Saturday, May 19, 2007

Running in Style

I recently ran in my fourth half-marathon through the scenic wine country north of Santa Barbara, California (think “Sideways”). The soft rolling hills took my breath away (Ok, some shortness of breath was on account of the steep inclines!) but it was snazzy running shoes and colorful skorts donned by fellow runners that caught my eye. Yes, I admit, even while engaging in the sport of running, I steal quick glimpses of runners from head to toe. This is not always a pleasing experience (i.e., the robust male and female in spandex shorts); however, on occasion I’m impressed by the latest high-tech sneakers paired with loose fit running shorts and a cute motif tee. Now, I’m not advocating for spending hours planning your outfit to wear running around the track but sportswear designers are making it more fun to dress the part. Walk into any running store and you are forced to pass racks of apparel before you reach the shoes. Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, and Champion all offer coordinated pieces in bright hues and standard black, white and grey. Look for lightweight material such as Lycra, cotton blends and mesh stretch panels, in the case of shorts, for breathable and quick-dry wear.

Of course, not everyone is a runner, but sportswear is fast becoming synonymous with healthy lifestyles – or at least looking like it. Scarlett Johansson is a perfect example. The 22-year-old actress claims she never exercises yet she teamed up with Reebok to create a line of funky sneakers, leggings, and hooded tunics called “Scarlett Hearts RBK.” Stella McCartney and Diane von Furstenberg, real fashion designers, have designed a line of “lifestyle” shoes for adidas and tennis dresses for Reebok, respectively. The spring 2007 runways featured sports-inspired collections from the likes of Marni, Cynthia Rowley, MaxMara and Jean Paul Gaultier in tunics, leggings, and anoraks.

There is no doubt that sportswear is comfortable, but if there is one rule I can impart, sweatpants, sweatbands, spandex shorts (rather spandex anything!) should only be worn while exercising! Hit the streets in a pair of dark jeans (Levi’s Eco Jeans) with a long tee (American Apparel) under a zip-up hoodie (Scarlett Hearts RBK or Urban Outfitters) and Tom’s canvas shoes. If there is one sport conducive to designer sportswear it is walking. So take a leisurely stroll to your favorite park in style!

The majority of brands listed below participate in environmental and worker’s rights efforts.

Sportswear for Exercising
adidas -
Asics –
Hincapie Sportswear -
Nike -
Reebok footwear -
Run and Become –
Umbro –

Sportswear for Lifestyle
Emporio Armani for Product (RED) -
Gaiam -
Lucy -
Patagonia –
Scarlett Hearts RBK -
Tom’s Shoes -

To learn more about the sportswear industry and fair labor practices, check out the following organizations:

The Life of Football Factory Workers in Thailand. Report by Clean Clothes Campaign,

Fair Labor Association.

Sportswear Brands ‘Offside’ on Workers’ Rights. Report by Oxfam International,

Play Fair at the Olympics.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fashion Embraces Mother Earth

On April 22, we rolled up our sleeves to give Mother Earth a much-needed facelift. We picked up trash along rivers, at parks, and in our neighborhoods, planted trees, or participated in recycling drives. Our efforts may have revealed a beauty once suffocated by layers of debris; however, the day has come and passed and the layers have re-surfaced.

The protection of our Earth is everyone’s responsibility and collectively, we can reverse, if I may use a cliché, the signs of aging. We don’t have to look farther than our closets to create change. Thankfully, the fashion industry is taking strides to develop and promote “eco-friendly” apparel and beauty products.

Join me in supporting the following designers who have demonstrated a concerted effort to use sustainable materials and fair working conditions.

Eco-Friendly Fashion Designers and Retailers


All Undesigned by Carol Young –
Carol Young designs womenswear made from recycled-clothing and activewear materials.

Ciel -
Sarah Ratty, the designer behind Conscious Earthwear, brings Ciel – a collection of women’s wear made with organic cotton.

Del Forte Denim –
Tierra Del Forte lives up to her name (Tierra in Spanish means Earth) by designing 100% organic denim jeans. This salt of the earth designer contributes to The Sustainable Cotton Project (, which promotes sustainable and organic cotton. A portion of Del Forte Denim’s proceeds will go to support The SCP.

Alessandro DeVito –
Couture designers Alessandro DeVito and Lika Volkova are the creators of SANS, an eco-conscious collection of sustainable materials such as wool, tussah silk, bamboo and soy used to produce fashion-forward garments.

Edun –
Ali Hewson, her husband Bono, and menswear designer Rogan Gregory joined forces two years ago to create Edun, a socially-conscious clothing line that promotes sustainable employment for developing areas in the world.

Loomstate –
You’ll find 100% organic cotton tees with environmental motifs that are too cool to pass up.

Stewart + Brown –
This husband and wife designer duo live up to their title as “Organic Pioneers” by supporting “1% for the Planet,” an alliance of small businesses that pay a voluntary earth tax and donate 1% of all sales to non-profit, non-governmental environmental organizations.

Online Retailers

Azalea Online –
Shop eco-Azalea for all the latest trends made of sustainable materials.

Equal Clothing -
Eco-friendly Web site that offers stylish eco-fashion labels, including Hug jeans, People Tree and Ciel.

The Green Loop -
When you shop from The Green Loop you are supporting its mission: “Green Life. Green Style.”

People Tree -
Since 1997, People Tree has promoted fair trade and organic materials in the production of apparel.

Traid -
This company recycles 2,000 tons of clothes each year. Check out their summer dresses and jackets.

Eco-Friendly Beauty Products

Burt’s Bees –

Green with Glamour -

Inara –

John Masters Organic –

Kiehl’s –

Articles and More Information on Eco-Fashion

What is up with Eco-Fashion?

Eco-Fashion 101

Green Card: Eco-Fashion Steps Up

Organic and Eco-Fashion