Ethical/Sustainable Fashion Finds at Curvy Con 2016
First, let's get the big news out of the way: next year's Curvy Con will happen during New York Fashion Week and founders Chastity Garner & Cece Olisa have already begun offering pre-sale tickets. Whew, I hope those ladies had a hot tub and a cocktail waiting for them afterwards. Having just organized and executed a gala for 250 people in SF myself a month earlier, I know the need for post-event TLC. Curvy Con was a big, successful feat and they should be SO proud.
As for what I saw and loved at this year's event, the list is long, so here are my top highlights:
1. Beth Ditto's new line is EVERYTHING.
I nerded out pretty hard over Beth Ditto's new line in the Hey Gorgeous booth at Curvy Con. Made proudly and ethically in New York, Ditto's line celebrates curves with that rare combination of daring and refined, perfect for fashionistas who have long wished to see their size on high fashion runways. This Lola Dress (also available in black and a fun lipstick pattern) is the kind of dress I will forever wish I had in five prints and colors. Fully lined and made from buttery stretch modal, this style is both timeless and worthy of investment ($225 from Hey Gorgeous). I would bet money that five years from now, I'll still be rocking this frock. Worth it.
2. Fashion To Figure has Made in USA items!
Not everything Fashion To Figure puts out is made in the USA – you'll have to take a gander at the inside tag to be sure — but here are a few items I was able to pull from their racks at Curvy Con that were all made here in the homeland. This does not mean they are vetted as "sweatshop free," but does mean that they will potentially have a smaller carbon footprint than garments made abroad. The pricing and quality is on par with other budget-conscious off-the-rack retailers like Ashley Stewart and JC Penney, and I swear that they are always having a sale.
3. Ja'ire International Couture Brings LA-Made Funk.
I was thrilled to meet several designers at Curvy Con who were all concerned about making their clothing with their consciences in-tact. Seen here in her own designs (down to the clutch and leg warmers, girl!), Nekia Hattley produces her funkadelic line Ja'ire International Couture right in her hometown LA.
4. ASK Fashion & Rose Riot do it Boston Style.
My mom went crazy for the scuba dresses designed and handmade in Boston by Amanda Koker of ASK Fashion and soon-to-launch Rose Riot. She's upping the professional plus size fashion game and wearing the "ethically made in the USA" tag with pride (literally – it's printed on her business cards!). She currently makes each item herself, though I have no verified her fabric and notion sourcing.
5. Vivacity Sportswear is an athleisure MUST
I have a new obsession with Vivacity Sportswear's quilted leggings and I need to talk about it. I didn't end up nabbing a pair at Curvy Con because I wasn't ready to part with my money yet, and they're not available on the site anymore so now I think about them all the time, like that periwinkle Roxy shirt with the cute little pink buttons that my mom accidentally gave away in 8th grade. Please excuse my run-on sentence, I have feelings about these leggings. It's like that.
And my FOMO is all the more justified when you know that Vivacity's athleisure wear is made in San Diego. They even use fabrics made of recycled bottles for some of their items. What is wrong with me and why did I make a bad decision not to buy the luscious leggings?
Anyway, they have a ton of other items to love on their site for every size, and while you're at it, check out their #FitKnowsNoSize campaign. Ugh. Gimme those leggings.
My hope is to visit Vivacity's factory in coming months and get the lowdown on their factory's ethical standards and sourcing.
And finally, I had a great conversation with designer Veronica of Twelve North about the difficulties designers face when trying to source ethically made fashion. It's not easy to even know if you're doing the right thing, especially when working with overseas contractors, but many designers DO care. I truly believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.