By Bridget Nielsen ~ Author, Channel, Eco-Pioneer and Artist.
Many of you have been with me on my journey of giving away ALL of my clothes, that were made with synthetic material. 90% (10% were clothes made of cotton) of my closet went to Good Will or friends, and I replaced them with sustainably made eco-friendly clothing!! It has been almost 2 years since my clothing rebirth, and I find myself still yearning to be interlaced with these amazing companies.
The reason I play with specific eco-clothing brands, is not to make money, though I do receive a few items for trade. My primary motivation is to support sustainability. As a pioneer of creating new systems, I must support others that have put themselves out there and are practicing eco-solutions.
This is a sort of activism for me. Women will be women and continue to buy clothes ~forever~, so why not buy them from companies that are facilitating a greener world. One of my favorite eco-clothing companies, US made with organic natural materials, went under last year. This is a realtime effort that these companies are making, so let’s support them!
So now the question is… where do I start? How do I find these brands, and do I have to dress like a hippy to be eco-friendly? The answer is NO. Like Elon Musk with Tesla Motors, consumer’s demand for quality and design HAS TO be in place for these sustainable companies to make it, while keeping the price affordable. Challenging standards we place on these pioneers. Today, the eco-fashion brand I am featuring does all of this with beauty and grace. Let’s take a look at what I love about Ash & Rose online boutique.
2 years ago I scoured Google, finding every eco-clothing company I could, and Ash & Rose always stood out to me. It was their romantic designs that kept me scrolling down, creating a mental checklist of all the things I wanted and loved!
Sampling their clothes was a treat~ such amazing quality. Thick, rich fabrics… and the cuts are darling! I could feel the integrity. I can get away with saying that because I am a channel … and it is true!! There IS an energetic difference I feel when wearing eco-fabrics that were ethically made. Seriously, try it.
Ash & Rose brand incorporates fashion and all lifestyles into its expression. “Pretty and Practical”, as they share on their website, says it all! Whether the occasion is a night out in the big city, tea with the girls or doing yoga on the red rocks in Sedona (me), their versatile style encompasses whatever you need. Usually I have to buy my yoga clothes here, a dress there and underwear (can not find good eco-underwear) buried in a hidden internet vault. It is a one stop shop, which is refreshing in the eco-world.
They recognize that women are all shapes and sizes. I love how they note the model’s height and size in each of the product descriptions, so you can adjust for your own unique body to the clothes ~ Example: “Lealyn is 5’7″ wearing size small”. Nea and Mary, mother daughter owners of Ash and Rose, are realpeople and I can feel that in all that they do. I can sense it in the types of clothes they choose and the unique flavor their brand exudes.
This is important to note. I really feel, watching the momentum of eco-clothing in the US, that we are going back to go forward, as a culture, to a time where local seamstresses dressed you with their own, one of a kind style!
The times of mass produced clothing from China, where you can run into someone on your college campus wearing the same Banana Republic shirt, will need end to save our world. The days of personalization, artistry and personality will become the new norm, as we step into our own light as individual contributors to humanity and planet Earth.
I love that Ash & Rose expanded beyond their own [awesome] private label to honor, seeks out, and showcases eco-designers from all around the world. They do a beautiful job of having many designers side by side, not in competition, but as a potpourri of possibilities to adorn yourself!
Their company is really going for it! The impact sorting feature on their website, reveals all. Choose your priorities and they are all there!: Sustainable Production, Fair Trade Practices, Charitable, Handmade, Made in USA, Natural Materials, Recycled Materials, Vegan, Woman Made. They take full-spectrum consideration of sustainability in the clothing sector.
When I started diving into what it meant to dress sustainably, I fell down the rabbit hole and have just barely found my way out. There is so much to consider when transitioning to sustainable dress. You can get caught in a fickle mode that undermines what you are really trying to do~ support the Earth and its people. Only wanting US made clothes, we forget to support other countries, or don’t allow amazing fabrics like hemp (Organic US-grown hemp is beginning to pop up), bamboo (when produced properly) or alpaca, that takes FAR less water than growing organic cotton, to become stateside industry standards.
I learned to have a nice cross-section of what I care about most in my wardrobe. Try items that are made in the USA and ones that support 2nd or 3rd world countries. Go for a few pieces that used recycled materials, even if they are partially made with synthetic materials or plastic bottles (how awesome by the way?). It is ultra challenging to make every piece of clothing have every level of sustainability… the place to start is by brands doing their best. It is about supporting the whole picture. I really appreciate how Ash & Rose does this with such grace.
The price of sustainable clothing, or anything organic for that matter, seems to be a barrier to conversion. Here are two perspectives to help transition your mindset~ pleasure and logic. When I lived in France, I learned a tip from the top fashionistas in Earth. Their trick was taking in the sensuous experience of relishing a few treasured items of clothing, of the highest quality, per year. They used their bodies like a canvas, wearing simple tops and bottoms, and adorned themselves with amazing scarves, bags, hats, or stand out pants! And ohhhh can you do this with Ash & Rose. It took me about a week of going on their website, for extended periods of time, to choose gems to sample. So, Instead of making the mall a weekly buying spree activity, turn it into a savory dessert. Buy a few items every year that you adore, and feel satisfied knowing that they will last 10x longer than Forever 21 garb.
Forever 21 leads me to the eco-economic concept of “The True Cost of a Burger”. It may seem like a steal of a deal to get a cute new dress for Friday night in the closeout bin for $10, but that deal is an illusion. Here is where the price of eco-clothing becomes logical. The only way for something to be made that cheaply is in a sweat shop in a 2nd or 3rd world country, using synthetic materials or conventional cotton. The cost of people’s value that degrades humanity, excessive pesticides and chemicals that damage the environment… how do you put a price on that? Like we have heard a million times, it will be our kid’s who pay for our ignorant unconsciousness. So let’s do our part, to invest in the true cost of clothing that sustains the planet now and into the future.
All in all, I have loved going into one of the touchiest subjects for women over the past 2 years. I have ripped up my identity around the subject of beauty and image, and am now just putting it back together. I adorn myself for the loveliness of the act… for the experience. I have let go of having to look a certain way for cultural reasons or to get a guy.
Dress is an expression of artistry and a celebration of our planet’s gifts, that we get to use as a sacred palette. I appreciate Ash & Rose for their dedication to beauty in a way that cherishes nature, people and women’s wardrobes!