Where I Start Caring // Seamly.co

October 17, 2013

I’m not crazy into clothes shopping. When I have extra money to burn I’ll buy supplies, like beads, yarn and fabric, or shoes. I do, however, shop at big box stores like GAP and H&M for cheap staples and trendier items. I’m not going to say big is bad because that’s not always the case, but I am realizing that my purchases directly affect a lot of people. Who’s benefiting when I buy a J.Crew tee? Who am I hurting? How is it manufactured and how long will it hold up?

There are a few makers and doers I’ve met recently who care and it’s rubbing off on me. Some care enough about these questions that their entire business is built on sustainability in fashion. One in particular is Kristen Glenn of Seamly.co. When Kristin needed help with some photos I enthusiastically said yes! Her clothes are what I actually wear. The leggings especially! Modeling leggings is kind of terrifying, but after lots of laughs and direction from Kristin I think they turned out pretty great!

seamly.co leggings

hamming it up!

denim seamly.co leggings

I know most of you sew, but if leggings aren’t on your list of things to make this season or if you just want some extra pairs, I can’t recommend these enough. They’re super soft and comfortable. I especially love the high waistband and unbelievable price: $34. For handmade, eco-friendly, kick-ass leggings. Yeah.

Her other pieces focus on versatility. The Versalette can be worn 30 ways and comes in a super soft, black knit fabric. I also tried on her dresses. The Jenny can be worn long or short and the 5-Ways Maxi is next on my wishlist. I can see myself wearing it daily all summer long.

five-ways maxi

jenny dress

all photos via seamly.co

What I’ve learned is that I like having a warm feeling after shopping. I like having that personal connection and a good story behind the brand. And I think Kristin is a badass and I love what she’s doing. I’m honored and flattered to be all over her site! Read her blog and story when you get a minute. I think you’ll really like her too.

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On a somewhat related note – I’ve never really thrifted and I look hilarious in vintage anything, but I’ve started shopping at secondhand stores. Dudes. I found Frye’s for sooo cheap, designer jeans (I CAN’T HELP IT) and other goodies for ridiculous deals. It’s this liberating underworld that I’ve been completely unaware of until now. Any other savvy shoppers out there?? What and where are some of your best finds?

21 comments

  • Eva

    Wow these pictures are really lovely, both you and the clothes shine.

    On second-hand finds: I love Etsy for new-old-stock shoes! I have had great luck buying pumps, sneakers and sandals, and even suede lace-up bootees for winter. The best part: these are unworn, as new, old-fashioned quality and a fraction of what I’d pay in stores. One of my favourite stores on Etsy for shoes is OldBaltimoreVintage.

  • crab&bee

    Whoo, good for you – both for doing an amazing job modeling and doing some thrifty shopping! I love love love thrifting and until I started sewing, thrifted stuff formed the vast majority of my wardrobe. I like the Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange stores for jeans and sometimes shoes, and out-of-the-way Goodwills for vintage stuff. Happy thrifting!

    • stephanie

      Yay! Thanks so much. Buffalo Exchange is where I scored pretty big the other day. I went back and found more clothes that I wanted, but had to remind myself not to go overboard. I do not need fifteen pairs of jeans. I need like two. It’s easy to go crazy in there. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Andrea

    Those pictures are so nice and you look lovely in those fab clothes. I’ll be checking out Kristin’s site. As for second had shops, I wish I could but I simply don’t have the patience! Give me colour coordinated, in order of size piles of clothes to look through otherwise I run out of the store like a bat out of hell. I guess I’m way too anal retentive, despite the lure of affordable Frye’s!

    • stephanie

      Ha ha haaa!! Omg, me too, Andrea, me too. It’s definitely a different process and I sifted through tons of junk to find my gems. I can’t do it all of the time, but I’m definitely more open to it now. I loooove shopping online and I think it’s because it’s so easy to see colors and sizes.

  • Sara

    beautiful photos! i have come to hate clothes shopping. sadly i don’t have time to sew clothes anymore but i’ve decided if i need anything i’m just going to hit up thrift stores from now on except for staples like underwear and shoes.

  • Amanda

    These are exactly the type of clothes I buy too, when I actually buy clothes anymore – as I primarily sew for the purpose of good fit, it seems silly to use my time to make a basic t-shirt or leggings when I could be making a perfectly fitted dress, jacket, or cardigan. That said, I do prefer to give my business to those who deserve it, so thanks for the shout out to Seamly – I’ll be checking them out! :)

    • stephanie

      Oh good! I totally agree. I mean, I sew basics, but I buy them too and the chance to buy them from a small, sustainable company is as good as it gets!

  • Kelly

    Wow, very cool! You look beautiful and I love the clothes, I just had a look at the website. I made a pledge for New Years to not buy any clothes this year and I have stuck with it, but if/when I buy clothes again this is what I would look for! I have no appetite for cheap mass produced clothing anymore. I recently ordered some shoes and they were standard made in China crapola, when they showed up I couldn’t do it and sent them back…I ended up getting some on sale from my fav shoe company, Neuaura- their shoes are made in a sustainable factory in the mountains of Brazil! They are a little pricey but if you find them on sale they are not bad :)

    • stephanie

      Awh, thank-you! Yeah, I’m slowly changing my ways. Honestly, shoes would be the hardest change for me. I love them so much. I should research my favorite brands to see how they’re manufactured. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • sallie

    You look gorgeous! I think it’s really wonderful to support small, sustainability-minded businesses whenever and however I can. It’s definitely not the reason I got into sewing, but it is something I’ve become more mindful of the longer I’ve been at it. Love these leggings. For some reason leggings are up there with underwear for me – I know I CAN make them, but I kinda just don’t want to!! Ha! Perhaps I’ll treat myself to some of these this winter…

    • stephanie

      Thank-you! Yes, yes – me too! I’m far more conscious of it now and really like supporting small businesses. Ha ha, I’m kind of the same way, but I want to make a few pairs of knock-off ponte J.Crew pants.

  • Ginger

    I love the photos! You look cute as can be! Thanks for sharing about Seamly– it sounds like such a cool company!

  • liza jane

    Nice! I need new leggings but have no desire to make them. Going to check it out…

  • Sara

    So pretty! Your hair is just fabulous. My biggest thing when it comes to shopping are jeans and shoes, though I buy most of my shoes from Fluevog (seriously, like 3/4 of my shoes are by him). I think they’re made in Brooklyn but I can’t promise that at all. But they’re seriously good quality in my experience. I have one pair I’ve had since I was 16 (which means 8 years!) Jeans are my biggest one though. I made the mistake of trying on Madewell’s new revised jeans and then bought two pairs. Made in China and everything, but it’s so hard to find ones that fit I act like they’re the last jeans on earth when I find them

  • Alex

    Firstly you look fab in those leggings! Unfortunately Seamly don’t ship internationally so no luck for me…but I applaud what they are doing. The recent news of a fatal garment fire in Bangladesh highlighted the terrible conditions people are placed in to create cheap fashion for us. I agree we have a responsibility as consumers to vote with our wallets and tell big retailers we won’t stand for clothes that have been produced in such conditions. I would happily pay more if it meant decent pay and conditions for these workers.

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