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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One Tribe Apparel: Bohemian Fashion Brand that Gives Back

The beauty of so many modern companies is that many support and educate the public about important causes, allowing the consumer to connect to bigger issues while supporting a brand that gives back. One such company is One Tribe Apparel, a Bohemian fashion brand that began when two travellers fell in love with Thailand’s Bohemian styles, and decided to bring them back to to the west in a socially conscious way. This includes a product line that’s sourced and made in Thailand by local artisans who are paid fair wages. This includes gorgeous Bohemian finds such as the fun “Summer Dreams” bucket bag, Elephant Harem Pants, colorful Kimonos and much more.

In addition to offering stunning pieces, your purchase also supports a company that gives back in quite a special way. For every purchase made, One Tribe Apparel donates to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, Thailand, which rescues and cares for endangered animals so they can roam freely in a safe environment. Amazing, right!? We were certainly inspired and know you will be, too! To learn more about this socially conscious company, we spoke with Suzette Williams, partner at One Tribe Apparel to learn more about how One Tribe Apparel is breaking geographical barriers and uniting women around the globe with a shared passion for travel, culture, and conscious fashion!

Interview with One Tribe Apparel

One Tribe Apparel suzette williams

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of One Tribe Apparel come about?

Suzette Williams: One of the amazing things about traveling to Thailand is that you’ll meet people from all over the world. I’m from Australia but in addition to great Thai friends I’ve created bonds with people from Africa, Europe, South America and almost everywhere else in the world. It’s this incredible melting pot for travelers and that was the initial inspiration for One Tribe Apparel to bring together a global community through art and fashion.

One Tribe Apparel waters

yoga One Tribe Apparel

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about your connection to Thailand.

Suzette Williams: We’re based in Northern Thailand now but I first lived down south on the islands. It’s beautiful, it’s old fashion in some ways where the wifi isn’t that strong so people hang out on the beach and drink a coconut or a beer while taking in this breathtaking nature. It has some of the best food in the world and the people are amazing. There’s just something about Thailand that’s hard to put your finger on, many people come back again and again or they come once and decide they want to move there.

one tribe apparel thailand

elephants One Tribe Apparel

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about your partnership with Elephant Nature Park.

Suzette Williams: One thing many travelers & tourists to Thailand may not know is that many of the commercial elephant rides and attractions are very dangerous for the animals. They are abused & chained & whipped from the time they are babies to make them compliant and obedient. It’s really sad to see and most people don’t know what their contributing to and just want to interact with the elephants. We strongly advise people to never ride an elephant especially if they are strapped in to any kind of basket. This article does a good job explaining the work of the elephant nature park and the plight of the other elephants in the country – https://expertvagabond.com/elephants-in-thailand/

What elephant nature park does is provide a safe sanctuary and rescues and buys elephants that have been poorly treated. At the park you can feed the elephants and interact with them in a fun and safe way that doesn’t hurt them.

We love the mission of the park and since many of our products have the traditional Thai elephant on them we felt it was a great way to give back. Right now we make a donation for every sale of every product we sell but we’re working on exclusive products in the future where 100% of profits will go to the park.

one tribe apparel thailand

one tribe apparel thailand

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think fashion should have a conscious connection?

Suzette Williams: With fashion we’re inspired by culture by nature by animals and by our communities. I think it’s only right to give back as a thanks for that. In addition to our work with the park we hire local designers & artists and we make sure all manufacturers we work with have good working conditions and fair wages. It’s possible to do all of these things and still make a profit and we think it’s great that many fashion companies and companies in general are doing this as well.

One Tribe Apparel waters

One Tribe Apparel harem pants

Wellness Patterns: What are some plans for the future of One Tribe Apparel?

Suzette Williams: The original concept for One Tribe Apparel was that every year we would pick a new destination like Nepal or Bali and do a clothing line featuring the artisans of that location. Unfortunately, that’s incredibly expensive and logistically difficult but we still love the vision. We plan on keeping our roots in Thailand but would love to add styles from Nepal next. As for our product line we’re going to be greatly expanding our collection of bohemian handbags and our yoga accessories like straps and bags.

For more information, please visit: https://www.onetribeapparel.com

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SweatStyle: New Boutique Subscription Box Featuring On-Trend, Activewear (and an Interview!)

SweatStyle subscription box

Activewear has come a long way since its heyday of sweats and oversized t-shirts. Not that we don’t love rocking baggy sweats every now and again, but it’s nice to have fitted and cute options to wear when you break a sweat. Enter an even easier (hooray!) way to get the most trendy, cool activewear without even having to leave your house with SweatStyle, a customized subscription service. How it works is to take a short quiz so that SweatStyle can curate your dream box based on your personality, preferred workout and lifestyle preferences. You can then receive the trendiest, curated fitness apparel every month, every other month or every three months.

This also includes some of the coolest products out there, featuring brands like Terez, Koral, Nux, Vimmia, Yogasmoga, Track & Bliss and more “boutique” premium apparel. The best part, you can adjust your budget to what works best with your wallet’s comfortability without sacrificing on the quality of brands. To learn more about SweatStyle, we chatted with Helena Cawley, the CEO and Founder of SweatStyle and co-founder of Uplift Studios. Read on to learn more about how SweatStyle works and how’s it’s really different from what’s out there.

SweatStyle Interview with Helena Cawley

SweatStyle Interview

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of SweatStyle come about?

Helena Cawley: I started SweatStyle to help women find the right fitness clothes to suit their workouts, lifestyles and preferences. With the fundamental shift over the last few years in women leading more healthy lives and also wearing athleisure both in and out of the gym, there was a great demand for new and fun clothes to wear for workouts and beyond. The designers were taking notice too; amazing new brands were being launched with hi-tech fabrics, fantastic colors and prints and a diverse range of options for all women across all sizes and workout preferences. Yet there remained a big disconnect between the brands that were producing these wonderful new clothes, and the women who wanted to buy them. Many were very young companies themselves and were hard to find, leaving them wondering where the customers were and the customers wondering if there was anything else out there besides the same old options that they’d been wearing now for a few years. Enter SweatStyle.

It was my vision to create a personalized shopping experience solely focused on fitness clothing. By using information from our customers’ profiles about their workouts and lifestyles, we hand pick the best new styles and brands for each woman. Then we send our selections right to their door and allow a five-day try-on period, so customers are getting convenience, personalization and fashionable fitness clothes that they wouldn’t have otherwise found themselves. When you have a great new outfit to show off, it’s extra motivation to hit the gym, so we’re also helping women lead healthier and more active lifestyles. The old adage is really true: When you look good, you feel good. That’s the fundamental mission of SweatStyle.

Wellness Patterns: How does it work?

Helena Cawley: 1) Customers come to our site and fill out a profile indicating their favorite types of workouts (spin, barre, yoga, etc), their sizing info and their style preferences (do they like big, bold colors or more neutrals, a tight fit or a loose fit?). See the profile here.
2) SweatStyle will curate a box of five items personally for each customer based on her profile.
3) Everything is shipped to her door and she has five days to try it all on and decide what she wants to keep and what to return. She’s only charged for what she keeps.
4) A new shipment automatically arrives every one, two or three months (based on customer’s preferred frequency) with the latest styles, trends and brands on the market.
5) We keep meticulous data on what was kept/returned so that we understand each customer inside and out and can select the perfect items for her that we know she’ll love.

Wellness Patterns: Tell us a little more about Uplift?

Helena Cawley: Uplift is a women-only fitness studio that I co-founded in 2012. The philosophy behind Uplift is rooted in my experience with fitness – that it should help you feel better, not just look better, and that pushing yourself to and past your own goals makes you a stronger and overall person in all aspects of your life. Uplift offers amazing group classes and one-on-one personal training, but what really sets it apart is the community of women that we have cultivated. We spend a lot of time with our clients outside of the workouts discussing careers, breakups, politics, nutrition starting your own business, etc. Uplift had created a network of friends and contacts like I have never seen before. Fitness is at the heart of the business but there is so much more to it and it is such a special place. After spending four years as CEO and Co-Founder of Uplift, I started my company SweatStyle.

Wellness Patterns: How have been finding balancing motherhood and your new company?

Helena Cawley: I don’t know that anyone really feels that they have the “balance” of motherhood and career figured out (if she’s out there – introduce me!). I take it one day at a time and usually I am able to spend a large amount of time on both, but sometimes one has to take priority over the other. I have a great support system that lets me be flexible when I need to be. I have had to sacrifice some other aspects of my life, like spending time with friends and reading for pleasure, but I know that my two main priorities right now are my family and my work and as long as I’m feeling good about both of those, then I’m happy.

Wellness Patterns: What is your advice for women who want to get into the business side of the fitness industry?

Helena Cawley: Talk to as many people as you possibly can as you get started and as you grow. Nobody can do this alone and the more people you connect with, the more ideas you’ll generate, the more help you’ll get, the more relationships you’ll foster, the better your business will be. When we first started Uplift and when I was launching SweatStyle, I tried to meet with new people almost every day to pick their brains or just learn about their experiences. I always left with a new way of thinking or at least another round of practice on perfecting my pitch. It was never a waste of time and more often than not, there was something really valuable that came of it.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the most challenging part of having your own business?

Being my own cheerleader. I’m not the type of person who demands I talk about myself all the time to anyone with an ear, so I sometimes have to force it. There is no one else that is going to get your business noticed or help you grow, so you have to put yourself out there, network and ask for help as much as you can. It’s not easy to do that, especially for women.

For more info about SweatStyle, please visit: https://www.mysweatstyle.com

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