It would be an understatement to say “I love culottes.” Not only are they breathable and flow, just like your cozy pajama pants, they completely cover my 15-inch scar that runs down the bottom of my left calf — not an easy thing to cover up in the NYC summer heat. These particular culottes are Everlane, a brand that prides itself on “radical transparency.” The main sustainable strategy that they communicate is accountability and transparency into their supply chain. They have pictures and description of each factory, the owners of the factories, the conditions etc. — they even relay the real-time weather which is cool to get an inside look at what workers are experiencing in real-time. The sustainable brand also takes pride in nixing traditional mark-ups, which are typically 8x the costs when talking about designer clothing. In case you were wondering, a designer t-shirt is actually one of the worst things you can buy in regards to mark-ups. In my opinion, Everlane does a decent job (B/C grade) at displaying overall transparency. I think they definitely can take it a few steps further. For example, I would love to see virtual and in-person tours to rival competitor Reformation’s in-person factory tours in Los Angeles. However, I think it’s amazing that Everyone is building awareness about sustainability and ethical working conditions so I’m happy to support them.
Smaller brands tend to be more nimble and are able to address a 360-approach to sustainability — like VEERAH, the brand behind my oh-so-fun tassel shoes! Because of my leg surgery, I haven’t been able to strut around the city in sky high heels like I used to, and that’s perfectly fine. I should be taking care of my body at this point, so sneakers, flats and comfortable shoes have been my go-to’s and I’ve steered cleared of heels for the most part… until now. These kitten heels by sustainable, luxury brand VEERAH instantly caught my eye because of the flowing tassels attached to the back of the heel. If you haven’t noticed, tassels are definitely having a moment right now, especially when it comes to statement earrings. VEERAH (eve-rah) is a mission-driven shoe company founded for women to conquer the world in impeccable style and make a positive impact — something that definitely hits home for me as I like to think of myself of a warrior, especially when it comes to my cancer. So, I was obviously ecstatic when I had the opportunity to sit down the founder, Stacey Chang, to learn a little more about VEERAH’s brand mission, supply chain, and why Chang decided to venture into the world of sustainable shoes.
Chang comes from a beauty background working for Estée Lauder in Hong Kong. She consistently traveled and was forced to pack in only a carry-on for up to week long trips. That meant she was going to have to cut down on the mountain of shoes that she wanted to bring — a common problem for every on-the-go, working woman. She found that none of her heels were versatile and comfortable enough to be wearing for 12-hour work days (amen!) in addition to traveling and personal time. Chang took it into her own hands and that, my friends, was when Veerah was born. She wanted to not only create a multi-faceted, high-quality heel, but an impact-driven brand. From tissue paper made out of pineapple to all cruelty-free materials, I was amazed at all of the tiny details Chang thought of in order to ensure that a 360-degree sustainable approach was addressed. In addition to the loads of environmental initiatives, VEERAH donates 1% (sometimes more) directly to social impact causes — in particular, women’s education through She’s The First. The women-run company also participates in 10 paid hours of volunteer work and sponsors a one year scholarship for She’s The First for every 100 customer interviews they conduct. Last, but certainly not least, their shoes are so fabulous and fashionable!! The tassels give a fun flair to truly any outfit. Needless to say, I’m pretty obsessed with VEERAH right now.
Onto, another brand that I have been loving lately, Intero Elements which is the brand behind the featured handmade, neoprene, black flower clutch and earrings that I’m rockin’. Intero Elements is a sustainable fashion brand from Slovenia that I stumbled upon on Instagram — love when that happens! The brand is pretty unique, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They utilize recycled neoprene, that would otherwise end up in overfilled landfills, to reinvent the product and create the beautiful floral design that you see above. What I love most about this clutch is the weight and malleability; It’s also a great sized for a year-round bag. I can just about fit my phone, card-holder wallet, lipstick, and small compact in the clutch which is perfect! Obviously, comfort has been a priority for me lately (even when it comes to accessories!) as I’m still going through radiation treatment, so I’ve loved the ease, soft texture, and flexibility of both the clutch and earrings. Statement earrings are totally having a moment right now in fashion and also work well with my short pixie cut, so as you can imagine, I’ve been getting a ton of compliments on these.
As for the rest of my outfit, my top is second-hand Prabal Gurung, from Second Time Around in Chelsea, New York City (RIP!!!), my glasses are second-hand Theirry Lasry bought from The Real Real, and my jewelry are my go-to’s from Cat-Bird Brooklyn, my mom’s vintage diamonds, my grandma’s vintage emeralds, and a rose-gold hoop from Etsy. It’s a shame a lot of brick-and-mortar consignment shops are going out of business, but I have to tell you I do love the convenience and ease of shopping online for second-hand clothes. Before I wrap things up I want to take a second to quickly note that Prabal Gurung is an awesome brand to support if you are into sustainability and social responsibility. As a member of the CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative, Gurung continues to develop, innovate, and expand his positive impact in fashion — from material innovation to responsible supply chain management (especially when it comes to sourcing his textiles from artisans in Nepal).
Alright, that’s all for now ladies and gents! Please email, comment, or message me if you have any thoughts, questions, or advice. As you know, I always LOVE to hear from you guys!
SHOP KARA’S STYLE
[VEERAH “THE MAYA” RED KITTEN HEEL, $258 / INTERO ELEMENTS BLACK NEOPRENE VEGAN CLUTCH, $36 / VEERAH TASSELS, $24 / WOMEN’S SEA STRIPE CULOTTES, $368 /SECOND-HAND THIERRY LASRY CAT-EYE TINTED SUNGLASSES, $130/ INTERO ELEMENTS BLACK FLOWER EARRINGS, $15/ ALBERTA FERRETTI SLEEVELESS EYELET PEPLUM TOP, $142]