Interview with virtue + vice: Women’s Sustainable and Ethical Clothing Brand

There are so many factors that go into how our clothing is made. From where it is sourced to what materials that are used, the production of fashion has changed over the years to offer consumers cheaper items that are made a faster rate. This has a direct impact on the environment has more clothing is making its way to our wastelands–not to mention creating a new culture focused on cheap, fast consumerism. However, there are also many brands that are adhering to both ethical and sustainable practices to change the industry and thus how we consume. One such company that we recently learned about is virtue + vice, a women’s sustainable and ethical clothing brand.

Started by Melanie, who used to source and develop clothing for some well-known big box and fast fashion American retailers, wanted to do things differently and created virtue + vice. As a new clothing brand, virtue + vice provides eco-conscious women with style that promises to produce the smallest possible carbon footprint, while offering a safe work environment and living wage to artisans in India. With a focus on consumer education, virtue + vice gives a ‘behind the seams’ look at how the clothes are made, showcasing each piece’s unique story and the people behind it.

The debut collection, features a gorgeous collection prints, like oversized palm leaves, vintage florals, and scalloped mermaid scales is perfect for hot, sunny days, tropical getaways, or even just trying to bring a beachy bohemian vibe to your regular happy hour. To learn more about their styles and how the clothing is made, we spoke with Melanie who gave the insider scoop on this exciting new brand:

Interview with virtue + vice

virtue + vice ethical fashions dresses

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for virtue + vice come about?

virtue + vice: I have worked in the fashion industry for over seven years, and lived and worked throughout Asia. During that time I have seen a lot places and a lot of things. I wanted to create a brand that pulled back the glamorous curtain of the fashion industry; and educated consumers on what it really takes to create shiny editorial magazine photos and pinterest porn. I wanted to do this while creating an ethical and sustainable brand with real 100% transparency, as a model for what the industry should strive to become.

Wellness Patterns: How is your production model important for the retail industry?

virtue + vice: Most retailers produce too much. They do this for a couple of reasons. Sometimes it is actually cheaper for them to make more (you get better prices the bigger the order) and to have left overs, than it is to make less. Crazy, right? They also produce to discount. They make the markup ridiculously high because they are planning for most of it to sell on sale. We don’t believe in either of those practices. We make what we believe we can sell, even if we don’t meet lower price minimums, and we price fairly. It’s less wasteful this way and better for the customer.

Everything we make is also ethically and sustainably made. We believe in paying more for quality products and factories with safe working conditions and fair wages.

virtue + vice ethical fashion skirts


Wellness Patterns: What can someone expect from the collection?

virtue + vice: Easy to wear day to night pieces. Most of the clothes are easy transitions from a day at the beach or a bbq, to going out at night. It’s a cute relaxed look, without trying too hard to be trendy.

clothing production at virtue + vice

Wellness Patterns: How are the clothes made?

virtue + vice: Everything is made in Gujarat India right now. I used a lot of khadi, which is hand spun and hand woven fabric. It doesn’t use any electricity or water to make, and each spinning machine and loom that is replaced by man power creates 150 jobs. I use low impact non azo digital printing on the khadi. Digital printing uses less water and electricity than typical industry printing, and creates less air emissions. I live at my factory usually for about 3 weeks during production times, to ensure fair practices and quality.

virtue + vice ethical fashion shorts

Wellness Patterns: What is your favorite piece?

virtue + vice: My favorite pieces are the VADA khadi shorts. I LOVE khadi, and the waist band is super stretching and comfortable.

Wellness Patterns: What are your plans for the future?

virtue + vice: I plan to introduce a lower price point line for spring 2018 using commodity fabrics, to make sustainable and ethical fashion even more accessible to everyone.

Excited to check out virtue + vice! They are also hosting a 48-hour private flash sale. Check out the details below to save big on their stunning sustainable fashions:


virtue and vice 48-hour private flash sale

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Interview with Portraits for Good: Online Art Gallery that Gives Back

It’s so important to have something to believe in. No matter what our work may be, giving back is a way to support those in need. One such company that is doing their part a quite an impactful way for both consumers and artists is PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints

Created by Alix Greenberg who realized that while artists have long stood for important causes, they lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. She created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, a unique business that donates proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD has helped support organizations like JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD art that gives back

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD pictures that give back

Not only an incredible way to give back, you can expect to receive a beautiful print or painting that arrives wrapped, framed, and ready to hang. To get started, customers choose a limited-edition print or commission a custom piece from one of their artists, then choosing a charity of their choice from which a portion of the proceeds will go towards. To learn more about this company and how it works, we spoke with Alix Greenberg who shared more about how the idea started and her goals for the future of PORTRAITS FOR GOOD.

Interview with Portraits for Good Founder, Alix Greenberg

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of Portraits for Good come about?

Alix Greenberg: A few years ago I realized that, while artists have long stood for important causes, they’ve lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. I created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD; in 2015 a unique business that donates 10% of proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD® has helped support organizations like CodePurple Now, JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to tie in a charitable component to your company? How do you pick the charities you want to work with?

Alix Greenberg: The first part of this question is answered above! It started with me picking my favorite charities, and as I brought artists on, and more customers purchased, they also had ideas of charities to add. I am happy to add non-profits locally and abroad as long as they are benefiting us for good.

white girl rose portraits for good

Wellness Patterns: How do you select the artists to work with?

Alix Greenberg: PORTRAITS FOR GOOD partners with several artists who create original art or limited edition prints that showcase their unique artistic style. Since this is a fine art venture, I carefully acquire artists who have a strong aesthetic style and based on their social media presence. The site is curated and as I grow the business, I plan on bringing on 1-2 artists a day, then more! I want to make sure the site is showcasing the best.

 Portraits for Good, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

Wellness Patterns: How does the process work to purchase a piece of art?

Alix Greenberg: It’s easy!

1. Customers pick an artist from the “Artists For Good” dropdown menu and view the selection of limited-edition prints or upload an image and commission the artist to create a customized piece.

2. At checkout, consumers can choose their cause from a dropdown menu of numerous charities we partner with and have donated to in the past. Consumers who want to give to an organization not currently offered on the site, can contact us and we’ll happily add it as long as it is a 501(c)3!

3. Once purchased, the art will be delivered framed and display ready!

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the future of Portraits for Good?

Alix Greenberg: I am currently scaling the business and will be relaunching a brand new website in a few months optimized to bring on more artists and more charities – I want to bring 1-2 artists a day to start! I see this as a platform that aggregates both professional and dabblers alike and sells their work to charitably minded individuals. It will remain that PORTRAITS FOR GOOD is the seller and is the operational, shipping hub!

For more information, please visit:PORTRAITS FOR GOOD

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New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer’s in Grandparents Honor

Running is powerful form of exercise. In the great game of you vs. you, it’s all about the strength, power and focus that comes from within. Fellow New Yorker, Jay Asparro will be embarking on these challenges when he will run a collective 75 miles this November (48.8 miles from Jones Beach to Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay and the next morning he will run 26.2 miles at the New York City Marathon). This intense endeavor is driven by his passion to raise money for The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, a disease his grandmother, Ann, battles everyday. Last year he completed this same run, finishing 90 miles, tired yet inspired by how the awareness of his run had raised $38,000 for the Foundation. This year, the 75 miles represents what would have been his grandparent’s 75th wedding anniversary. Leading up to the run, Jay partners with local business to help raise money and awareness for his cause. This has included family bowling events to selling purple bagels at a Long Island based deli to the first annual Ann Asparro 5K. We had the pleasure to learn more about this run and the incredible cause during our recent interview with Jay. Read on to check out more about him and his cause-driven run.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Interview with Jay Asparro on Running, Causes and Inspiration

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea to raise money through running come about? Why running?

Jay Asparro: I feel as though most people do not like running. If I am going to run an Ultra-Marathon, I believe I’ll be able to grab the attention of these people. Everyone knows the NYC Marathon but I don’t think anyone has heard of someone running 48.8 miles the day before the marathon. Then there are those people who love running. Most do not run more than a marathon, so I felt with an Ultra-Marathon, I could grab the attention of these people as well.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Wellness Patterns: Your goal is 75 miles for this upcoming goal! How do you train for that?

Jay Asparro: I’ll be running 48.8 miles on Sat. Nov. 4th and 26.2 miles on Sun. Nov. 5th at the NYC Marathon. I hired my running coach, Patrick Hammond, from Educated Running and he puts my running schedule together for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle in March and have a torn ligament in my ankle. So I swim, bike, and take hot yoga classes on top of my running 4x a week.
For recovery purposes, I take Epsom salt baths, go to Cryotherapy at Cryofit in Syosset, NY, go to Physical Therapy, get massages, and I do push-ups, sit-ups, stretch and roll everyday.

Nutrition is extremely important as well. So I’m constantly on top of my food intake eating good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken and fish) and drinking at least 100 oz of water a day.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction to your run?

Jay Asparro: When I tell people about my 75 mile run, their eyes get big and they tell me I’m crazy. Then I explain to them that I am running in honor of my grandmother to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, then they understand. 90% of the time I tell someone I’m running to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, they begin to tell me someone they know who is living with Alzheimer’s.

As for media attention, I believe it is still too early to get their attention. I’m hoping when the run gets closer- TV, Radio, and any other media outlets will give me an opportunity to speak about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has had on my family.

jay asparro running

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to do this for your Grandmother?

Jay Asparro: Unfortunately, my grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. I know who my grandmother is and I refuse to have Alzheimer’s define my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived with Faith, Joy and Love for her Family. That is what I run for and I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my grandmother. She has three sons, who married three great women, she has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren that she loves and is very proud of. I run all of these miles with love for my grandmother and my family.

Wellness Patterns: What’s something you’ve learned first-hand about Alzheimer’s?

Jay Asparro: I’ve seen the toll it takes on the caregivers. My parents, Aunt and Uncle are the caregivers for my grandmother. I also run for them because I know how much they have sacrificed to be there for my grandmother everyday. Their strength and love for my grandmother is something that helps me train when I don’t want to train.
Again, when I talk to people about Alzheimer’s, I’ve met caregivers and I see the stress and pain they have gone through or going through. I not only run for my family but I run for families living with Alzheimer’ and families who have lived through Alzheimer’s.

Wellness Patterns: How can someone help out if they aren’t a runner?

Jay Asparro: I’m raising money for the Long Island Alzheimer’s foundation, so donations would be greatly appreciated. They can go to and click on the donate link. If people want to help me promote the run, that would be great as well. They can email me at

Below is more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation:
For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. LIAF is pleased to announce that the organization’s headquarters have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. The more centrally-located facility will provide the opportunity to bring services and programs more easily to those who need them. A special community open house and grand opening celebration is planned for spring 2017. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit


You can also follow along with Jay’s fitness and fundraising journey on Instagram- jayasparro7, The Ann Asparro Run Face Book Page as well as on

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Soul’-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Soul'-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Happy Summer! We are ready to get out eat on, healthfully, of course! To kick-off the season, we are excited to let you know about an awesome charity event where you can enjoy some delicious vegan eats and save puppies!  Held on Thursday, June 29 from 4:00 pm -11:30 pm to benefit the Beagle Freedom Project, the ‘Soul’-stice BBQ will include a 100% vegan-themed night, whipped up by Pamela Elizabeth. Check out how to score tickets, and the delicious menu below:

Soul’-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Urban Vegan Kitchen
41 Carmine Street
Thursday, June 29
4:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Amuse bouche
Watermelon cubelet, ‘feta’ cheese, balsamic drizzle
Loaded Corn Salad:
grilled romaine, cornbread croutons, alabama white bbq drizzle

Rack-less BBQ ‘Ribs’:
smoky potato salad, collard greens, grilled artichoke hearts

Churros Split Sundae
cinnamon spiced ice cream, chocolate & caramel sauce, whipped cream, bourbon soaked cherry

Desserts by @COCOAVNYC & libations by @LALAVONRIOT

Tickets ($45) are available on Eventbrite.


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Boxed Water’s Social Reforestation Campaign

Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
As I’ve mentioned, I love to support companies that do their part to give back. Whether big or small, these incentives allow consumer to better understand bigger issues and how they can impact us all. One such company that is doing their part-both as a brand and through the partners the support-is Boxed Water. With a motto “Boxed Water is Better,” Boxed Water was created with a simple mission to offer an alternative to plastic drinking water, making a product that is more environmentally-friendly. Essentially just water and a box, Boxed Water is 100% recyclable, shipped flat to help reduce offset the carbon footprint, and made with a minimal design (no excessive paper). And what about the water itself? It’s made with an 8-step purification process to ensure that it’s free of impurities and minerals and that the pH levels are very close to neutral.
Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
boxed water nyc event
During a recent event in NYC, I not only had the opportunity to try out the water (it’s good!) but to also learn more about the company and their partnership with the National Forest Foundation and their #ReTree social reforestation campaign.  Through this social media incentive, they are working to protect the planet by planting one million trees within the next five years. And we can all participate! Simply post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter featuring Boxed Water using the hashtag #ReTree and Boxed Water will plant two trees. You can also subscribe to their newsletter where they will plant two trees on your behalf or purchase online and they will plant six trees. How easy is that?!
To learn more about Boxed Water and their sustainable practices, be sure to visit:
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Join the Movement and Help Kneipp and Action Against Hunger

Get Involved with Kneipp and Action Against Hunger

We are so excited to spread the word about an exciting new campaign from Kneipp, an awesome natural skincare brand that’s committed to inner wellness by providing all-natural products. They recently partnered with Action Against Hunger, an international relief organization devoted to saving the lives of malnourished children and families, while also providing sustainable access to safe water and working on long-term solutions to ending hunger for good, to provide sustainable sources of food and tools to nourish communities in need.

Through the #KneippGrows campaign, you can get in on the action and do your part to help out.

How to Get Involved with Kneipp and Action Against Hunger

● Purchase a Kneipp Soft in Seconds hand cream
● Snap a selfie wearing a real or virtual flower crown and share it with the hashtag #KneippGrows
● Sign up for a new Kneipp Family Loyalty Card

How It Works:

A portion of the proceeds for every Kneipp Soft in Seconds hand cream purchased will go toward Action Against Hunger’s efforts to send Seed + Tool Kits to communities in need. Each kit contains one hoe, one water can, and two tins of vegetable seeds (such as tomato or kale) to plant a fruit tree – and help plant the seed to a child’s future. Posting a selfie wearing a real or virtual flower crown (the official symbol of the campaign) along with the hashtag #KneippGrows will also benefit AAH’s efforts, as will signing up for a new Kneipp Family Loyalty Card (online or in-store). Kneipp will contribute up to $15,000 to the cause, which is an incredible way to help nourish a child in need.

To find the Kneipp store nearest you, visit

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Beautiful Rights Gives Back to Women’s Causes

New Beautiful Rights Campaign
Looking for a holiday gift option? Consider beautiful rights and their mission to give back to women’s causes.

Beauty products that give back? Sign us up! A new cause-driven makeup initiative, Beautiful Rights (love that name!), was started by renowned makeup artist and product developer, Kristen Therese Leonard, to ensure that women’s rights continue to be given their share of voice in our country’s future.

This is certainly prevalent as we enter into 2017 with real concerns regarding women’s rights are upon us. Beautiful Rights was created to remind every woman to speak up, and that the responsibility lies within each of us to protect the rights we’ve fought so hard to acquire.

Through this initiative, Beautiful Rights will promote women’s rights by donating 20% of all sales (not profits) to organizations that support various causes, such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. The 20% contribution is set as a reminder of the fact that women in the U.S. still get paid 20% less than men for doing the same work.

Not only will Beautiful Rights fuel great initiatives, the company also provides high quality, luxury beauty products. Their formulas have been developed with the highest grade, exclusive blend of natural oils, such as Coconut, Avocado, Jojoba, Grapeseed and Olive — along with other lip-loving ingredients — to deliver added benefits and a luxurious experience with each swipe of lipstick or gloss.

Beautiful Rights offers lip products in universally flattering shades that will wear beautifully on all women, with one sheer, shimmering lip gloss, “Gloss Ceiling” and two shades of creamy, long wearing lipstick, in “Pantsuit Pink” and “Politically Pout.”

Beautiful Rights products are available for pre-order for $24 each, or as a bundle for $64. The products will be available to ship on December 19th, the day the electoral college votes of course.

For more info, please visit:

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Some Ways to Give Back on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday Donation Ideas

Before you are barely stuffed from Thanksgiving the slew of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Totally Annoying Tuesday have probably been starting to bombard you. Personally, we hate the consumerism and commercialization of the holidays but there is little to stop the buy this, get this world that we live in. That is except for Giving Tuesday.

As a global day started by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y that’s fueled by social media, community, individuals, collaboration and various organizations to give celebrate and encourage giving back. Sounds awesome, right?! So, how do you get involved?  It’s quite simple, actually. Read on to check out some ways that you can get involved in the Giving Tuesday movement on the 29th and beyond:

Giving Back this Giving Tuesday

  1. Check out their directory: Giving Tuesday created an awesome directory via their ‘What’s Happening Near Me?’ section where you will find of local organizations, charities, events, and more so that you can give back in your very own community. And this doesn’t mean donating a huge chunk of your money. Many people get thrown off my charitable contributions if they don’t have that much money themselves. If you are tight on cash (we are, too!), simply give what you can or even volunteer your time
  2. Take an #UNselfie: Share how you are giving back by posting your #UNselfie on your social media channels.  They also have an #UNselfie sign and toolkit that has everything you need to get you started.
  3. Donate your paycheck: Check with your company about how you can donate a part of your paycheck to a local charitable organization.
  4. Go pro bono: Use your skills to help local non-profit organizations.
  5. Share your #MyGivingStory: Share your story and why you are giving back on the Giving Tuesday Facebook page.

For more information on Giving Tuesday and ways to give back, please visit:




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