The Most Popular THINKmag posts were a surprise to me. After checking my statistics, it occurred to me that 2016 was a very good year for this site. My pageviews increased dramatically. I made some interesting contacts and grew my instagram page past my target number of 300. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I started the year with over 400 Instagram followers and counting. So I decided to do a round-up of the success of THINKmag in 2016 and list the most popular blog posts.
First on the list is not a blogpost at all. I know there was a blog post written about it so it’s not entirely a fib. But the upcycle issue of my magazine where all the designers showcased used waste to design something new was a popular destination to visit on THINKmag. This was one of the most enjoyable issues to curate. It was challenging to find all the designers in this issue, but that was also part of the enjoyment. The cover was shot in Spain by Ruben Iglesias who also designed the chair on the cover. We chatted about what I wanted to see on the cover for weeks. I skyped in for the shoot at 4:30AM in the morning. It was a great way to start my day whilst I had my breakfast.
I had great response to both my vegan fashion posts. The feedback on Instagram was fantastic. I received a lot of reactions to both the vegan shoe and the vegan bags blog post. People seem to think vegan shoes look terrible. They used to look really geeky, but these days there have been some great shoes to hit the market. They don’t scream vegan treehugger either. What they do say is I’m sexy and I know it. I learnt a lot from the designers too. They are all very careful about how their shoes are made. So if you do invest in a pair of vegan shoes, just know that a lot of loving care went into making these shoes.
This post was popular because there was a free download accessories guide at the end. I decided to make a shopping guide to help people find a lot of these products. I know you’re interested in shopping ethically so it only made sense to create a shopping guide to make life a little easier. The guide only listed the best in quality, style, and uniqueness. I wanted it to be special enough that you’d want to keep it as a reference forever.
4.Neal’s Yard Remedies Contest
Another popular blog post saw a lot of traction on instagram. It led to a quite a few people entering to win $222 worth of Neal’s Yard Remedies. I intended to announce the winner at Christmas. The holidays came up so fast coupled with a few family emergencies delayed the announcement. The contest is still open to Canadian Residents only. So if you’re reading this and you’re in Canada, click here to enter at the bottom of this blog post. I have only three more products to include. The winner will be announced by the end of January,2017.
5.Do You Want To Create Your Own Digital Magazine?
I decided to open the vault to create a resources section for independent ethical designers to launch and sell their own products. Creating editorial for your products gives you another revenue stream that can increase your bottom line. Some remarkable things happened in 2016 because of THINKmag. I had more interesting freelance work in 2016. Curating an archived clothing collection for auction was one last year’s highlights. I worked with another designer on her first capsule collection. The landing page for THINKmag got finished by yours truly. And I have to say the feedback has been quite good. It also forced me to a look at my content more closely to decide the editorial line-up. If I didn’t have a digital magazine, I don’t believe I would have had so many opportunities.
To date, I have seen remarkable vegan luxury shoe brands hit the market that appeal to everyone. They`re well crafted, beautifully made and they`re cruelty-free. You don’t have to be a vegan to like these shoes, you just have to like well-made shoes that will stand the test of time. But if you are a vegan these shoes will appeal to your ethical sensibility.
Amelie Pichard Pamela Anderson x Honest By
First up is the vegan luxury shoe collaboration between Honest By and Pamela Anderson. In case you didn`t know Pamela Anderson is an animal advocate and has been for decades. It shouldn`t come as a surprise that she would lend her name to a line of shoes that are 100% vegan. Created with designer Amelie Pichard for Honest By, these sexy mules hope to raise awareness for the ethical treatment of animals. Made in France these mules are available in black and lilac patent faux leather. A donation of 10% will go to the Pamela Anderson Foundation Honest By just opened their first flagship store in Antwerp, Belgium, their online shop is available worldwide.
Based in Portugal Guava is one of the best vegan luxury shoe companies I have ever seen. Ines Caleiro, honed her skills at Jimmy Choo for fine craftsmanship and luxury details. But it was her experience working in furniture that inspired the architectural details that set Guava apart. They aren’t just shoes, they really are works of art. Anyone would be proud to wear. The signature heels give these shoes a highly recognisable identity. Choosing to use vegan leathers and ethical materials, Guava puts out small yearly collections.
Cult of Coquette
Sexy, classic and sky-high heels are what Cult of Coquette is known for. You really can’t have enough of a classic pump or court shoe. They’ll never go out of style, and you can wear them with anything. They come in a variety of colours and textures so there’s something for everyone. All shoes are handmade with vegan and cruelty-free materials, so animal lovers shop to your heart’s content. Heels are 4.75 inches, they’re not for the faint hearted. But they will make your legs look extremely long and gorgeous.
Mink by Rebecca Mink was intentionally created as a vegan luxury shoe brand. Rebecca a wardrobe stylist saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it. Appealing to vegan celebrities, Mink also offers custom made shoes for their customers. If you can think it, they can make it. Using the same factories as Jimmy Choo, and Christian Louboutin, Mink shoes are comprised of faux leather and fur, non-animal glue, recycled and organic materials and vegetable-based plastics. The latest collection PETAxMink is a collaboration with PETA to raise awareness for animal cruelty. I plan to sit down with Rebecca in the near future to find out more about her company and what keeps her going. For now shopping online is a breeze if you can’t find her shoes in a store near you. Want to read more, check out which luxury vegan bags made it on the list.
Ethical Sustainable brand Cossac isn’t trying to be trendy. They’re not trying to be sensational. What Cossac is doing is establishing a collection designed the cleanest way possible. You see you may not think your t-shirt from Forever 21 a fast-fashion brand has a ripple effect. But fashion is now the largest industry in the world due to the disposable fashion explosion. Your t-shirt from Joe Fresh or H&M is contributing to poor working conditions. Workers aren’t earning a fair wage for that t-shirt. Nor do they have decent working conditions. Brands like Cossac aren’t contributing to waste. Instead, Cossac is creating an ethical sustainable conscious community where fair trade is compulsory, and sourcing ethical materials is mandatory. Before launching her own line of timeless separates, designer Agata Natalia Kozak was been a designer for 5 years. She’s seen firsthand the dirty little secrets behind the fashion industry.
“I am awake to the abuse of people and our planet that takes place in the wasteful mainstream fashion industry. We have a responsibility to address these issues, as fashion is now arguably the largest industry in the world. By advocating transparency I hope Cossac will help put a stop to the escalating issues that endanger lives and our eco-systems every day.”
Cossac operates as an online retailer. You will find a selection of simple pieces that create a staple wardrobe. Some of the t-shirts and tops have a fun messages to suit your ideology. But mostly it’s pieces that can be mix and matched with your existing wardrobe. This collection was inspired by the designer’s time spent in Japan. It’s minimalist, clean, and efficient, just like the Japanese. You can rest assured these pieces won’t fall out of fashion in a couple of months. Make sure to look at the outlet section where prices have been reduced. All in all Cossac is a brand to invest in for organic cotton tees and so much more.
A capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be a mystery. It is something I cultivated for myself. I’m a creature of habit, I really hate getting dressed in the morning, This may surprise people who know me since I started as a stylist. Pondering what to wear for the day is not something I’ve ever done. Creating a capsule wardrobe which became the cornerstone to getting dressed. I mixed in accessories and coats to change the look but my uniform never changes. I don’t know own a lot of clothes, it just looks like I do. That’s what a capsule wardrobe gives you. It gives you the ability to double your wardrobe by adding in classic pieces that can be worn with your favourite pieces.
The Benefit Of A Capsule Wardrobe
So when I received an email from Raven + Lily I knew I wanted to share this with my readers. Not only does this company make two capsule wardrobes. They support women globally by out-sourcing production to nine countries, making everything from candles, trays to blazers and dresses. Everything is timeless, your clothes won’t fall out of fashion in a year. You can keep these pieces on rotation for the life of the garment. Mix in some accessories, or a few tops and scarves to change the look. You’ll get dressed in record time and help support women by buying fair trade.
“Raven + Lily was created to alleviate poverty among women. We currently employ over 1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education and a real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Raven + Lily is committed to providing beautiful and unique modern minimalist products that are made by hand, follow fair trade standards, and honor our eco-friendly commitment.”
Seven timeless pieces in neutral colours that work with your existing wardrobe what more could you ask for? Think of the endless combinations, or bringing your favourite pieces into the mix. You’ll have a week’s worth of outfits that change weekly just by exchanging one item of clothing. Get all seven pieces in any of the capsule collections including the capsule home accessories collections and receive 35% percent off. For my readers use this code THINKMAG at checkout to receive 30% off any item between now and Cyber Monday.
I asked 6 ethical fashion bloggers to share shopping tips that will build a sustainable wardrobe and save you time and money. These ladies are dedicated to living ethically and to sharing how they do it. Looking great doesn’t take a lot of time and building an ethical wardrobe can become a habit. You see we’ve all taken a lot of time to end the cycle of fast fashion and wasteful living. So you the viewer can spend less money and make quality choices.
“Shopping more ethically shouldn’t be complicated, I found early on that the #1 rule is to be more conscious of everything you buy and ask yourself the question, “do I really need this? That alone will help you reduce the number mindless purchases of products you don’t really need and will likely end up in the garage and later in a landfill. When it comes to things you actually need like clothes, accessories and home goods, I go for quality and durability, which tends to correlate with well-made smaller batch manufacturing. I prefer having less things that I actually love than a house full cheap mass-produced stuff. For clothes I love vintage. I have found some of my favorite things on eBay and vintage shops. It’s much more sustainable than buying cheap new clothes every season and throwing them away in a couple of months. Defining your style and color pallette helps in doing a lot with fewer garments. Also, remember things don’t define you, but are only supposed to make your life better, it will make you think twice about every purchase. It is almost impossible to know precisely where everything we buy comes from and the conditions under most things are made, but limiting what we buy, going for quality instead of quantity and researching the brands you like before buying can most certainly help you make more conscious decisions.”
“First workout what is important to you as it can be overwhelming to try and tackle all the ‘ethical’ issues at one time. Is vegan and cruelty-free fashion important to you? Are ethical accreditations such as GOTS important? Do you care about sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton? Or do you prioritise fair-trade or buying from local businesses? Once you’ve worked out your key ethical considerations, I suggest you plan your wardrobe so that you know what you need to add to your existing items and consider your tastes, style, preferences, and what suits your body type so that you’re not purchasing items that will just sit in your wardrobe without being worn and going to waste. Before I start shopping I ask myself do I actually need to purchase anything at all because the most sustainable act we can do is not buy anything we don’t need, and if you do, seek out secondhand. Then I encourage you do as much research as possible before making the buying decision.
” I only buy/wear secondhand clothing and accessories.”
In 2008 Bea Johnson and her family adopted a zero waste lifestyle; they since produce a mere litre of waste per year. With her blog and best seller Zero Waste Home (translated in12 languages) Bea launched a global movement and continues to inspire a growing community to live simply and take stance against needless waste. Her methodology is based in 5R’s; Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and only in that order. She shatters misconceptions , proving that zero waste can not only be stylish, but also lead to health benefits , and time and money savings. She speaks at universities, corporate events, and conferences all over the globe (100+ speeches in 20 countries on 5 continents) and has completed four international tours. She has appeared on TV shows and publications everywhere, from The Today Show to BBC Breakfast. Passionate and optimistic, she has become a guru for many and is a spokesperson for zero waste lifestyle or as the New York Times stated, “The Princess of Waste-Free Living.” She is a Grand Prize Winner of The Green Awards and a French native who currently lives in Mill Valley, California.
“I shop responsibly, smart, and practical. I want to know the product I’m buying is transparent, ethical and of high quality. My clothing isn’t disposable – it is truly appreciated and loved. None of us need fashion to survive, but it certainly brings a lot of value to our lives. It’s art to me and luckily, part of my job too. If you are new to the ethical journey, just know it isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. There are many great resources here to help you. I think the most important thing is to support the makers who are creating a positive impact in the industry (the ones who create slow, honest, and eco.) My blog is full of these brands.”
“We are Ellie Kirkland and Elizabeth Carroll, two friends on a journey making ethical, yet attainable, fashion decisions by gaining more understanding of how our buying decisions affect others so that people near and far are better off because of how we use our purchasing power. We use our blog to discuss and educate our readers about ethical fashion through styling posts, well-researched discussions on relevant topics, and company features with giveaways. Give yourself grace and time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you need to overhaul everything right now! Take it slow – one step at a time. We have a great post on 5 ways to Shop Ethically on a Budget because we think one of the biggest challenges in taking steps to become more socially conscious with fashion is the increased cost.”
“Personally I love to upcycle my existing clothes or buy secondhand. I always ask myself, “do I need this item?” or, “do I have something similar in my closet” before I make a purchase. It’s always a great reminder to ourselves as we are constantly told to consume. But if we do make a purchase, always an informed one and buy from a brand that speaks to your values, whether it is fair trade, zero waste, or organic. Taking the time to do some research will always make that little bit of difference in changing the world for the better.”
Twenty years ago Vegan luxury bags sounded ridiculous but today vegan luxury bags aren’t so uncommon. I researched companies that produce vegan luxury bags known for their Craftsmanship, Ethical responsibility, Quality, Luxury, Sustainability, and Style. Here are the best bags I found that made it onto this list.
It’s All In The Details
GUNAS is a company that started making vegan luxury bags after noticing a lack of cruelty-free accessories on the market. Devoted animal lover Sugandh G quit her corporate day job as an industrial designer at Kitchen Aid and started her fashion company based in New York. In 2009 Gunas debuted a stylish selection of bags that range in price from $55-$450 for a weekend traveller. Gunas is also one of the first vegan luxury bags brand to sell men’s accessories. Recently the brand has included a small collection of shoes, I’m not sure if they will continue to grow this new area, but I’m keeping a close eye on this company.
JILL MILAN vegan luxury bags were also founded on the philosophy of high-quality bags can be made without animal skins or products. Using former accessories designers from Prada, bags are handcrafted by Italian ateliers to the highest standards using the best materials and techniques to produce classic vegan luxury bags. Cloth bags are stitched by hand and some of the evening bags are entirely handmade. Celebrities spotted with Jill Milan bags are Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Jennifer Lawrence. Visit the site and make sure to click on the Last Chance tab where you’ll find a wonderful sale selection. Price range from $250-1700
STELLA MCCARTNEY vegan luxury bags have been the first to really spotlight non-leather goods can be luxurious and gain popularity. All bags are PVC free, vegetable coated and dyed,and created to the highest standard. As a vegetarian brand,Stella McCartney does not use feathers, fur, leather or skins in any of their collections. The Fallabella bag has been the most popular bag Stella McCartney designed and since it’s debut several versions have followed. This AW 2016 collection sees a collaboration between artist Ed Ruscha who’s striking text imagery graphically emblazoned on the frame “NO LEATHER FEATHERS OR FUR,” “VEG OUT,” “MEAT FREE.” is a reflection of her long-standing friendship with one of the most Iconic artists of the 20th century. Price range $775-2,825
Accessories Market Holding Strong
MAT&NAT started in 1995 as one of the first all vegan luxury bags company. The Montreal-based company inspired by MAT(erial) & NAT(ure) lives by a simple motto `live beautifully` meaning appreciate the beauty that surrounds you and live positively. Inspired by the textures and hues in nature Mat&Nat base their values in social responsibility, integrity, inclusiveness, learning and love. Needless to say when you purchase a Mat&Nat bag you are buying into a company that believes in making bags that last. These aren`t your fast fashion offerings, Mat&Nat bags will last for more than a couple of years. Committed to not using any animal products all bags are made from eco-friendly leathers or recycled materials such as cork, nylon, cardboard and rubber. This brand also offers a collection of men`s accessories, wallets, belts and shoes. Price range $70-210
GLASS handbags have two vegan luxury handbags in their collection but the same level of luxury is evident in these faux ostrich leather bags. Each bag is made by one person who takes countless hours to make sure every detail meets the Glass criteria of vegan luxury bags. Glass introduced technology into their bags when CEO Tamara Leuty found a solution to the deep searching for those elusive car keys or other small items that disappear at the bottom of the bag. A thin panel of light that’s weightless and durable will light the way to whatever you were routeing around for. I believe this is the first where luxury, technology, and function have been executed so well. It’s any wonder these two bags have been sold out for months. But stay tuned I’m sure there are more to come in the future. Prices range from $228-1,250. Do you want to read more? Check out this post on ethical accessories.