Back to school shopping was one of my favorite times of the year growing up. Once those back to school advertisements hit the airwaves, I knew it was time to ditch the old shirts, pants, and kicks to adopt the latest trends being pimped out at major department stores. I was one of those bold kids that loved working the latest fashion fad. From bell bottom pants to pointy heels (yes I said bell bottoms, don't judge me!) I collected the newest style craze, flaunting my new clothes in the school halls with pride.
Don't get me wrong, my back to school shopping wasn't a frivolous shopping spree to pump my closet full of things I didn't need. I patronized the department stores in hopes of replacing pants past repair, shirts that no longer fit, and substituting shoes that had seen better days.
But all the new wares had to go somewhere, which meant my closet needed a good cleaning and I...HATED...this purging process. It was so hard to part with things that had been in my closet for years. Even if they were discolored and torn, they held a strange nostalgic quality that made it so hard to cast them aside. I also had a tough time determining where to actually dispose of the clothes. Being the oldest sibling had the perk of giving away clothes as "hand-me-downs", but I couldn't hand down things my sisters just refused to take. So I had two options:
1) donate clothes to thrift stores and other organizations
2) dispose of the clothes
Seems simple enough right? For clothes in good condition, I would wash and bag them nicely, dropping them off at the local Desert Industries (utah's salvation army equivalent). Clothes that weren't wearable were thrown into the trash. I didn't really think about the effect this had the environment, because I made some assumptions, the most common one being, "well cotton comes from mother earth so clothes should easily decompose when they are thrown away. No harm to the environment done!"
My line of thinking wasn't far from average. In fact, Americans dispose an average of 68 pounds of clothes per person annually. You didn't read it wrong--68 pounds of clothes are tossed away per person every year. Count all your close family members, their friends, friends of friends, then multiply that by 68. That's a whole lot of pounds.
When it comes to cleaning those closets and skimming out the extra stuff, a lot of reusable clothes end up in landfills. This is definitely no bueno for three main reasons 1) most materials used in your everyday clothes are not environmentally friendly and will not decompose in a timely fashion 2) the harsh chemicals used to dye the clothes can get all mixed up in the soil and drinking water of local communities and 3) perfectly reusable clothing is trashed, when it could serve another purpose.
So what are your options when your closet starts reaching an obese status?
Resell: If you're the type that keeps all your clothes in tip top shape, try reselling them to a local consignment shop like Buffalo Exchange. These stores will pay you cash for what the clothes are now worth (or give store credit), then repair and resell the items to the public. So it's a win win. Not only do you rid yourself of those items lurking in the back of your closet since '99, your clothes are given a second life with a new customer. Even if you abhore those sparkly hammer pants from 8th grade, they could be another man/woman's wardrobe treasure:)
Donate: Goodwill and Salvation Army are the donation kings when it comes to clothing. There are hundreds of locations of these organizations all over the nation, so there really is no excuse to not haul those extra clothes on over to your local thrift shop. If you are automobily impaired (talking to you citydwellers lol) you can also have the store pick up your unwanted items. You don't get a cut of the profit from the sale of the clothes like a consignment shop, but you get the great feeling of having your clothes used for a good cause.
Rework: If you are really creative you can reuse your clothing items. I know many a girl who have taken scissors to jeans that are a tad too short to be worn seriously in public, crafting a "new" pair of shorts. Relax your mind and let your creative juices flow, who knows what could be cut, sewn, and glued together out of those seeminly unappealing "throw away" clothes.
There you have it folks. There are so many other options for where to put those clothes when they are no longer in your dressing repertoire. Out with the old and in with the new has taken on a whole new meaning:)
What's your closet "diet"? Do you have a favorite place to take those unwanted clothes?
Thanks for reading, and as always
The weekend is upon us, which means it's time for our weekly wrap up. With Thanksgiving Day around the corner it's imperative we pay our respects to the holiday, with an eco twist of course;)
HOW TO EAT
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday almost solely for the food. The Blacken family holds nothing back in the kitchen on this gloriously gluttonous (and of course thankful) day, and I assume your family throws it down in the kitchen like it's the last supper. Don't fret about all the energy it takes to keep those ovens churning and pots boiling, Sierra Magazine has great tips on how to green your Thanksgiving feast. Turn those burners down when you can, buy local and organic ingredients, and you'll be well on your way to a fabulously green holiday.
WHAT TO BUY
Yes, Thanksgiving is less than a week away, but that doesn't mean you can't start planning for the season of giving! (stores want to sell you Santa on Black Friday so you might as well give in right??). I know some people are still in denial about winter nipping at our heels, particularly those folks who are rocking shorts with NO tights in this frigid weather (you know it's cold out here, stop frontin!!). What better way to prepare for the season than with eco friendly winter gear? Snag a jacket or great vest from our fav outdoor eco friendly company Patagonia. It could be the gift that loved one has been waiting for.
WHAT TO READ
For those of you traveling far and wide during the holidays, I feel your pain. It ain't easy jet setting during one of the busiest travel days of the year. To ease that jet lag and airport boredom, check out our latest posts on your journey>>DC vs. NYC Fashion, Cmar Featured on WEtv, and AskHim: Are we what we wear?. Get that kindle/laptop/smartphone ready for some C. Marchuska browsing:D
Take care over the holiday, eat lots of grub,
and as always
Happy Wednesday Everyone We had the pleasure of being a part of the new web series, "Bounce Back", for WEtv and would like to take the time to introduce all of the people featured on the show. Check it out!
Special thanks to our amazing team which unfortunately was not given justice by this clip.....so let's give them serious accolades here Click on their names to find out why these peeps are SO AWESOME!!!
Blogger Meeting scene from clip:
Skype Discussion scene from clip:
Video Footage scene from clip:
Fabulous team member who was out of town during the webisode taping: Krystal Williams
Thank you SO much to all of our fans and community members who continue to help us live out our dreams! Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog coming from our newest CMar correspondent in our nation's capital
Hi Brian, I recently started dating this guy who is totally awesome. He's really kind and caring and has always been a total sweetheart to me on our dates.The only problem is that he is rumored to be a complete player as my friends keep pointing out to me. I know this can't be good, but I really like him. Am I stupid for continuing this? Is he playing me? Or is it possible that he could change? I'd really like some impartial advice and from a guy too...please help. Thanks, Bianca
Hi Bianca, and thanks for writing in. To be honest, I'm surprised that this hasn't been more of a popular question, but I wanted to get to it this week for sure. It's the 'will he won't he' question that all women want to know and dread the answer to. Quite simply, no. He will not change. It's more likely than not, that he is playing you. Sorry to tell you this. Very rarely do they change, even when they're married. I'm not saying they'll definitely cheat when they're married, but they will definitely 'play around'. It's a game to these so called 'players'. I hear it all the time. Guys don't hide it from their friends, just from the girls. Well, they try to hide it from the girls at least. There are the exceptions, don't get me wrong. There are guys that like to have their 'fun' until they meet that right girl to settle down with, that's just who they are. I'm not saying that your guy is one of these or not, and I'm not saying you couldn't be the girl that he wants to settle with and change his ways, but in all honesty it's highly unlikely. I guess the ultimate test would be time. Take your time with him. Don't rush into anything too quickly. Test the waters a little and figure out for yourself whether the rumors about him apply to you and whether you're just another girl to him. Hope this helps out a little Bianca and I wish you good luck with this guy. I hope it works out to be ok, and he's the guy you're looking for and that what he shows you is what he's really about.
That's all for another AskHim Tuesday. Keep those questions coming in ladies and gents. I'm here to give you a blunt perspective, and for you girls out there, I'm here to give you an honest guy's perspectives. Remember, I'm just an email away. AskHim@cmarchuska.com. See you all next week
If you really know me, you know that I loathe giving up some (note the word some) clothing items, no matter how ratty tat tatty they become. I kept an infamous pair of sweat pants that were such a pain to the eyes my friends wanted to kidnap them and burn them to ashes (because throwing them away just wouldn't be enough). I used to think "Man, if these tweety bird sweat pants could talk, they would yell at me for spilling bleach on them, cry about the hole I let stretch wide across their leg, and pout about the paint stain splashed all over their arse."
Now cyber friend, don't act like you don't have one clothing item in your closet that has seen some better years and should rest in peace. Think about that comfortable wardrobe piece that has never done you wrong time and time again, no matter how much you disrespected it with stains and wear and tear. If that item could tell you it's whole life story, what do you think it would say? As I have said before, clothes shouldn't talk unless they are in cartoons, but I have come today dear reader to shed light on those silent stories, to tell the untold tale of a c. marchuska dress, and why it's journey is starkly different from less eco friendly wares:
Introducing the C. Marchuska Monika Dress
Monika's journey first began as the brainchild of Christine Marchuska. Frustrated with the lack of clothing options available to wear both to work and outside of the professional office, she was motivated to design classic pieces that held a dual role. The Monika dress, inspired by Christine's ex-finance colleague, Monika Krauze Metzger, was one of those pieces. What set The Monika dress apart from other wares was Monika's entire life cycle from "birth" to finish was an eco-friendly roller coaster ride. I know we keep throwing the words eco friendly and eco fashion around, but let's break down exactly why The Monika Dress epitomizes what eco friendly clothing is all about:
Step 1: The materials matter
Fashion isn't just about the look and style, it's also about the feel. Remember those Hanes commercials, where whole families were frolicking through fields overly ecstatic over the touch and feel of their cotton undies? Those toothy-grinned- sound bites had some grains of truth in them! We are all want great feeling and functional fabric in our lives, but many of the common fabrics used in our clothes require massive amounts of resources, cause immense pollution, and are extremely hard to recycle. Let's take a comparison:
The Monika Dress materials>>
- Uses micro modal material, a fabric made from
reconstituted cellulose from Beech trees
- PROS: 100% bio degradable (won't have to worry about micro modal clothes chilling in landfills for centuries on end), is 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, holds color fast, and is resistant to fading. It seemingly can do no wrong.
- CONS: can be more costly than alternative fabrics.
A dress made from the most commonly used fabrics (like cotton, nylon, and polyester)>>
- PROS: Natural crops like cotton are breathable, wear resistant, and relatively cheap to make. Man made fibers like nylon and polyester are cheap and can resist the wear of many wash cycles, maintaining their color and resilience.
- CONS: cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world, which is not only harmful due to the fumes let off from dousing the crops in chemicals, but pesticides can remain in the fabric and be released during the lifetime of the garments. Cotton crops also take up a lot of land (much of which is needed by locals to grow their food). Nylon and polyester are the evil step sisters of biodegradable fabrics, and will live in a landfill for many years past their wearable dates. They also use massive amounts of water to produce, and emit dangerous green house gases.
Don't let cheesy grins of popular commercials fool you, there are some other materials out there that are far better for the environment and your own health than those popularized in the retail industry. The Monika Dress is one example of great style with even better materials
Step 2: Production Practices
All the design sketches and clothing swatches in the world would only be ideas without the labor of stitching those ideas into reality. As I noted in previous posts (check out Sweatshop til you drop for a refresher;) The retail industry has some of the most controversial labor practices, as a majority of clothes are produced in exploitative sweat shop environments.
After Christine had her ideas sketched by a freelance designer, she sought out a local sewing contractor in NY's garment district, negotiating a feasible cost for each item crafted. The Monika Dress was made in this form, hand crafted by a skilled contracted worker. Although there are many debates about labor laws and what can be done with limited resources in an ever changing economy, knowing where your clothes come from is a step towards better quality overall. And aren't you tired of buying something that dissolves and tears after one sweat-it-out session during a night on the town? Yeah, I thought so!:D
Step 3: Dye it up
Dyeing clothes is no small feat, as it also has large environmental implications. Imagine knowing what color is in season this year by the color of your local river (crazy right? and you thought colored rivers were only willy wonka inspired fantasies). For some folks located near garment production centers, that is reality. I love bright vibrant colors in my wardrobe like anyone else, but at what cost will we pay to have those new hot-double-bubble-pink tights? To minimize the impacts of chemical and dyes, The Monika Dress is hand dyed. This labor of love conserves energy, limits waste, and also protects the integrity of that awesome micro modal fabric.
In a nutshell Monika is a stylish piece that has plenty environmentally friendly clout. The journey of this dress doesn't just end at a hand dipped dyeing session, pick up your own Monika Dress online asap http://store.marchuska.com/monikadress.aspx, because I know you want to get a little touchy feeling with some micro modal fabric!!
That's a wrap eco lovers!
Til we meet again, as always,
Happy Saturday from London town! CMar reporting from the fashionably chic other side of the pond while catching up on some Entourage episodes
What to Wear:
Entourage is not only one of the hottest shows on HBO, but it also has one of our fav socially conscious actors, Adrian Grenier. Check out Grenier's ode to the environment with his limited edition tees for Nautica and The Gentlemen’s Fund of which 100% of the purchase price benefits Oceana. Feel good and look eco sexy - pick one up here!
What To Eat:
While checking out some of the latest fashions in Soho London (including Sherry's which carries the latest and greatest c. marchuska designs - yes I know, shameless plug ) stop over to VitaO previously known as Vitaorganic. VitaO is known for their organic and nutritious eats and for their famous clientele such as The Beastie Boys and socially conscious designer, Stella McCartney. We cannot wait to stop out this Vegan hotspot after some serious shopping!
What To Do:
Check out some of the most amazing works of contemporary art at The Affordable Art Fair There are over 120 galleries to check out and we cannot wait for The Recent Graduates' Exhibition which showcases work produced in British art schools. The fair goes on from today until 6pm tomorrow at Battersea Park London. Don't miss it!
News from c. marchuska:
This past week we had the pleasure of filming a web series for WEtv's Bounce Back which will complement their new tv series, Downsized. Stay tuned for dates on when it will go live! In the meantime, check out this week's fabulous posts: Sweatshop til you drop, These Boots were made for walkin', Our feature interview with NYC writer, Aaron Goldfarb and Eco Beauty Brands for the Modern Fashionista.
Stay eco chic and see you next week back in the concrete jungle
Happy Saturday from the Big Apple's Upper East Side....CMar here giving you the latest and greatest in eco-fashion So let's get to it!
What to Read:
Awesome new book from FIT professor, Sass Brown. Brown examines eco-fashion trends around the globe in this fabulous new read. Check it out today at your local book store or online. We can't wait to get our hands on a copy
What To Eat:
We are HUGE fans of The Girlie Girl Army weekly blogs with awesome recipes for the healthy chick! Check out this great and yummy recipe for Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake by Raw Food Star Ani Phyo.
What To Do:
We aren't going to lie....Halloween is one of our favorite days of the year! Make it eco fab by picking up some cool finds at your local thrift store and then letting creative juices flow.... Once you have the perf outfit then rush over to a cool haunted house in your city to really get in the Halloween spirit! If you are in NYC be sure to check out the recommended Haunted Houses by one of our favorite daily blogs, Refinery 29! We are thinking Blood Manor tomorrow....anyone want to join??? Hehehe
News from c. marchuska:
Lots of awesome new posts for our amazing friends and fans to check out including new features like: AskHim and new posts: Introducing Christina Blacken: Six Questions in Six Minutes and How's My White Tee Bad: Demystifying Eco Fashion
Oh and some new projects in the works....let's just say CBS News stopped by....and a new web series has contacted our fav eco-fashionista.....SHHHHHH! Can't give more deets at this time, but stay tuned
Alright stay eco-chic my darlings and enjoy this amazing weekend!
I have an addiction to a great sale. And not just any wimpy "buy one get one 2% off" type deal, but a sale so good you feel like you're stealing from the establishment (just kidding..sort of:D). So this itching for some good ol' saving inspired another passion...thrift shopping.
Now thrifting serves two distinct and lovely purposes in this fashionista's life 1) I save big bucks...ever know what it feels like to walk out of store with 5 great staple clothing pieces for under 40 dinero? probably not..get like me!:) and 2) thrift shopping allows me to find distinct pieces that are timeworn and well made, but still affordable.
With those two things in mind, I scour racks of Salvation Army, Goodwill, Beacons Closet (insert any standard thrift shop name), searching for that next stylish blazer, blouse, or vest that will amp my wardrobe. But, in the midst of my budget loving frenzy, I was completely unaware I was becoming apart of a movement, a change in an industry so large, not one person on this planet can avoid interaction with it (unless you're a nudist, and if so good looks on great body image confidence:D lol). I am apart of a movement to completely change the apparel industry, by supporting eco fashion and sustainable consumption. Funny how it all started with a slick vest at a thrift shop.
So I know you're thinking "whooa whooa hold up Christina Blacken, what exactly is wrong with my white tee, yup with my white tee? And what's this funny buzz word 'eco fashion'? Also, how is thrift shopping all eco and such?" Well I'm glad you asked! Read on my lost cyber friend read on:..
Have you ever wondered, if a shirt could talk, what stories would it tell? If my shirts talked to me (glad they don't, that's certifiable wacko but you get me?) they would enlighten me on where they grew, whose hands stitched them, and how they ended up in a retail shop down my block. But since shirts shouldn't be talking to ya, consumers are left very disconnected and in the dark about how their clothes are made and what impact those clothes are having on the future of this earth.
Sounds heavy I know, but the effects of the current structure of the apparel industry are detrimental at best, devastating at worst. The C. Marchuska team is spreading the message of the environmental, economical, and social importance of eco fashion through this blog, and will feature a Monday blog spot giving an insider's look at the apparel industry, where your clothes come from and their impacts, and how eco fashion is leading a necessary change in consumption. With 6 billion people each rocking some type of frock, clothes aren't fickle baby, they're crucial and affecting us in ways unbeknown to the public.
Keep your eye's peeled for next Monday's rundown on what major impacts are occurring from the fashion industry. In the meantime I leave you with a quick vid to get your feet wet..educational and all:D
til we cyberbond again,
Well eco fashion lovers, September has about come and gone, another Fashion Week has blitzed through our lives with glamour and panache, and it's time for another weekly eco fashion wrap up. Let's recap this glorious week of eco fashion>>>
Green Fashion Shows: Designers outdid themselves this year, from minimalistic black and white frocks by rocker inspired designer Ashton Micheals, to Luis Valenzuela's elaborate gowns crafted from waste materials, these designers proved eco conscious clothing is anything but boring
Who knows how these and other eco designers will top this with fall collections come February? I'm already excited!
That concludes this weekly recap, until next time stay fly:D
Hello all you Eco-Fashionistas! This is Krystal with the NYFW 2010 update…eco-fashion style. This year’s New York Fashion Week will give some SHINE to eco-friendly, ethically sound, fair trade fashion in the form of the Green Shows. This showcase of earth friendly designers is the brainchild of fashion-lovers with hopes of furthering the idea “that fashion [like all things] can be considerate of the earth, animals and mankind.”
Here’s a peak at the ten ethically fashionable designers featured at this September’s eco-sound fashion fete:
ASHTON MICHAEL: Part earth friendly designer, part rockstar, Ashton Michael incorporates the rad with the recycled showing that fashion doesn’t have tone down the party to be kind to Mother Nature.
Auralis Herrero: This Puerto Rican designer pulls inspiration from her Caribbean roots and childhood in a home full of seamstresses. The eponymous line features an aesthetic that is described as one that “evokes Caribbean childhood memories and breezy summer nights in the tropics.”
Bright Young Things: The brainchild of designer Eliza Starbuck who began the line with a desire to create one piece: a little Black dress that could be worn for any and all occasions. This season the infant brand features an eight-piece line that is sure to thrill eco-friendly fashion followers.
Dress Reform: Designs from Brooklyn based eco-lover Krystal Hoffacker, who draws inspiration from nature, textiles, collages and the art of shibori.
Joann Berman: Full of fun, flair and fantasy this conscious creator’s eponymous line puts the spectacle in spectacular eco-style. Full of vibrant colors, over the top execution and limitless possibility, Berman ventures off into the final frontiers of eco-fashion where very few designers have gone.
Lavuk: Drawing from the earthen virtues of simplicity and purity, this LA based line serves to provide a haven for the eco-conscious consumer with futuristic, yet timeless textile treasures.
Luis Valenzuela: “Art has a way of shocking people into thinking." Valenzuela uses his line as a means of inspiring people to take become more conscious about how their consumption affects the environment. He does not disappoint with designs that tantalize the senses and nudge the conscience.
Samantha Pleet: A favorite of creative New York ‘eco-nistas’, Pleet’s eponymous line is a collision of “new and ancient ideas from music, art, history and literature.”
Milliner's Guild: Dedicated to shining the limelight on the thriving millinery industry, this head ware company stays eco- and style-conscious all at the same time.
Susan Cianciolo: An artist and a fashion designer, Cianciolo loves the earth as much as she loves to create. Her designs are the lovechild of her creativity and reverence to nature.
That concludes my look at this season’s NYFW The Green Shows. If you didn’t get a chance to experience the earth loving fashions first hand get an up close look at them on www.thegreenshows.com.