conscious fashion

meet Amanda (and happy Fashion Revolution Week)

I wanted to take the opportunity during this very special week, also known as Fashion Revolution Week, to tell you more about what goes on behind the scenes at Eli & Barry. What's Fashion Revolution Week, you ask? Well, the movement known as  Fashion Revolution (or Fash Rev) was born after the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza housed five buildings that were manufacturing clothing for major brands. An estimated 1,138 people were killed and many more were injured. The Fashion Revolution movement encourages consumers to ask brands the question, "who made my clothes?" While also sparking dialogue about the ethics of fashion. Eli & Barry would love to participate in this conversation.

So, with all that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Amanda, seamstress extraordinaire. She is the one responsible for sewing most of Eli & Barry's online orders these days. I asked Amanda few questions about her sewing journey. Read on below. 

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Eli & Barry: Where did you learn to sew?

Amanda: My mom taught me at our kitchen table. I was fascinated with the process. In general, I think I love knowing how things are made. I made my first dress from a pattern in 10th grade. I've done every craft since then including ceramics, beading, stained glass, quilting, and crochet, but sewing always felt right for me. And lately, it serves to keep me sane, provides a creative outlet and allows me to give back to myself.

E&B: I know that you make clothes a lot outside of our work together! What is your favorite thing about clothing making?

A: For me, sewing is the perfect blend of art and science, utility and magic. It requires both sides of the brain and challenges me to be in the moment, sometimes to just watch my hands do their work. I love that it's practical; to use something I've made is deeply fulfilling. Also, garment sewing is my favorite and only post-zombie apocalypse survival skill. 

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E&B: Is there a garment you’re striving to make one day? A sewing pipe dream?

A: My next set of goals involve outerwear (anorak, trench, jean jacket, wool coat). Maybe I'll tackle one of them this fall? I sewed my first pair of jeans recently and I'm still riding that high!

E&B: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: I have three young kiddos who keep me quite busy, but my favorite ways to relax include sewing (of course!), hiking, tending my garden, playing in creeks, weekend thrifting, dog snuggles and porch sitting. 

E&B: Do you have specific inspiration you look to when creating clothing for yourself? Other clothing makers in the community or brands you love? How do you choose what to make?

A: I'm inspired very much by indie sewing pattern designers including True Bias, Grainline Studio, Hey June Handmade and Closet Case Patterns. I try to do a good bit of seasonal planning, as well, to keep things as cohesive and intentional as possible. Learning what I like and what I'll wear has been a long process.

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Be sure to follow along on Amanda's self-made wardrobe journey on her instagram, @ac_makes. Also, follow the Fashion Revolution movement here. I'll be posting more Fashion Revolution related content this week on my Instagram

a shift

I don't know about you all, but my own personal wardrobe is pretty season-less. Meaning, most of what I have in my closet is worn year-round. I tend to layer things up in the winter and keep things linen-filled in the summer. Realizing this about my own wardrobe has had me thinking about a change I want to make with Eli & Barry. I will no longer be offering seasonal collections. I want the pieces that I've worked so hard on, the pieces that I wear deep in winter with a hand-knit sweater or alone in summer, to stay. I don't want to let styles go that are working just for the sake of adding something new and "exciting" to the shop. I want Eli & Barry to exist much like an old friend: there for you consistently no matter what stage of life you're in. 

But that doesn't mean that things won't continue to evolve! I have a launch planned in the next three weeks that will include a few things: current styles in new fabrics, returning styles and a few new styles. Moving forward, I'm looking to add tighter collections of 2-3 pieces when the time is right. That might be as a season transitions or it might be when a piece has been perfected and is ready to be out in the world.

There's a couple of reasons for this change. For one, I'm just one person. And while I have help with sewing online orders these days, I'm still the only one in charge of moving this business forward. I feel like it's a real stretch for me emotionally and physically to push myself to keep up with the traditional fashion calendar. A recent overuse injury in my right wrist has further validated this choice. I also feel like this will promote a slower model of consumption. Meaning you don't have to rush to buy something in case it goes away, but you can really take your time before you make a purchase. Less noise, less clutter. 

Let me know what you guys think and thank you for your love and support! 

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton

10 x 10 winter wardrobe challenge round- up

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back now, I decided to participate in the winter 10 x 10 challenge. This exercise was created by one of my favorite bloggers, Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee. To recap, we took 10 items from our wardrobe and styled 10 different looks to be worn over the course of 10 days. 

I was a little nervous to do this challenge. I was worried that I wouldn't have time to style and document 10 looks and it was also super nerve-wracking to share videos/photos of myself on Instagram. But, boy, am I glad I did this. 

Things I learned over the course of this challenge:

- I feel a lot better when I get dressed. A lot of times since I work for myself and from home, it's easy for me to stay in my workout clothes all day. This challenge made me get dressed after my morning work out and I felt fantastic! Taking the time to get myself ready felt, in the past, like a waste of time. Like I could be spending that time on getting more things done. But taking the time to get dressed just felt like I was putting my best foot forward.

- You can style some many looks with ten neutral pieces. I know you math-oriented people probably could have told me that, but I sort of felt like I could keep going with this challenge after the ten days were up! I think the key there was to select styles I'm loving right now and keep with a neutral color palette. 

- I'll never look at packing for a trip the same way. I've gotten better in recent years, but I used to be a notorious over-packer. I feel like for my next trip I would limit myself to ten pieces. If the trip was a short one, It could cut a few things out. And I believe I could fit all of these items in a carry-on suitcase. Then I'd feel impossibly clever and chic with my pared down wardrobe. 

-I'm not much of an accessory wearer, but they can totally change a look. On the days I felt like an outfit I was wearing wasn't super different from one I'd worn before, I'd just add a bandana or a hat! 

To recap, here were the 10 items I chose...

 

10 x 10 items

 
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I ended up making a swap in my original selects a few days in to the challenge. I had included a wool jacket in the mix (pictured bottom right), but realized that I was photographing these looks indoors. So, instead, I included a navy jumpsuit. 

And here are my 10 looks in the order that I wore them...

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day 1: me-made cardigan (it's the uniform cardigan by madder made), everlane t-shirt, vintage jeans from meek vintage, and troentorp clogs

day 2: eli & barry t-shirt 2 in hemp organic cotton (from last summer, but a similar version will be launching this spring), me-made cardigan, me-made jeans, thrifted beret, blundstones

day 3: me-made sweater (it's the knit wit x nido turtleneck), me-made jeans, see eyewear glasses, and blundstones

day 4: vintage jumpsuit from stressed, me-made cardigan, and blundstones.

day 5: eli & barry smock top (launching spring 2018 in a different color/fabric), vintage jeans, and troentorp clogs.

day 6: vintage jumpsuit (worn as pants), everlane t-shirt and troentorp clogs.

day 7: eli & barry smock top, me-made jeans and blundstones.

day 8: me-made sweater, vintage jeans, troentorp clogs, bandana from madewell (old) and slide (the bead around the bandana) from last chance textiles

day 9: vintage jumpsuit and troentorp clogs.

day 10: me-made cardigan, eli & barry t-shirt 2, vintage jeans and blundstones

I want to thank everyone who took the initiate to engage with me and follow along while I participated in this challenge! I felt super connected to my Instagram community and my only wish is that I could keep that kind of momentum and inspiration going. I guess there's always the next 10 x 10 challenge. :)

10 x 10 wardrobe challenge

I'm so excited to be participating in the winter 10 x 10 wardrobe challenge, which was created by Lee Vosburgh of one of my favorite style blogs, Style Bee. She co-hosts this challenge with fellow blogger, Caroline, of Un-Fancy. It begins this Friday, January 19th (tomorrow) and a few of my Insta-buds (Claire of @clairemadeit and Allison of @thethoughtfulcloset) are doing it, as well. I'm really looking forward to connecting with this community of conscious women and see everyone's styled looks!

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In this challenge, we'll be taking 10 items from our closets and styling 10 different looks over the course of 10 days. Accessories are unlimited and things like workout clothes and loungewear won't count towards our 10 pieces (whew!) 

It's that simple and I think it's a great creative challenge, as well as a practice in looking to what you already have in your wardrobe instead of buying something new. I love this idea because we live in a culture that encourages a "buy, buy, buy" mentality that often leaves us drained and hollow. I want to continue down this path of consuming less and coming up with more ways to wear what I already own. I also feel like this challenge will help me get dressed for the day. Since I work for myself AND from home, I don't always have the motivation to get gussied up. And I often get my morning workout in and end up in workout clothes for the rest of the day. I'm hoping this challenge will help me make the transition from workout gear to beautiful styled looks.

I realize this post is not good timing if you, dear reader, want to join in. BUT this challenge happens once a season, so if it interests you there will be more chances!

Without further ado, here are my 10 items...

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eli & barry t-shirt 2 in hemp organic cotton (from last summer, but this is another good option), eli & barry smock 1 (launching fall 2018), everlane striped long-sleeve tee, me-made knit sweater (the pattern is the knit wit x nido turtleneck), me-made knit cardigan (pattern is uniform cardigan by madder made), me-made wool jacket (berlin jacket from tessuti fabrics), vintage levis from meek vintage, me-made wide-leg jeans, troentorp clogs, blundstones.

After selecting these items, I realized that most of them are handmade or vintage! That feels pretty cool. :) I wanted to choose items that I'm feeling excited about, that felt practical in terms of the weather and my lifestyle (those were great tips from Lee and Caroline), and stick to a neutral color scheme. Although, if you haven't noticed, I rarely skew from a neutral color scheme. Hey, I know what works for me, you know?

I'll be posting my 10 outfits and spur of the moment reflections on the challenge on my Instagram, so be sure to follow me there if you'd like to see this unfolding in real time. I'll also be doing a round up post at the end of the challenge on this blog to see how it all went. 

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