has made over 200 styles of purses. My go-to bag style is the clutch and the “Color Me Roll-Down Leather Statement Clutch” is my favorite – a classic piece with a twist. It’s $20 off through Tuesday!
Every piece at Fe Noel is feminine and beautiful. Inspired by the founder’s Caribbean roots, you will likely fall for the prints and flowy pieces like I did. The “Swallow Bralette Top” is my top pick. You won’t find the fast fashion prices with this company, so the 30% off sale is the perfect opportunity to purchase something for yourself.
I recently discovered this brand and you only need to read the background on how this company was created to be inspired. The brand features colorful pieces and art apparel designed and made in Los Angeles, California. You will find t-shirts, bomber jackets, and other garments with statements, like “Strength in Sisterhood” that align with their mission to empower women. They are having a buy 2 get 1 sale using the code “SMALLBIZBOGO”. The “Mustard Ruffle Sweater” is one of my favorites, though the “Sisterhood Bomber” is also at the top of my list.
Last, but not least is Sammy B., whose label is no stranger to my blog. Samantha Black’s designs have been worn by celebrities, like Beyonce. Her statement tees are still among my favorites, along with her flounce sleeve tops. She creates magic with sleeves. Although her Black Friday sale ended, her current collection is still worth checking out for your Small Business Saturday shopping or other shopping plans in the future. My top pick from the current collection is the “Round About T-Shirt”.
I hope you enjoyed this post and discovered some new small businesses to shop with! Are you doing any holiday shopping this weekend? Who are your favorite small business fashion brands?
Imagine waking up in the morning and printing your outfit from a desktop printer to wear for the day. You come home later and need something to wear for an outing. Instead of looking through your closet, you select another design to print. Within minutes you have your evening look. With 3D printing, the idea of creating a customizable wardrobe from home may not be as far off as you imagine.
If you have ever heard of 3D printed fashion, you likely have also heard the name Danit Peleg. Danit was recognized recently by Forbes as one of Europe’s top 50 women in tech. A few years ago, she was a student studying fashion design at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel when she created her 3D printed clothing line. Technology innovations are influencing every industry, including fashion. It is, in fact, technology that allowed Danit and I to chat one October morning by video from different parts of world, as she discussed all things related to 3D printed clothing and what’s next in her career. Her background, her studio in Israel, was filled with gorgeous 3D printed tops and dresses. Danit is a new mom as well, balancing a blossoming career and motherhood, taking a moment to nurse her son as we began our interview.
So, just how did Danit get started with 3D printed fashion? She explained that as a student she loved creating fashion using technology, incorporating things like laser cutting and silk printing into her work. It was during her internship in New York where she first saw clothing constructed with industrial printers, each dress priced at about $20,000. She was inspired by that experience to create her own collection and to push the boundaries in 3D printed fashion. The result was her graduate project, the first 3D printed fashion collection entirely created from home.
Making Clothing using 3D Printing
I asked Danit, who is currently working on her third collection, about the process of creating 3D printed clothing. She uses Filaflex, a type of filament used in 3D printing. She holds up a piece and it looks like nothing more than a plastic tube. It is fascinating that this piece of material is used to create dresses, like pictured above. Filaflex is very flexible, but Danit believes the material will evolve and will feel more like fabric in the future. She explained that three years ago it took 300 hours to make one dress. The process has improved over time, however, due to technological advancements in the printers and now it takes about 80 hours. “I think it’s only a matter of time before it takes a few minutes to print a dress.” – Danit adds. Danit also shared that she uses multiple printers to print different parts of the garment, which allows her to print an entire garment within one day.
A Zero Waste Process
With 3D printing, every piece printed is used, “There are no left overs.” – Danit says “Every piece is meant to be something… So, when I make a dress there is zero waste”. When we donate clothing, we hope it makes it to someone in need. However, a lot of unwanted clothing ends up in landfills. Even more exciting is that all the 3D printed garments can be recycled using a special machine that works like a blender and breaks the garment down into the building material. The filaments can then be used again for another design. With 3D printing, the potential for creating and recreating using this process seem endless – It’s like having a never-ending wardrobe!
Danit also noted that she does not keep any inventory, which prevents potentially wasted products as well.
It’s Personalized and Customizable
“You can be a part of the design process and style it for yourself.” – Danit. Danit explained that it is easy to personalize the garment for every customer. She holds up one of her bomber jackets, available online, as an example and explains that customers can choose the color for the textile and for the lining (I played around with customizing my own bomber jacket in the picture below). In the future she imagines customers will be able to select the material for printing their garment as well, like cotton or wool.
Using an app called Nettelo, customers can take two pictures of themselves, from which Danit is able to obtain their measurements for a dress, shirt, or whatever design is purchased. The result is a perfectly tailored garment to fit your specific measurements,
Benefits, Challenges and the Future of Fashion through the 3D Lens
Danit described other benefits, which include the elimination of the shipping process, including the monetary and environmental costs, as well as, shipping time. “With this technology, we don’t need to ship garments from one side of the world to the other side.” –Danit. She also explained that for fast fashion companies like, H&M and Zara, for example, 3D printed designs could be used to reduce excess inventory. “They are producing these huge amounts of clothing that sometimes people don’t want to buy” – Danit. She explains that by using 3D printed designs, companies would be able to see exactly how many downloads they have for a piece of clothing.
When asked about the challenges in making this technology more accessible and mainstream in the fashion industry, Danit responded, “I think the biggest change will be when we have more diversity in the materials [used for 3D printed fashion]”. She also said that more education is needed on what 3D printing is, the benefits of using this type of technology, and how to use it. In the future, she predicts that 3D printers will be as common as microwaves. “Everyone will have them in their house and they will know exactly what to do with them” -Danit.
Danit also noted that printers should be faster and cheaper, which can cost up to $3000. The material on the other hand is not that expensive and will cost about $30-$40 for a dress, for example. Still, the most expensive aspect, she adds, is the time it takes to print.
A Look to the Future
Danit believes traditional ways of purchasing clothing (e.g. at clothing stores) will not disappear completely, but 3D printing will provide another way to buy and produce fashion. “Everything in our life is becoming digital and it’s only a matter of time before it happens with fashion a well.”– Danit explains.
I was interested in hearing Danit’s thoughts on how 3D printing might shift the jobs in the fashion industry, since a large portion of jobs in this industry are currently held by the individuals who make the clothing. Danit described that 3D printing could be a part of the fashion revolution, reducing the burden on employees, so many of whom aren’t paid fair wages and/or work in potentially hazardous environments. “The clothes we buy are so cheap and the people who make them are miserable… I think [3D printing] could be a good alternative.”
So, what is next for Danit?
When asked about her next steps, Danit replied “…Continuing in creating my vision into reality”. A few things in store include experimenting with new 3D printers to explore their benefits and limitations, creating new filaments, combining colors in textiles, and also uploading her designs so people can download them.
I appreciate Danit’s openness in sharing her process as well. In addition to providing workshops and talks for companies, like Adidas, Danit is now offering a course where she teaches everything thing she learned in three years about 3D printed fashion over the course of three days. During the course, which she describes as “3D printed fashion for beginners”, participants learn about the benefits of using 3D printing technology, the different types of technology that can be used, materials for creating 3D printed clothing, and an introduction to 3D modeling. Participants in the course also create 3D printed textile swatches and receive digital copies of Danit’s designs to practice with. The next course takes place November 27th-29th!
Danit Peleg is a visionary in fashion and our conversation was quite inspirational, so I will end with this quote:
“Your only limitation is your imagination when it comes to 3D printing.” – Danit
A short time ago, I posted an excerpt on my Instagram account from “The Conscious Parent” by psychologist, Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. So much of the information in this book resonated with me and transformed some views I had on parenting, even in what seems to be mundane experiences. For example, I let my 10 year old dress herself and I encourage her to feel free to express herself through fashion, as in other areas. Providing this liberty doesn’t mean that I don’t shop for her clothes when she is not with me and there are still rules to dressing (e.g. age appropriateness and cleanliness). It means releasing my desire to be so controlling over her “image” and also understanding that excepting her way of self expression through fashion is part of excepting who she is and encouraging her to express herself freely.
This story is just one example of how parenting ideologies translate to decision-making. Like other values we hold, parenting consciously or mindfully relates to other aspects of our lives, like the types products we purchase for our children, including the clothing we buy. Here are a few children’s clothing brands to add to your list for conscious consumerism.
With sizes like 12-18 months, 18-24 months, and so on, parents are constantly purchasing clothes to keep up with the rapidly growing bodies of younger children. BeyaMade, designed by a former fashion fashion designer, came up with a solution to reduce textile waste and also save parents money by designing clothes that expand as children grow over time. It is a pretty genius idea. You simply order the clothes in the size your child is currently wearing and the clothing can be expanded as your child grows, through the design which incorporates functional drawstrings and hems. The pinstripe jumpsuit below, for example, can be expanded for up to six seasons.
As stated on their website, Indi was started “as a way to offer beautiful clothes for our little ones that represent the values we stand for—and the world we want them to grow up in.” The garments are made using natural indigo dyeing techniques, so it is definitely a brand to explore when you are looking for blue hues and also for your bohemian child fashion looks. The company also invests 20% of the product costs into their artisan communities.
Imps & Elfs
Imps & Elfs is a baby, toddler, and children’s clothing brand that was among the first brands to join Made By. The products are produced by workers who are paid a fair wage and work in safe environmental conditions. Also of note, the products by Imps & Elfs are free from harmful chemicals, including pesticides and hormone disruptors like flame retardants and phthalates. Their complete “Restricted Substance List” document is available on their website. I love the intentionality they describe in creating a brand of clothing for children, with children-appropriate silhouettes, chic designs, and accents to showcase their personality. There is also a unisex collection.
All of the brands in this post feature clothing created with care for the earth and/or care for the children that are wearing them, while maintaining stylish and trendy fashion. One of my goals in parenting is to create a safe and healthy environment in which my daughter can grow and thrive, including the products she’s exposed to in our home environment. Have you ever considered how chemicals in clothing or other products can affect children’s health? Children’s Environmental Health Day is this week. You can learn more about how every day toxicant, or chemical, exposure relates to health and simple tips for reducing exposure through this project.