How to Pimp this Look (and still feel good about it!)

As trends begin to emerge from the fall season from runway looks to streetwear and everything in between, one thing has become clear...this year is a Pimper's Paradise. This fall we have seen an explosion of color, animal prints, and fur. Step into just about any clothing store and you can expect to see this 70"s inspired, glammed out, look that has summoned Eton John back onto his tour bus.

I actually love this trend but I wrestle with the potential aftermath of indulging in trends that are on the verge of becoming fads. I dread the day that I will wake up from my pimping induced coma and ask myself, "what was I thinking?" "did I really just do that?"

These fashion hangovers of late don't just cause pain to my wallet and psyche but they are also proving harmful to the planet. After all, faux fur is actually made from plastic and scientists estimate that those "cruelty-free faux furs" that are manufactured in sweat shops across the globe can take roughly 500-1000 years to decompose ...that's a long time to recover from a flash in the pan trend.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that the solution to curing America's changing fashion obsession is to retreat into a uniform of beige and brown shape-less clothing. Nor am I going to argue that we all need to put on our star trek uniforms and shirk off "fashion" altogether.

After all, I love fashion for it's ability to express ALL things culturally, seasonally, politically, and emotionally. So in short, if I really want to be able to pimp this look I'm going to need to find a way to feel good about it.

Fortunately as designer I've had the pleasure of getting to know many like-minded individuals and research brands who (like me) are trying to provide solutions toward a more ethical (yet still exciting) fashion system.

So without further ado.... here is my game plan for becoming an ethical pimp this year.

Wait...Is there even such a thing???

Loopy Mango - I discovered this sweater line through a local boutique (Shop Exhibit) where owner Mari-Rose travels the globe in search of artisan made goods. These chunky knits remind me of another sweater line, Gold Freckles that I have been following on instagram. Both of these sweater lines are made by hand using natural (biodegradable) materials and are a great alternative to faux fur jackets since you'll still get the amazing shape and color without the polyester (aka plastic).

KJ Made - Kristin Joynt is a local Chicago shoe maker that crafts all of her shoes by hand. To say that I am obsessed with her shoes would be an understatement.

Each pair takes her about a day to make as she pours her heart, art, and soul into each shoe. What I love about these shoes is the classic, timeless, trend-proof design.

Named the Jimi - this Jimi Hendrix inspired cap from Janessa Leone is made from Vegetable Tanned Suede that does not use any synthetic chemicals in the tanning process and is hand made in Italy.

Prime Cut Bags - With a desire to create something truly unique and a passion for creating, Prime cut creates stunning accessories full of color and fur! These bags are made from secondary products of the agricultural industry. No animals were raised just for their skins.

Everlane - If you have not become familiar with Everlane yet, now is the time. Everlane is a great alternative to the GAP and JCrew of the past. Everlane is larger brand, so while they focus primarily on basics, yet they are committed to transparency of the overseas factories they employ. They are also committed to becoming plastic free by 2021.

Mother Denim - the hype is real. I recently picked up a pair of these Made in LA jeans while dropping off a few jackets at Cinnamon boutique and I have not taken them off since. (That was 5 days ago...) These jeans feel and look amazing. You will definitely get your money's worth and as you support Made in the USA goods.

Lastly, all any good pimp really wants is to be noticed right? Check out the Vermillion Draped Moto crafted from Italian wool and Made in the USA.

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