My Biotiful Bag

I love canvas bags.

Handbags, beach bags, grocery bags, you name it.  And if the bag is made from 100% organic cotton, I go a little bit crazy for it.

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Ragnhild Greve-Isdahl, one of the founders of the My Biotiful Bag brand–aka my new favorite canvas bag supplier.  My Biotiful Bag (pronounced either beautiful or bio-tiful) is a line of consciously produced, GOTS certified organic cotton canvas bags that come in a bevy of colors and styles.  I first learned of the brand when I attended the MIA Green Conference & Expo last month, at which Isdahl had a booth set up.  It was there that I purchased my own Biotiful Bag, and ever since I have been carrying my green portfolio around practically everywhere.

(I added a little felt & bead leaf to personalize my bag : )

The line was founded in Paris by Isdahl and her business partner and friend, Colette Guigue, in early 2010, and it has already seen immense success both in Europe and the states.  Isdahl told me that the concept for My Biotiful Bag “Started with our desire to create a fashion brand that was sustainable.  A brand with a vocation to give back and raise awareness for the environment [and] the organic cotton industry.” Such statements are becoming more common with the ever-growing Green trend, yet not too often are those statements backed up by someone with a true passion to their commitment.  Isdahl is one of those rare individuals who possess a healthy balance of wit, wisdom, honesty, and unmistakable passion, and when she speaks those qualities radiate from within her.  I think that was the main pull for me towards this brand–the thoroughly refreshing lack of BS.  These two women are out to create well-made, beautiful, versatile bags for people who care about how and where the products they buy are made.  People who care, period.

Which brings me to the question I always, always ask when I look at a new garment or accessory to purchase:  Where was it made? Usually I avoid items that were manufactured in China, and try to buy things made in the USA whenever I can.   My Biotiful Bags are in fact manufactured in China, but when I asked Isdahl about the reasons, she didn’t shy away or try to change the subject.  In fact, she gave me a completely straight-forward answer:  “We made the conscious choice to start producing in China because that is where we have cultivated 25 years [of] experience and key relationships with our two main partners in the industry.  The suppliers are regularly audited and conform to all local labor laws on working conditions and safety, prohibit child labor, allow unions and do not discriminate.  We are committed to the best quality, [and] our Chinese partners can guarantee and surpass our quality controls.”

So there you have it.  A brand with eco-awareness, style, function, and sincerity– a brilliant mix of all the right ingredients.


 

*Last two photos from My Biotiful Bag website*

Green Day

I nearly forgot about St. Patty today!

It wasn’t until I walked down to the corner store an hour ago that I realized it… when I saw a troupe of jolly (Re:  tipsy) spring breakers all sporting kelly green T-shirts and various other green accessories.  SO… a little list of “green” green things in honor of the day.  : D

♣     ♣     ♣     ♣     ♣

 

images from Lonely Dinosaur website

 

Clever T-shirt from Lonely Dinosaur

“100% USA-grown Organic Cotton, and the shirts themselves are stitched, designed, and printed in the United States.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image from West Elm website

I really love this 100% GOTS certified organic bedding from West Elm! Color shown is Cactus.  (230 thread count, oh heaven.)

 

 

image from Jam website

Ever since I discovered Jam Paper & Envelope in New York City a few years back, it has been my favourite source for gorgeous paper and envelopes.  Yes, I said gorgeous.  I like paper.  A lot.   And these Green Recycled Brite Hue Envelopes are no exception!

 

 

image from "aplacefortwiggs" shop on Etsy

I am a HUGE lover of Etsy, and I have written about the great online handmade/vintage goods store several times before on this blog.  This rather green fine art photograph struck me as both lovely and friendly (Beetles are such affable looking cars, aren’t they?)

(this piece, named “Mrs. Olive Green”, can be found in aplacefortwiggs shop on Etsy)

 

image from Neverland Jewelry's store on Etsy

 

What is St. Patrick’s Day without shamrocks?

Sweet handmade four leaf clover necklace from Neverland Jewelry’s store on Etsy.

Uncorporate Tees

Spotted on Springwise:  These T-shirts look comfy and quirky at once, with great cuts and real knots at the neck which make for a lovely trompe l’oeil effect.  On top of that, they are made made in the USA using organic cotton (which is grown in the USA!)  Americans can still make good stuff.

image from Formalitees.com

from the Formalitees website:

“The Tie Tee was invented by Bjorn Borstelmann and Kelley Sharp, two twenty-somethings who’re sick of the wastefulness of business as usual.

The Tie Tee combines the casual comfort of a sustainably produced T-shirt with the timeless icon of a necktie, creating a new symbol of professionalism – one that’s as substantial as the symbol of servitude it replaces is shallow.”

www.formalitees.com

Wear My Umbrella

umbrella skirt1

Italian lady Cecelia Felli sees more than just protection from the elements when she looks at an umbrella.

“Some time ago, around home I found this umbrella, very pretty, but broken.  So I saved both the handles and the fabric too, because I was sorry to throw them in the garbage.  Looking at the umbrella fabric and shape, I noticed that there was a similarity in shape with a skirt.  This is how I got the inspiration! Since I was young, in my family I’ve been used to reusing objects, not to trash them if it wasn’t necessary.”

Felli’s umbrella skirts are not only pretty and inventive, but they are entirely reclaimed from the fabric of old umbrellas.  They are also one-size-fits-many, with an adjustable piece of fabric at the waste, and their inherent design makes them perfectly suited for a feminine twirl.

“In design I like the use of natural elements in the everyday life’s objects…the transformable products, the artisan way to work and project. I like also the iconic, ironic, amusing design. I’m a very curious person, determinated, essential, coherent, respectful.”

Cecelia currently makes these skirts by hand, one by one, but hopes to produce them on a larger scale in the near future.  You can purchase one here!

umbrella2

umbrella3

Etsy – Handmade Fabulousness

“Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.  Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:  Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.”

Oh my Etsy, Oh my dream! If you have been looking for a place to find fabulous original and vintage items, this is the place to go.   Pretty dresses, custom screen print tees, gorgeous jewelry, accessories galore, kids clothing, yards of organic fabric, original art, and Vintage of every type–Etsy has it ALL, in every size and style imaginable.  And the best thing is, everything on Etsy is either hand-made or vintage, so all the items offered are both unique and inherently eco-friendly (no mass production here!)

DalenaVintage on Etsy

DalenaVintage on Etsy

Etsy is the brainchild of a foursome by the names of:  Rob Kalin, Chris Maquire, Haim Schoppik, and Jared Tarbell.  It was founded back in June 2005, and currently claims to have sellers numbering in the hundreds of thousands, ranging from over 150 countries.

I know where I’m doing my Christmas shopping!

Some of my favorite Etsy items…

KiosKiosk – Promoting Small Biz

Kiosk2

In a cookie-cutter world of retail, the pioneering pop-up shop KiosKiosk is out to break the mold.

British designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway came up with the idea of KiosKiosk as a way to house the goods of blossoming designers on the cheap.  Prices for retail space tend to be rather high (sometimes outrageous) in major metropolitan areas such as London, where the sleek KiosKiosk was launched.

For two months this summer the little shop was placed in front of the London City Hall, with support from the Mayor of London and the London Sustainable Development Commission’s London Leaders program.  Offering rent-free space for individuals with creative products to sell, (such as art, fashion, ceramics)  it gives up-and-coming designers a “step up on the ladder to success”.

Not only is it adorable and quite stylish in and of itself, but there are a variety of different materials available to customize the exterior and interior to the liking of the inhabitant.

kiosk3

I’ll be on the lookout if this brilliant project takes wings and flies on over to U.S. shores!

image via Londonist.com

image via Londonist.com

image via Londonist.com

image via Londonist.com

image via Londonist.com

image via Londonist.com

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Fun website too!

The KiosKiosk is currently “on tour” in Nottingham, UK

Shoes from the Tubes of London

Look out Chuck Taylor,  there’s a new sneaker on the block, and it believes in recycling… with style:  Above + Below London.

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Metropolitan Line

"Metropolitan Line"

These kicks are made from 100% reclaimed materials, primarily cut from the covers of old London Underground (aka, the Tube) and London Bus seats.  The leather trim is 100% recycled or repurposed leather and the rubber sole is from old tires!  What about production, you say?  Above + Below doesn’t believe in low wage labor and unfair trade, so their up-cycled trainers are made in Europe, sweatshop-free.

The project of reclaiming these seat covers started 10 years ago, lead by Robert Taylor, a Central Saint Martin’s grad, and film maker Caroline Read.  They saw the value of rescuing these iconic materials, dating from the 50’s to the 90’s, from a one way trip to the landfill, and created a new product with a lot of character (and quite a history!).

Bright, vibrant, well-made  shoes with an eco-concious design… Brilliant use of ingenuity!

Want a pair for yourself?  You can buy here

"British Rail"

"British Rail"

Before they were shoes!

Before they were shoes!

"District Line"

"District Line"

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