Your 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 ODM/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

More Impact, Less Harm!

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 ODM/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 

A Little Reminder For The New Year...

There's nothing more satisfying than being able to hit the refresh button on New Year's Day as we set new goals and look back on ones previously written, a visual marker of your past year and what you have to look forward to. 

What I like about these lists are that they help me celebrate past accomplishments and gear me up for new ones ahead. However, instead of feeling good about ourselves, there's an endless amount of pressure on what we're meant to be for the next year, oftentimes a fabrication of the mass-media on what will make us 'better' people. Things like needing to lose weight, workout more, try harder, make more money, eat healthier, and the like. Pressure that amounts up to feeling 'less than' which negatively affects our emotional and physical state.  Not a good way to start any year!

As I looked back on my resolutions from last year, I was happy to see I had certain things checked off the list. But this year, I didn't feel too bad about things I had left untouched. I gained weight, I didn't hit the 5k mark on the ODM/ODC social media, I wasn't even close to writing one blog post a week, I had become less patient than the start of the year, Instagram was still a daily ritual and money was being spent on car-ride services as if I lived in a city with dismal public transport... When I really thought about it, for what I 'missed' on accomplishing I had so many more experiences and memories that weren't even goals of mine from the previous year's resolution. And that is what we should be celebrating the most! 

As I move forth into 2018 I will now asses how integral it is that I get old goals done as I edit and add to the New Year's resolution. Let's be honest, as much weight as we all think we need to lose, when we look back on old pictures we're always stunned at how good we looked, even if we were so unhappy at the time. It's all about perception and prioritizing the important things in life. While I'd never want my health or wellness to deteriorate, I'm not going to punish myself by skipping the cake and overworking myself in the gym. I know I feel best when I get a good workout in and have a sense of balance with my meals. Weight loss, not integral. Feeling happy, healthy and confident, integral (whether I gain a few pounds or not).

Meditation was such a big goal for mine this past year and so to hold myself accountable I will write daily about my meditation experiences and how I feel before and after each practice. Meditating will inevitably help me with other things on the list as well; stress management, patience, and health and wellness to name a few. The structure I found that worked incredibly well was to organize my list by important categories in my life:

  • WORK
  • PERSONAL
  • RELATIONSHIPS
  • SIDE HUSTLE

Of course we can all afford to do better and goal setting is something I am extremely passionate about but as I continue forth with the new year, I am trying my best to not get down on myself for what gets left unachieved. Societal standards are set so high and with social media we're constantly left feeling bad about ourselves. We see first-hand what beautiful trips our friends are going on, who is skinnier, what friend got whatever promotion and we often forget about our own achievements. 

So, as we start the new year off on the right foot  remember to never stop celebrating all you have achieved, however big or small it may seem. Continue to set realistic goals for yourself on your resolution lists and don't forget about the ones you've left behind, there's always next year to get them done. Track your daily rituals with journal-writing so you can look back on things you may have forgotten. Be happy for your friends and family who are living their best lives all whilst knowing we often only share our best moments on social media. Don't compare yourself so much and always be proud of the work you do, the life you live, the health you have and the person you are. 

Some products to help you keep on track, revisit past goals and to celebrate the new... <3

The Production Process...

We did it!

We finally have some of our own product on the site... Nothing makes us happier than promoting the sustainable and ethical companies we love and trust, but we've always had the itch to create our own stuff and finally we can say we're making strides in the right direction.

The Start...

With the help of online accelerator program Factory45, we were able to seamlessly source materials, factories, suppliers, you name it, with sustainability and ethical production at heart. Shannon Whitehead founder of Factory45, collected everything she learned from starting her own sustainable company and decided to create an online accelerator course to help other passionate entrepreneurs in the eco-friendly world. For anyone with a desire to learn anything pertaining to sustainable production, this course is a gold mine!

We initially had plans to start ODM/ODC with our own line of off-duty model basics, but after some thought, we decided it was a smarter choice to focus on one piece and do it well. Enter the perfect white tee. Our hope is to expand on the wardrobe staple in the future, once we really get the hang of things.  

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The Perfect White Tee

Living in New York City certainly has it benefits, especially for those of us who work in the fashion industry. There are plenty of manufacturing options available, but trying to get your own products or garments made can get a little pricey, especially if you hope to do so in an ethical and sustainable way. That means we had to make a few compromises throughout this whole process, but regardless of that, we promise to continue being open and honest about our methods and practices. That is our main goal. 

If a company produces their clothes overseas but works with a factory that takes care of their workers and ensures proper wages, that's great! We'll promote that kind of work. If they use sustainable materials but may not be fully transparent about their factories, we'll still promote them, but we'll let you know they don't disclose the factories they use.

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When it came to deciding on the production process for our perfect white tee, we knew if if we were going to use cotton, we'd make sure it was organic. And since  organic cotton uses a vast amount of water to produce, we decided it was best to source the  material locally to ensure we weren't using an excess of water in addition to flying the materials overseas  and increasing our carbon footprint. Ethical production was also a big concern, so we chose to use a factory in Brooklyn, giving us the freedom to check in on the production process and meet the people who were making our clothes! By using organic cotton we compromised on water waste but made sure to use a factory that was open with us about their policies.

Surprises along the way...

In addition to chasing the perfect factory, it was important for us to get the fabric right. One thing we learned, though, was that it’s very hard to find a supplier who is open to working with a new company with low production minimums. Luckily, through Factory45, we were able to find a supplier in New York City’s  garment district who had organic cotton sourced locally from Texas. (I will note, however, that when I asked to learn more about the actual cotton farm, the supplier didn’t provide further information. The experience taught me to be more diligent about getting as much information as possible in the future, and I pledge to do that to my best abilities from here on out.)

Eventually, , we were  able to agree on a price that matched our budget and brought our sample yardage into the Brooklyn factory to do a sample T-shirt. Pro: we had this 'test' before we ran full production. Con:  I hated the fabric once I felt it in  t-shirt form.

So... what next?

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Rather than going back to the drawing board and buying more sample fabric, I decided to buy wholesale T-shirts  from Groceries Apparel, a company I already knew and loved. Groceries Apparel will remove their tags and add yours, and the best part about them is the fact they  are extremely transparent about their production process. They have lovely white tees that would rival any of your faves, they’re made with organic cotton and they’re manufactured at their factory in Los Angeles. A perfect match for the ODM/ODC perfect white tee!

We were also able to find a water-based ink printing company locally in Brooklyn along with sustainable fabric for our labels, sourced in Canada.

Sustainable is sexy...

The next phase in completing our perfect white tee was deciding on a design that would both promote the ODM/ODC brand and work as the perfect white tee you could wear with anything. We also wanted it to include a message people would be  proud to wear and support.

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Rather than using  our logo, as we've done in the past with water bottles and reusable straws, we decided to use the slogan "sustainable is sexy.” To us, this takes the "un-cool" out of sustainable clothing and is a catchy slogan that people would be excited to wear. With  our #sustainableissexy campaign, we’re hoping to take the edge off the eco-friendly discussion and  prove to our customers you can dress stylishly, sexily and simply, all with sustainability at heart.
 

With our t-shirts, you don't have to worry whether or not they were made ethically. You don't have to worry if they were made with sustainable materials. We will always be transparent about our practices and how we strive to better our planet. Along with that, we’ll tell you what roadblocks we face along the way and share how  we are constantly learning to be more sustainable and ethical without, of course, compromising on style.

 

Join our movement. Get the perfect white tee that will go with everything, will never go out of style, and is made with integrity, the ODM/ODC way!

#sustainableissexy

*Article edited by Julia Brucculieri of Untangledstories 

Sexual Harassment; What It Is and How to Stop It

Enough is enough...

The Harvey Weinstein allegations were the sparks that lit the roaring fire. Now, months after the first allegation, many more sexual harassment cases have come to light. I thought I’d share my input as a model in the fashion industry.  Just like Hollywood, the sexual abuse prevalent in modeling is astounding and has been ignored for far too long. [1]

To start, it isn’t to be ignored that abuse of all natures is prevalent in many industries, not just film or fashion which have been highlighted in the past few months. I’ll be touching base on my opinions of abuse in modeling but am by no means saying it is the only industry where this happens. 

So what is sexual harassment? [2]

This list is what sexual harassment in a work environment involves. It includes many things... 

Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
Unwanted pressure for dates.
Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.
Whistling at someone.
Cat calls.
Sexual comments.
Turning work discussions to sexual topics.
Sexual innuendos or stories.
Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
Personal questions about social or sexual life.
Sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks.
Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life.
Neck massage.
Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body.
Giving personal gifts.
Hanging around a person.
Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.
Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.
Standing close or brushing up against a person.
Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).
Staring at someone.
Sexually suggestive signals.
Facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.
Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements. 

VERBAL

Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey
Whistling at someone, cat calls
Making sexual comments about a person's body
Making sexual comments or innuendos
Turning work discussions to sexual topics
Telling sexual jokes or stories
Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
Making kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips
Making sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks
Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested
Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life

NON-VERBAL

Looking a person up and down (Elevator eyes)
Staring at someone
Blocking a person's path
Following the person
Giving personal gifts
Displaying sexually suggestive visuals
Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
Making facial expressions such as winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips
 

PHYSICAL 

Giving a massage around the neck or shoulders
Touching the person's clothing, hair, or body
Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person
Standing close or brushing up against another person

Reading through this list, I think it’s safe to say that many of us have experienced sexual harassment of some sort. 

Mid October of this year, model and activist Cameron Russell took it upon herself to share on Instagram not one or two but over 70 stories, anonymously sent to her by models both male and female of their experience of sexual abuse in the industry. [3]

From the submitted posts on Cameron’s Instagram page, I read through stories of rape, stories of unsolicited sexual acts, models who were forced to do things they did not want to do. [4] Models who were frozen in gut-wrenching situations where they were unable to move, unable to act, unable to react or stand up for themselves. It’s so much easier to say get up and stand up for yourself but when you’re in an industry that glorifies sexuality, sometimes as young as 15, 16 years old, what’s considered “normal” is often skewed. You have to live your life in a new lens that is confusing. There are photographers, stylists, agents, casting directors who have an unsurmountable control over a model’s career and oftentimes we are left silent, unable to speak because we need work, we need to pay the bills, and we’ve gotten lost along the way by trying to make it. 

 “…He put his fingers deep down in my v few times as he was shooting pics of me, saying this will make pics look more sensual. To a 15 yo….”

“…Making me feel like I was the one who had done something wrong by not wanting to sleep with him…”

“… He looked me in the eye and asked me after 5 minutes of meeting me if I would suck his dick…”

“…After about 2 minutes in front of the camera he told me I needed to “let loose” and “be more sexy” and he kept telling me to touch myself…”

“…Telling me to come in the bathroom to take photos of us while he masturbated…”

When I read through some of these stories, my heart broke to even be in an industry where sexual harassment happens so frequently. I thought, thank god I haven’t been in a situation like this. But as I really thought back to when I first started modeling, the blocked memories began to surface and I realized that a lot of what I had dismissed was in fact sexual harassment. From having to change in front of multiple people on set, changing backstage as photographers snapped away, having stylists touch every inch of my body (oftentimes exclaiming “don’t worry I’m gay”, which never made them shoving their hands down my crotch to tuck in my shirt feel any better…) shooting topless which I told myself I would never do but now “depends on the situation”, texting and phone calls from photographers, dealing with unwanted flirting, tolerating creepy photographers because they’re “big” and have the power to “make my career” … The list goes on and on. And I’ve normalized all these actions and have forgotten about a lot of them because this abuse often seems like a caveat to being a model. We just have to “deal with it” or are told it comes with the job. 

Enough is enough. Agent’s need to stop sending models to photographer’s houses/castings when they know they have a bad track record. Look out for us! We are entering a mature industry, oftentimes at such a young age away from our families. You are our family! Treat us as you would your own kids. Would you send your kids to someone who you’ve heard has done bad things? It shouldn’t even be a question. Not everyone is lucky like me to be with an agency that consistently values their models health and well-being. This should be an industry-wide standard that we don’t have to ask for. 

Magazines need to stop hiring these perpetrators and take note of those like Condé Nast International, who are finally stepping up to do the right thing. (Recently, the publishing house finally cut ties with longtime perpetrator Terry Richardson). [5]

Advertisers, stop hiring these people. There are far too many stories circulating. You know who they are. Step up and say no! There is no lack of talent. Find someone else to shoot it. Find someone else to style it. Find someone else to do the hair and/or make-up. 

In the wake of these scandals, many people have been sharing their sexual harassment experiences using the hashtag #MeToo. Years ago, Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc, an organization that promotes the wellness of young female minorities shared her experience as a survivor of sexual violence. She used the hashtag #MeToo to shed light on the fact that no one is ever alone and use it as a way to heal together. When talking about the issue, Burke exclaims “We are experiencing a moment of mass disclosure, which can be very triggering for folks. There are a lot of people who are turned off by this movement — and I get it. There’s not a clear message or outcome. It’s not like people are saying, “Yes, me too” and then getting a list of steps to follow to heal and make change on this issue. And that’s what I hope to provide for folks in the coming weeks and days. But in the meantime, be gentle with yourself, take your time, figure out what you need, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, don’t let anyone shame you into feeling like what you need is dumb and don’t let anyone diminish your experience." [6]

While some have publically stepped out by using such hashtags, many have not and are oftentimes questioned for it. What people need to understand is for some, the there is a necessity (short-lived or long-term) of remaining anonymous and hiding these abuser’s names. There is legality at play and the safety and reputation of those who decide to submit their stories. Deciding to step out and share their stories is one of the most heroic things someone can do. With jobs, reputations and safety at play it is in the media’s best interest to respect the privacy of these victims until the right lawyers and investigative journalists are hired to expose the abusers. Reopening old wounds or revisiting new ones are hard now, are hard then and should not be looked upon lightly. Let those who have been abused heal in whatever manor they wish to and refrain from questioning any of their motives. 

This is only the start and meaningful change will happen. Step up, stand up, and be a part of this movement. Help those who don’t have a voice. Help those who have been hurt. Educate young ones on the meaning of consent. Invite men to our conversations. Collectively, we have the power to fight sexual harassment. And it needs to happen now more than ever.   

 

What We Think About Black Friday and Cyber Monday...

We don't want you to stop consuming... for our economy's sake (and my job as a model), zero consumption is near impossible. But what we'd like you to start thinking about is conscious consumption. What is it? Instead of turning into a robot and partaking in Black Friday, (or any holiday shopping), and spending simply because something is on sale or something is on trend, think about the life of the product and how much joy it will bring you. If you think it'll give you or whoever you're shopping for that much happiness then buy it! But think about it first. Envision the life of the product, where it came from and how much value it will add to your life. Will it sit on the shelf untouched for years? Will it only last a few washes before the fabric tears? Or will it  get so much love and use from you that you can justify the buy? Will it provide the workers with a stable, reliable income? Was it made with fibers that aren't detrimental to our Earth? These are the things we need to think about... not if it will get more likes on Instagram or get you with the "in" crowd... Nothing is better than having a closet filled with things you absolutely love. Things that all match and never go out of style. Things you know where they were made or how the company treats its workers... Those are the gifts worth giving and the pieces worth investing in, Black Friday sale or not!

Here are a few things I love... made by companies that support environmentalism and the workers who make them. Check them out. And only buy if you absolutely love! 

An Inside Look at Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics

I've worked with Shawnelle Prestidge for the past few years at Amazon Fashion, both of us with a passion for organic, natural products and sustainability. That is why I couldn't be more proud to hear she has started her very own new skincare line, Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics.

If you want your skin to look clean and clear with an effortless glow (ahem Shawnelle, who looks 15 years younger than she actually is...), this is her secret my friends! Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics is the perfect complimentary product to any ODM on the go. 

And it works. And I mean really works. Shawnelle used her product to prep my skin, which had seen better days, on a recent shoot. A mix of stress, 'that time of the month' and having recently traveled, my skin was a bit of a mess. Within an hour, the red bumps were fading, my skin was no longer blotchy and all the swelling had gone down. Not only does it do the trick but it's also (thank god!) organic! The food we eat has enough toxins, preservatives and chemicals that we should try to eat organic whenever possible. It's just as crucial we take care of our skin, our body's largest organ and make sure it's being fed the healthy, nourishing ingredients it needs to thrive.  

And lastly, it's made by one badass mom who knows her stuff.  Thank you Shawnelle for solving all of our skin needs. Without further ado, Shawnelle Prestidge on how she started Prestidge Beaute' Active Organics. 

1) Tell us about your background in skin care and beauty.

I started out very early on as an esthetician—obsessed with beautiful skin and the idea of preserving it (and extractions)–but with a deep desire to be a makeup up artist working in fashion ‘one day’…and here I am many years later having come full circle. 

2) When did the idea come to you to create Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

I guess it started when I was forty, about to give birth, the economy had tanked, my skin was starting to change, and I suddenly realized that I was ready to make the 'organic serum of my dreams'! I wanted something that truly worked. Something I could use on my whole family, as well as all of my clients of any age and with all different skin needs: from healing rashes on toddler skin, acne on teenagers or reducing blotchy tones and puffy under-eye pillows to firming, plumping, and tightening mature skin or getting the perfect balance for oily, dry, and sensitive skin types. In the world of excess, I wanted one single universal serum to address and treat it all...and then the little love of my life entered the world...long pause! 

3) Tell us a bit about your perfect customer. Who are they, what do they look like, and how are you helping transform their skin?

My perfect customer is absolutely everyone.  All my products are for all skin types, ages and genders…POW!

4) Why is it integral to you to use organic ingredients?

I firmly believe that we as a society are suffering all sorts of allergies, ailments and far worse because of the poisons that we have been prescribed and encouraged to use in this ‘modern’ society, and in addition to putting clean nourishment into my body, I wanted to create something purely organic, that is highly effective, that will hydrate, heal, soothe, lift, firm, tighten, even out, de-puff, lift the spirit and bring our skin (the largest organ we have) into balance.

5) You use Miron Violet Glass for some of your packaging. What are the benefits of using this glass and how did you find out about it?

By doing my research, I discovered that Miron violet glass has outstanding proof of being able to preserve substances contained within it for long periods of time. Normal tap water, for instance, has been kept fresh in dark violet glasses for over 3 years without any problems and without any preservation or other techniques.

6) What does your daughter think about the new line? She must be excited to see you start and execute your own company.

To be honest, she's both excited and resentful…she loves the products and is very knowledgeable about the uses, but she would prefer that any time I spend on the business (particularily when it’s via my phone), be spent with her-and I agree…I am working on trying to balance my work/family balance.

7) You work with a lot of celebrities doing their skincare and makeup for events. What do they think of Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

Everyone is pretty excited about how their skin feels and looks…and often are floored by the results they witness within mere moments-it is one of the most thrilling part of this whole experience for me! It’s like they’ve witness a “miracle” or “magic”…and I sort of pinch myself, every time!

8) What makes you stand out against your biggest competitor?

Well I make this product by hand, and it is my own original formula, and results in an extremely effective, highly active organic skin care line that delivers results immediately!  I guess it can be said, the proof is in the pudding! And I have come up with some seriously supreme pudding!

9) You make all your products in your home, performing a Reiki ceremony to raise the healing vibration of your products, which I love! Do you think you’ll continue with hands on production in the future as you grow?

I would like to continue this process for as long as I am able…I have been putting a lot of thought into how to keep this going in this manner… 

10) How important is it to you to be sustainable and ethical?

Extremely!  The more companies figure out how to do it, the better off we will all be.

11) What are your biggest dreams and goals for the evolution of Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics?

I would love to have everyone (who is drawn to what I have to offer) using the products and experiencing the incredible results that they’re certain to deliver, knowing that they are lovingly made with beautiful organic ingredients (and Reiki).

***BONUS***

USE CODE BB02 FOR $15 OFF YOUR AGELESS SKIN SERUM AND CODE BB03 FOR $15 OFF THE COLLECTION SPECIAL!! Join her mailing list and receive an extra %15 off your first purchase. 

Up and Down

All the glamour and dream building
Roller coaster soaring
High up in the sky, feeling light
More glitz, more glamour.
The rollercoaster stalls
Stuck in the middle trying to climb up
Sun begins to fade, she wipes away her tears.
Stopped in motion, friction, rejection, crowd pleaser.
Pinching and screaming and belittlement. Is it a nightmare?
Little girl lost, soul searching no where to be found.
Was the line up worth it?
Up and down.
Calm thoughts. 
The spark is lit. Carry on up, lift your chin up love, you have the world
High at the top. She is her best self. Authentic. She found her inner compass.
She’s living in the now. Detached from the screen. Fire blazing.
Soaring high into the heavens. 
When will the ride end..

Your Sustainable Guide to Fashion Week

Living in a big fashion capital like New York, it can often be tough to stick to sustainable habits. However, once we're properly informed, avoiding fast-fashion shops like Zara and Forever21 can become quite easy. Other habits are harder to form, especially as fashion week approaches. We see celebrities and models dressed in gorgeous new outfits every day. We’re bombarded with the new "must have" trends that models wear as they strut down the runway, some available for purchase before the show even finishes... and we’re invited to parties and networking events where food is left untouched and plastic straws and cups are littered about, most of which will not be recycled. It’s an exciting time when the city comes alive and everyone shows off their best-looking selves but why is it we forget what truly matters, our duty as human beings to be more environmentally conscious? Shouldn’t our utmost priority be to make sustainable sexy? Here’s how!

Going to an event? Not sure what to wear? Try some of these options below. 

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is a company that lets you borrow dresses and evening wear for those special events, then return it for free as soon as you’re done! You can order in multiple sizes so you can ensure you get the right fit and don’t have to worry about dry-cleaning post wear, they’ll do all that for you!

When you rent a dress, you’re saving all the natural resources that go into manufacturing a new piece of clothing. The average woman throws away around 82 pounds of clothing per year. Renting helps reduce this significantly. [1]

We often wear that statement dress only once or twice, so why not get something fab (they have 250,000 designer pieces to choose from!), wear it once and then return it? It’s about shifting perspectives of the consumer and letting your friends and peers know it’s okay to rent something that’s already been worn and it is so much more environmentally friendly. 

Have a clothing swap

I’ve written about it before on a previous blog post but I can’t stress enough how amazing a clothing swap party is! You can do it with as little or as many people as you want, and the whole thing can be done without spending a dime. Have some extra clothes laying around that don’t get worn? Bring them (or host) a clothing swap party where everyone brings a few garments and trade away! It’s the perfect way to revamp your wardrobe and get some awesome unique pieces that your friends no longer wear. The best way to ‘shop’ sustainably, and reduce waste is to reuse! [2]

Borrow from a friend

Sometimes, the easiest and most cost effective way to complete a look is to borrow from a friend. Rather than my friend buying a fancy clutch she’d only end up using once for an upcoming wedding, I let her borrow one from me. Now I know in the future I can count on her to lend me an accessory or even a dress if I need it. We all have way too many things in our closet so why not share and save a little money for some more drinks with your girls at the bar?;)

Second-hand shopping

Here in New York, we’re lucky enough to have some truly amazing second-hand shops. The stuff is already made and reusing that is, without a doubt, the most sustainable option out there, even more so than making new clothes out of sustainable materials. You can often find some one-of-a-kind pieces that will make your outfit so much cooler than whatever Zara outfit every other person is wearing. Then, when you get stopped by a street-style photographer asking where you got your blazer, you can be that cool, off-trend person who says they got it from the second-hand store;) Often, used items are less expensive as well. Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and even your local Goodwill are excellent options. 

Reduce the Plastic

With a plethora of parties coming up and with that, a decent amount of drinking, why not make a pledge to yourself to #stopsucking? The Lonely Whale foundation seeks to educate people about the oceans and our impact on them. From overfishing, plastic pollution and acidification, our oceans need us to live smarter and become more aware of our actions. In the U.S. alone we use 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY, many of which end up in the ocean. Lonely Whale has set out to combat this pollution by not using any plastic straws and encouraging everyone to join them. Paper, metal, glass and bamboo are all MUCH more sustainable options. Take the pledge to #stopsucking on single-use plastic straws and challenge your friends! Going out to a fashion week after party? Order that drink sans straw. Or, if you prefer your drinks with straws bring one with you! Read more about strawless oceans here

Your Straw offers incredible bamboo straws as an alternative. They’re the perfect size for anything from coffees to smoothies and come with a tiny brush so you can keep them clean. Purchase your own Your Straw here.

In addition to straws, try and carry a tote bag with you everywhere you go. That way, if you get some cool gift bags from shows or have to do a quick grocery shop on the way home, you can skip the plastic bag! I also always try and carry a fork and spoon with me. It’s the easiest way to reduce the single-use plastic options and is great to have on hand as I run from casting to casting all over the city.  

Take Public Transportation

New York City Fashion Week is spread out with a conflicting schedule that makes attending a few shows each day near impossible. Traffic is always a mess and people are always running late. Why not take mass transit to avoid the headache of being stuck in traffic knowing you’re not doing the environment any good? “A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel-efficient than the average single-occupant auto used for commuting.” [3] Sometimes the high heels are too high to navigate the subway steps and grates, so if you plan on using Uber or a taxi as your main resource try and pool with as many friends as possible. 

Living sustainably is without a doubt more difficult. But taking positive action is not only beneficial but is necessary. If we stick to our current ways by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Our actions have a direct impact on our earth and we have the resources and knowledge to reduce this impact and live cleaner. Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil. We can make a significant impact just by shifting our consumption habits... even in small ways. So, as you get ready for fashion week try a couple of these recommendations and share some with your friends. Rather than buying the newest, latest thing, why don’t we all try and make sustainable trendy? Nothing is sexier than a cleaner, greener environment.   

Sexy, Sustainable Street Style Basics (Click the boot to see entire collection) 

Listen Up!

Recently, I've had the pleasure of sharing my stories and beliefs with two very good friends on their podcasts. It's special enough to be able to talk one on one with a likeminded individual but to be able to use their platforms and spread my message to even more people was a beautiful treat! 

Anne Therese and I met just before the climate march in D.C. She is part of the "model mafia" group I'm in, a group of models that get together to discuss projects, events, and get-togethers relating to fashion health and wellness. We bonded immediately and I was more than impressed with her go-getter attitude. She told me about a sustainable agency she had just started earlier this year, Role Model Mgmt, something I thought she had started years ago as they're already quite successful. She then told me that she had only conceptualized the idea last year and had made that dream a reality within a few months. Same thing for her podcast Hey Change; a mere hobby for most that turned into a success within a few months. We chat about finding happiness in new realities and how we both (try and) cope with change! 

Anna was one of the first people I met when I moved to Tokyo in grade 7. Since then, she has trained and run marathons, has become vegan, has her own podcast Running Vegan Radio and is quite the successful instagram/blogger in the vegan-marathon-running world. I was extremely humbled she wanted to have me on her show as we chatted about the Tokyo days, what it's like to model in NYC, overall health and wellness and then how I started my own company. Since our talk, she has also been one of my biggest influencers of turning into a mostly plant-based diet. For the best inspiration check out her Instagram and blog links below!

If you have 45-1 hour to spare and would like to hear about sustainability, fashion, loving yourself, treating your body right and what it's like to start your own company, make sure and check out both Hey Change Podcast and Running Vegan Radio

Anne Therese Bengtsson
Website: http://heychange.net
Social: https://www.instagram.com/annetheresebengtsson/
Podcast: http://heychange.net/episodes/014/

Anna Wildman
Website: https://runningvegannyc.com
Social: https://www.instagram.com/runningvegannyc/
Podcast: https://runningvegannyc.com/2017/08/21/48-international-model-sustainability-activist-britt-bergmeister/

Stay tuned for another podcast coming out later this month. My Canadian girl (and fellow model mafia member) Shivani Persad interviewed me for her podcast, More Than Model Radio! In the meantime, check out some of her previous recordings with models from all over the world.