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4th Brumaire

4th Brumaire

A woman walks into a bar…

Yes, it’s me and I’d waited a year to do so! What gives? I’d read a boisterous SF Chronicle article last March about the natural wine smackdown, Brumaire, a raucous, sold out fest that spotlights some of the best and brightest natural winemakers from around the globe...and with no knowledge of natural wine at all, this feature made me feel bad that I’d missed out. I knew wine that’s farmed organically or biodynamically and made without adding or removing anything in the ‘cellar’ sounded like my kind of thing. So I made a calendar note and bought tickets before they sold out for the 4th annual event this past weekend in Oakland...

I boned up a little over 2018, following along with Marissa Ross and buying some bottles from Ordinaire, a pretty place with French cafe vibes and the most comprehensive offerings bar none in the Bay Area for au natural wine (and the team behind Brumaire). Mind you, I still have no clue what’s truly going on, so when I showed up at the Starline Social Club I felt pretty intimidated and bewildered because my expertise was rock bottom and the atmosphere was akin to a mosh pit.

It’s a very free flowing event, but I think brouhaha might be a better term, what I envision Burning Man was like in 1993, a bunch of cool people doing their thing...there are two rooms, vendors scattered about and throngs of people holding out their glasses for a pour, and if they're lucky a little chit chat with the maker. Once I started organically jamming myself into tables for tasting after tasting, it all was super chill and fun. While every wine wasn’t for me and some were murkier than others, quite a few really popped and I savored speaking to the purveyors; they all loved what they were doing and there was a deep sense of community. I heard many stories like “friends gave me their excess grapes so we made this” and “a property near me had too many apples so we got a big haul and made cider.” This was a refreshing break from preciousness, legacy and mass market appeal, a few of the traditional hallmarks of the wine trade. You know how I love my let’s not be perfect and make good with what we have soap box, so I was really in my element…

There was a bit of a celebrity appeal for me too, I spotted Marissa Ross, happily meandering about, basking in the glow and glad handing her crew. Actually everyone was, just us tasters and makers enjoying the good life. In the end I couldn’t get to everyone, partly because it was getting more packed by the minute, partly because I was getting buzzed and partly because there was some fried chicken with my name on it at Hopscotch down the street. All in all, it was definitely worth the wait and I know I'll be drinking a lot less sulfites this year...

Some of my faves included:

 Photo credit - Bon Appétit

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Power Outfit

Power Outfit

This is an outfit my hubs and pals are used to seeing because it’s been in my weekly rotation for 7 years! My ‘style’ morphing into this iteration after NYC is why I was determined to relaunch Loyale as an ethical everyday essentials collection...premium classics that last and go with items already in your wardrobe. And yes, clothing treated with care can have a long life…

Outfit breakdown:

  • J. Crew Top - $10 - Purchased in Arden, NC at J. Crew’s Distribution Center Outlet; amazing place, check it out if you’re ever up in the NC mountains.
  • Lululemon Sports Bra - $60 - great versatile bra that they don’t offer any longer.
  • Patagonia Yoga Pants - $90 - I’m really sad they don’t make this exact style anymore.

It may not look like much, but this is my get sh*t done outfit; it’s comfortable, flexible and I feel good in it...this really goes a long way - no humming and hawing in the AM, just hitting the ground running and taking care of my long to-do list.

And because I attempt to shop responsibly, I want to take care of these items, and all clothing in my closet, so they don’t fall apart. This means wearing them at least 2 to 3 times, then washing them in cold, inside out with Seventh Generation detergent and air drying them on my jumbo Ikea rack.

Correct, I wear my clothes, including Loyale tees, several times before I consider washing them, it’s the best thing you can do for your clothes (and the earth - it saves so many resources). After each wear I hang them on hangers to air them out, then boom, they’re ready to go again a few days later! A sniff test comes into play to determine if I need to pull the trigger on laundering an item. 

The point of this soliloquy? If you find clothing that you adore and pieces that serve you well, show them some tender loving care and they can be in your life for many, many years...

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Swap, Don't Shop

Swap, Don't Shop

Chances are you have 1 to 30 garments in your closet that you don’t wear. These lifeless clothes are taking up space and messing with your feng shui. With fall around the corner, now is a great time to consider doing a purge.

Today is National Second Hand Wardrobe Day and here are a few simple steps you can take to be environmentally and financially smart about decluttering:

  • Host your own clothing swap; click here for tips from Real Simple
  • Check out one of our fave IG accounts @selltradeslowfashion to list and sell your high quality ethical pieces. 
  • Make a donation to Goodwill, Dress for Success, the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America; don’t forget to get a receipt for a tax write off.
  • Take photos of all your garments, create a Google photo gallery and share the link with family and friends on social or via email; as items are claimed delete the pics, ask folks to pay for shipping via Venmo or PayPal or even better, arrange a happy hour to drop off the item in person.
  • Sell your clothes online with thredUP or Poshmark

Photo credit: Eli & Barry

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What is Eco-Friendly + Ethically Made Clothing?

What is Eco-Friendly + Ethically Made Clothing?

We’re kicking off 2018's Fashion Revolution Week by asking you to consider who made your clothes and what is the true cost on them and the environment? We know getting a deal feels sweet and it can be a budgetary challenge to invest in high quality clothing, but our shopping habits come with serious consequences. Consider these factors before your next shopping expedition:

Less is More
As a global population, we already consume more than the earth can sustainably support, and while our wardrobes are only a small part of this picture, it would be naive to think that our appetite for fashion doesn’t have a significant impact. It is estimated that clothing accounts for 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so our wardrobes are an important sustainability consideration. In order to live sustainably, we need to move beyond our desire for consumption, and see shopping as functional activity rather than a pastime. Wardrobes full of impulse purchases we hardly wear are a wasted resource. So what do we do if we are bored with our current selection and desire a change? Let's be honest, we all love to buy something once in a while, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. But we need to take a closer look at our closets. Instead of expanding into more closet space, we need to make a deal with ourselves that we will maintain or reduce our current wardrobe size. Gift, swap, re-purpose, or donate items you don’t use that often to make space for something new.

Quality not quantity
The current fashion system churns out poorly made, low quality items that are designed to be discarded almost as fast as the shops change their selection. The average party top is worn 1.7 times before being discarded. If our wardrobes are going to be sustainable, we must choose to invest in quality pieces and ignore the allure of purchasing several cheap items instead. Inexpensive purchases are often bought under a false illusion - you feel as though you are getting a bargain. But when you add up the cost of buying several cheap items that wear out quickly, it is often just as economical to invest in one quality replacement that will last a decade. It is also worth remembering that today’s cheap fashion will be landfill tomorrow, but today’s quality items will be tomorrow’s vintage finds for someone else to love.

Fair trade or ethically made
With the great majority of clothing production occurring in countries with poor records on workers rights and protection, conventional fashion has a high social cost. These social costs include health conditions (including terminal illness) due to chemical exposure, workplace injury and permanent disablement due to poor safety protections, the use of child labor, and excessive working hours. There have even been cases of slavery in the production of products headed for Western markets. Fairtrade certified clothing is produced in conditions that ensure that workers labour under fair conditions for reasonable pay, and buying Fairtrade certified clothing is the best way to ensure that your purchase does not contribute to the exploitation of vulnerable workers. It is reasonable to assume that clothing produced in Western countries has ensured that workers rights are protected. However, the common practice of using factory out-workers has provided an avenue for some exploitation to occur on home soil. In these cases, it is best to do your research before assuming that the clothing is produced under fair conditions.

Natural and low impact dyes
Conventional chemical dyes have a huge environmental impact, especially in countries where environmental standards for industry are lax. In places such as China, it is common to see brightly coloured rivers flooded with the runoff from industrial textile dyeing. In fact, there is a joke in China that you can tell what colours will be in fashion next season by looking at the colour of the rivers. When buying new clothing, chose fabrics that have been coloured with low impact or natural dyes. Textiles that have been GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) are a good choice, as the certification system requires the use of low impact dyes and has strict requirements for the protection of the environment. Choosing fibers that are already pigmented is another option, which eliminates the need for dying at all. It is possible to buy organic wool, cotton and silks that naturally come in selection of colours. If you are adventurous, you can also try your hand at eco-dying with botanical materials such as tea leaves and beetroot peelings.

Organic natural fibers
Synthetic fabrics are derived from petrochemicals, and apart from the carbon impact of their production, they are a finite non-renewable resource and cannot form a part of a sustainable wardrobe (unless of course they are purchased secondhand or the fibers are recycled). When sourcing clothing made from new fibers, synthetic materials should be avoided. Natural fibers are a renewable resource, but unless they are organic, they too can have a significant environmental impact. It is estimated that around 16% of all insecticides and 25% of pesticides globally are used in conventional cotton farming, and several of these chemicals are known carcinogens. Organic and rain-fed cotton offer alternatives which avoid or reduce these significant impacts. Similarly, organic wool ensures that livestock farming practices use land management techniques take care of the environment. Clothing certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are guaranteed to have met a high standard of environmental and social care in their farming and production.

Article credit: Tortoise and Lady Grey

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Eight Simple Steps to Eco

Eight Simple Steps to Eco

Happy Earth Day friends! Revered environmentalist Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

Here are 8 meaningful and easy to implement actions we can all incorporate into our day-to-day routines to be more sustainable:

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water and air dry them - they’ll last longer and you’ll save energy
  2. Watch/read an environmental documentary or a book every month
  3. Start a capsule wardrobe - a collection of a few clothing essentials that don't go out of style and are high quality so they last
  4. Drive less - walk, bike, take public transit, car pool, etc.
  5. Use natural and non-toxic cleaning products in your home
  6. Transition to cruelty-free beauty products
  7. Always use a reusable mug for coffee/tea and a BPA free bottle for water
  8. Try to buy from a local businesses before buying from Amazon

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Eating as If the Planet Mattered

Eating as If the Planet Mattered

You all know by now, food plays a huge role in the Loyale world. In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, we’re spotlighting Food Tank’s five high-impact actions each person can take to eat as if the planet mattered. Examining ways we can be more thoughtful about the way we approach food is great place to start being more eco-friendly and expressing love for the planet…

Tailor your portion sizes

A study by nutritionists found that pasta dish portions at popular U.S. take-out, fast-food, and family restaurants are almost five times bigger than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s recommended personal meal sizes. Taking extra food home from restaurants and using portion size guides can help you regain control of your meal sizes.

Waste less

Globally, 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted every year. This equals more than two tons (or 4,000 pounds) of food per hungry person every year. Eating all edible parts of fruits, vegetables, and meat, finding creative uses for food past its prime, and using food storage solutions are a few ways to waste less food.

Eat a more plant-based diet and refine your meat consumption

Even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can also help reduce each person's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 percent and food-related water footprint by up to 36 percent. When eating meat, refine your meat consumption and choose products from companies who are striving to be socially and environmentally responsible like Organic Valley and Niman Ranch.

Eat low on the marine food chain

Eating large, predatory fish at the top of the food chain, like tuna or cod, carries dramatically higher environmental impacts than eating fish that feed on plants, insects, or plankton, like tilapia or sardines. Seafood purchasing guides and trying sustainable seafood recipes can help reduce environmental impacts.

Eat forgotten and endangered foods

Diversifying your diet with new fruits and vegetables and eating natively grown foods are a couple ways to help preserve plant species that are resilient to climate change and other threats, including drought, insect pests, and diseases.

Photo credit: Brooke Lark

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