New Life for An Old Favorite: A Love Story

Woven pants from Liz Alig

Ever try on a piece of clothing and just know? I knew with these pants. One night at a Liz Alig trunk show, we were trying on various styles when brand founder Elizabeth Roney suggested I try on these crazy, printed pants.

And I was in love.

I didn’t buy them — not right away. They were not in the budget that night. I went home, and thought about the pants. And thought about them. And thought about them.

The fit, the quality, the beautiful recycled textiles, and — best of all — how they were made. With traditional fabrics and traditional techniques and workers earning fair wages. Weeks later, I bought the pants.

They quickly became a favorite in my closet. I wore them at least once a week. Wear and wash, wear and wash. And after a year of wearing and washing, I found holes in the upper, inner thigh area of the pants.

Hole in Pants

I put off repairing the pants because I didn’t want to hear a dire prognosis. How could the unique, woven fabric possibly be repaired or replaced? The pants lingered in my “to mend” pile for over a year and half. I didn’t even know where to take them or how to start.

Yes, I despaired of these gorgeous pants being repaired due to the unique nature of the fabric. But a couple of weeks ago, challenged by the fashion love story theme for this year’s Fashion Revolution Day, I bravely took the pants to the alterations specialist at my local laundry shop to see what they could do. I expected a sad shake of the head from the shop. I was surprised to find that the holes in the fabric didn’t phase them at all. They took the pants, and one week and $15 later, the pants were repaired!

Yes, the tiny Xes sewn over the holes are visible upon examination, but the inner patch material is not. The repair blends in perfectly with the fabric’s pattern and color and can’t be seen when I wear the pants. My old favorites are finally back in my closet!

The Pants Are Back

The lesson? I need to be nice to my clothes. Throwing that gorgeous, woven fabric into my washer and dryer every week wasn’t a good way to help my clothing last. In fact, much of my current clothing has been worn and beaten up by harsh wash cycles and frequent drying. While I don’t have time to hand wash most things in my closet, I do plan to use the delicate cycle on my favorite clothing from now on and then hang it to dry. I’m looking forward to extending the life of my wardrobe and saving a bit of energy, too.

I’m thankful this is one clothing love story that will last.

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Anthropologie – a Long Way to Go

ModernSprout Seed Kit at Anthropologie
ModernSprout Seed Kits at a local Anthropologie store.

A few weeks ago, I went hunting for ethical products in Anthropologie. If ethics and cost weren’t an issue, my house would be draped in Anthropologie. I fell in love with their global, Boho style years ago.

I had high hopes for Anthropologie. Their website occasionally stocks products from several well-known ethical brands, including Naja*, Coyuchi, Mercado Global, and Fortress of Inca. You can find fair trade baby toys, organic beauty items, and several made-in-the-USA clothing brands.

Unfortunately, when it comes to their retail shops, ethical sourcing is, shall we say, a growth opportunity for Anthropologie. The fair trade and organic items from the company’s website are nowhere to be found in stores.

Anthropologie stores do stock some made-in-the-USA pieces, although you’ll need to hunt for them. Left of Center, Lacausa, Michael Stars, and Love TanJane are a few of the American-made brands I discovered in my local shop. I also found a display featuring Baggu, a handbag brand that manufactures in the US and China and seeks to minimize waste through their designs.

American-made jeans  are one of the easier items to find in stores, with Paige Denim and Citizens of Humanity getting sizable rack space.

Handpoured soy candles from Candlefish at Anthropologie
Candlefish products are made from soy wax and hand-poured in Charleston, South Carolina.

When it comes to ethical linens and home goods, you’re mostly out of luck. Anthropologie’s gorgeous, globally-inspired textiles appear to be subject to standard manufacturing practices with no additional certifications. I would love to see Anthropologie add a line of GOTS-certified linens, similar to Target’s organic Threshold sheets*.

There are some bright spots of artisan-made products at Anthropologie stores, including hand-poured soy candles from South Carolina-based Candlefish and handmade Kingston Jewellery from Australia. On my last trip into the store I found lovely, non-GMO seed starting kits from ModernSprout.

The good news is that Anthropologie is doing some things right. I love that their website provides visibility to smaller, artisan-made brands, and I appreciate the USA-made apparel in their stores. I imagine stock becomes an issue with many ethical brands, who may not be able to supply Anthropologie’s 200+ store locations.

Considering their global aesthetic, I’m going to keep holding Anthropologie to a high ethical standard. I’m hoping we will see more sustainable brands and partnerships from Anthropologie in the future.

*This is an affiliate link to support this site. 

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Links for a Lovely, Spring Weekend

Happy Easter weekend! Whether you are celebrating a sacred time or just enjoying the spring weather, I wish you days of peace and joy.

A few favorite links from recent posts:

My friends over at Grove & Bay are giving away beautiful, new jewelry from Faire Collection. If you aren’t familiar with Grove & Bay, check them out! They do the research to bring you a curated collection of ethical wardrobe pieces, including menswear.

Holly Rose has recreated Easter favorite Cadbury Creme Eggs using fair trade chocolate and Numi Organic Tea. What a fun project!

Project Just has a fascinating look at what makes a brand “ethical.” I’ll probably subscribe to their site so I can read details on that Everlane interview.

If you’re thinking zero-waste thoughts as we approach Earth Day, be sure to check out Hannah’s review of SuperBee Wax Wraps as an eco-friendly alternative to cling wrap for your kitchen.


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