Please tell us a bit about yourself and what makes you you. :)
I’m a mother of two boys, living beneath the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. I’m a kindergarten and first grade teacher, passionate about Near-O Waste (near zero waste) and minimalism, and addicted to traveling. We like to be out in nature or doing something active whenever we can. I love to cuddle with my kids, watch them play Legos, and read to them. In my free time, I cook or read and I’ve always got a night-time project. First it was teaching myself how to decorate cakes. Then I went through a phase of making phonics puppets to go with my self-published language arts workbook for beginning readers. A year and a half ago I started a blog. My next project is writing a travel novel about seeing the 50 states with my family.
How do you see and or approach "fair" in your closet?
My ideal pieces are at least 90% organic cotton. I will buy a non-organic item if it is made in the USA and contains no plastic. I probably have an equal balance of organic items and locally made non-organic items. I know I should be shopping mostly second hand, but I only usually do it for denim. I have two pairs of second hand jeans that fit perfectly without a belt.
Most definitely! That’s my favorite thing about my wardrobe. I did a minimization project I call “Wardrobe 777”. I whittled my closet down to seven items in eleven different categories (short sleeve shirts, pants, tank tops, etc.) plus 7 pairs of shoes. I’ve replaced most of my wardrobe over the past year to eliminate plastic (polyester, spandex, etc.) and now I love each piece and am finally satisfied!
Do you have a favorite outfit that just makes you feel like you?
I love to wear my 7 for all Mankind jeans (purchased second hand, 98% cotton, made in the USA, wide leg with a cuff) and a Bandit brand vintage black tee that says “On the Road Again” with a rose graphic. It’s not organic, but is 100% cotton and made in the USA. I like it so much because it’s casual and, although it’s pretty new, it reminds me of our travels and makes me feel excited about the next trip. I always wear an under tank top. I have seven that I’ve had for over a decade. They are 40% polyester, but I figure the fact that I’ve gotten so much use out of them and plan on keeping them until they disintegrate makes them a tiny bit “green”. My favorite shoes are Ipanema flip flops (black with a large gold heart embellishment). They’re ethically made in Brazil and are 100% recyclable. And I always feel completely “like me” when I put on the handmade turquoise heart ring my husband bought me on our 7th anniversary in Santa Fe.
I no longer have anything old with a special story, since everything plastic was recently replaced. But I do have a fondness for two shirts; a flowing, asymmetrical grey tee shirt that my mom bought me (it was my first high-quality shirt and inspired the rest of my wardrobe) and a three-quarter sleeve tee that I bought using a birthday gift certificate from my husband. It has all the phases of the moon on it. It’s one of my most unique pieces and reminds me of our younger son because he was born on a mezzaluna (half moon).
Do you struggle with any part of buying fair clothing?
Lack of patterns! When I first started revamping my wardrobe, I loved the simplicity of the solid colors, and chose mostly black and grey with a few splashes of turquoise and dusty shades of purple and orange. But I do miss the prints sometimes. I have the moon phases shirt, two striped shirts, and two casual graphic tees. Everything else is solid. Simple, classic, and versatile, but sometimes a little too solid! Plus, there just aren’t very many organic, plastic-free options out there, but I feel like they’re on the rise.
Do you have any goals for a next step you'd like to take in your own fair fashion future?
My goal is to not buy anything new for a very long time. And when I finally do, it will be organic, locally made, or second hand, and I will donate one item I already have to keep my limit at 777!
All photos courtesy of Andrea Randall.
Please check out Andrea's blog, Near-o Waste, and her Facebook page too for more of her story.
Thanks so much for inspiring us with your unique approach to fair in your own closet, Andrea!