Hey friends,

If you think the title of this post sounds a little extra, well, it is. This was the title of a presentation I gave recently for a student symposium within my college. There are six different majors in my college, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and a student from each major was selected to give a talk the the college about a theme they have been studying. When I found out that I had been selected, I immediately knew the direction that I wanted to take for this. 

I really wanted to share on the topic of fast fashion to my peers. This is something that many people are slightly aware of, yet don’t really know exactly how to execute either on their budget or with their style. I am so happy about how the presentation went that I decided to share some of these things with you, because since I got good feedback, I thought you all might like to know about this as well. A little over a month ago, if you’ll remember, I posted something called “The Beauty of Transparency” where I discussed some companies that I feel do an amazing job of being clear about how their garments and items are made. 

What Even Is Fast Fashion? 

Fast fashion is considered to be —“an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”.  And in the words of NYT columnist Lucy Siegle, “Fast fashion isn’t free. Somewhere, someone is paying.” I want to pose a question to you for you to think about for your clothing picks within your closet. —Are your clothes long lasting and high quality, or falling apart after their first night out?

To me, this is not only a sustainability issue in terms of the earth, but it’s also a human rights issue, since workers all around the world are being mistreated in the name of fast fashion. Companies like ZARA can come up with a design, produce it, and have it in store all within 10 days of the initial design. Thinking along those lines, do you think that these companies are really taking into consideration how ethically or sustainably these items are being made? Most likely not. 

That all being said, I want to share 5 ways that the everyday consumer can help tackle this issue. All of these can absolutely be done on a college student’s budget. 

1. Shop Second Hand. 

This is such an easy thing to do, and by doing this, you aren’t contributing to the tons of clothing that are being dumped into the landfills each day. There are plenty of stores in my college town of Columbia, MO where I can shop second hand, and I’m pretty sure that in almost every city there are places to find second hand garments. From Plato’s Closet to even Goodwill, the opportunities are usually endless. Not only will you get clothing at a cheaper price, but most likely, with enough searching, you can find some of your favorite name brands, too! I’ve found plenty of Madewell, J.Crew, and Free People at my Goodwill for a fraction of the original price! 

2. Create a Capsule Wardrobe.

I’ve done this for all of the times I’ve lived abroad, but I’m actually in the process of turning my current closet into a capsule wardrobe. The basics of this are simple. —Invest in a few long lasting, high quality pieces rather than many cheaply made items. Be more with less! Most capsule wardrobes suggest curating a 37 piece wardrobe including —shoes, undergarments, tops, pants, dresses, outerwear, etc. but you can adapt this to however you see fit. If you want further information on this, check out one of my favorite blogs called Unfancy to see how to create a more in-depth capsule wardrobe. 

3. Research Brands That Do Good.

—There are many out there that actually don’t cost a fortune, but it simply takes a bit of research! Some of my absolute favorites include Hiptipico, Patagonia, Sseko, Reformation, Everlane, People Tree, Eileen Fisher, Nisolo, Tribe Alive, Ethica, Symbology, Mata Traders, Naja, Elegantees, etc. —These specifically are ethically and sustainably made, however, even just investing in high quality brands is a great start in order to not be constantly realizing your clothes are getting worn out after one or two uses.

4. Use Your Resources. 

—There are multitudes of resources available to help you on the journey to shopping smarter. It simply takes purchasing a book or downloading an app that can make the journey towards a more sustainable life so much easier. I’m so thankful that we live in an age of the technology that we have in order to use these things to our advantage and learn so much more.

  • The Good Guide – Barcode scanning app that tells you how sustainably your clothing and home goods were made.
  • —Social Impact – An app that shows local boutiques, restaurants, stores, etc. that practice sustainability and ethical choices.
  • —The True Cost – A moving documentary showing the process of how fast fashion is changing our world for in terms of sustainability and for factory workers.
  • —Overdressed – A nonfiction book by Elizabeth Cline documenting the excessive buying habits of our generation and country in general.

5. Call Out Your Favorite Brands. 

Guess what? Brands will listen to their customers. I would be lying if I said all of my favorite brands are sustainable, because the truth of the matter is that there are just some really amazing companies with beautiful clothing…it’s just not ethically made. That being said, when we reach out to our favorite companies, they are willing to listen to us! —On every website you’ll usually find the company’s PR website or customer service email. Send an email or a tweet, asking for that brand to be transparent with how their garments are made, or even to work towards a more sustainable program. This does work, and in the cases of H&M and even Urban Outfitters, they have branched out to create more sustainable lines. Of course the entire company won’t change overnight but this is a great first step to bring about change in the companies that we love. 

Do you like to shop ethically? Or is this one of the first times you’ve heard about it? If you do currently shop ethically, what are some of your favorite brands? Leave me a comment below letting me know, so I can shop that brand too! 

Much love, 

Olivia

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Throughout the later part of this past week, Columbia was hit with some of the best weather that we’ve had in a long while. With 75 degrees and full sun, I was able to spend some quality time with a few great friends. I had some coffee dates, a photo shoot with my lovely friend Brea of Ciao, Brea, and a trip to the Farmer’s Market. It was a much needed weekend especially in the sense that the last week was a long week of recovering from the jet lag following my spring break trip to Spain and Portugal! 

After some really quality conversations with important people in my life, I began to realize how thankful I am for the gift of transparency, and in this instance, the fact that such wonderful people have been placed in my life who can be so open and honest with me and that I can share with them in return. Coming to college, I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find people that I’d be able to share everything with. Not only did I leave high school with some extremely close friendships, I also feared that these kinds of relationships would be harder to make in college since no one from my core friend group in high school came to the same school as I did.

Thankfully, within my first few days at school, I met several people who would become extremely important roles in my college career, including one of my absolute best friends who later became, and still is, my roommate. Then, sophomore year, I chose to study abroad in Spain. There I met another one of my now absolute best friends and we were able to become so close over the course of a few months simply because we shared everything with each other.

Those kinds of relationships are the ones I thrive on. The ones where everything can be out in the open and we can share our hearts without fear of judgement. The quality of transparency in a friendship is a vital one and thankfully, I have been blessed with a handful of friendships where this quality is prevalent. My favorite author, Brené Brown, said something that I feel sums up these friendships quite well. She said, “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.” 

How would it feel to be connected to brand in such a way? That’s what I longed for…to be able to connect with a brand like a friend. To know the stories of the items that I purchase in such a way that I feel deeply connected to the items as I use them each time. That’s where Hiptipico came in. I found out about the company a short while after I came back to the U.S. after having spent some time living in Guatemala. 

Upon following the brand and their founder Alyssa on Instagram, I realized that this was exactly the kind of transparency that I wanted in a company. From behind the scenes stories and trips to meet their Guatemalan artisans, there is an instant connection with the brand. Ethical fashion to me isn’t about the trend. It may be something that’s a popular idea right now and a lot of people seem to be excited about it, yet I want this momentum to last. This movement not only provides transparency as to where our garments and accessories are sourced but it also can connect us with people around the globe who are using their dignified job as a means out of poverty.  

My outfit details include the Utz Backpack from Hiptipico of course! 

Thankfully, there are companies out there that really do go above and beyond in regards towards sustainability, fair wages for their workers, and quality product. That being said, it really does bring transparency full circle. I strive to be transparent in much of what I do; whether it be in my friendships or in my shopping habits. I just want to encourage you to pursue the same! 

Happy Sunday, friends! Enjoy the rest of your day. Now that you know all about Hiptipico, feel free to go buy yourself some goodies and use the code oliviaxxhiptipico for 25% off your purchase! 

Much love, 

Olivia

 

 

Thank you to Hiptipico for the beautiful backpack. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thank you to my photographer, Brea Cubit.

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Hey guys, 

Josh and I have never really done anything too crazy when it comes to gift-giving for Valentine’s Day. For us, we are usually saving up for a trip or an experience like an event or a concert that we want to attend together, so Valentine’s Day presents aren’t usually top priority. However, in case you’re obsessed with the holiday yourself, I created a little gift guide for Her that you can send as a “hint” to your significant other. 😉 

Otherwise, I came up with some fun Valentine’s gifts you can give to anyone in your life that you love. Whether you’re celebrating Galentine’s Day in the spirit of Parks and Rec, or simply wanting to send your bestie a fun pick-me-up in the mail, most of these items are at a pretty affordable price point and very festive. My personal favorite? The Sriracha bottle “Hot Stuff” pouch! How fun is that?! 

 

Chai Really Like You Tea $15

Nike Air Max Thea Flyknit Woven $150

Bow + Drape Hot Stuff Pouch $39

Herringbone Pom Pom Throw $65

You Are My ___ Valet Tray $28

Kaden Jelly Rainboot $35

NARS Matte Lipstick $28

Love Potion Thermal Coffee Mug $14

Valentino Cat Eye Sunglasses $70

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, and whoever you end up spending it with, I am so thankful for you all and love you all so much! Thanks for supporting me on my blogging journey ~ I’m sending lots of love out to you guys! 

Olivia 

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I have always been a “yes” person. I think it comes from two things. Mainly, I want to make everyone happy and I used to think that by telling everyone yes, I was solving this problem. Second, I genuinely have such a wide range of interests and hobbies, that it a lot of times is hard for me to say no to something, because I want to do everything. For example, I started college getting one major. I now have one major, three minors, and two certificates. A little much, huh? Well, it’s because I just wanted to take all kinds of classes that appealed to all of my interests, so I did. Because of this, I know that I will be a more marketable person upon graduation, and I have also made so many different friends from all kinds of different programs around my campus.

There are definitely a lot of pros to wanting to be involved in as many things as possible, but I also want to touch on the fact today that, it’s okay not to be so involved. I’ve realized that saying yes all the time isn’t necessarily something that works best all the time.

Last semester for example, I had three internships, a job, and was enrolled in 20 credit hours of classes. At some point, it began to feel like an addiction, this feeling of needing to say yes to everything. To being constantly busy and never having a waking moment of free time to spend wth anyone who I care about. I began to realize that while my resume was amplified, my personal time for growth was dwindling, and at times I felt like it was nonexistent. As someone who considers herself to be a creative, this kind of schedule didn’t work out so well. There was no time for me to sit back to grow and process when I don’t allow myself time to even eat at times because my schedule was so busy.

I’ve identified that this is something that I want to change for 2017. Already, I have signed up for a smaller class load, turned down one of my internships for this next semester, and built in time for myself in my schedule. Looking ahead to the next few months, I’ve already planned trips and fun activities that will give me time to get away and tap into my adventurous side.

While I still am very much someone who likes to have everything planned out, I’ve realized that I can also plan out time to just simply be excited for growth. Over this past month of being at home on winter break, I worked on making videos, creating art, listening to podcasts, and  journaling. It’s like an explosion of my creative self was what I needed to tap into my normal self again. 

I’m so ready to hit this semester running with a spirit that’s back to feeling my creative best! 

Love, 

Olivia

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If you read my last post, which was the Ethical Christmas Gift Guide, you might have seen one of my favorite necklaces of late, which is from Haiti Design Co. I also promised that my next post would give a little more details about why I love this line so much.

So when my friend Rachael was actually able to visit the brick and mortar Haiti Design Co-op located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and start carrying some of the items in her coffee shop in St. Louis, I was so excited! If you are local and not yet finished with your Christmas shopping, this is a perfect last minute gift to add to stocking stuffers or give as gifts on their own. You can find the line being sold at Silo Coffee + Goods!

Silo is my favorite place to grab an ethically sourced coffee in St. Louis and simultaneously be inspired by all of the goods they carry in the shop! 10% of all profits from the cafe go towards lifting coffee farmers around the world out of poverty. So, it’s not a surprise that they also want to help other around the world, like the men and women who are the artisans behind Haiti Design Co.

A few of the things that Haiti Design Co. helps with {but isn’t limited to} are…financial management classes, women’s counseling, and simply consistently employing over 150 people in Haiti! Their goal of mentoring these individuals to ultimately leave them as independent entrepreneurs is so incredibly impactful.

When I lived in Guatemala, the thing I saw so much of was that there were so many incredible artisans, yet they weren’t equipped with the proper business skills to thrive. To see this model so effectively be put in action makes me so incredibly excited to be a part of it.

My hope is that in these posts about ethical fashion, you’ll be provided with sources to shop at that can make such an impact with every dollar you chose to spend. There are so many incredible companies out there supporting the ethical and sustainable way of doing things, and my desire is to equip you with as many options as possible to make your life a bit easier so all you have to do is shop! There is so much power behind each and every purchase you make. Don’t forget to stop by Silo Coffee + Goods to check out their coffee and their current selection of everything from Haiti Design Co!

Merry almost Christmas!

Olivia

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