Decluttering, Organizing, and Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Decluttering, Organizing, and Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

I don’t know about you, but when it’s time to clean out my closet it’s definitely something I tend to put off for as long as I can. But even so, it’s something that I make sure I do yearly. So with the new year upon us, I decided to declutter and organize my closet. Here are some of my tips!

Keep, toss, donate: This is hands down the hardest part of decluttering. And I don’t mean figuring out what to keep. I have a really hard time letting go of items even if I haven’t worn them once in the last year. There is always the “what if” going through my mind with scenarios for when those items could be worn. What if it comes back in style? What if I go to wear it and then remember I threw it away as if it meant nothing to me? What if my future child gets mad at me because it would be the perfect vintage piece for them? But let’s face it, none of that is gonna happen. So my rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn an item once in the last 12 months, then it’s time to part ways.


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  sticks+stone  Founder + Designer, Jacky Stickler

sticks+stone Founder + Designer, Jacky Stickler

There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness. - Mahatma Ghandi

Sustainable fashion is such a marvel of the world. You can see it everywhere and not even know it. I think it was the highly revered civil rights activist, Rosa Parks who said, "Each person must live their life as a model for others." What would the world be like if everyone actively felt and thought this way? As American designer Anne Klein reminds us, "Clothes aren't going to change the world, but the women (and men) who wear them, will."

 sticks+stone Founder + Designer, Jacky Stickler

sticks+stone Founder + Designer, Jacky Stickler

What you wear matters. What you buy matters even more. Amazing women such as the Australian Queensland native, Jacky Stickler,  whom in 2016 founded sticks+stone, reminds us of this. sticks+stone, is an ethical fashion brand for women who care about the planet, and want to look stylish doing so. Jacky is currently planning two runway shows and the impending release of her second collection. FYI: all sticks+stone products are crafted in local Australian production houses by skilled machinists. Interested in learning more? Read my interview with Jacky below. 


Jacky Stickler

Founder + Designer @ sticks+stone

Kelly: Did you ever deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Jacky: I did early on, but I feel like that is a natural settling in period. I left a ‘good corporate job’ that had a promising career path & security, so to be honest it took me a little while to be 100% sure about my new entrepreneurial persuits! So it’s only natural that those close to me would feel the same. My family are now my biggest supporters! My mum has actually started a little blog on Instagram called @randomactsofsustainability after being inspired by our story. Thats the best part, when you can impact those around you to make positive change - that’s what it’s all about!

Kindred Heart - 'Concrete Jungle' Organic Cotton Jumpsuit 3.jpg

KM: What was sticks+stone's original mission? How has that mission evolved in the time since?

JS: Originally we started up to influence people to buy ethical & sustainable fashion over fast fashion, but now it is so much more than that! For every initiative that we undertake, we have 3 clear goals; educate, influence & inspire. This is all about not just trying to get people to buy something sustainable & ethical, but educating them on why it’s so important & connecting with them to help them identify whats important to them, then inspiring them to take action in their own way. We aim to undertake initiatives & communicate across a broad range of topics, with fashion as our core.

KM: Do you prefer to pursue funding or build organically, and why?

JS: We prefer to build organically. Whilst this can be tricky, especially due to the cost involved in making things ethically with sustainable materials, we feel that this gives us the freedom to be true to ourselves & consistently authentic with our customers. We have sole ownership over the direction, decisions & communications for the label, so we can keep it real!

Kindred Heart - 'City of Angels' Organic Cotton Pinafore Dress 2.jpg

a label you can trust 

KM: Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out?

JS: We like to run our own race. Our vision in to create things of enduring value for better social & environmental outcomes. We think that the more people that are talking about sustainable & ethical practices, the better. Ultimately this is a people power movement, it will be a collective effort & the voice of many is much louder than the voice of one.

KM: What do you look for in a business partner? 

JS: Someone who shares similar goals & values. I recently collaborated with a very talented local textile designer; Lauren Malone, from @TheIndigoRoom. The collaboration was a dream, because we share similar vision & values in relation to social & environmental goals. We created a beautiful bespoke hand painted print for our feature item from the new collection, the ‘We Are Kin’ Co-Ord. The feature - motif tells the story of how the clothes were crafted with each hand painted element representing an artisans role in the process. From the farmer who harvested the organic cotton, to the designer who sketched the silhouette & the seamstress who sewed each stitch. More information on the collaboration can be found on our website.

KM: Why did you name your brand, “sticks+stone?” Why do you feel your brand differs from other ethical fashion brands?

JS: sticks+stone references the simplistic & natural approach that we take to everything that we do within the label, including our sustainable & zero waste, environmentally friendly practices. It also carries a cheeky little nod to the old saying ‘sticks + stones may break my bones but words with never hurt me’ which also pays homage to the spirit of the sticks + stone girl, who forges her path of choice with passion, irrespective of challenges. You do you girl!


FOLLOW JACKY!              @sticks+stone

Sutton + Grove | Conscious State of Mind

 Jill, Sutton + Grove

Jill, Sutton + Grove

Sutton + Grove is a beautifully curated conscious lifestyle blog conceived in early 2016. Canadians and Vancouver natives, Jill and husband Luke created an online destination for the ethically minded that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is informative.

I had the good fortune of being able to interview Jill. Jill is an inspiration for us all. Through my brief chat with her, Jill is someone I have come to deeply admire, respect, and aspire to. Jill is the big sister and role model we all wish we had. 

What does it all mean? For years, the couple that is Jill and Luke, nestled at the helm of Sutton + Grove, wrestled with what it meant to live more purposefully. They came to the following conclusion: 

 Jill + Luke, Husband + Wife, Founders of Sutton + Grove

Jill + Luke, Husband + Wife, Founders of Sutton + Grove

What is a Conscious Life?

A Conscious Life is a life that is carefully lived with an awareness and care for one’s surroundings. This includes people near and far, the environment and even our fashion choices.

  • How we spend our money.
  • How we spend our time.
  • What we support.
  • How we think.

All of these areas in our lives are shaped by how much we care and where we are at ethically. Conscious living is connected to ethics, as many topics such as recycling, buying fair trade, caring about the environment, giving back and supporting conscious fashion are usually not legal issues but moral issues.

Ethics can be a touchy subject and we do not want to seem like crusaders pushing our beliefs on other people. Our intention is to share our journey and provoke discussion, not to shame or degrade others who may view the topics we share differently. Despite the variety of ethical stances and beliefs that can separate people, Jill and I believe there are a few central issues that we all can be mindful of and approach consciously.

For example, we love to share:

  • Sustainable and Ethical fashion.
  • Brands and Business that are giving back to society.
  • Non-profits that are helping alleviate poverty, provide education or support marginalized women and children.

We believe in supporting these brands and businesses that are attempting to do good and give back to society. Personally, we are embracing our social responsibility and doing our part to hopefully contribute to a better world. We do this by featuring these amazing brands, by writing thought-provoking articles and even sharing our DIY and thrifting endeavors.



Kelly: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Sutton + Grove.

Jill: My name is Jill Matthews, an almost thirty year old millennial from Vancouver BC, Canada.  For the last year I have been running a his + her conscious lifestyle and fashion blog called Sutton + Grove along side my husband Luke.  We write about different topics related to conscious living, feature brands, businesses, organization and people who are shining a light on conscious consumerism and the sustainability movement, and as of this month will be adding in a traveling aspect exploring new places and sharing the wonders we discover along the way. I’ve always been a huge fan of the fashion industry and believe in the power of expression through visuals and art whether it’s clothing, painting, photography or  movies. After taking a course in Global Developments a few years back I was shook up about how connected the economy (and especially the fashion industry or consumerism in general) is to the dysfunction and imbalance in the world economy. The things I learned about drove me into  a time of discovery and research to see what is going on in the world and what our part could be to helping it. From that time of discovery, Sutton + Grove was created as a way of keeping track of our journey and providing ourselves and our friends with information, cool brands and people who want to see change happen and are moving towards it in their own way.

K: What draws you to a conscious lifestyle?

J: I think it’s mainly from the realization that we are all connected and our actions, choices, purchasing habits and overall lifestyle matter. It matters how we take care of our body for health reasons, it matters how we treat other people and what the impact is on their lives, it matters what we buy and who we buy from. Because of these connections it’s forced me to be more aware of my actions, and choices and thus develop a more conscious lifestyle.

K: How did you start blogging about a conscious lifestyle? Why should people care about this?

J: It started from a time of discovery. I wanted to learn more about the world history in connection to the economy, and began to ask questions like why is the world is imbalanced, why is there rich and poor or developed and underdeveloped. I’ve grown up asking questions in life and realizing that I can and should ask bigger questions about the world has led me down a path to where I am now with the blog and my personal life.  The reason I know I care about conscious living is because of what I mentioned above with how connected everything, and everyone is.

One of my favorite quotes is from William Wilberforce (an amazing man who led the abolition of the slave trade in the 1800s) which says; “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Knowledge changes things, it moves us, it shapes our decisions. Because of social media, and globalization in businesses and organizations we are more connected and know so much more about the world, each other, science, health and businesses  as a majority than I believe ever before. This knowledge contributes to how we decide to live our lives. You can see this in a positive way through social movements that have sprung up in the last years, or unity in environmental crisis’ like the recent hurricane disasters. I believe as a whole we as average people are stepping up and seeing that change can happen and that excites me to be apart of and encourages me to share about it with others in hopes that they will be just as excited and moved to do something too.  

 Jill, Sutton + Grove

Jill, Sutton + Grove

K: Do you feel your life in BC reflects what you choose to cover on your blog?

J: On Sutton + Grove we try  to not to focus heavily on our personal lives and rather share more about the brands, organizations and people we meet that inspire us and fit well with our style and ethos. This may be something we change in the future once we are settled in a bit more, but honestly I am just so interested in meeting, connecting and sharing about the great people and businesses we come across on Sutton + Grove. We are also on the beginning leg of a trip that will hopefully last us 6-12 months so we are technically living on the road now and will be sharing our journey along the way.

K: You guys are all about reporting on ethical fashion brands, which is amazing, can you tell us about what that process looks like? How do you source brands? How do you decide which to include?

J: Well since the beginning we’ve been humbled by the reach out from brands to want to work with us and partner together to spread their product and mission with our audience. Both of us believe in honesty and transparency  which for us translates through staying true to our personal style, interests and passions when choosing to work with brands. Because of this we’ve ended up turning down brand collaborations because maybe their product wasn’t something we would necessarily use / wear in our own life and other times because a brand’s message and vision behind their company didn’t fully match our ethos. Sutton + Grove is a fine balance between making it personal and inspired by our own lifestyle for those who connect with it and also between sharing as many people, brands and organizations that we come across with who are just amazing and wanting them to shine. It’s something we are constantly working out but it’s been fun and exciting so far!

K: What albums are you currently listening to?

J: I’m a Netflix binger and I recently fell in love with the show Nashville, so I have some of their albums on repeat most days. I also have old school Stevie Wonder playing  and my always go to is Clean Bandit.

K: When you aren't writing about fashion or your lifestyle, what are you doing?

J: Taking pictures or snuggled up with a green tea and Netflix, easy peasy!

K: How do you take your coffee?

J: I don’t usually… I’m more of a tea gal. However, Ethical Bean sells some stellar roasts and with their coffee  I’ll take it with a bit of cream and a tiny bit of sugar.

K: Who/what inspires you? (the most basic question, but always one worth asking)

J: I get inspired by random people’s stories that I watch or read about like William Wilberforce, or the Little Mermaid. But more recently I’ve been inspired by all of the other conscious blogger gals I’m connected with online. They really keep me going and challenge me to question and see things differently.  

K: Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?

J: I do mainly because I think whether it’s January 1st or May 15th getting yourself hyped and excited to pursue a goal or kick a habit is good for your mojo. It’s on you to keep it up and plan it out in a realistic way.

K: Do you prefer film, books, or music?

J: Movies by far! I know I can get into a good book once in awhile, but I’m such a visual learner so I always end up pulling solid nuggets of wisdom from some of the weirdest movies.  

K: If you could do anything (besides running an incredible lifestyle blog) what would it be?  

J: What I’m doing with my blog is really on track with what I would be doing if I had any other choice, apart from one thing; I would love to be further along the process timeline. I have big dreams to want to do mini documentaries where I can meet people, business owners and artisans around the world to spark compassion and inspiration to those who watch. I want to have a mini capsule line out of Sutton + Grove with pieces I’ve had in mind to produce for a little while. I want to create a connection based business  sort of like a communal workspace/collaboration space. Whether all or some come to light, I’m constantly dreaming of where to go from here.

But a simple and easy answer to this question is, I  would love to be a singer (and be good at singing).

K: What was the best piece of advice you received?

J: The most recent is to just start doing ‘it’ (dream, passion, hobby, etc) and to use your past self as a healthy competitor rather than others around you. It’s great to spur each other on and be inspired, but where you’re at and your progression is unique to your lifestyle, effort and experiences. If I look back at Jill one year ago and I can feel that I’ve progressed somewhere positively I’m happy!


watch me get ethical with this ethical watch

 Sunglasses: Raen, Top: Moschino, Skirt: Thrifted Burberry via Goodwill, Bag: Rabbit, Rabbit! via Fair Trade Federation, Watch:  JORD

Sunglasses: Raen, Top: Moschino, Skirt: Thrifted Burberry via Goodwill, Bag: Rabbit, Rabbit! via Fair Trade Federation, Watch: JORD

Time is a concept humans created. Therefore time has been told by humans and humans alone throughout history. We attach meanings to time. Some believe it to be the only remedy to cure wounds, emotional or physical. Others believe that by respecting time we are respecting ourselves. Therefore rendering an awareness of time is as a quality trait, and being "on time," as a sign of good manners. Some view it in a linear philosophical manner, others can't see past Friday night. 

The way we tell time has drastically changed century to century. From sun dials, to church bells, to grandfather clocks, to alarm clocks, to watches, to cell phones. Time has always been an elusive mystery that we somehow have both too much, and never enough of. How many people say that the amount of time something took was "just right." Time was created by humans, disrespected by humans, overanalyzed by humans. Now we spend the majority of their lives being obsessed with, or disillusioned by time. 


Not for those that have somewhere to be

But for those that have somewhere to go #JORD


Ethical, Wooden,


As into this watch as I am? Get your own here.  It's the Hyde Series, Ebony + Metal style. JORD here! 

Men's Shop

Women's Shop


We live in a world that views conspicuous consumption as the norm. Rendering the notion, "taking your time," to be a luxury most people cannot afford. In the over scheduled world of today, it is TIME make some TIME for yourself. Think about the type of story you want to tell. Think about the type of life you want to live. Don't forget in this consumerist nation, what we buy speaks volumes about the type of world we want to live in. JORD.

How do you tell time? How getting ethical with this completely wood-based watch. Did you ever think that a watch made entirely out of wood could look this good?

Watch yourself, get JORD.



Stockholm, Sweden -- Proving punk is very much alive in modern day Stockholm, Deadwood co-founders Carl Ollson and Felix von Bahder are immaculately armed in the rebellion against the traditional fashion industry. Their armor consists of badass leather jackets strong enough to hold their own and accessories, I dare say they are fully equipped? Deadwood is counter-culture and anti-establishment while mastering the art of dope ethical fashion by only using recycled leather and adding new products to their line bi-annually. Deadwood ensures that each garment is a reworked iconic style from a time gone by. Should you Deadwood? I would. 

If you're unfamiliar with Deadwood's vibe, check out their latest campaign video below:

I had the good fortune of being able to interview Deadwood founder, Carl Ollson. Ollson and his partner, von Bahder launched Deadwood in 2012 and at the time had no intention of being ethical fashion warriors, they just wanted to do something different. Read about the difference Deadwood is making in my interview below:


Carl Ollson + Felix von Bahder

Deadwood Founders

Kelly Madera: Deadwood has an edgy look that is empirically on trend without trying to be. How do you achieve that? 

Carl Ollson: We put a lot of focus on not being a trend driven brand. We constantly look to the past when creating our collections. Looking at old music magazines, videos of our favorite artists etc. Music is also a huge inspiration!

KM: Who do you see as Deadwood’s competition in the retail market?

CO: Difficult to say. Perhaps BLK DNM? However they're not competitive in terms of price or sustainability, just their aesthetic that's similar. A large portion of our customers are vegans and/or really into sustainable fashion and would never buy a newly produced leather jacket. While at the same time we have sustainability unaware customers that want a good looking jacket that doesn’t fucking ruin them financially.

KM: The ethical fashion industry is gaining traction, and while Deadwood uses leather products, many of them are either recycled or upcycled. Where do you source your materials from? Do you find this to be the crux the brand?

CO: So we make all our leather jackets/accessories from recycled leather. We have our own set up in South East Asia close to a number of pretty expansive vintage markets, it is there that  we source old garments that have reached their expiration date in terms of style and fit. After purchasing, we chop them up and reconfigure the old material into newly crafted, beautiful, up cycled jackets and accessories with a vintage soul.

As you can imagine, it's an odd way of doing things and profusely time consuming. With that in mind we have garnered a great crew to work with, specifically in South East Asia and honestly, I consider them family. We all believe in and love what we are doing. We’re changing the way people view the leather industry one recycled leather jacket at a time.

KM: Does Deadwood have any certifications, or any special impact measure tools to track their environmental or social impact?

CO: We’re signed up to Sedex but that’s about it. For those that don't know, SedEx is a global not-for-profit membership organization, home to the world's largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. With the help of SedEx we at Deadwood have started gathering information on the impact and will try to share this on all our products. It’s a cool story - more coming soon!

KM: What inspired the creation of Deadwood?..I have to say it is very badass Swedish..!

CO: We originally met as colleagues in a jean shop in Stockholm. After several years of of dreaming and talking about we finally we opened our own vintage boutique. At this boutique we cultivated our fascination for timeless design and our love for used, pre-loved clothes. From this original shop, our brand evolved, and doing this a different way became a staple for Deadwood.

KM: No ethical brand can ever be perfect, but are there any improvements that you have intentions of cultivating?

CO: Currently, we are working on implementing other product groups using recycled materials. On top of that list is denim. A jeans collection is something Deadwood plans to put out in the next year or so. In order to accomplish it, we have to find the right people to collaborate with. In regards to what we’re currently doing, we never started waving a flag stating that we are some kind of environmental heroes, we just wanted to do something different. The fashion industry tends to be viewed as forward thinking, but in my opinion it isn't, if anything it is the opposite. Deadwood is all about wanting to shake things up. We all do the best we can with what we've got! At Deadwood we as an company are always evolving and constantly in search of new ways to create timeless, trend-less fashion that new, inventive, and most importantly - fun! 


Do you even Deadwood?

You f*cking should!

Dont look back jkt.jpg

Quit being a Skeptic, Yo! | Get Mod + Ethico

 Candice Collison, Founder @ Mod + Ethico

Candice Collison, Founder @ Mod + Ethico

Did you know that if you're reading this you will likely spend on average, $2288 on clothing and footwear this year? You could easily be purchasing items made in scary places by highly exploited people. Getting the real story behind your spending? It's harder than you think. Even more challenging? Finding the truth about what conditions your clothing was made under.

**NEWSFLASH** Sweatshops aren't exclusive to low-wage countries. In fact, it's likely any clothes you wear with a label saying "Made in America" could be made in a sweatshop not far from where you live or work. This makes companies like Mod + Ethico, founded in 2015, profoundly integral to supporting the changing of a very broken fashion system. 


I had the good fortune of being introduced to Candice Collison this summer via a mutual friend. Candice is everyone's girl crush. Especially mine. Originally from Williamsburg, Virginia, Candice was introduced to world of retail via her mother’s gift shop. There she learned to appreciate how items are made and where materials are sourced. Candice has recently graduated with an MBA from the prestigious, Kellogg School of Management @ Northwestern University. 

I was able to chat with the Chicago resident to uncover the vision she has for Mod + Ethico, the industry and the future.

Kelly Madera: Mod + Ethico has a laid-back, comfortably chic look that is empirically on trend without trying to be. How do you achieve that? How do you source the brands you feature? 

Candice Collison: I seek out brands that prioritize comfortable, soft fabrics, and that have a timeless aspect to their aesthetic. Unlike some stores, I source only silhouettes and hues that I would wear myself - that also must fit into the principles of Mod + Ethico. I do think about trends, and what I believe will sell, but I will not sacrifice principle for style or comfort. I seek elements of trends in updated classics, or in subtle ways which lends to a more effortless vibe. 

Sourcing brands is interesting, I do not attend a ton of trade shows, rather, I look for likeminded brands on Instagram - using hashtags like #ethicalfashion and referencing resources such as Safia Minney's book Slow Fashion, ethical fashion blogs, and listening to Kestrel Jenkins' podcast Conscious Chatter


KM: Who do you see as Mod + Ethico’s competition in the retail market? 

CC: I view the competition in two ways: 1) The norm, the alternative to ethical fashion - "fast fashion" and mass fashion - the fashion houses who are not the fast fashion houses per se, but have massive scale, produce in huge batches, and have large brand equity. This happens to be the majority of the market today. 2) The players in the ethical space, who are in some ways competitors, but I appreciate what they are doing for fashion. This includes stores who curate ethical brands, like Amour Vert; online concept stores focused on independent designers line Need Supply, and the brands we sell since they tend to sell direct to consumer. 

KM: The ethical fashion industry is gaining traction, and while Mod + Ethico uses new products, how do you feel about selling recycled or up cycled clothing. Do you see yourself establishing a Mod + Ethico line in the future?

CC: Yes, 100%. I would like to start with denim. My main concern is denim's toll on the environment. It takes an immense amount of water to make just one pair of jeans - nearly I have seen numbers published ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 liters. Starting with denim would make a huge dent in saving one of our planets natural resources. I am also considering developing a clothing line at some point, and I am very interested in using reclaimed deadstock fabric to produce potential designs. 


KM: Do any of the brands that Mod + Ethico features have any certifications or special impact measure tools to track their environmental or social impact?

CC: Yes, we stock Thinking Mu with GOTS organic cotton, post-consumer recycled polyester, they also use hemp which is an incredible fiber: It grows 4 meters in only 4 months, it requires a fraction of the water as compared to cotton, the 100% of the plant can be used for others purposes, it is 10 times more resistant and breathable than cotton and its roots alkalinize the soil.

Groceries Apparel is American-made, and dedicated to organic, natural and recycled fibers.  With over five years of research, we have yet to find a certification that encompasses all of our values. So we started our own. Focusing on human empowerment, organic and recycled ingredients, and local, fair, and responsible manufacturing, our “Seed to Skin” certification is the first of its kind and represents a new standard for the apparel industry.

Veja is a French-based and Brazilian-made sneaker brand who uses FLO certified Fairtrade practices, recycled and organic cotton, naturally procured rubber from the Amazon. Veja uses an organic certification process for the cotton produced by ADEC.

These are just a few brands with certified organic and fairtrade practices, while others are committed to ethical production in more subtle ways, such as producing in small batches in the US and offering fair wages to their dedicated production teams. 


KM: What inspired the creation of Mod + Ethico?..I have to say it represents the millennial generation in a new and refreshing way…!

CC: I initially founded Mod + Ethico with a vision to curate American-made brands. I was frustrated with the quality I was finding in designer brands, and knowing that marginalized populations were behind the production process, while the brands claim a disproportionate amount of the profit outraged me. The American-made focus was representative of fair labor, quality and local impact. However, after watching The True Cost, and discussing my motivations for American-made, I discovered that my principles were further reaching that just American-made. I pivoted a bit, renamed the brand (from Sewn in the USA to Mod + Ethico), and decided to focus on sustainability, Fairtrade, female empowerment, and charity. Mod + Ethico's evolution has stemmed from my own frustrations with the fashion industry and consumption. I still love style as an art form - one of personal expression, but I feel a sense of responsibility to provide better options to my community and beyond. 

KM: No ethical brand can ever be perfect, but are there any improvements that you have intentions of cultivating? How closely do you partner with the brands you feature?

CC: We are far from perfect; there are still brands that we carry from earlier inventory purchases that align with the American-made principle, but not necessarily as closely to the sustainability principle that I am now incredibly passionate about. Going forward, we will be phasing out brands who do not touch on multiple principles such as fair wages as well as sustainability, or fair wages and charity. 

Some brands we know extremely well, like Suki + Solaine who is based here in Chicago. I know the owner, the sales rep, and have visited their studio many times. We know other smaller brands such as Groceries Apparel and email directly with the founder. It's really incredible to be so close to some of the changemakers who began on the ethical fashion path years ago, and continue to make amazing strides in the industry.

Don't miss a thing ----



Kilometre Paris | Clothing Without Limits

 Location:  Harlem, New York . Muse:  Atenea

Location: Harlem, New York. Muse: Atenea

Would you believe it if I told you there was a brand that encouraged traveling, empowered women on a global scale, is entirely ethical throughout it's supply chain, has deep seated roots to a philanthropic organization, AND is the ultimate chic? Meet Kilometre Paris. Created by the sensational Alexandra Senes, whom, like her brand, is literally from everywhere. Born in Senegal, raised in New York City, and relocated yet again to Paris at the age of 17 to begin her impressive editorial career in fashion. Senes' career, much like her life, took her all over the world eventually she becoming the founder and chief editor of Jalouse Magazine. In 2016, she founded Kilometre Paris.

Kilometre has a distinct presence, initially I was captivated by the brand's uniquely embroidered tunics that could easily double as men's shirts. Each collection of Kilometre's perfect-for-summer-light-and-breezy-linen-tunics celebrates cities around the world such as: Karimabad, Pakistan; Niesko, Japan; Costa Careyes, Mexico; Jericacoara, Brazil. Subtly reminding us that we are all global citizens.

I had the unequivocal pleasure of connecting with Alexandra, and immediately, I admired her. Alexandra is a brave, multicultural female force that the world never seems to have enough of. A champion of women's rights by using a diverse portfolio of cultures for inspiration, Senes makes sure to always give credit where credit is due. In addition, Kilometre works closely with the philanthropic Zellidja Foundation, which is discussed in more detail via our interview below. Individually these achievements are impressive, but combined they are extraordinary. The traditional fashion industry hardly ever acknowledges the people that are the most in need of recognition.

This being said, Kilometre is not without attention from the most prevalent voices in the fashion industry, such as: the world renowned  Vogue and the exclusive luxury clothing destination, Barney's New York


 Alexandra Senes, Founder of  Kilometre Paris

Alexandra Senes, Founder of Kilometre Paris


Kelly Madera: Kilometre appears to have a team comprised of mostly women from all over the world! What do you look for when hiring, is international location a need to have or a nice to have?

Alexandra Senes: It’s not a must but I believe that it enriches the company - every person in my team has a different cultural background, different taste and different life views. This is what makes the brand so strong - everyone chips in, shares their opinion. They all bring in their ‘spice’. I always says that Kilometre is chameleon and my international team is a big reason behind that.

Kilometre unites a community of curious, adventurous, fashionable travellers. We are in the process of knitting together a global network of world explorers who have similar values: an appreciation of artisanal know-how and fair trade, discovery, and style.

KM: Talk to me more about the philanthropic efforts Kilometre is involved in. It looks like the Zellidja Foundation is the primary focus - tell me more about how you selected that organization and why it matters to the brand?

AS: I wanted to give back immediately even before the company had even earned a cent. I say that I wanted Kilometre to give back kilometres to kids. What about making a senegalese kid (since I was born there) travel to Paris ? And i thought but how am i going to pick him. Then I though a sick kid. And same question came. How am I going to pick one kid: sick, sicker then the other … Horrible choices. I looked for an association for at least 6 months.  I even thought of doing my own association. I was already learning a new job as a fashion designer or conductor of a fashion company, i was not going to spend my nights to create an association. When I discovered Zellidja it was a miracle. Zellidja has been sending a hundred kids- between 17 and 20- all over the world since more then 50 years. This association is part of Fondation de France, a government acknowledge. The kids need to have a project to defend. It can be either calligraphy in Algeria, the horse in Mongolia or coffee in venezuela. We sent 4 kids abroad since we exist. One of them was from Bordeaux and left to Tokyo to study "what graphism changes in the life of a Tokyo inhabitant ». Zellidja changed his autonomy, his point of view on the world and maybe his life.  

 Location:  Brittany, France . Muse:  Alice

Location: Brittany, France. Muse: Alice


KM: Kilometre, quite literally encourages its patrons to travel - what a fascinating concept - how did you come up with that? What inspired the brand?

AS: I was born in Dakar, and I spent my teens in Manhattan. I arrived in Paris aged 17. As a journalist for Parisian magazines, I continued to travel around the world to report on places from Beirut to Johannesburg, by way of the Siwa desert in Egypt. For me, travel is truly a way of life. In that way, Kilometre resembles me and is an extension of my personality. I could even say that Kilometre’s stories are my life stories. As a result, Kilometre was born out of my taste for adventure.

In addition, I realised that there was an emerging market for brands that mix travel and fashion. With the exception of Hermès and the brand’s distinctive universe, or Louis Vuitton’s campaigns that celebrate the wonders of travel…the fashion world doesn’t know how to talk about travel. The tourism, hospitality and airline industries are simply not fashionable, which is the opposite of what’s happening in the worlds of gastronomy or contemporary art. This gave me the extra push that I needed to start Kilometre.

 Location:  Brittany, France . Muse:  Alice

Location: Brittany, France. Muse: Alice


KM: Who do you see as Kilometre’s competition in the retail market?

AS: The brand has a foot in embroidery, travel, lux and ethic segments so we have a bit of competitors everywhere. In terms of retail, I’d say Vita Kin, Mira Mikati, Astier de Villatte, Gucci, Re / Done, L’Uniform to name a few… But don’t take it too literally - I don’t think at all that we do the same thing and are selling to the same customer.

KM: Many of your quite frankly resemble priceless pieces of art in a very Elsa Schiaparelli way, how do you decide which cities to explore and utilize for design creation?

AS: My creative process is directly influenced by that which I see and feel during my travels, and when I meet new people. For inspiration, I visit the Venice and Sao Paulo biennales, or a contemporary art centre on an island in Japan. There, one finds artists from all around the world who know how to celebrate the destinations of tomorrow. I don’t keep a moodboard with clippings of images from cinema, or contemporary dance and art, because it’s the locations themselves that inspire me. There’s something about discovering those unexpected spots that lie off the beaten path. For instance, I prefer New York state’s Hudson Valley to the Hamptons - I find it to be much more up-to-date. Most of all, I love the differences between destinations, and adapting myself to very different surroundings. I feel equally at ease boating whilst drinking cheap rosé on the Canal de l’Ourcq in Pantin as I do on the private beaches of Costa Careyes rubbing shoulders with the jet-set. I embroider all of these experiences on Kilometre’s items. Typically, these embroideries are not literal representations, but a condensed version of my discoveries; like memories that I’ve held of these places. For our Hudson Valley shirt, illustrator Apolline Riser and I decided to use images of kale to represent the area. On the Pantin shirt, you’ll find the buildings that house advertising agency BETC, the 104 cultural centre, Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, and the Cité des Métiers where Chanel and Hermès have their special order ateliers. On another shirt is an abandoned shack in Kolmanskop, a ghost town that was engulfed by the sands of the Namibian desert. And, the Niseko shirt displays the ski slopes there.

  Location: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS;  Muse : Fazeelat

Location: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS; Muse: Fazeelat


KM: Does Kilometre have any certifications, or any special impact measure tools to track their environmental or social impact?

AS: We work only with fair-trade companies and small embroidery ateliers. We always continue to stick by our eco and ethic main values. Our main fabric is khadi - which is hand-woven cotton made in India. It’s really a universal fabric - it can be very sexy when transparent and not layered and very modest - when doubled. In our collection we represent both options for different kind of woman.

KM: No clothing brand can ever be perfect, but are there any improvements you have intentions of cultivating?

AS: The fact that the fashion world functions in seasons - it’s a never ending cycle, and all parties involved end up getting caught in it: designers with the necessity to produce at least 4 collections a year, and consumers with the constant need to buy-buy-buy… I want my brand to be out of “seasons”. It’s tough to carve your own way in the established system but I am trying my best to impose it, at least on my clients. And I think it’s working! Starting from July, for example, MatchesFashion will be carrying a range of our Piece Unique models that have been designed over the past 1.5 years.

Capsule Wardrobing - You're Probably Doing It Wrong

 Praying that my readers learn the definition of capsule wardrobing after consuming this post #BlessUp   

Praying that my readers learn the definition of capsule wardrobing after consuming this post #BlessUp


Dearest Internet Friends, listen up: enough with your bloated versions of the “capsule” wardrobe. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the word capsule is trending. Everyone seems to have created their own definition as to what it actually means. So, what does it mean, then?

Credit for coining the term “capsule wardrobe” goes to London boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1970s. +1 for the Brits. However,  it really caught on in 1980s America thanks to former Parsons alumni, designer Donna Karan and her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection. +2 for Parsons the Americans. Which side am I on? At the time, a capsule wardrobe was defined as a compact wardrobe made up of staple pieces in coordinating colours–usually in the realm of 30 items or fewer, including shoes and sometimes even accessories. Faux suggested fewer than a dozen items for an ideal capsule wardrobe. One might update the wardrobe with a couple of new trendy or seasonal items two or three times a year, but that's it. The goal was to have a streamlined wardrobe of high-quality pieces that could be worn often and interchangeably, thereby saving money, closet space, and time. The ultimate challenge for ethical fashionistas, or really anyone who cares about Mother Earth.

Fast forward to the 2010s and the capsule wardrobe appears to have taken on a new meaning. It has sneakily been repackaged as the new vessel for our society’s capitalistic obsession with consumerism. Welcome to America. A country that can sell you things based on not selling anything, yet the end result ends the same - YOU KEEP BUYING! Perhaps this is a harsh proclamation, but it’s true. So many blogs and articles have pushed the capsule wardrobe idea because it’s currently trendy, without actually committing to the actual tenets behind the concept. Capsule wardrobing should not involve purchasing new pieces, but in trimming down what you already have.

One “minimal” style blog, Un-Fancy, offers up these suggestions for curating a capsule wardrobe: “If picking a number doesn’t jive with you, listen to your intuition—it’ll tell you when you have enough.” The blogger, Caroline, used her intuition to choose 37 items for her capsule wardrobe–but rather than those 37 items being worn year-round, they are meant to be seasonal items for a three-month period. After those three months, she “typically end[s] up getting between 4-8 new pieces for each new season.” Caroline calls this wardrobe approach “generous yet minimal.” I’m sure that  people with much larger wardrobes [like myself, if I'm being honest,] would not call this generous, but at the same time I’m not so sure it can be considered minimal either. Especially, when this is contrasted with Susie Faux’s original capsule wardrobe concept of around a dozen items meant to be worn year-round, every year.

Another misguided approach to the capsule wardrobe has been spreading around Pinterest a lot since it was published on Who What Wear last year: “How to Create a 5-Piece French Wardrobe.” Intrigued, I clicked on the pinned article to find out how French women manage to be so stylish with only a five-piece wardrobe! Of course, the title was wildly misleading. The actual wardrobe is a fairly pared-down collection of 33 classic staples. The key, apparently, is to add five new items of trendy clothing every season. (This season, we are advised to purchase items such as a romper, culottes, and flatforms. Those are certainly trendy.) Of course, this is to be done after cleaning out your closet and then purchasing “new basics to fill any gaps” that opened up after getting rid of your old clothes. WTF?

Wait a minute, I thought to myself after reading these blog posts (and many more like them). Why is the capsule wardrobe suddenly all about shopping? The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is for people who are on a budget or dealing with minimal closet space (or even people who simply aren’t interested in spending a lot of time and money on fashion) to be able to stop making multiple purchases every two to three months and still have a serviceable wardrobe.

 Dress: Recycled from a friend's roommate [my only long-sleeve LBD]  Belt: Re-used from Theory dress I no longer own [my only black belt]  Jeans: Rag & Bone [1 of 2 pairs of sandblasted jeans that I alternate in]  Booties: Sam & Libby [only pair of black heeled booties]

Dress: Recycled from a friend's roommate [my only long-sleeve LBD]

Belt: Re-used from Theory dress I no longer own [my only black belt]

Jeans: Rag & Bone [1 of 2 pairs of sandblasted jeans that I alternate in]

Booties: Sam & Libby [only pair of black heeled booties]

If you are someone who is intrigued by the capsule wardrobe idea but can’t possibly imagine trimming your entire wardrobe down to fewer than 50 items, then you may find blogs such as Project 333 helpful as a starting point. Please note that not everyone has to have a capsule wardrobe, even I don't! Just because the minimal trend is popular right now doesn’t mean it will work for your lifestyle or tastes, and that’s fine.

Still, you may find that you actually have a good reason to switch to a capsule wardrobe. Perhaps you’re on a tight budget or trying to save money. Perhaps you don’t have enough closet space anymore or your home is becoming cluttered with clothing and shoes you don’t wear. And then, of course, there’s also the environmental and ethical backlash caused by our love affair with fast fashion.

So if you do decide to try out the capsule wardrobe for yourself, great! Just try to be mindful of how you go about it, lest you fall into the trap of using your capsule wardrobe as an excuse to buy more things that you “need” to make your wardrobe “perfect.” I could not be more over this illusion of perfection. Nobody’s wardrobe is perfect, whether it’s minimal and streamlined or chock-full with trends. There will always be another item that you need to make your wardrobe complete; it’s human nature to want something more, something new. That's capitalism working at it's finest. My issue isn’t with the number of items in anyone’s capsule wardrobe, but rather the focus being put on the constant shopping required to update one’s capsule wardrobe every season. What do you think?


Being Sexy Is Being Ethical SS17

At long last, spring has arrived here in New York! What does this mean? A fresh new wardrobe for an entirely new season. This being said, I advocate if you are going to shop, please do so ethically. It is incredibly easy to shop ethically and remain on par with trends. Are trends even a thing anymore? 

 Check out this palette I put together. My favorite colors for this S/S 2017, a mix of bright grapefruit/lime with darker,  natural hues.

Check out this palette I put together. My favorite colors for this S/S 2017, a mix of bright grapefruit/lime with darker,  natural hues.

  Nomad Short  by Bonobos

Nomad Short by Bonobos

  The LA Henley  by Bonobos

The LA Henley by Bonobos

Have you heard of Bonobos yet? Bonobos is an ethically minded menswear company similar to the stylings of American mega brands like J.Crew or Banana Republic. But with one big difference: an ethically minded sensibility. Like most ethical fashion brands, Bonobos is online only. Additionally, Bonobos manages a blog in which they utilize to tell the stories of the men that wear their clothing. If you're new to the ethical fashion industry, creating a story around a product allows for the consumer to connect with the product more, care for it better, and therefore enabling it to last longer. This extends the entire life of a single clothing garment.

Another totally underrated ethical menswear brand? Onychek. Made entirely in Africa from ethically sourced materials. PS: How fun is this shirt? You know you need it.

To level with you, Bonobos totally rocks menswear, but have yet to launch a womenswear line. Still want to be ethical? Totally possible. Check out the above Parisian LES inspired linen dress. Made entirely by ethical standards in Paris. The perfect look and way to stay cool during the sweltering summer.

  Trace Jumpsuit  by Reformation

Trace Jumpsuit by Reformation

There's no other way to say it - LINEN IS IN, IN A BIG WAY. Check out this ethical jumpsuit from Reformation, vertical stripes in all the right places. Could you do better? Probably not.

  The Suede Heel Boot  by Everlane

Booties? Check. The ethical Everlane has these on lockdown. What's the best thing about lightly colored suede Chelsea booties? You can finally wear them in the summer with no fear of rain ruining them. Go on, purchase some and get on with yo bad self!

Sonia's Sustainable AF!

When it comes to sustainable clothing and products I get asked all the time, "But Kelly, where can I shop? How do I know it's ethical?" I have grown so passionate about this issue as it intertwines three of the things I feel most compassionate about: environmentalism, feminism and ethical fashion. My inspiring friend, Sonia, originally from Greece, has created a fabulous line of sustainable jewelry for men and women. The best part? It's completely hand-made and the options are absolutely endless. Just check it out! Delicate GR Wear !!!

 Into color? Into purple as much as me? You are in luck!   Delicate GR Wear

Into color? Into purple as much as me? You are in luck! Delicate GR Wear

Sonia's line is not only ethically sound, but extremely powerful in bringing awareness to an economic situation in Greece that is in grave disarray. Delicate GR Wear looks to alleviate the current status of Greece, in her own words, 

"My ultimate goal is to teach these techniques to unemployed people in Greece and hopefully offer some jobs in the future or even transform unemployed to self-employed entrepreneurs. I will be able to give jobs to people or refugees that are in need of a way to make a living. Hopefully, this will serve in creating a sustainable business for the people of Greece and give them hope that things will improve. My company is based on ethics, the Ancient Greek "pneuma" and fellowship. We need to first change ourselves before we change our environment and ultimately the world around us. This handmade craftsmanship is something that I do beyond my full-time job as an engineer is because I feel a calling to make a difference in this world. We are all one and each one of us needs to contribute to the change world as we know it." 

After hearing the words of such an empowering woman, how could anyone not want to work with her in making a difference? For my friends and readers Sonia is offering an incredible 20% off for a very limited time! Please contact me for details. BE ENVIRONMENTALLY CHIC + SHOP Delicate GR Wear!




If you are satisfied with the status quo, then stop reading this post will be of no interest to you. However, if you want to change the world in a meaningful, positive and actual way by all means read on. Your clothes speak before you do? Maybe not. Being a student at Parsons I have the fantastic ability to be exposed to many wonderful things. Perhaps one my favorites is the amount of seminars/talks I am invited to about the fashion industry and ways that we as consumers can improve it and make it better. Most do not realize that clothing choice and environmental awareness go hand in hand. Where are the clothes you wear coming from? How are they being produced? By whom? For how much? That's why when attending a talk on sustainable fashion I was immediately captivated by listening to Natalie Grillon speak about her company, PROJECTJUST

Natalie created PROJECTJUST with friend Shahd AlShehail after being inspired working at a cotton company in Uganda. The livelihoods of those working with cotton were increasing, but their story was not being shared and Natalie saw enormous opportunity and potential in being able to share them. JUST was created with the mindset that by being an informed consumer, you have the ability to make more thoughtful choices in clothing and therefore directly have an influence in stopping the abuses and exploitation of workers in third world countries. Without being informed, consumers will continue to buy fast fashion aka: Forever 21, H&M, Zara, etc. The prices at these stores are extremely low for a reason, and it's not a good one. Prior to listening to Natalie, I had no idea how abhorrent these fast fashion companies were.

Natalie and Shadh believe that the beauty of clothing does not only come in the form of aesthetics, but also the story behind it's creation. Given that we live in such a visually stimulating culture, it does take effort to think one step past, "Oh this looks awesome on me. I'm getting it." That sort of thinking, though second nature, is not effectively helping yourself or the industry.

Make a difference. UP YOUR GAME. Change the status quo. Choose to be informed. If you're buying clothing, which is probably everyone reading this post, I hope you take away that with companies like PROJECTJUST we can make a difference as consumers and global citizens. You, yes you, have the power!

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