Sustainable Athleisure Brands Worth Lounging Around In

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First things first, this is not an "activewear" round up. I am not, nor will I ever be, athletic. Sticking to a consistent workout routine has never been my strong suit, however I love my at home yoga routine and walking with my girls (or, you know, chasing them around all day) is as close to a gym session as I get these days.

Although there are a plethora of ethical brands that can withstand a gym session or a marathon, this round up is intentionally titled Athleisure for a reason - these are the brands that make me feel like relaxing after a good yoga session. They're the pieces I want to slip into for a self-care day at home, or a movie date with the hubby. They're the softest, stretchiest, comfiest, most versatile basics out there and I think every ethical closet needs a few pieces that make everything from lounging to yoga to girl time that much better. 


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PirateFlo

With versatility and "real life" in mind, Efrat, a mom of two boys, avid yoga lover, artist and real mom who needed clothes to go from yoga to playground, designed her line at PirateFlo for the everyday woman. Her pieces, like this rust Catvaari Crop Top, can be worn multiple ways. I picture this top paired with leggings for yoga class, and transitioning to high-waisted shorts, or a boho maxi skirt for a summer concert. Similarly, her Neva Pants are meant to be a breezy and unique alternative to traditional yoga pants. All of PirateFlo's pieces are made with sustainable materials, primarily modal and cotton. 

Similarly, her EKA Leotard can double as a layering piece, or a separate for yoga class. 


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MiaKoda

One of my long-time brand crushes that I recently got to test out for myself, MiaKoda is an NYC based brand that is the epitome of sustainability and transparency. You'll read much more about them soon on SL&Co, but for now, know that their pieces are perfect for, you guessed it, literally everything.  

 


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Encircled

You've no doubt heard of them before, but Encircled is one of my favorite Canadian brands that I've worked with before and never get sick of promoting. They design their pieces to transition from work, to the airport, to yoga class, and everywhere in between. 


Not your leisure-style? Check out these other noteworthy mentions: 

Check out The List for even more options!

Shopping ethically for activewear is one thing, but what about the clothes you want to spend the day in? These "Athleisure" brands will be your new go-to's from yoga to girls' night.

**This post is sponsored by PirateFlo. Thank you for supporting the incredible brands that make this blog possible!**

How to Be Patient With Yourself on Your Sustainable Living Journey

**This piece is a guest post from Emily Folk, the editor of Conservation Folks. See below for her full bio!**


You may be familiar with the age-old expression that patience is a virtue, but that doesn't make achieving it any more desirable or easy. When it comes to altering your life drastically by
embarking on a sustainable journey, you may find that your patience is even more outside the
realm of possibilities. Yet you still want to meet your goals, but you don't seem to have the
restraint or reliance to get there, so what are you supposed to do?


While achieving patience may seem impossible, it's simple to overpower any lack of restraint with
a determined mindset fixated on fulfilling your goals at hand. Whether your goal is to reduce
your environmental footprint or to improve your everyday level of sustainability, you'll find that a
little bit of self-control, grit, and driven power can go a long way.

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Kickstart your journey by taking a look at our five simple steps towards maintaining a positive
mindset and patience on your goal towards a more sustainable future below.

1. Reframe Your Focus

When you reevaluate your life values and goals, it’s important to start off your newfound journey
by establishing what truly matters.


The most crucial piece of advice to take when learning patience is to focus on the positive and
what’s within your realm of influence and control. You can’t immediately eliminate your financial
debt, but you can choose to focus on reducing your everyday spending and waste production.
Instead of trying to master unobtainable acts such as perfectionism or forgoing shopping entirely,
reshape your daily focuses to prioritize more straightforward actions that are much more feasible.
When you vow to commit to smaller, less extreme acts, you'll find yourself achieving even higher
results in the long run.

2. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Sometimes, it takes a bit of effort and time to obtain our goals — sustainable living included. You
may make some mistakes along the way and it’s important to realize that your dedication will one
day pay off.


Did you know that forming a habit requires a few weeks? Scientists estimate that a habit is
formed after roughly 21 days of continuous willpower and efforts to be exact. And that’s only an
approximation — changing your lifestyle toward complete sustainable living may take even
longer.


The best part about venturing on your new life journey is knowing that others are in the same
boat as you and there's no rush to meet your daily goals along the way. Whether it takes a few
days or months, remember to pace yourself and realize that even the most significant things in
life take a little bit of time.

3. Be Comfortable With Saying No (When Necessary)

Sometimes, it isn’t always easy to say no — especially when you’re used to saying yes. But one
of the most important parts of living sustainably is learning to say no to the products and junk
that cause unnecessary clutter in your life.

The next time you're in the market for a new product, ask yourself if you need that latest gadget
or appliance. You'll find that the answer is likely no — and learning to say no may just be the key
to leading the sustainable life you hope to achieve.

4. Be Grateful for What You Have

You don’t have to go to the store or surf the internet for a brand new product to receive
something new. In fact, we're betting you have something laying around in your house at this
very moment that could provide you with a fresh and different product — through a bit of
repurposing, of course.


When it comes to sustainable living and being grateful for the possessions you already own, take
a note from the Amish community. The Amish, known for living a slower lifestyle than many
people today, also live a far more sustainable lifestyle.


Part of how the Amish live so sustainably is achieved through intelligently managing their
finances and possessions. The Amish cultivate a sustainable lifestyle by repurposing the materials
they already have and making the most out of the goods and materials currently in their home.
Repurposing also requires a lot less energy than working, shopping, and indulging in more goods.
Pace yourself and make an evening of transforming something old in your home into a new and
refreshing product — you may just find yourself enjoying the relaxation and picking up a new
hobby, too.

5. Reward Yourself Along the Way

Putting too much pressure on yourself to succeed or obtain your goals can drain you — both
physically and mentally. That’s why it’s so important to congratulate yourself for your dedicated
efforts and to reward yourself along the way on your sustainable living journey.


Research studies show that we’re much more likely to see an act through to fruition when we
have an incentive — such as a reward — pushing us toward achievement. A little bit of positive
reinforcement can cause a wave of impact on your resulting decisions and actions.


If you find, for instance, that you’ve met your goal to cut back on water and electricity usage for
the month, consider rewarding yourself with your favorite meal or dish. Once you achieve any
goals you’ve established, it’s important to pat yourself on the back as you work toward a more
sustainable future.


Plus, your newfound dedication to sustainable living will become apparent in your everyday
lifestyle and decisions — an incentive we’d say is a reward in and of itself.


In the end, it’s crucial to take a moment to reflect on your future life journey. Take a deep
breath, focus on your goals, and push forward toward sustainability. The most important thing to
remember that the process is a part of the journey — so pace yourself along the way.


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About the author: 

 

 

Emily is a sustainability writer interested in finding new ways to reduce her footprint and be kind to the earth. She is also the editor of Conservation Folks, and you can find her latest updates on Twitter.

Introducing THOM KELLY || Meet the Founder

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One of the strangest (and most fun) aspects of this blogging gig is the way I form connections to people and their brands, without ever meeting them in person or trying their product. Today's interview bloomed out of a relationship just like that. 

 
I've been following along with THOM KELLY's journey for longer than I can remember, before they had a physical product or even the finalized designs for one. I remember being so intrigued by the concept of an ethical, high quality plaid shirt and knew I had to watch their journey unfold. As time went on, I connected with Megan, the one-woman-show behind Thom Kelly, and (probably too often) let her know how excited I was for her brand's launch. 

Despite the many road blocks that come with launching a USA-made, eco-friendly company, Thom Kelly launched their first collection of plaid shirts at the end of last year and is waiting for their first production run next month. It's an honor to give you a behind the scenes peek into this incredible brand (seriously, I think you'll be impressed. They're one of the very few who make ethics a priority in every area). 

Over the next few months, you'll be hearing more about them, but for now, meet Megan and her sustainable-dream-project, THOM KELLY: 


What inspired you to create THOM KELLY? Tell us a little bit of the story behind your brand!

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I can remember very vividly the day this idea got sparked. My husband and supporter in this
venture (Ryne) came home from work one day and started talking about something he read
about sustainable clothing. I had never heard of sustainable clothing before, so I think my exact
words were “what are you even talking about?” So, that next morning I started my Google
search and the rest is history. I quickly became obsessed with educating myself about the world
sustainable clothing.


Like many, I was doing my part to help the environment and my health by reselling my clothing, eating all the right things, recycling, and staying away from toxic products. As I started to learn more about the devastating impact of the fast fashion industry, I couldn’t believe I had never
given much thought about the clothes on my back.


I wanted to start purchasing more responsible clothing, but through my search I couldn’t find a
lot that fit our everyday style. So instead of settling, I decided to create my own. When I ran this
idea by Ryne he was immediately along for the ride and never questioned how it could be done
even though we had absolutely no fashion experience.


We needed a product to sell and I wanted it to be something he and I would wear all the time. I
looked at our closet one day and took a quick inventory of the clothing. There was plaid, and a
lot of it. This was the moment a light bulb went off in my head. In our efforts to find more
responsible clothing we could not find a lot that we could picture ourselves wearing, so it was
obvious a plaid shirt would help fill this void.

Is there a story behind the name?

Coming up with a name was challenging because it needed to be gender neutral since we
planned to sell both men’s and women’s shirts. I made long lists of names that gave nod to our
eco-minded mission or plaid, but they all felt forced and none really stuck out. I finally gave up
on this idea and decided to keep it personal. THOM KELLY is a mix of our names. When I first
said it out loud we both knew it felt right. It’s nothing clever or fancy, it's just us. We also decided
to name the first collection of shirts after our two dogs, Sawyer & Axel.

I've been following your brand's launch for so long (yay!) and loved seeing the behind the scenes you shared along the way. What was one of the hardest parts you dealt with in building your brand ethically?

Oh gosh, there have been many hurdles during this journey to build an ethical brand! Aside from
it being more costly and time-consuming, I’d definitely say our fabric was the hardest piece. We have been committed to using eco-friendly materials since day one and when I decided to create plaid shirts, little did I know how hard it would be to find eco-friendly plaid fabric. I started contacting every fabric supplier I could find asking for their eco-friendly plaid samples.

The eco-friendly plaid that already existed was very, very slim pickings and none of colors and
patterns fit our vision. We either needed to scratch the plaid idea or come up with a solution. We went the solution route and decided to create our own plaid fabric from scratch.

Easier said than done for a one women show who has no fashion background, but I was determined and love a good challenge. After a lot of learning, many fabric samples, and even more mistakes, the custom fabric was finally created. The fabric was woven specifically for us using the patterns we designed, the colors of our choice, and the yarn we selected. It has been amazing and so rewarding to see our plaid designs on a computer screen turn into real fabric that we now wear around in our daily life.

What does THOM KELLY do differently than other plaid shirt brands out there?

Some brands use eco-friendly fabric, some make their shirts in the USA, some create custom
fabric, and some give back, but we haven’t found a brand yet that does all those things. That's
where we come in. Our plaid shirts are made in the USA, the fabric is custom designed, we give
back a portion of sales, and we use all eco-friendly materials.


We also are a little biased toward the fit of our shirts. There was always something a little off
with the plaid shirts in our closet (like sleeves being too short, or not enough buttons to help with
gaping) so we ended up not wearing them much. We set out to fix these issues and created
shirts we truly feel comfortable wearing every day.

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Where do you see your brand in two years?

In two years I’d like to still be focusing on our core product (plaid shirts), but with more designs
and styles. Eventually, I would like to expand into other items, but right now I am anxious to get
more plaid styles made! I really love creating the one-of-a-kind designs.


We are committed to giving back a portion of each purchase to environmental non-profits as
part of our 1% for the Planet membership, and I would love to expand more around this mission
and be able to give a sizable contribution in two years.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee all the way! My daily dose usually comes from the same pot reheated about 4 times
throughout the day.

And just for fun, what is something that most people don't know about you?

I’m a new mom! I was pregnant during much of the time I spent building the brand, then when
we officially launched our website I had a 4 month old (which also explains the re-heating of
coffee multiple times a day).


Stay tuned for more on THOM KELLY next month, but for now, don't forget to follow along with their inspiring brand on Instagram and pre-order a plaid shirt for you (or your man)! 


*This post was sponsored by THOM KELLY as part of an ongoing Ambassador partnership. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this site running!*

6 Simple Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Life, Even When You're Unmotivated

6 Simple Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Life, Even When You're Unmotivated

I'll be completely honest: ever since we moved, I've found it incredibly difficult to prioritize sustainability in my day to day life. The act of moving to a new home is such a wasteful process in itself (the endless boxes and bubble wrap and back and forth and throwing away) that I essentially tossed the mindset, giving myself a bit of (necessary) grace until we slowly settled in our new home. 

But how long does said "grace period" last? It's been nearly three months and although we're technically "settled," my mindset about my daily habits hasn't shifted much. If I'm being totally honest (which I like to be, mostly) I'm feeling abnormally unmotivated to put in the work it takes to downsize waste and live consciously. I feel like I'm in a bit of an "eco-slump" when it comes to things like recycling, plastic elimination, and everything else it takes to live sustainably.  

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SixChel || Celebrating The Launch of the Capsule Collection

SixChel || Celebrating The Launch of the Capsule Collection

You all know how much I love a good brand launch and today I have the honor of introducing a brand new sustainable and ethical brand founded by Dina Chavez, an (ex-fast fashion brand owner and) fashion designer with deep roots in the fashion industry who is passionate about making fashion more transparent, ethical, and planet-friendly. 

SixChel, launched their kickstarter campaign TODAY and the first collection features elevated basics that are perfect for everyday wear, paired with items you already know and love. Dina uses sustainable, eco-friendly, and biodegradable materials for her pieces to create clothing that is both feminine and cutting-edge. 

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