Spotlight On: Green Apple Active athletic apparel

     Now that my first cold of the New Year is done with, I can get back to my (non) resolutions.  Getting more active, making better food choices, and making more sustainable choices are on my list of (many) things to do this year.  I've figured out that cute work-out clothes motivate me to get moving so gone are my old basketball shorts and ratty t-shirts.  I've incorporated cute shorts, dri-fit tanks, and fun colored sports bras to my work-out wardrobe.  

     Thanks to credit at Ideeli*, I shopped one of their athletic apparel blowout sales and ended up with a Green Apple Active sports bra.  Green Apple Active is a California based athletic apparel brand encouraging an "eco active lifestyle for free souls". 

     The bra is made of mostly bamboo fabric and comes with removable molded cups.  Most of my current sports bras do not have molded cups, but I do like the extra protection from friction or frigid weather. 

     The thick, cross-backed straps give great support and shock absorption to keep me comfortable throughout my whole work out.  I love that they use bamboo fabric because, in my experience, it is very soft and comfortable.  

     I am disappointed that the item is "designed in Manhattan Beach, CA" yet also "Made in China".  Because of this, I requested further information from Green Apple Active.  Cristofer, CEO/VP and Creative Director of the company let me know that they used to be produced in California but the factory was forced to close due to lack of workers.  There are still garments produced in the Arizona and some in Mexico, however production of certain garments has moved to a facility in China.

     The other day, they tweeted about an upcoming sale and I am pleased to have more information.  From now until January 18, 2013, you can get 25% off your order with promo code "BAMBOOLOVE".  Other than their website and Ideeli/other flash sale sites, Green Apple Active can be found at various yoga studios or retailers.  Check their retail locator for more information.  

     Does anyone have any eco-friendly athletic apparel suggestions?

*This link contains a referral invite.  If you sign up with this invite and make a purchase, I will receive a $25 Ideeli credit.

Spotlight On: Eco-fashion Designer Lara Miller

     I could not begin my journey of sharing environmentally conscious brands without starting with Lara Miller.
     I was introduced to Lara Miller's designs at my first StyleChicago event.  I was new to Chicago and curious about what the city had to offer.  I also couldn't pass up drinks, passed appetizers, and goodie bags.  After hitting the bar, I walked around the crowded gallery space where designers stood behind booths and racks of merchandise.  I took note of leather bags, silk dresses, and sparkling jewelry, but my only purchase of the night was a Shannon skirt by Lara Miller.

Photo by Helen Berkun via

      The fun colors, useful pockets, and material that felt heavy enough to wear without my skirt flying up from the slightest breeze drew me in, but Lara's commitment to using organic fabrics and being handmade in Chicago sealed the deal.  The price point was a bit higher than the average brand in my closet, but to support a local business committed to remaining sustainable and high quality was worth it to me.
     After that night, I signed up for the e-mail list and started to follow Lara on Twitter.  I was always in the know about new collections, events/trunk shows, and sales.  I learned about the clever, convertible "flip" dresses/sweaters and also found out that a lot of her other pieces can be worn in multiple ways.   I drooled over all the cozy, organic knits and hoped to eventually own more Lara Miller designs.
     Around the holidays last year, I was able to obtain the Anna Scarf Tunic, Terry Three Piece Set, and the Donna dress:
Me in the Donna dress

     Love that the dress has straps that can be worn in different ways:

Photo by Helen Berkun via

     I discovered that she was a former director of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, a program I have mentioned in a previous post.  The Chicago Fashion Incubator provides studio space and workshops to up and coming designers in Chicago - complete with showroom space and having their merchandise sold in Macy's on State Street.
     Being the head of a small business, she is at the helm of her own social media accounts and engages with her customers.  She invited me to her studio in October to check out her latest collections - Spring/Summer 2012 and  Autumn/Winter 2012.
A rack of Spring/Summer 2012 pieces.  My favorite is the striped Spencer Flip Cardigan

A rack of Autumn/Winter 2012 pieces.  One of my favorites is the William Flip Jacket but my favorite piece is an un-pictured 'Ellen' Sweater - a navy blue sweater with purple dot patterned detail on the sleeves and back.

     I was eager to finally check out the flip cardigans in person and chat with one of my favorite local designers.  The personal interaction made it even more important to me to be mindful of who, what, and where I am wearing.  It meant a lot to connect with the person designing the clothes I own or want to buy and to see where they are made.
     She is an avid runner and was just in Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon.  I was able to catch up with her before the race to learn about one of her upcoming projects - an iPhone app meant to make keeping track of your favorite looks and designers easy.
     Purely Fashion is going to be "a clean, direct and exclusive way for you to connect with your favorite designers and find out what they're creating next."  I was able to check out Lara's test version and it looks really promising!  I love looking through websites to clip my favorite looks into an Evernote notebook for inspiration, but it takes a lot of time to go through slideshows, label/organize everything, and there isn't really a way to keep updated.
     With the Purely Fashion app, you are able to upload, like, and comment on looks as well as "follow" looks from your favorite designers so you are always up to date.  Many of the app developers and members are in the fashion industry so it is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.  Purely Fashion is still in development and is currently invite only.  Check out their website to learn more or request an invite.
     I hope it will work on an iPad2 even if it still displays in iPhone size or I can add it to the list of reasons why I need an iPhone!

     Lara Miller's designs can be purchased from her website, at various trunk shows and events, and select boutiques.  Check out her website for more information.  

Green Festival Los Angeles Update

     I just wanted to make an update on my experience at Green Festival in Los Angeles and let you more about what is coming next!
Photo from

     Green Festival is a multi-city celebration of all things sustainable - including clothes, food, home items, services, and more.  It showcases brands and products screened by Green America and Global Exchange for their commitment to remaining ethically and environmentally conscious.  In addition to Los Angeles, the event is also held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C.  I have attended in Chicago but was so busy with finals for school that I didn't really get to experience it.
     It was so inspiring to meet up with other sustainability minded people.  The event is set up so there are presentation stages featuring knowledgeable speakers of different aspects of being green - from cooking, shopping, running a business, or general living.  Between the stages and throughout the convention center were booths showcasing items or services from green exhibitors.
Entry badge.

     The HUB LA, a center for green businesses and technology with branches around the world, was a media partner for the festival.  They were kind enough to extend their lounge, exclusive presentations, and after party with Green Ambassador ticket holders, including myself.  

Food and drink spread.  Thank you, HUB LA, for also allowing me to charge up my phone and use your wi-fi!  I really needed it.

    I enjoyed sampling delicious vegan/vegetarian food and drink items.  While I stick to poultry and seafood as far as animal products, I love creative vegetarian and vegan options as well and am excited to bring some of those options back to my family.  The "Vampire Killer" kale chips (flavored with garlic and vegan cheese!) from Brad's Raw Foods were tasty and I brought home a box.  My mother and sister seem to like them too!
Never tried them before but I am glad I did!

     Another interesting consumable item I tried was a chia seed drink.  Mamma Chia provided the chia drinks at the fest.  The texture was jelly-like.  It was drinkable and even though there were jelly bits from the cooked up chia seeds, there wasn't anything to chew.  It sounds strange but was pretty good and is supposedly very good for athletes.  My favorite flavor was blackberry hibiscus, followed by coconut mango.
Different flavors of chia drink

     No GreenFest is complete without a fashion show!  Rebecca Mink, vegan shoe designer for MINK shoes, was the host of the "California Dreaming" fashion show.  I may be biased but I think I like Chicago fashion shows better!  Though it was still a great time with some interesting designs.
     The end of the show.

     After the fashion show was the after party!  I had a blast and was able to try the remaining Veev VitaFrute flavors.  I can definitely say my favorite is still margarita!  The food was provided by Sun Cafe and again, was all vegan and vegetarian.  I loved that the food was delicious and nobody was shy about eating it.
Party snapshot. The date on my camera is off by a month.

     I also really loved the recycled fabric giftbag and all the fun eco-goodies!

     The HUB office was pretty cool, complete with lots of open space and private meeting rooms.  Motivation to stay true to their values and also move forward with technology was literally written on the wall. Technology makes it possible for the Los Angeles members to do what they do and keep in touch with other HUB members all over the world at the click of a button.
Chalk drawing on a wall at the HUB

     Speaking of technology, I have to give a shout out for the team at Uber Los Angeles.  It was raining on a Saturday night in downtown and they sent me a safe ride to and from the party within minutes.  Max and the Chicago team are great and I am glad service is just as consistent in other areas.

     The next day at the fest I learned a lot about fair trade and browsed some more booths.  There was so much beautiful jewelry, all handmade and that made use of recycled items.

From War to Peace makes cool copper jewelry from recycled bullets and other weapons.

    Fahmina uses recycled leather in their designs

Unified People/Bobo Wince uses recycled leather, geodes, and other stones for their jewelry and are handmade in Los Angeles

I ended up buying this beautiful wrap bracelet/necklace from Unified People.

     There is so much to share with you in the coming weeks about fair trade and the sources behind some of the items we buy.  I am also working on some spotlights on my favorite eco-conscious brands - including some I found at GreenFest and my part of the Indigenous #worthwearing campaign.  Still putting together an "at-a-glance" type information page comparing some of these brands, let me know if you have suggestions.  Thanks for reading and please keep checking back!