Your Off-Duty Holiday Guide for the On Duty Citizen

Recently on ‘What to Wear’, we featured some of our favorite holiday looks from staying warm in the wintertime to holiday gift guides and sequined dresses for New Year’s Eve. While that section of the site serves the purpose of quick inspiration, it’s also our intention to provide a little background information on all the brands we choose to feature so you can dive deep and find new companies to support with an ethos that resonates best with you.

For the holiday parties…

Reformation

RefScale tracks transparency of CO2, water, and waste savings
Factory ensures eco-friendly practices
Reusable totes, recycled hangers, and recycled clothing program
Carbon offsets available for purchase on site

Fame and Partners

Designed with (almost) zero-waste sustainable manufacturing platform
Craft everything to order; eliminates need for excess stock (and air conditioned, CO2-draining warehouses where stored)

Mother of Pearl

Launched “no frills”- first fully sustainable line of core classics
Tries to use less water and source materials to the seed
Replant trees with each tree cut down used to make product
Traceability through entire supply chain
Summer 2020 line, 5% of their materials were synthetics-working to phase out entirely

Matt and Nat

Transparent company working towards becoming better in their production
Works with vegan leather and recycled materials
One of their factories is certified under SA8000 Standard meaning all workers are paid well in a safe work environment

Beachy vacations…

Fisch

Handmade from Italian ECONYL® fabrics
ECONYL® is 100% regenerated nylon fiber crafted from abandoned fishing nets and other nylon waste found in the ocean
Fabric mill is two hours from their factory; minimizes carbon dioxide waste from excessive shipping
Every year FISCH donates 10% of global profits to the Healthy Seas initiative

Hereu

Engages with local artisans to preserve mediterranean craft in Spain
Uses local materials for production
Hereu works with a local factory in Barcelona and artisans in Majorca to produce all of its Spanish leather and woven straw bags

Vitamin A

Uses sustainable fabrics like EcoLux superfine jersey made from recycled nylon fiber
Choose factories that conserve water and energy use
Made in USA

Faithfull the Brand

Designed, sourced, produced in Bali
Hand-dying, hand-printing
Work with local factories, vendors and artisans in Bali and scaled factory growth over the past decade
Faithfull team visits factory weekly to ensure sustainable/ethical standards

Stay cozy this winter..

Ninety Percent

90% of distributed profits shared with charities and those who make collections
Consumers choose which charitable cause money goes to
Garments made in Bangladesh and Turkey in ethical factories
Use organic cotton and Tencel (working to find more sustainable solutions and fabrics)

AG Jeans

Donates to Charity: Water
Made in own vertically integrated facilities; ensures quality control
Production facilities utilize Ozone Technology; cuts water consumption by 50%
Also minimizes use of chemicals and energy
Many (not all) fabrics eco-friendly
Excess scraps collected for recycling on weekly basis and repurposed as insulation
Conducts announced/unannounced audits of suppliers’ facilities

Boy Smells Candle

Developed, mixed at the founder’s home in LA
Fragrance and natural oils
All-natural coconut oil and beeswax
Hand-poured in reusable glass vessel

Everlane

$5 of every Human collection purchase goes to ACLU
Hands-on relationships with factories
Transparent about costs with customers
Uses some natural fibers like recycled cotton

Patagonia

Promotes fair labor practices and safe working conditions
Protection and preservation of the environment
Takes responsibility for entire lifecycle of products
Works with outside auditor and an in-house corporate responsibility specialist to establish working conditions
1% of sales to grass-root activists
Goal to be carbon neutral across entire business including supply chain by 2025
As of 2018, 100% renewable electricity in retail stores in USA
Current practices/goals; measure impact, reduce impact, convert to renewable energy, capture carbon

Gift giving

Ilia Beauty

All cream lip products come in recycled packaging
Certified organic bio-active ingredients
Ethos: not all natural ingredients good for skin, not ever synthetic ingredients bad for skin, finds balance in using both
Ensures everything is safe for skin

Veja

Fair trade philosophy
Avoids retail markups by doing less advertising
Careful consideration of available materials

Soko

Uses technology to empower artisans
Working with artisans and connects them with international market
They're after an ethical fast fashion world
Their mobile-enabled virtual factory operates at a fraction of the cost of traditional production; gives more earnings to artisans

Stella McCartney x Parley

Stella McCartney
No leather or fur
First and only vegetarian luxury line
Transparent and always striving to be more sustainable

Parley
Yarn used from recycled and reclaimed ocean waste
Parley hosts talks to share state of the oceans and to get support for a related initiative or project
Work with companies on collaborative projects to better our oceans
Currently they have collaborations with American Express, Soma, Adidas, and Stella McCartney..

New Year’s Eve..

Rachel Comey

Uses fur/leather from animals that have died from natural causes
Conscious sourcing from tanneries in Peru
Small-scale batches

Fame and Partners

Designed with (almost) zero-waste sustainable manufacturing platform
Craft everything to order; eliminates need for excess stock (and air conditioned, CO2-draining warehouses where stored)

Reformation

RefScale tracks transparency of CO2, water, and waste savings
Factory ensures eco-friendly practices
Reusable totes, recycled hangers, and recycled clothing program
Working to become 100% sustainable (some materials still outsourced)
Offsets available for purchase on site, partner with Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation Project and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) Water Restoration Program

Brother Vellies

Creates and sustains artisanal jobs within Africa
Transparent about who makes shoes and factories they're made in
Most shoes made with Kudu leather; animal byproduct from government mandated culling due to overpopulation
Other materials sourced from local farmers in Kenya and South Africa and are entirely byproducts from edible food industry
Many pieces are vegetable-dyed
Schedule large batch cargo shipments to reduce carbon footprint

Affordable Finds

Boyish Jeans

Uses 1/3 of water typically needed to make denim
Recycled materials for hangtags, hardware, labels and polybags
Ensure suppliers meet standards for social responsibility
Yarn, fabric and manufacturing facility within thirty miles of each other- less C02 footprint
Recycle all cutting waste

Threads 4 Thought

Uses sustainable materials like Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, and Lenzing Modal
Factories hold high certifications of ethical practices
Partners with International Rescue Committee

Everlane

$5 of every Human collection purchase goes to ACLU
Hands-on relationships with factories
Transparent about costs with customers
Uses some natural fibers like recycled cotton

Patagonia

Promotes fair labor practices and safe working conditions
Protection and preservation of the environment
Takes responsibility for entire lifecycle of products
Works with outside auditor and an in-house corporate responsibility specialist to establish working conditions
1% of sales to grass-root activists
Goal to be carbon neutral across entire business including supply chain by 2025
As of 2018, 100% renewable electricity in retail stores in USA
Current practices/goals; measure impact, reduce impact, convert to renewable energy, capture carbon

The Butterfly Effect

This post is written by Co-Founder (and mum of Britt), Maria Bromley

Some days I am more mindful than others.

Just remembering to bring my reusable shopping bags into the store from my car is a small victory. It's not a big deal but it's one less plastic bag that I use.  Each day that we make one mindful decision creates a ripple effect. Yesterday I made some choices. My family loves seltzer water. We go through cases of seltzer at a time.  I recycle the cans but yesterday I thought, I can do better.  I decided to invest in a Soda Stream.  We use it every day and have cut back dramatically on our recycled cans. I also switched from my single use coffee pods to a french press.  I didn't eliminate my pods entirely - as I love a quick shot of espresso - but I am reducing my usage and recycling the old pods.  I was surprised and pleased when I dropped off my bag of used pods at the UPS store, and the clerk said they get several dropped off everyday. People are waking up to the power of mindful decisions. It's such a hopeful sign for the future. 

If you're of a certain vintage, like me, you may have grown up learning about the 3 R's; reduce, reuse and recycle. Recently, this has been updated to the 5 R's; refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.  The extra R's, refuse and repurpose have been recently added. Refuse to buy things that jeopardize the long-term health of the planet. Vote with your wallet, in other words.  "Stop sucking" was a recent campaign to eliminate plastic straws. Eliminate the demand and the product will stop being produced, simple laws of economics. Repurpose allows us to take what has already been made and find different uses.  But repurpose is lower down in the order of priority because we want to stop products from being produced that we do not need and are damaging to the environment.

Recently the EU Parliament approved a ban on single use plastic.  Plastics make up over 80% of marine litter.  On a recent trip to Zanzibar we were staying near the beach and decided to take a walk. I grabbed a bag to pick up some of the litter along the way.  Within a few minutes we had so much trash we had to go back for more bags.  Zanzibar is on the east coast of Africa and much of the garbage floats across the ocean and lands on its shores. While it may seems thousands of miles away, the trash that floats to its beaches will eventually find its ways to our shores. 

This article is meant to be more about mindfulness than recycling. Every decision we make has an impact.  When we are mindful of our decisions, how they affect not only ourselves, but the rest of the world, we become aware of the power we have. There is a mathematical theory called the Butterfly effect that states that small, localized changes in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. Next time you go for a walk, grab a bag, pick up some trash and think about the fact that you are metaphorically flapping your Butterfly wings and creating ripples around the world. 

-Maria Bromley, Mom Of Model

 
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Our Third Calm Before the Storm Event

Fashion week is an incredible time in our industry to show off your best looks, book your most exciting shows, head to the coolest parties and essentially skip all ideas of sleep. It’s what keeps our industry alive, fun an innovative but naturally with such pressure it’s hard to stay afloat. Collectively, my friend Dani and I have been modeling for over twenty years and believe us when we say we have first-hand experience of how difficult this time of the year can be, especially as a new model. That’s why we created our pre-fashion week event; Calm Before the Storm.

We want to create a community of models to lean on when the going gets tough so you can have a friend to wait at a casting with or to relax over a bottle of wine post shows. For us, what gets us through this industry and has enabled us to continue to model is how we’ve built each other up when we’re down and surrounded ourselves with likeminded girlbosses who inspire us to build side hustles and know how to brand our best selves. Because nowadays, it’s so much more than being a pretty face and we want to create a positive community, for the young new faces especially, to celebrate our friendships, accomplishments and to know we can stick together!

It’s been a beautiful evolution throughout the past year and was especially exciting to see even more new faces this time around. We’re so happy to have this event grow and it means a lot for us to have the support as well. In addition to our models, we love building up our community and showcasing our friends who are doing incredible side projects/hustles/jobs/foundations, you name it!! Our model hosts, Sinead Bovell from WAYE talks and Grace Mahary from Project Tsehigh opened up the evening with a beautiful talk on how they build their side hustles, how they found balance between that and modeling and how incredibly important it is to be active in your community and with your friends. Because as Grace mentioned, when you’re on your death bed you won’t remember what you made for this job or that show but you’ll remember all the incredible faces you met and experiences you created together. Amen!

Afterwards, our attendees got to check out the “vendors” (our amazing girlboss/guybosses who have super cool companies they run or work for). We love profiling them and showing off what they’re up to, from health coaches to trainers and eco-friendly laundromat enthusiasts. The idea is that we try to relate it to fashion week with healthy recipes for castings, best workouts for small hotel rooms or what to do if your flight gets delayed.

We also had AMAZING gift bags this year from the most amount of sponsors to date…Without this community, we wouldn't have been able to throw together such a fun night! Check out the sponsors and vendors below and scroll down for all our pictures.


Sponsors:

Sustainability was a big topic at our event today. Check out one of our favorite clothing brand’s Aday! From materials used to new-tech innovations that eliminate textile waste, this company is ahead of the curve in terms of sustainability and is a company Dani and I are both proud to say we have shot with! Tag your ADAY pics with @thisisaday, #thisisaday and enjoy $20 off your next order with their coupon.

Those beautiful oils and face masques you received are from Amberlight Beauty, a company started by Dominyka Gajauskaite. Dominyka ensures the best materials go into all of her products from rose to open your heart to chamomile for calming your senses. Find out more at @amberlightbeauty.

Our very own model mafia member Anastasija Titko gave us pamphlets on an organization that’s near and dear to her heart, The Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences. The foundation offers yoga and meditation programs and are always happy to host new members. A nice way to keep calm before fashion week. Check them out!

Those awesome flower pouches with the mineral eye shadows were given to us by Boho Chic Cosmetics. They are all about clean, fun beauty that is made in small batches, vegan and cruelty-free!

The CUTEST toothbrush packages were provided to you all from BOKA. They’re a mindful oral care company that stresses the importance of working with our bodies, not against them. See all their fun pics and share yours @boka!

Did we not have the coolest hosts and event space?? We have Celsious to thank for that! This eco-friendly laundromat in Williamsburg gives you the low-down on how to wash your clothes in the ‘cleanest’ (pun intended) way, all whilst being better for the environment. They also have a café you can hang out at while you wait for your load to finish, and honestly even though Dani and I both have laundry in our buildings we’ve come for a hang out at this space because it is simply so cute and so well-done! Congrats to the founders Theresa and Corinna on such a successful space!

EcoEnclose provides sustainable solutions for packaging and sent us all those beautiful recycled paper bags for your goodie bags! (Britt uses them for all her ODC shipping!) and they’re incredibly easy to work with. Check out their Instagram @ecoenclose.

For Days provided us with those awesome pouches with gift cards inside to use for their zero-waste shop that closes the loop on fashion waste. Pick a tee, wear it endlessly, return when done and you’ll receive a fresh new tee while they recycle and reuse your old one! Fashion waste problem solved!

You know that face spa Dani and I are always posting from?? That’s Glo Spa and they graciously donated us coupons for 20% off your next facial! They’re located in the financial district. Enjoy;)

Our favorite kombucha drinks were provided by Health Ade! We’re absolutely addicted! If you are too, check out more information or share your pics @healthade.

Herbivore Botanicals provided us with one of our favorite face products, their popular rose hibiscus hydrating face mist. Dani and I both love spraying our face with this product every morning to wake up and it’s the perfect thing to keep your skin hydrated on a long flight. Their products are made in U.S.A. and never tested on animals!

High Brew donated all those incredible cans of coffee that are protein-packed and will be perfect to sip on between all your crazy castings and shows. This should help keep your energy up!

INTO app helped us so much by promoting the event on their app. We were able to reach out to even more models which is what this event is all about, building our model community! For model-events and products to use that are often free or heavily discounted, check out their app which you can download here.

Jaw x Jawshop by Tim Jaw has always been one of our biggest supporters! His awesome line of locally made basics and fun socks and scrunchies, an ode to the 80s, are the perfect thing you need for brunch on the weekend with your crew. 

Joya Studio has given us awesome roll-on samples of their fragrances to keep you smelling fresh and clean during the fashion week season. Their ingredients are simple, locally-sourced and to top it off they have sustainable packaging which we’re such big fans of! They’re a personal favorite of mine to use while traveling!

Lighthouse BK is one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Brooklyn and gave us those awesome bites for us to eat at our event. They are on their way to being completely zero-waste and they don’t let that sacrifice on taste or presentation. They employ a number of organizations in their community from composting to cork recycling and the Billion Oyster Project where they donate all their used oyster shells each week.

Magic Mix Juicery offered us samples of their aloe shots. Super tasty, good for digestion, and anti-inflammatory! Have them on their own or pop them into a smoothie or glass of water. You can find those aloe shots and many more treats at their location in Financial District!

You got some awesome samples and drinks made at the event by Mr. Maks Ginbao Tea! I can personally attest to the fact that this alkalized beverage with ingredients like ginger, ginseng, honey and lemongrass are the perfect combination to thirst your quench and help calm your stomach if you have a little ache. Enjoy warm or cold. And no, there aren’t crazy amounts of added sugars to worry about. We’re huge fans!

Parcelle Wine is a curated wine shop and the first retail concept from Delicious Hospitality Group, the team behind NYC restaurants Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records. Parcelle’s offerings reflect the best of the wine programs for which DHG’s restaurants are known. Hopefully their wine helped you relax as you headed into your fashion week shenanigans!

RYU is an incredible clothing line created for the urban athlete that moves with you. They stand for respect, and they are #BeautifulTough. Check them out @ryu_apparel and enjoy your new, sleek water bottles!

Seaweed Bath Co. provided us with awesome goodies form their detox cream and scrub to their fabulous serums. They’re one of our favorite skin/body/haircare products that are clean for the environment, nutrient-rich and performance-optimized. All seaweed in their products are sourced and certified organic from the coast of Maine!

The ladies of Shiffon Co. donated one special ring to the winner of our raffle (congrats Kaye-Li!!!). The founders are two badass entrepreneurial babes who balance finishing their degree at their Ivy league schools and managing this business. Michelle Obama, Christy Turlington and Serena Williams have been seen wearing their famous pinky promise rings that support women entrepreneurs with the sale of each ring.

Silk Philosophy gave us each a silk accessory to spice up each of our black on black fashion week uniforms. The silk accessories sell primarily as bracelets, but they could be worn as mini scarves/chokers, hair ribbons, or handbag charms. All silk bracelets are made of high quality silks in limited quantities and the patterns never repeat. 

Simply Suzette has graciously provided you all with a coupon for her site that sells eco-friendly and ethical jean brands. Denim is one of the dirtiest industries out there so this is her way of trying to help promote the companies doing it right! And I’m telling you they’re my personal favorite pair of jeans I own. And I don’t have to feel guilty about wearing them because I know they’re made with integrity and better for the environment than the traditional jean.

We got the perfect fashion week treat for your all from Snow Monkey! Now you can enjoy your fashion week cravings without the guilt attached. All Snow Monkey ice creams are plant-based, paleo, and high protein!

Tulerie gifted us with those awesome reusable straws!! Make sure and sign up for their clothes-sharing app, especially useful during your fashion week antics!! ;)

Here’s some takeaway info about the lovely vendors we had set up around the room.

Vendors:

Daniel Gottlieb was there to help us with all our sore, achy muscles. Dan is a brand ambassador for RYU and Hyperice, He has weekly workouts at Bandier's Studio B that are great for relaxing your muscles and stretching you out! We all need more of that! Check out his Instagram to learn more and DM his for more info on his classes!

Dawn Gallagher  was there to share her story about using your voice in this industry and how powerful it is to share your story. What an incredible example for all of us! She’s been there, she’s done that and she’s here to pave the way for us as change makers in this industry! She also is passionate about Drawdown, an event that is all about sustainable green living and teaching us all we need to know about drawing down carbon in our atmosphere, something incredibly important as we head into fashion week, often with a lot of travel and flying.

Dominyka Gajauskaite started her own skin care line as a result of being sick of the unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Stay in the know about all her products @amberlightbeauty! In addition to all her incredible samples that she gives us for each and every event, Dominyka was especially helpful in organizing this event for us. From new sponsorships to organization in general, Dominyka was a HUGE help for this event and we’re especially helpful for all she has done for us.

Grace Mahary was our top model speaker who couldn’t have given us better advice. Remember, it’s all about the experiences you make and the relationships you form, not about the superficial things in life! In addition to killing it as one of Canada’s top models, Grace started her very own foundation, Project Tsehigh which provides clean energy to impoverished communities around the world.

Our favorite relaxing facials were provided to you by Face Love! They made our event that much more special and have been collaborating with us on events for the past three years, something we’re so thankful for! Check them out in at their new flagship in the Flatiron. Dani and I will be there next week;)

Jonathan Glass from Mr. Maks was our awesome bartender for the night, creating mixed drinks using their Ginbao Teas. Healthy, low sugar, and super settling for the stomach with calming ingredients like ginger and lemon.

KW Travel  was our awesome travel agent who answered all your questions about flying, how to attain status, some awesome trip itinerary ideas for you and your girlfriends and so much more. I’m personally someone who loves to create my own itineraries but after seeing the attention to detail, I handed over all my honeymoon plans and will be working with Katherine for our upcoming trip to Italy.

You heard all about the Model Mafia from one of our members, Kaye-Li Taylor. It is our incredible social impact and activism focused group and together we take collective action and share causes we care about with each other. The group marched in the DC Climate March demanding a cleaner fashion industry and world, raised $12,000 for the Standing Rock community, and has been tackling sexual harassment in the fashion industry. If you would like are to join, please send an email and agency link to modelmafialistoversight@gmail.com and follow the tribe @modelactivist.

Shivani Persad and Samantha Bolger have their very own podcast, More Than Model Radio where they interview models about what they’re passionate about beyond modeling! If you want a chance to be interviewed, hit them up on Instagram! Listen HERE for previous episodes.

Sinead Bovell of WAYE was our incredible host this evening who interviewed Grace Mahary on how she’s balanced modeling with her side business, Project Tsehigh. For inspiration on how to create your own business and brand, check our Sinead’s side hustle, WAYE (weekly advice for the young entrepreneur) and make sure to come to one of her upcoming WAYE talks. I can’t say more than they’re on of the few events that I actually look forward to attending. She’s inspiring and a complete go-getter and will give you all the inside knowledge on tech, business and the future. Check her out!

Tulerie  was in attendance, one of the coolest new platforms of digital “shopping”. I without a doubt think this will be the way of the future; a concept that lets you lend and borrow from your friends without braking your bank or contributing to the fabric waste created by fast fashion and consumerism. And if you do want to shop, invest in that piece that will last you a lifetime and put it on the app so you can make some money off your purchase from your friends who want to borrow the piece as well! We’re all about a brand that works on closing the loop on waste.

Our event photos were taken by Ryan J. Ulsh. He’s been a dear friend to Dani and I and we’ve also collaborated a ton on test shoots together. I’ll often organize shoots with him and my agents have used A TON of our shots, many of them still in my book to this day. Follow his photography adventures on J. Ryan Ulsh or Jryanulsh.Studio

An analysis on the Life of the Plastic Straw

2018 was a popular year for the little plastic straw. Something that seems so insignificant is popped into every single one of our drinks, whether we need it or not, without the slightest thought on its purpose or necessity. Think about it, if you ask for a glass of water, almost always it’s accompanied by a big plastic straw that we often discard before we even take our first sip. So what switched? There were viral videos of sea turtles with straws being stuck in their nostrils and people began to pay attention to the the little straw and began wondering how else straws were negatively harming our planet and what we could do.

The thing about the plastic straw is that it’s tangible. We all see its overabundant use in restaurants and bars, have used it to stir a drink for one second then tossed it to the side only the repeat the same procedure for our next drink and the drink after that, with one or two straws in each water we order in between. Why the sudden overuse of them? While they were originally created for making things a little easier to drink, in the 1930s they gained popularity when  an inventor wanted to make it easier for his daughter to drink a milkshake. From that, the straws are mass-produced by a system selling people things they don’t really need, for the most part. Consumers of course took advantage of it and now we’re left with another over-consumed product with of course, inevitable backlash. We can see the waste. On our beaches, straws are often one of the top ten items collected globally on the coastlines

It was once quoted that in the U.S. alone, 500 million straws are used EVERY DAY. That seems like an incredible amount that’s hard to picture exactly how many that truly is. Here are some figures to put it into perspective… “500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year.. 500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person (in the US) per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65.” While I’m not 100% that this stat is entirely accurate, it goes without saying that whatever the number is, it is high and there is something we can do about it. 

So what can we do? There are a ton of alternate options out there, here are my favorite options ranking from best to last:

  • No straw (no waste)

  • Bamboo straw (sturdy, dishwasher safe, light)

  • Metal straws (sturdy, dishwasher safe, easy to clean, not good for hot beverages)

  • Glass straws (sturdy, easy to clean, but breakable)

  • Paper straws (trendy and fun but don’t last and wasteful to produce)

    • Why the hate for paper? It’s similar to the debate between plastic and paper bags. 

    • A study done last year by Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food found that paper bags need to be reused at least 43 times for its per-use environmental impacts to be less than that of typical plastic bag used once. 

    • You choose between plastic, reusable and less energy to make but not biodegradable or paper, harder to reuse, a ton of energy to make but biodegradable…Truthfully, neither is “good”

There’s a few things to note when talking about banning the straws. For one, a large population of our world needs them. It’s easy for anyone who isn’t physically challenged to say “no straw”, 

“I don’t use those”, “who would need a plastic straw”, or to even look down upon people who order them. When I saw the video of the turtle, I knew I would try my best to say no when the opportunity presented itself, pretty much always, but I vowed to myself to never shame anyone who forgot to say “no straw”. Check out this article by Alden Wicker of EcoCult. She talks about the necessity to address the issue of plastic waste but to be flexible with the movement and open to people who actually need the straw. Banning something that certain people’s lives depend upon is ridiculous and we should by no means shame anyone. With my decisions I make about the sustainable movement, I hope to influence many people in my community to do whatever they can. We need to keep this in mind. 

I loved Alden’s idea about an opt-in system when talking about the straw ban movement. Instead of the waiters at restaurants automatically putting a straw in every single drink, they always need to have them on hand and you have to say when you order “I need a plastic straw”. That in itself will heavily cut down the amount wasted at each restaurant yet no one who actually needs one will (hopefully) not be looked down upon. 

While I support the movement to use less straws, some feel the movement to falls extremely short. Sure, plastic straws are overused and create a lot of waste but many argued that this movement failed to address something bigger that is creating much more waste than the straw.  The commercialized fishing net, and other plastic waste in general. Straws are an easy target because many people can do without them. I don’t question the necessity of the plastic straw movement, I think any movement is a step in the positive direction but my argument would be that it shouldn’t stop there. 

Have you ever seen a commercialized size fishing net in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; the largest accumulation of ocean plastic? The patch is estimated to be 1.6 million square kilometers, twice the size of Texas and having 46% of the weight be taken up by fishing nets. Plastic tends to get stuck in these large gyres or patches and disintegrate with all the sun exposure and natural currents until it’s into tiny pieces, called micro plastics, that we oftentimes can’t even see. Years ago we would see occasional pieces of plastic found in sea turtles but now, with all the micro plastics forming and floating around, 100% of all sea turtles have some form of plastic they have ingested. 59% of all seabirds have plastic found in them and more than 25% of fish sampled from all around the world has plastic in it. That’s an issue that goes above and beyond the straw movement that we have to address. 

The plastic that litters our oceans are becoming much more of a problem. We can’t ignore it. Plastic debris, both micro plastics (particles less than 5mm) and macro plastics (larger than 5mm) are positively related to the mismanaged plastic waste generated by river catchments. To me, the straw movement was the catalyst for bigger change. While China for instance is the biggest producer of plastic waste, it also is now making huge efforts to avoid this. 

Other countries that are now coming into wealth like the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are huge contributors to the plastic waste issue. With the rise of GDP levels in many of these East Asian countries comes benefits that we often overlook like the convenience of to-go Tupperware or the ease of a plastic bag to carry your goods, better yet, drinkable water in plastic bottles! But what these places don’t think about is the infrastructure needed to deal with the waste that comes from development. If we are to address the need for waste-management infrastructure in these five countries alone, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, it is estimated we can significantly reduce global leakage of plastic waste into the ocean by 2025, potentially by 45%!

So where does that leave us? 

Well, theres a few things I have in mind for trying to make a change..

This article, again written by Alden Wicker of EcoCult talked about her challenge going plastic-free on her recent trip to India. There was balance achieved between being a good guest, accepting where plastic was sometimes needed but doing the best she could, remembering to bring a water bottle, utensils, avoiding straws where possible and the like. But we have to remember these developing economies are vastly different from the U.S. Oftentimes to a waiter in India, providing good service is of utmost importance to them. Figuring out what “no straw” means while trying to remember how to speak English and treat your guest well comes with a huge learning curve.

When we’re visiting these East Asian countries we have to be supportive of the new cycle of growth they’re going through and dealing with. Improving governance and rooting out corruption for example. What we can do is influence them and work with them to realize the importance of tackling change now. They are blessed because they haven’t gotten as used to the readily available use of plastic as much as the Western society has. When we travel, we can reduce our plastic intake and show them it’s possible to live life easily without it. We can stop shipping our waste to them and deal with it ourselves. We can show them certain technological advancements that are making it easier to recycle plastics and show how they can discard it. And we can influence them to stop producing plastic altogether and use another biodegradable alternative at the same time.

While most of the plastic waste is coming from East Asia, we can continue to do our best efforts at home. Things like the three R's; reduce, reuse, recycle...and remember they should be in that order. 

  • Reducing our purchases (being conscious consumers)

  • Reusing things whenever possible

  • Recycling after you attempt to reduce and reuse. 

  • Eating less fish (less fish, less need for fishing, less fishing nets. Supply, demand)

  • Avoid plastic bags

  • Saying no to straws when we can

  • Voting for change

  • Marching for change 

  • Reducing meat intake

  • Composting

  • Paying for carbon offsetting

  • Switch to reusables

    • Reusable bags, Tupperware, coffee mugs, water bottles, etc. 

While 2018 was the year of the plastic straw, let's make 2019 the year of tackling all plastic. We’re addicted to it and with fighting addiction comes arguments, fight back, disagreements and disbelief. But the facts are there. The fish have plastic in them. The turtles are eating plastic and our world will suffer from that. Humans live off the Earth and the oceans are the veins that pump life into us all. Let us tackle plastic waste, something we have so easily lived without before the 1930s, and switch to a reusable, biodegradable material that closes the loop on waste and refreshes our oceans with life and air. The Earth’s ten-year challenge brought upon devastation from pictures of deforestation, ice melting, and oceans and rivers littered with plastic waste. Let’s reverse that trend and make pictures in 2029 that we’re proud of. 

New Year's Resolutions

2019 is upon us which means it’s time to make new goals for the new year. Some find it cliché, and I have to admit sometimes it feels like more of a chore than anything else but as we hit day two of 2019, I feel inclined to write a few things down, as a reminder and a reset for living my best life physically, spiritually and mentally. 

One of my biggest goals, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts is to relax and go with the flow. What’s important about writing this on day two instead of the first of the year is that yesterday, I slept in, I didn’t work out and I did not plan for the new year. And to me, the first day was a success as I let the enjoyment of hanging out with friends and family and relaxing my way into 2019 trump any preconceived notions of having to start on my best foot. So far, 2019 is off to an amazing start, two brownies, zero workouts, an afternoon of snow tubing and a sugar-y hot cocoa day later. 

Prior to becoming a model, it’s a well-known fact that I was much more easygoing. My schedule was up to me to make and if I slacked, that was my fault too. But with modeling comes last minuteness as your schedule is determined by your agents and clients, oftentimes the night before the shoot. So, as I adjusted to something being beyond my control, I became determined to manage all other aspects of my life, to the extreme. This affected all areas of my life: when I would eat, an in-detail itinerary for each weekend, three reservations for different restaurants each time we would go out to ensure the best possible choice was made, and so on. Vacations were insanely planned out in detail from the moment we left for the airport to when we came back home, there was no room for error. Just ask my fiancé, he’s not the biggest fan of traveling with me to and from the airport. If we call a car and it takes 10 minutes instead of five, that’s five extra minutes of my insanely planned out life that I could have enjoyed elsewhere. This is where it becomes a problem. While I still get enjoyment out of all the pre-planning, the issue was when things wouldn’t go according to plan. 

Instead of adjusting and going with the flow, I would have mini-meltdowns and become extremely inflexible as a result of my insane neuroticism. 

While I have definitely gotten better at this over time, it still remains a goal of mine to be at ease with the unexpectedness of life. That’s where the beauty is hiding and will shine through when you’re least expecting. I sometimes get upset when people make fun of how much I plan in advance but something I will continue to work on will be to be happy when we have a plan and happier if that plan doesn’t go accordingly. For lack of a better example, the night of our engagement was supposed to be a simple dinner with family and friends as we toasted to the incredible vacation we had in front of us on our first night in Croatia. An hour or so into dinner, I got proposed to, surprise surprise, not according to “the plan”, but the excitement we all had with the unexpected beautiful moment we all then got to share together was priceless. (I must add, I’m lucky Josh had a plan that night and stuck to it… ;) 

Similarly, living in New York I tend to get overwhelmed easily, yet there is nowhere else I’d rather be, at least for the time being. You’re constantly stimulated, which is an incredible perk if you’re someone like me who likes to keep busy, but the downside is that it’s hard to switch off and not feel guilty. I don’t think I can count on two hands the amount of days I’ve planned to just relax and stay put, better yet to not even plan it but just let it happen. So with the New Year, and in order to stay sane in the city where it’s all happening, a goal of mine is to find inner peace. Whether it be to meditate more or to find stillness in yoga, to cozy up with a favorite book or get off the subway early and walk the last stop, I want to continue to plan and stay busy which is something I get so much enjoyment out of but to find balance in stillness and maintain inner peace and calmness. Then with whatever craziness New York throws my way, an insanely packed subway car with someone yelling at you or a taxi that purposefully takes the long way because they think you’re a tourist (the bridge god damnit not the tunnel!!!) I hope to let all that negativity glide off of me and only make me stronger. With strength will come calmness, with strength will come ease and knowing you have a strong mind will let all areas of your life be unaffected by the unexpected displeasures. 

As my birthday approaches, instead of planning a wild night that ends with a disgusting amount (albeit delicious) of late-night crap, maybe I’ll propose a meditation class with friends, a yoga class or a solo trip to a meditative retreat… But the best part is I’ll leave it be for now and see what comes as the day approaches. As I mentioned, there’s something beautiful about letting life throw all it has your way and finding adventure in the journey of your destination. What I’ve learned from my year in 2018 and what I will never forget is that it’s never about the destination but more importantly about the journey. 

Featured on WWD

We recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rosemary Feitelberg from WWD on the future of sustainability in fashion.

Sharing our journey and story with you all means so much to us. We’re only a few years into living our sexy sustainable life and continue to learn and be inspired by everyone in our community each and everyday, so thank you to our tribe for never failing to motivate us to do bigger things and be better people. We will never stop learning and will always share what we come across along the way, being entirely transparent about the companies we promote, and the things we produce. Cheers to making it into WWD as we near the end of the year, one of our biggest goals of 2018. We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for ODC and for everyone in our community. Let’s continue to spread the world of sustainability in fashion and beyond.

All our love, Britt & Maria

Feeling Centered

As we gear up for the new year, it’s nice to take the time to reflect upon the year behind us and how we plan to move into the future. As repetitive as it may seem to make these goals or check in with yourself, I can’t help but think it’s a nice excuse to be able to tap in and see how you’re doing.  Whether you had a shit year, an exciting year, an unexpected year or a year of growth, it’s important to take the time to think about what went well and how you can grow. 

It’s like when you go through a breakup. I like to always think (for the most part), no harm done. You had your good times, you made your good memories, and now it’s time to move on and sprout into a better version of yourself. 

So as we gear up for the New Year, the “New Us”, I’d like to share what I plan to focus on personally that I think we can all benefit from more of in our life. 

For me, this past year was a time of stability and growth. I worked hard and I worked a lot, but the sacrifice was my inner peace. Granted, I live an incredibly blessed life here in New York City. I’m doing my dream job and can pay for myself to have the lifestyle that I want, but oftentimes the grind of New York City will eat you away in ways you miss before it’s too late. 

So with all the work I continue to hope to get, I also plan to find balance within myself to attain true peace. No more trying to mask the frustration of each subway ride, gritting my teeth at every little annoyance, snapping at those closest to me because they’ll tolerate it or suppressing the need to meditate daily. If I think back to my year and how well it went work wise, I can only imagine how much better I’ll be if I’m calm with myself and my mind. Imagine how much more work will flow if I’m centered. 

Tuning into your soul is a lot easier said than done. To quiet the mind and all the fuss around you is something that takes many yogis or meditators years to achieve. This is no small feat, but if it’s something we can all work on, perhaps those subway rides or little tiffs with your loved ones will be much easier to manage for all of us. Imagine for instance if every New Yorker were to take a chill pill before they leave for work. Only in a dream world right? Maybe. But perhaps meditating and focusing on your thoughts and personal needs is the medicine we all need for the illness we’re not being treated for. 

I like to do “Yoga with Adriene” at home. It’s easy, I can choose my own level and be in my own space to move at whatever pace I feel comfortable with. On one recent practice, I had been a bit easily annoyed by everything that day, perhaps it was that “time of the month” and I couldn’t seem to shake anything off. If someone looked at me the wrong way I could have broken down and cried right then and there. Thankfully I realized I was being a bit unreasonable so decided to check in with Adriene and let all the frustrations glide off me with each drop of sweat. About 10 minute into the practice, my partner came into the kitchen, adjacent to where I was doing my flow and started to quietly make dinner. Totally fair, his space just as much as it was mine but I couldn’t help but snap at him with anger. “Couldn’t he see I was trying to not be annoyed by doing this yoga practice???” 

I stopped the practice, stormed around the room and made a fuss then tried to get back into it as my love one kind of just stood there confused by my recent outrage. It was another 10 minutes into the practice that I began to realize absolutely nothing was his fault. He could have smiled at me and I would have burst with annoyance. It was the buildup of simply a busy day in the city that got to me more than I realized and was causing more turmoil with what should have been a calm relaxing night in.

Thankfully, I fell into the trance of Adriene’s soothing voice and literally visualized all the grit leaving my body with each deep breath. It was incredible. I was feeling lighter and calmer and couldn’t believe something as simple as deep breathing and a little stretching could make me feel whole again. 

With all that in mind I still continue to live my dream life in New York and don’t visualize giving it up anytime soon. The city gets to you, but when it does you simply have to tap into yourself and give yourself some extra love to combat the aggression you may be blindly holding. 

Here are some ways I think we can give ourselves a bit more love and work on our inner healing. While the holiday season is supposed to be a time of love and reflection, oftentimes it ends up being a period where we overstress, we overbuy, we over indulge and over extend ourselves. Let this piece inspire you to go to the events you want, indulge in the cookies you’re dreaming but to always remember to take a little time to reflect on what you personally need to live a little happier.



Take a social media break 

I’m not saying get rid of it all together or to not post, believe me for my own job (unfortunately) it’s pretty imperative that I have an online presence but the world will wait, believe it or not, for you to post whatever you need to. Whether it be to take a day off here and there or to limit the number of minutes (in reality, hours) you spend each day, try and monitor your usage and slow down a little bit, especially over the holidays. Your friends will all be having a grand ol’ time, everyone always appears to be, but just remember it’s okay to have a boring day where nothing seems worth sharing. Savor the days where you can relax and perhaps skip the endless scroll on days like this and read a book or listen to a podcast instead, whenever you get the urge to open the app. 

Do some yoga! 

There’s something magical about the power of tuning into your mind and taking a deep breath. It helps switch off any negative energy you may be holding on to and it’s a nice way to get your body moving with the flow. Yoga with Adriene has different free videos for any mood you may be in. “Yoga for back ache”, “yoga for post-breakup”, “yoga for starting your morning”, etc. She’s got a video just for you. 

Right when you wake up, before you check any e-mails or read any news, write down one thing you’re grateful for

I saw another model post about this practice and was immediately enthralled. I often wake up immediately check e-mails and Instagram which often starts my day off a little stressed out. Instead of taking time to think of what I’m thankful or happy for, I see news I don’t want to read or scroll through pictures aimlessly. Instead lately, I’ve been trying to wake up and immediately write down what I’m grateful for, however big or small it may be. Sometimes it’s something recent that has happened, other times it’s something big, but it truly helps set your day off on the right foot.

Meditate five to ten minutes every day 

Similar to practicing yoga, taking a moment to breath can bring a lot of positivity to your day. If you don’t have the time to do a full yoga practice (guilty!), try taking a moment out of your day, I love doing it right before bed, to lay down, close your eyes, and practice some deep breathing. Sometimes, if I need some extra guidance I’ll throw on a meditative track such as ocean waves white noise or use an app like Insight Timer that guides you through a meditation however long you see fit to whatever noise that brings you most joy. The Zhada bowl has a grounding ring to it that makes me feel aligned and centered. 

Get off the subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way

There’s nothing like a little fresh air to make the commute a little more pleasant. In New York especially, you’re often sandwiched in between people you don’t even know, a yelling match 9/10 times always breaks out and there’s absolutely no such thing as personal space. To get a few extra steps in and calm myself before work or before I get home, sometimes I find getting out a bit early and walking the rest of the way is the best answer. 

Be compassionate 

Something that always keeps me calm and collected is to try my best to be compassionate. Granted, it’s hard as can be to sympathize with the guy standing in the doorway of the subway at rush hour who won’t move for anyone because that spot is most convenient for him (perhaps I’m coming from a place of experience here) but what I try and do (again, perhaps maybe not in that instance) but rather than letting my anger boil over I often try and just think of how that person is doing. On my worst of days, I still have a home to come home to and an incredible fiancé to love. Perhaps that person has no loved one, is in between jobs or just got fired. Anger (most of the time) doesn’t come from nothing. So while it would be a lot easier to yell at that guy on the subway or even give him a shoulder on your way out, try sympathizing instead or even giving him a smile. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards and your heart will be more full. 

Do a meditative retreat 

Sometimes we need to really remove ourselves from our natural habitat in order to power off and get back to our centers. I’m hoping in the new year to be able to do this by going on a yoga or meditative trip, however long I can fit in. If it’s two days, amazing, a whole week, even better! I’ve heard magical things about Kripalu in Massachusetts. They have retreats for all types of activities from meditative to yoga to Ayurveda and teacher training and you can go for weeks or a long weekend if that’s all the time you have. 


If it’s one of these things or all of them, however many you can try and implement them into your New Year’s goals and see how you feel once you’re tuning into your center light. I think a lot of us hold on to stress we didn’t even know we had; stomach aches and indigestion (guilty), unexplainable bald patches of hair missing (guilty), or a fragile emotional state that makes you want to cry a little too easily, and something as simple as taking a moment to breath or write down one thing you’re thankful for can help alleviate a lot of the stress. As Adriene from Yoga with Adriene says, “Find What Feels Good”, and may you all go forth into the New Year with all the strength, passion and wholeness you need. 


2018 Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us which means spending time with family, cozying up to some hot apple cider by the fire, ice skating until your cheeks go red and Elf on in the background. While it is a time of a lot of joy and happiness, it can bring on stress with the pressure of getting the right gift. As we get older, material gifts seem more of a nuisance than a pleasure, however we love the feeling of sharing with others things we know they need and things you know they’d love.

Here is the our edit of the official ODC gift guide… from cozy sweaters to experience getaways and reusable cutlery, we’ve got everyone on your list covered and you can ensure everything we recommend is timeless and ethical. And if you're going to skip the presents this year (good idea!), we've got a little something to recommend for the person who seems to have everything too!

For your parents

The Cocktail Experience Gift

The perfect gift for your best friend

Darling Magazine Subscription

Someone who loves adventure

Patagonia Backpack

Someone Always On The Go

Joseph Joseph Travel Cutlery Set

Someone fashion forward

A Used Stella McCartney Purse

For the Homebody

West Elm Artisanal Throw

For the Conscious Traveler

Samsonite Eco-Glide

For the man in your life

The Cashmere Crew

A Little Something Extra For Your Mum

Soko Jewelry

For the hygge obsessed

Cedar Scented Candle

For you and your partner

Responsible Travel

Your bosses will love you

WINC Eco-Friendly Wine Club

For the person who has everything

A Donation in Someone’s Name

How I Deal With Anxiety

Living in a big city like NYC, and especially since modeling, I’ve become prone to running a little on the anxious side. I like to think of myself as a calm and collected, easygoing Canadian who is down to go with the flow but oftentimes find myself getting worked up, whether it be easily justifiable or not. I’ve learned some coping mechanisms but I’m not perfect and sometimes I slip. My cuticles for instance are bitten and chewed up since I was 13 which is one way my body 'deals' with stress, sometimes without me even knowing I'm doing it. Whether it be from living in a city of constant overdrive, comparing myself to others, or dealing with unexplainable emotions, here’s how I try my best to stay sane, stay grounded, and keep on smiling.

Living in New York City I feel blessed. It’s definitely not for everyone (and definitely not permanent for me) but for now, I have anything and everything at my fingertips, no matter what time of day and am continually stimulated by the electrifying energy of the city. It has a way of sparking all the ambition and drive into my core that living in a smaller city doesn't give me at this point in my life. The streets are a continuous symphony of cars humming, horns honking, people yelling all on their path to achieving their dreams, not stopping for any slow walkers on the way. Move out of the way or get out of our city, is something that I think runs through a lot of our heads. While some can’t live like this, I truly believe New York is not for the faint of heart, it’s exactly where I need to be right now, but is definitely a temporary situation. My heart beats faster here, I walk faster here, I talk faster and get-shit-done faster, but a lot of the times I feel it’s at the expense of my health and wellness. To combat the anxiety and still thrive in the city of dreams, I find it’s important to remove myself every once in a while, if work allows it. I’m lucky enough that for modeling, I can decide which city to be based out of. I can go to Germany or Los Angeles for the month to get away, I recently did a month-long trip to L.A., which always helps calm my senses. However, come the last week of the month I will be itching to get back, to fill my veins with whatever potion New York uses on you to keep you addicted to the grind. It works. But it also really helps me to be removed from it for a while. Even if it’s something as simple as going for a hike upstate for an afternoon. That little burst of fresh air and calmness is all I need to feel rejuvenated and get back to the grind. 

A friend of mine recently said every Friday, instead of going out for drinks, her and her husband will cook dinner together, throw on some classical music and slow dance the night away. Just by themselves in their apartment. No one to tell them what to do or how they should be having fun. They’re not removing themselves from the city per say but they’re removing themselves from the idea that on weekends, we must go out and drink to relax. For them, simply enjoying their home life and a good meal and of course each other’s company is the reset they need to feel energized to get back to work each and every Monday. Find what that something is. Find an activity you like that isn’t dictated necessarily by the city you live in or the people you hang out with and enjoy it to the fullest. I challenge you do it and maybe not even post about it too. Sometimes our best memories are the ones we keep to ourselves. 

On that note, my boyfriend and I have been living together for nearly six years. We’re lucky enough to have almost the exact same living standards. But of course we get on each other’s nerves and I think what’s helped us stay so close after six and a half years together is the fact we’re able to separate for a weekend or a month, focus on ourselves and have our “me time” and then similar to when I leave New York, it’s like we’re starting the relationship from scratch each time we meet back up again. This past L.A. trip, I was home before he was back from work and while I was waiting for him I felt like a little teenage girl excited to go on a date for the first time. I was giggly and nervous and it was exactly what we needed to hit the refresh button and get our own shit done respectively. 

Beyond living in a big city, another thing that ‘gets me’, i.e. makes me a nervous wreck from time to time is the negative side effects of social media. I’m not one of those anti-social media people, for me it allows me to share the entire picture of who is Britt and what my passions and hobbies are beyond modeling. It’s my portfolio for clients to look at so they see what kind of personality they’ll get by booking me for a shoot. It’s a platform I’m privileged to have 20 thousand people listening to me to share what charities I’m passionate about or what causes I think people should learn about. It’s a privilege. But naturally it comes with a down side. I try and let the whole numbers thing not get to me and I hope all the young girls and guys who are growing up with social media (mainly my brother’s generation, ages 10-18) realize that there’s so much more to the number of followers you have or the amount of likes you get. For me, it’s exceptionally hard because I often won’t get booked because I have somewhat of a small following. I always joke, it’s quality versus quantity, but none of the clients want to hear that. While I really don’t think 100,000 potentially bought followers who are mainly creepy men will affect the sales of whatever top or lipstick your modeling, no one has really caught on/checked the analytics to see if the higher numbers are positively affecting sales. Naturally, this gets to me. I see all my friends with hundreds of thousands of followers booking all the jobs I had casted for, or didn’t even get a casting for, and generally speaking most people only post their best selves. I truly admire and appreciate the girls who show the full picture, show off their bad skin that they inevitably get every once in a while, and who use their platforms to promote good causes (check out @cameronrussell, @renee.elizabethpeters, @anja_rubik, to name a few…). This is what I try and emulate and is when I feel most positive about my Instagram use for instance. When people respond to an environmental post that they’re going to stop using plastic bags, I’m thrilled. When I look at whatever the next celebrity kid is booking or how the shoot turned out for the casting I didn’t get, I feel defeated. 

What I find helps combat the part that makes me least confident, i.e. right after and endless scroll of social media seeing all the girls with better bodies, better skin, more work, more followers, is by getting off social media and not making it the thing that dictates my moods. Instead I know it sounds cheesy but reading a good book, writing in my journal or an article like this, going for a run or workout always leaves me feeling better about myself. Not working today but all the other models are? Use that to your advantage. They’re stuck in a studio all day, you get to go for a run, stay outside and lay in the sun or cozy up on the couch with a good book. It’s all about how you use the platforms and how easily it is for you to remove yourself from in once in a while. It’s hard not to compare yourself, no matter the career you’re in but always know that no one else can be you. You are your own self, you have your own beliefs and passions and things that make you unique and that’s what’s most beautiful about life, none of us are exactly the same.  When I post a decent selfie where my skin looks good, just know that’s me 10% of the time. The rest of the time I may have a zit or two or three and I may not always share the bad sides. Think Josh and I are always that sweet smily couple who look perfectly kept together and like we've never been in a fight? Hah!! We use social media to promote our best selves, often trying to be like the next best person but sometimes we can lose what makes us most unique in the process. So, as I write this (which is also an important reminder for myself to live by), I say be you, your full authentic self, nothing more and appreciate all the unique qualities you have and celebrate that!

Probably at the expense of living in a crazy city or being in an industry dictated by social media, sometimes the moods I get in feel completely unexplainable. I’m generally a pretty happy-go-lucky person but sometimes I’ll wake up in a funk that dictates how I feel and act all day, its unexplainable and it downright sucks. Generally speaking it’s because of something deeper I’m not tapping into like being overtired from work, an unresolved fight with a boyfriend or simply needing to relax and be by myself. So, if I find I’m in an unexplainable mood I always try and find out the root cause.  If I’m tired, I’ll skip the workout that day. If I have enough energy and think a workout will help get rid of the stress, I’ll do a little pump. If I’m feeling a lack of connection simply from grinding away too long, I’ll ask a friend to hang out together whether it be working at a coffee shop or going for a drink. A lot of the friends I surround myself with are always incredibly helpful in resolving whatever mood I may be in. The closest girls and guys I hang with are the types you leave each conversation feeling like you’ve learned something. The conversations are deep and exactly what I need to take my mood off of whatever negativity I’m feeling. Or we may be that ear they needed to talk to without any judgment and simply listen. Human interaction in a city like New York seems inevitable but oftentimes were so focused on all our work and projects we forget to make time for our friends. While this ‘solution’ is a little more far-fetched, I think a lot of the moods I get in personally can be solved if I try and find the root cause of whatever hurt I’m feeling. Whether it be writing in a journal, laying low with a good movie and comfy couch, a much-needed catch up with a friend or an adrenaline pumping workout, thinking deeply about all the ways your hurting and trying to fix them are a lot more helpful for me than moping around in my sorrows. 

This may seem like an oversimplified post that only affects a small population. I have an incredible job so how is it that I can get anxious or feel down sometimes? But I truly believe it’s something we all go through, to whatever degree, and I think taking time to think about your feelings and what makes you, you are what gets me through the hardest of days. If it’s unexplainable to a surmounting degree and it truly seems unexplainable, talk to a friend or loved one. Tell them you’re in a funk, you don’t know why and you just need a good hang or talk to get over it. Nothing is not worth reaching out to someone for, so always try and be true to your feelings and if it’s not something you can get up and change yourself, don’t feel bad. It’s normal to feel overworked, overwhelmed, unexplainably anxious and while the tools I share help me for the most part, a good chat with a friend is often the best medicine. 

Fashion Revolution Week and Earth Day-2018

Between Fashion Revolution Week April 23-29th and Earth Day on April 22, it’s an important time for us all to reflect on our positive and negative impacts on the environment. 

Prior to starting ODC, I had little knowledge of the effects of fast fashion on our environment and on the people who make our clothes. $5 seemed like a bargain for a t-shirt and I found myself flocking to fast fashion retailers, desperate to buy the newest trends for as cheap as possible. Even being in the industry myself, having witnessed first-hand the difference between well-made clothes with beautiful fabrics and time consuming handwork and cheap fast fashion that felt as if it were about to fall apart, I found it hard to wrap my head around the fact that there is a crucial difference between a $5 throwaway and something that would cost me a lot but my last a life time. This is the problem many people face without even knowing it because of the marketing we are bombarded with each day. Consumers now expect to pay as little as possible for more clothing without realizing who is really paying for the pay-cut. 

It wasn’t until living four and a half years in NYC as a full-time model that I began to realize the negative impacts of fast fashion. A fellow model and friend of mine, Cameron Russel had a meeting for models in NYC to talk about how to best use our platforms to advocate for matters that are important to us, for her it was women’s rights and the environment, especially fashion’s impact on the environment. It was at this specific meeting that I realized the fashion industry is one of the ‘dirtiest’ out there. In terms of pollution, worker’s rights and fabric waste, the industry has much to improve upon. 

Something recent that ignited the fire for people to advocate for a better industry was the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, five years ago on April 24, 2013. After numerous warnings that the building had visible dangerous cracks, workers were demanded to go to work regardless, and a day after many had complained, the building collapsed killing 1,138 people and injuring 2,500. It was the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Tons of brands were identified in the rubble, many western , although it took many years for all those involved to own up to their involvement in this atrocious disaster. The disaster was fueled by political corruption and corporate greed perpetuated by the idea that our clothes needed to be made faster, be made cheaper all at the cost of the workers in third world countries where factories were unsafe and workers conditions were forgotten. 

Now, five years what has changed? 

Brands and customers seem to be more conscious of what they buy, what materials they’re using to produce clothing and who are the makers behind it all. The Fashion Revolution non-profit was made to promote genuine change and inspire others to be curious about where all their clothes are made. The industry hasn’t totally transformed but brands big and small are definitely taking strides to be more transparent about all their production processes, which is a huge step in the right direction. [1]

The Fashion Revolution created the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes? to inspire customers to reach out to the companies they buy from and see if they respond about their supply chain. Companies big and small including H&M, ASOS, and Adidas are working with their customers to share their suppliers, proof that some positive change is being made. 

The Fashion Revolution organization also encourages easy steps for those in and outside of the fashion industry to take to ensure we’re all on the path to better production. These steps include an action kit with information on how to get involved globally at each and every fashion revolution week event. Things like printable posters to share on social media, campaigns to share with friends and followers on social media with important facts and quotes, encouraging consumers to share their fashion love story. The fashion love story should be used to write a love letter to a piece of clothing you already own encouraging consumers to shop less and find love in things they already own. Similarly, the organization created the hashtag #haulternative which inspires consumers to refresh their closets in a new way such as shopping secondhand, swapping with friends or doing DIY customization. The last steps to inspire change are to actively reach out to policymakers, writing letters to brands and then downloading their educational resources which includes worksheets, activities and information to show how you can be a student ambassador at your school. 

Whitney Bauck, editor at Fashionista magazine is passionate about the intersection of fashion, faith and ethics and often writes about these issues, especially when they pertain to fashion. Since the factory collapse, Bauck explains another positive step towards ensuring a healthy and safe work environment in the Bangladeshi garment industry with The Accord, a five-year legally-binding agreement between large corporations and trade unions. [2] With the Accord in place, factories are continually inspected to ensure safe working conditions and are financially backed to upgrade safety measures. If you refuse to work with The Accord you could lose out on working with international brands that are signed up. Now, factory safety is no longer a “Western Luxury”. Because of these improved safety conditions, the amount of deaths per year has significantly dropped from 71 workers pre Rana Plaza to 17 workers annually now. [3]

There is however much more improvement needed. While the amount of unions surged immediately after the Rana Plaza disaster, activity has since slowed down, many people claiming to have been beaten up by police officials if they were involved in unions. There is hardly any backing of these unions from government officials. [4] Companies are pushing for safer working conditions yet often don’t want to pay for it. It’s tough without these unions to impose proper working wages or overtime pay for instance. [5]

In addition to these resources, I personally only try and shop from brands that are transparent about who makes their clothes, where they are made and the materials they use. There are enough brands out there doing it ‘right’ for me that I find I have enough resources available to shop. As of late, I’ve found I haven’t really had to buy any new clothes at all but will try and shop secondhand or swap with friends if I need something specific! It’s a fun way to spice up your closet, save some money and ensure you’re not contributing to environmental harm. Check out this article where I talk about a clothing swap I did with some friends in NYC! 

With organizations like the Fashion Revolution, companies who are willing to change and friends and family who are inspired to do good, we can all work together to demand better conditions for all workers and for the environment we all often take for granted. Which leads to another important holiday that falls right before Fashion Revolution week, Earth Day!

Earth Day is a global annual celebration to demonstrate support for environmental protection. From the amount of plastic used, the amount of material waste, contaminated rivers and streams, greenhouse gas emissions, the food industry, makeup and hair, the list goes on about ways in which we can all collectively work to ensure better conditions for our environment. 

With plastic waste alone, and even more specifically single-use straw waste, over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used EVERYDAY in the United States, many of which end up discarded in our ocean. It’s something so simple we can all say no to, to alleviate the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and killing our ecosystems. I took the pledge to #stopsucking on single-use plastic straws and instead use bamboo straws if need be. Paper straws are a great alternative however if you don’t have to, using none is even better! Similarly, I always bring reusable bags to the grocery store, am never without my reusable water bottle and reusable coffee mug! I’m always on the go, so it also helps to have a metal fork and spoon on hand (I have a few in every purse). It’s little steps like this that we can all implement in our lives that will help make a difference. We can also reach out to our local restaurants, coffee shops (hello Starbucks!) and policymakers to address the abundance of plastic use and see if there’s a feasible solution that’s better for the environment. 

This past Earth Day, I had originally planned to skip all the fun activities and watch a Raptors basketball game in D.C. which would include four + hour bus rides each way to and from NYC. What was environmentally friendly about that? Being stuck in a bus most of the day and contributing to the carbon footprint wasn’t ideal. We decided to skip the game and spend as much time as we could outdoors and ended up having one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a while. 

We started off our day by not using the lights as much as possible. Sure we had to get ready in a little bit of darkness but the light shining in from our windows did the trick. Next we went to our local coffee shop and used a cup to stay and my reusable mug. We then decided to do a 5k run and pick up trash along the way. This is called ‘plogging’ picking up trash while jogging and is huge in the Scandinavia. [6] It’s a fun way to keep our grounds clean and I must add definitely added a strength component to the workout! After our run, we made sure to bring our reusable bags with us and headed to the grocery store for a shop having them bag up everything in our own bags. Afterwards, we walked home along the east river and enjoyed the rest of the sunny day. It was a fun day outside where we got to admire mother nature and tried to make a difference where we could. It’s things we try and implement into our daily lives anyways but was a nice reminder to not leave the lights on, not have the tap run unnecessarily, pick up trash whenever you can and be cognizant of your impacts on the environment. 

So, what changes are you going to make in your life? For our environment, for the people who make our clothes, for the companies we invest our money in and for the life we leave behind for future generations. Share some things you already do and what steps you’d like to implement into your lives, we’d love to hear your suggestions! 

*Opening image shot by Leeor Wild for ADAY's new minimal waste campaign