Esplanade Cleanup Day

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On Saturday the Esplanade Association invited members of its young professionals Council, employees at Bain Capital and an MIT Fraternity to participate in a cleanup day.  At least 50 people turned out to be directed by horticulturalist Ozzie Bateman to rake the leaves in front of the Hatch Shell which were hauled off to make compost.  With one-full time and one part-time employee managing the upkeep of the Esplanade, the park really relies on the 3,000 volunteers who lend a hand each year.

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Since yard work isn’t a regular activity for me I needed to purchase something suitable to wear, especially with temperatures in the 40s.  I found a sturdy pair of boots again from Timberland’s Earthkeeper’s line.  The Savin Hill Mid Boot has a lining made 100% from recycled bottles, a 15% recycled rubber sole and leather from a tannery certified for energy and water efficiency.

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I also tried a new pair a jeans from Big Star, a company headquartered in Los Angeles.  Many of their items are made in the USA and their jeans are processed using “ozone technology” which reduces water, chemical and energy usage.  Copious amounts of water are typically used to get the right color on jeans after having been dyed with indigo.  The technology employed by Big Star achieves the same result with less water and time.  Online eco-retailer Kaight sells the skinny Alex model in several colors.  These however are made in Mexico.

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To keep me warm I bought the Trail Model Fleece jacket from L.L. Bean made from Polartec-200, a material produced right here in Massachusetts from 85% recycled plastic bottles.  It is unfortunate that the fabric is then shipped to El Salvador for sewing before being shipped right back here.

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Boston Fashion Week: Oficio Fashion Bazaar

On Saturday a pop-up shop of local designers and sellers was hosted at the offices of Oficio, a company that leases temporary workspace from desks to offices.  The Fashion Bazaar was heavy on jewelry designers, the best of which I thought were:

A Touch of Couture (also repairs or redesigns old jewelry)
www.atouchofcouture.etsy.com
Medfield, MA
508-359-7297

Patricia Wellenkamp Jewelry
Joy Street Studios #24
86 Joy Street, Somerville, MA 02143
857-523-8233

Wendy Jo New Metal Designs (takes commissions)
www.wjnmetaldesigns.com
Winchester, MA
781-962-0282

Sarah Nehama Handmade Jewelry
www.sarafinjewelry.com
617-435-9747

Studio 600, Sasha Walsh Designs
www.sashawalsh.com
46 Waltham Street, Courtyard 600, Boston, MA

There were also a few artisans who specialize in revamping clothing and textiles, a good way to give new life to a beloved item that has seen better days.  This one takes custom orders:

Pat Curran/W.I.M. Whatever I Make
380 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
617-864-4236
patsymaecurran@yahoo.com

I spoke briefly to Eujin Kim Neilan of Uni-T about her fun shirts and accessories made from organic cotton and bamboo.  I loved the owl and ninja prints.  The items are made in China but she assured me that the factory in which they are made is certified with a U.S. organization for environmental and ethical practices.  She sells her items through an Etsy store and at the Natick Mall.  I bought the short-sleeve Ninja t-shirt in the color “dirty purple”.

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I also spoke with Allee Graziano representing Schuch Box which is a new company that aims to be a Birchbox-like monthly subscription service.  She caught my attention with the free sample of Magic Moon Soap, a relatively new Salem-based company using organic goat’s milk in their products.  She explained to me that Schuch box would like to include locally-made products in their boxes.  As I am looking for a way to kick my Birchbox habit, I went to the company website and signed up but I think they must have to contact you because there was no payment procedure or email confirmation.  Stay tuned.

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Boston Fashion Week: ICA First Fridays – Fall Fashion

As Boston Fashion Week starts to wrap up, I brought two of my colleagues to the Institute of Contemporary Art’s First Friday Event – a monthly event included in my membership – which was fashion-themed this month.  The lobby turns into a lounge where guests can turn in a drink ticket for a beer or cocktail from a sponsoring brand – this time it was Boston-based Harpoon – and mingle while checking out the changing lobby exhibition which is usually gargantuan in size.

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The galleries, café and gift shop are open during the entire event (no food or drink up in the galleries though).  After a quick tour of the new temporary exhibits (my friends were not impressed), we headed to the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater for the main event.  First there was a clip from the Artist Talk series with Proenza Schouler, which had taken place the week before, talking about how they got started in fashion.  Next, Boston Globe style columnist Christopher Muther gave a talk accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation about fall fashion trends.  Eh.

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After this was the “alternative” fashion show from Louis Boston.  The shades on the windows of the theater (which I didn’t even know were there) were raised opening up a 270˚ view of the harbor which was fantastic.  Out came seeming non-models to EDM who one-by-one walked aggressively/weirdly down the catwalk showing some edgy streetwear-type clothing.  I suppose the “alternative” part truly came when they all reappeared and broke into dance – and then we realized they were dancers rather than models and the way they had been previously walking now made sense with that context.

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It was alright but each segment of this presentation seemed unrelated so the audience was left looking at each other quizzically at the breaks.  Last year’s was better when they showed outfits with an MC who gave commentary.

My ensemble for the evening consisted of 3 used Ebay purchases and a recycled-materials hand bag. I paired DKNY camo skinny jeans with a raw-edged tweed Banana Republic blazer.

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For accessories, I wore the Cole Haan Sawyer short boots previously mentioned and the Francisca Pop Top Evening Bag by Escama Studios handmade from recycled aluminum can pull tabs by an artist cooperative in Brazil.

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Boston Fashion Week: Girls Night Out Eco-Fashion Show

On Thursday night, Davis Square eco-boutique What’s-Nü co-hosted a fashion show with online retailer Nancy’s Gone Green.  Brands highlighted included Ethos Paris, Lur, Echo Verde and Groceries.  What’s-Nü opened up last year and sells men’s and women’s clothing by independent designers that they partner with, along with select other eco-friendly brands.  Nancy’s Gone Green is run by a mother-daughter team and sells sustainable brands as well as vintage clothing.

The racks in the store were pushed aside to make a runway for the two models (apparently 3 others were no shows!) to show off mainly dresses and accessories for the small group of onlookers gathered.  Like the Sustainable Fashion Collaborative, the greatest utility I get out of such an event – besides friendly chatter with like-minded consumers – is picking up names of retailers and brands for the next time I go shopping.  (Apologize for the quality of photos – forgot my usual camera and had to make due with my phone’s bad camera.)

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