Fashion Mama Aquarius

Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

January 15, 2017

The Future Of Fast Fashion? Slooow Down!



ately, I have been thinking about fashion, shopping and the environment. Specifically I have been thinking about the impact "Fast Fashion" has on the environment. I recently watched the documentary Poverty Inc. wherein they discuss the negative impact of North American clothing consumption.  The frequency with which we purchase, wear and discard mostly inexpensive, poorly-made items of clothing affects the local clothing market in countries like Kenya, where second hand clothes that are donated but not suitable to be sold in our local thrift shops is then sold in bulk for a very low cost to many "third world" countries. Watching this, I was dumbfounded.  I had never really considered that my habit of buying cheap clothing, wearing it, and then donating the things I no longer wore could have such an impact on other people.  I never thought my singular habit of running through this same cycle year after year could destroy the earth.  But it isn’t just me, is it?


While researching information for this post, I came across another documentary called The True Cost .  The film exposes the dark side of the fashion industry, specifically who gains (rich brand CEOs), who loses (the garment workers, the people who live in factory cities, the planet, sometimes the consumer) and who is responsible for perpetuating this vicious cycle of disposable consumerism (marketing firms, You Tubers, print media, celebrities, and WE the people who are buying cheap clothing, wearing it only a handful times and then sending it on its way through the donation cycle.)

This is a fairly new topic to me (although I have encountered it over here and there over the last few years particularly when I was investigating minimalism) and it's a broad topic so I have decided to split this into a series of posts covering all aspects of this global problem. This is important because having discovered the horrible things my beloved fashion industry (once held such a sense of magic and whimsy for me) is doing to people and the planet is heartbreaking. As much as I would love to continue buying and consuming, as I have been, I am unable from an ethical and moral standpoint. I think about the women and men who work long hours sewing clothing in a hot, sometimes unsafe, factory; who are paid $3 a day with no benefits, no unions and no sick days;  (pretty sure that we wouldn't stand for this treatment here in Canada) who are sewing thousands of garments a day so I can watch "haul" videos on You Tube or because "I have nothing to wear".  I think about the earth and how the clothing industry is the second most polluting in the world. I think about the babies born with defects in places with dye from that pair of jeans I just had to have running through their drinking water and the people suffering and dying of cancer because they spray or harvest GMO cotton needed to spin the fabric for that next "must-have" trend. I think of my daughters and the shape the earth will be in when they have kids and when their kids have kids.

This is a new topic for me, although I have encountered it here and there over the last few years, particularly when I was researching minimalism. It's a broad topic so I have decided to write a series of posts covering all aspects of this global issue. There are options that are fashionable, sustainable and ethical, but you won't find them for $10 on the sale rack at your local fashion retailer. They are bound to be more costly because the companies are not buying the fabrics that are made from Polyester or GMO cotton.  They are not outsourcing the manufacturing of garments to the factory in Bangladesh, which has the lowest cost per garment. They are not using dyes that pollute the earth and make people sick. They are not encouraging you to buy trendy and essentially disposable clothing. 

I have been an offending consumer for many years -a self-proclaimed shopaholic of epic proportions - so I don't want to seem a hypocrite for delving into this realm of ethical fashion.  Instead, I am admitting ignorance, as well as fault, and am hoping to make 2017 the year I make a change. This may not lead me down a prosperous path as a fashion blogger but I feel that, in the end, I am following my own path paved by many forward-thinking people. That, to me, makes all the difference.  

(All information contained in this post was written by me based on the documentaries Poverty Inc. and The True Cost.  Presently I have no other references but all future posts on this subject will be research-based information and will contain footnotes.)

As always, I would love to hear from you, my readers, what are your thoughts on this topic? Please don't forget to subscribe by email (right sidebar) and follow on social media!
Erin
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January 08, 2017

New Year, New Handbag


Happy New Year my fav people in the world! Every January 1st I take the opportunity to get a fresh start, a chance to make myself a little bit better. Last year, I tried minimalism, I tried a spending ban and I tried a new business venture. Some worked and some didn't, but I realized that challenging myself to do new tasks (like changing career paths) is easier than trying to stop myself from participating in undesirable behavior (like constantly spending my money). This is frustrating but hey isn't that what life is all about? If it was always a cakewalk it would be so boring.

One of my most loved and treasured Christmas gifts this year (or I guess it's technically last year) was a new handbag from my Lobster (Mike), he knows that I'm not really a shoe person but I love me a good handbag and so he surprised me with a beautiful plum Marc Jacobs Gotham City shoulder bag. The only gift I had asked him for this year was a card wallet from Michael Kors (so that I could use a smaller wallet for my smaller handbags, a no brainer!) but he decided that with my love for all things Marc Jacobs and handbags specifically, that this would be the ideal gift for me, his lovely wife. He was right!

This bag is a small structured shoulder bag (can be easily worn cross body), the bag itself is made from pebbled-leather and features a color-block fabric strap. It is a flap-top with magnetic closure, it has a front zipper pocket and a patch back pocket (also magnetic closure). On the inside of the bag there is one zipper pocket along the back of the bag and two small cloth pockets (for cell phone or cards, lippies, etc.).

I love this bag so much! It is not an exceptionally roomie bag but I have come to appreciate smaller, more structured handbags since I became a mama (if I'm toting baby stuff I put it in a diaper bag and so I prefer a small crossbody purse to schlep around my things as opposed to having two large bags to carry or one massive purse with my things and kid things mixed together) afterall, the only things I really need to carry are my phone, keys, cards and some lip products. This bag fits the bill, it is simple, elegant, classic and convenient (the magnetic closures allow for one-handed access and no zipper means my stuff won't be falling out unbeknownst to me.)


My bag was purchased from Hudson's Bay and the color that Mike chose for me is called iris (a medium plum color) which as a February baby (amethyst birthstone) I have always been a fan of anything purple. I have typically played it safe over the years with regards to the colors I chose for bags; with neutrals being my best friend but lately I have branched out and bought bags in persimmon, navy, and blush as well as a tri-colored bag. There are a few other versions in the Marc Jacobs Gotham City collection; the Gotham Leather Hobo, the Gotham Saddle Bag, the Gotham City Bucket Bag, the Gotham City Small Nomad Crossbody Bag, the Gotham City Wallet Bag and the Gotham Leather Tote, as well as several styles of wallet that match the design of the bags. The bags retail for $355 up to $670 CAD but there are many on sale as this collection has been out since late 2015 to early 2016. This bag collection is also available at Nordstrom, Shopbop and Farfetch.

Let me know what you think of this bag and also tell me what's your fav gift you got for Christmas or any other holiday this year!
Erin


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December 31, 2016

All I want this winter is Sweetlegs



Well the holiday season has come and gone once again and during this most wonderful time of the year I felt the need to host a get together with family and friends to celebrate with some laughs, food and holiday cheer (in this case that was red wine sangria). I had come across a company this past summer that sells only one item of clothing, one that is near and dear to my heart; leggings. Sweetlegs is a Canadian company that sells leggings for women and girls in both solid colors and patterns through either their website Sweetlegs.ca, through one of their private distributors (kind of like Mary Kay, Avon, Tupperware) and they also have a retail location in British Columbia.

My first introduction to this brand,  as I said,  was in the summer while at a princess party with my daughter, I liked the patterns and they had kid sizes (kids sizes: 2-4, 6-8, 10-12) so I paid the $20 plus tax (albeit a bit steep for children's leggings but I wanted to try them out) and took them home with me. The first thing I noticed was how soft and silky the fabric was, it had stretch to it but it held its shape and didn't get baggy around the knees or bum. The waist was elastic enough to fit my daughter's tiny, hard to fit waist (even with leggings, some brands weren't tight enough to fit her nicely). My only complaint would be that they didn't fit her snugly in the legs, she has thin legs (she got it from her mama) and so they aren't as tight on her as they would be on other body types but this isn't a huge problem and she seems to love them.




Fast forward to October, I came across a post on one of the Facebook groups, a distributor of Sweetlegs was selling her stock (I guess she had stopped selling). She was selling the one size leggings (fits women sizes 8-14) for $15 a pair (normally they cost $25 plus tax plus shipping if ordered online) so I jetted on over to her house and picked up two pairs. I was disappointed however because I mistakenly thought that the one size would fit me (I'm probably a 0-2 waist) they did fit ok in the waist but the legs were a bit baggy (kind of the same problem my daughter has!). This left me pretty heartbroken (first world problem, I know) because they were so cozy and soft, and I could've kept them but the fit would drive me nuts so I ended up selling them to a friend who absolutely loved them.

A month went by and I couldn't stop thinking that I would like a pair of Sweetlegs to call my very own so I started looking for a local distributor who could help me host a party for some of my family and friends who were also in love with them and wanted some new pairs. The party night finally arrived and the distributor Jenn showed up with bins and bins full of beautiful leggings, which she set up in my dining room on clothing racks and we had ourselves a little pop-up sale. As the host, she offered me the option to run a sale for my guests (the more you buy the more you save; buy two pairs 5%, 3 pairs 10% off etc.) this would make my host benefits amount lower but I was thankful to my guests for coming to enjoy the night of buying and giving them a deal was a given. The selection of sizes and patterns was pretty amazing for a pop-up sale during the Christmas season, she had kids sizes 2-4, 6-8, 8-10 and women's sizes petite (this fits waist size 0-6), one size (waist size 8-14) and plus (fits waist size 14-22). There were some holiday patterns that I was absolutely in love with; Winterberry, Golden Oldies, Falalala and Alpine. It took me a long time to decide between all the patterns but I ended up getting quite a few pairs.... Winterberry, Alpine (shown), Yarnival, Electro Pop and Black Liquorice.


So far I have worn nothing except my Sweetlegs, I wear them for work, I wear them to the grocery store, I even wore them for a wintery run the other evening and I am pretty impressed. There is no camel toe, no baggy knees or saggy butt, they are warm enough to run in, the tag and flat seams are not itchy and I was even able to wear them to bed (I am usually only able to sleep in shorts as my legs get itchy, hot and uncomfortable). This was a worthwhile purchase for sure (I did get three pairs for free as a host benefit, I also bought three additional pairs, two for me and one for Audrey) but only time will tell how they hold up compared to other brands of leggings but if I follow the washing instructions properly they should (if not they do offer a warranty for exchange (I wasn't able to find a specific time period for this on their website though).

I hope that this product intro/review was interesting and helpful! This is not a sponsored post, I purchased the product and tried for my own curiosity, although I did contact the company to see if they had a discount code that I could offer to my readers but alas I did not receive a reply. Let me know if you have a fav brand of leggings, or if you end up trying out Sweetlegs let me know what you think!
Erin
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October 25, 2016

Is It Time To Jump On The Ath-leisure Trend?


As a busy Mom and all around lazy girl, I am such a fan of the cozy closet. When I discovered the brand HYBA (by Reitmans) in the summer I was pretty much browsing the site everyday in search of new arrivals to purchase. Since my occupation has changed from Law Clerk to Daycare Provider, my wardrobe has also undergone a metamorphosis; meaning that I pretty much wear leisure gear all week long. I usually opt on the side of jeans and a button down flannel shirt or sweater with my Converse high tops but there are also days when yoga pants and a hoodie are calling my name.

There has been a trend popping up in the last few seasons that is making it ok to go out in public in comfortable clothing (like your gym clothes) which is great, especially for those of us living #momlife (sometimes looking put together takes waaay too much effort). But it's not just about wearing your pj's to Walmart or your Lululemon pants to a restaurant, I think it's more about taking athletic-inspired pieces and incorporating them into any wardrobe whether it be very corporate or incredibly relaxed.





Many of my fav companies to buy regular clothing from are offering up new affordable activewear lines such as Old Navy, Gap, Reitmans (HYBA), Forever 21, Joe Fresh and most recently ADORE ME has just released their own line of beautiful Activewear (think sexy mesh cut-outs and tanks that can work for a night out as well as for a cardio class) (Use coupon code GETACTIVE10 for 10% your activewear order until the end of OCTOBER).  I am truely in love with their FIZA Tank and Short set with criss cross open cowl back. Another of my favs is the CHAYA Jogger set which has a cropped tank and fishnet detail on both top and pant. My favorite thing about all of these brands athletic collections are the patterns (think florals, abstract and geometric). I also love the cuts and fabrics used for things like t-shirts, pants and hoodies; they move with you, they keep you cool, they wick away sweat (and what busy person doesn't need those features in their day-to-day clothing?)





Have you gotten into this trend? I know that it used to be unthinkable to wear pajamas or gym clothes to work, for date night or to run errands but hey, change is inevitable, particularly when it comes to fashion. It may be just a matter of embracing this change as far as you are comfortable, either way I'm already on board.


Erin
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Just in Time for Fall



Are you a watch person? I am, ever since I was old enough to own a watch, I wore one. But in recent years (since I got an iPhone and the battery on my Michael Kors watch died on me AGAIN, not to mention that I would probably get it wet since I have to wash my hands a million times a day) I have not been wearing one, and I have to say that I really miss having that statement timepiece in my fashion arsenal.

Choosing a watch (I think) is a very personal decision because we all look for different features and not every size and shape of watch suits every person's body. Although I have quite a slender wrist,  I don't really like the traditional small "ladies watch" but I also don't want a watch with a face so big it could have come from the men's section. As for the metal I currently have a silver-colored watch but I also wear yellow gold a lot so it would be nice to have one in that color. I don't typically buy a lot of rose-gold jewellery and although I think it's lovely, I don't think I would purchase a watch in this color. Another go-to color though would be black, it's versatile and it never really goes out of style.

Brand Alert!

I am a big supporter of local brands and I have recently come across a Canadian watch brand that I love the look of and I will definitely be putting one of these babies on my X-mas list this winter; MEDIUM Watch Co is a company based in Calgary, Alberta and I love that their designs are simple but streamlined and luxurious but still affordable. They make watches for both women (The Debut) and men (The Intro), using a wide range of materials from gold to black stainless steel to leather and although the designs come across as simple, they are anything but boring. My favs are The Debut in Black & Gold, The Debut in White & Gold and The Debut in Turquoise & Black.












All watches come with a two year warranty, can be customized (including engraving) and can be purchased from their website or locally in Ottawa at any WATCH IT! location. (If you decide to buy one directly from their website, you can use coupon code MEDIUMTPG25 to receive $25 off your order!)


Just in time for fall


Victoria Victoria Beckham neon shirt
610 CAD - avenue32.com



3.1 Phillip Lim black ankle booties
625 CAD - bagheeraboutique.com


Victoria Beckham leather tote bag
1,880 CAD - stylebop.com


David Yurman sterling silver bangle
2,270 CAD - davidyurman.com


Jordan Askill gold band ring
325 CAD - ylang23.com


Maria Francesca Pepe spiked earrings
65 CAD - lamuseboutique.com


Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
305 CAD - johnlewis.com


Columbia loop scarf
21 CAD - 6pm.com



Please let me know if you already have a watch brand that you absolutely love or if you know of any local Canadian brands that I can check out as I am always on the lookout for new ideas!


Erin

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