Ethical Fashion

Ethical Writer’s Co Spring Swap!

Second hand shopping has become a favorite of mine, mostly because you can often find really beautiful products for a fraction of the price! I get an extra thrill when I find a made in the USA product at a thrift store– a double win.

This Saturday, May 14, the Ethical Writer’s Coalition is hosting a spring clothing swap. Bring your friends and clothes that you are ready to part ways with, and collect a few new items for yourself! I will also be there selling IMBY, so there will be the opportunity to buy some new, ethically made clothes. Details are available here.

Square Swap Invite.jpg

To celebrate the swap, my fellow EWC members have put together some of their thoughts and reflection on items they love that are second hand.  Also check out EWC member Hanna Baror-Padilla’s new Kickstarter for Sotela, a collection of beautiful dresses that span multiple traditional sizes for the ever changing woman (I already bought mine!) and Kamea Chayne’s new book, Thrive!

Faye Lessler, Sustaining Life

Ever since I was 10, every time I went over to a close friend’s house, I would bring a bag of clothing with me and come home with a few fun, new-to-me pieces to add to my closet. To me, swapping is about trying new things and creating stories around our relationships through our clothing!

Catherine Harper, Walking with Cake

I have a vintage watch and purse that I wear all the time. To me, these things get better with age and I like knowing that there’s a history behind the pieces I use on a regular basis. It’s fun to imagine the women who loved them in the past.

Alden Wicker, EcoCult

I have this one pair of pants I got from the last EWC fashion swap – well, I got two great pairs of pants actually. One is a pair of black jeans from Banana Republicthat I wear constantly. The other pair of pants are the ones I’m thinking of, though. They’re super skinny, with a black-and-white abstract pattern and a lay-flat zipper in the front. Honestly? I’m sure they weren’t expensive to begin with. And I probably never would have bought them new. And yet, they were free at the swap, they were in my favorite colors (black and white) and they fit, so I took them home with me. I pulled them on one night to go out to a party at a nearby bar. I met my fiance there, and he took one look at me and said, “You’re butt looks so good in those.” He grabbed my female friend and dragged her over to confer. She agreed. “Your butt. Amazing.” Now I wear them whenever I need a particularly sexy confidence boost.

I think we all buy different things secondhand than we do new. Shopping new is an exercise in careful selection. It is reasoned. You come in with a plan and execute. Secondhand shopping is all serendipity. You could go in with a plan, and that might sort of work in a large store. But more likely you’ll stumble on something you never knew you wanted, for the perfect price. And it will become a favorite.

Addie Benson, Old World New

“Reuse, sustain, make old new again.”  That’s my motto, and my favorite old things to make new again are clothes.  Finding timeless pieces at thrift stores, vintage shops, garage sales, and even at clothing swaps make for a great curated closet.  Sometimes I’m amazed by my finds and wonder how anyone could have ever let them go, until I head to my closet and realize my style has evolved and that I, too, need to donate or swap some things that I once loved to don regularly.  The cycle of donating clothes and finding more second hand clothes to wear is exhilarating.  It is never the same twice, but it is always a fruitful adventure that yields endless style possibilities!

Leah Wise, Style Wise

I attended my first swap two years ago, right before two of my dear friends moved away. We laid everything out in a friend’s living room, sipped wine, and had a lovely time trying on each other’s clothing. Even though we were all different sizes, we found lots of things that fit. Plus, it’s so wonderful to have a few items to remember my friends by now that they live far away.

Elizabeth Stilwell, The Note Passer

I find there’s a delicate balance between holding tight to items I love and letting go of ones that no longer add value to my life. But once I decide to let go, I’m happy to see the thing change hands and bring pleasure to someone else. I love our swaps because I’m able to see someone delight in one of my items in person—squealing, grinning, and mugging for the camera with their new love—it’s quite different than dropping it off at a thrift store to go who knows where. The excitement for both giver and receiver is intoxicating. I highly recommend it!

Renee Peters, Model4greenliving

I have a pair of boots from my favorite consignment shop that I have worn almost every day, for the past two winters, all over New York. The soles are worn and the heels need repair. The effort to restore them pales in comparison to the joy that they bring me. They have endured countless city miles, northeastern arctic chills, and Parisian cobblestone streets. They have also shared some my best memories and proudest moments.

Whether worn for work or for play, these boots are an essential in my life. I am thankful for whoever resold them rather than throwing them away. They gave an old item new life. They prevented more waste from entering our ever-crowded landfills and provided me with the perfect shoe for my needs.

That is why, whenever I am ready to lose the items that no longer serve me, I am happy to participate in a clothing swap with my friends and neighbors. I know that my unwanted things could bring even more joy to someone new, just as those boots have for me. And who knows… maybe I will find my next favorite thing at the clothing swap too!

Holly Rose, Leotie Lovely

I’ve been second-hand shopping since I was a kid. I used to spend all the money I made from selling femo figurines at the market, babysitting and the few little acting parts I got at a second-hand store which was about a ten minute walk from my house. Back then, I had no idea shopping outside the mall was ‘Green’, to me, it was just an avenue to a sense of independence and individuality that I couldn’t find elsewhere. Today, it is a sense of magic that draws me, I feel much-loved pieces find me, not the other way around. The second-hand shopping in here Paris is insane, I did a whole Vlog post on it here for Fashion Revolution Week, they make their second-hands store look like any other Parisian boutique and it is filled with French women’s unwanted clothing which leaves little room for complaint!

Chandra Fox, These Native Goods

Whenever I go home to visit my mom a closet raid is a must, we have always loved swapping clothing. It is very nostalgic sorting through the pieces with her, clothing she wore and loved throughout my childhood. Luckily for me she is always happy to share, to see the pieces continue on to new adventures. Last year she handed down a pair of Levi’s that she had set aside for me. I gave her the jeans as a gift back in the 90’s, they no longer fit her so she wanted me to take over ownership. My mom loves gardening and she did a ton of it in these jeans. They have a slight brownish tinge that doesn’t wash out as a reminder of that and the fit is a little boyish, with a serious case of cowboy crotch. But they are perfect, I hope one day to pass them down to my own daughter.

Bianca Alexander, Conscious Living TV

As part of my commitment to Conscious Living, for the past two years, I’ve sworn to buy no new clothes. To me, swapping is the new shopping! Whether attending a swap party with some of my most fashionable friends, vintage hunting, or treasure-troving at the local Goodwill, nothing beats second-hand style. I already have so many beautiful pieces in my wardrobe, so I try to be extra-mindful of only incorporating items that, in the spirit of Marie Kondo, truly bring me joy. One of my favorite buys is this ‘60’s leopard-like vintage faux fur coat I picked up at American Rag in San Francisco – it’s vegan like me, one of a kind and goes with everything in my closet whether I dress up or down. I get compliments each time I wear it, and it’s so unique, I’ll never see a doppelgänger. Vintage, secondhand and recycled fashion is not only timeless, it’s the most conscious way to make a powerful fashion statement.

Entrepreneurship, General troublemaking, Healthy Living, Professional Growth

30 Day Challenge: My Morning Routine

Since launching IMBY, I have been writing for lots of blogs, contributing content for the IMBY blog, and focusing on business operations. And where does that leave this blog, my place for personal thoughts and exploration? Unfortunately I haven’t been showing much love here.

Instead of focusing on ethical fashion on this blog, I will now be featuring more content on the technical side of that topic over on IMBY’s blog. Here I will be focusing on my personal journey with ethical fashion, with capsule wardrobes, and as an entrepreneur striving to use business for societal change.

My last post (though awhile ago!) was on my new years resolutions, and one of them was to create a morning routine. Lately I have been experiencing the opposite of everything I strive for in a morning: wake up, check my emails, scroll through Instagram, watch tv, stay in bed answering emails. Where does it leave me? Starting off my day with clutter, a mess of a mindset, and ultimately less energy.
So, starting tomorrow I am committing to a new, energizing morning routine. Here’s what I landed on, starting from when I wake up:

  • 10 minutes of journaling
  • 10 minutes of yoga
  • 10 minutes of meditation
  • Get dressed from my capsule wardrobe (yes, I started my own! I will fill you in more on that later)
  • Drink a glass of hot water with lemon
  • Eat breakfast: Avocado toast, eggs, or smoothie
I anticipate this will take me about an hour each morning, and I am excited to start each morning with reflection, movement, and healthy eating. I also decided that if, for some reason, I don’t have time to do it all, I will still journal and meditate, even if it’s just 5 minutes of each (but those are for the rare exception days!).
I also set some ground rules for myself:

  • No phone near my bed
  • Wake up by 8am every week day
  • No tv when I go to sleep or wake up
  • No checking email until my morning routine is done

I am excited to kick this off! Who else out there has committed to a specific morning routine? What have you learned? What has worked best?

Entrepreneurship, General troublemaking, Professional Growth, Sustainable Living

2016 Resolutions


As 2015 comes to a close, I recently took some time to reflect on one of the most momentous years of my life. I started 2015 by moving into my own apartment for the first time. Five months later I moved out, and in the process, started looking for a new job. I quickly realized I had the opportunity that I had always wanted: to start my own company. Since then, my life has been truly focused around IMBY, creating an accessible option for ethically-made fashion.

When I think of 2016, I think of possibility, and uncertainty. If there’s anything I know about being an entrepreneur, it’s that there’s no way to predict the next year, let alone the next month. But I do want to set my intentions for next year. Here are the things, first and foremost as an entrepreneur, I am resolving to in 2016.

  1. Take care of my mind and body. This was a big focus of my letter to myself when becoming an entrepreneur, and to be honest, I am not doing a great job of it. I will be focusing on making yoga a regular part of my daily routine, and I plan to start 2016 with a Whole30 challenge to recalibrate my deteriorating diet.
  2. Create a morning ritual. I have been craving stability and routine in my not so stable or routine life as an entrepreneur. One thing that I am confident will help is creating a morning ritual that focuses on starting my day mindfully (not on my phone!) with meditation, yoga, and a healthy meal.
  3. Practice gratitude. I get a lot of help and support from wonderful friends and colleagues, and without them, I couldn’t get IMBY off the ground. I want to practice gratitude towards the people who support me beyond just saying thank you. This includes a regular thank you note practice, as well as being grateful of the things that others might not realize are a big deal, but make a big difference to me.
  4. Go big. 2016 will be a big year for IMBY— the company will hopefully grow a lot. This will require the majority of my energy and time for 2016, and I am ready to focus on bringing ethical fashion to the masses. This will require sacrifice including less time with friends, challenging decisions, successes and failures. I plan to embrace it all (and I have my own set of goals for IMBY’s growth in 2016!).
  5. Build community. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly lonely. I knew this fact from my time at PresenTense helping entrepreneurs start up, but it feels so heavy building a company alone. I plan to focus 2016 in building my own community of individuals I can support and who can support me. I am starting entrepreneur brain slams so that my friends and I can support each other in brainstorming new ideas when there is not normally someone around to share those ideas with.

Speaking of community, I recently joined the Ethical Writers Coalition, a group of bloggers focused on living more sustainable lives and helping others do so as well (some of them have been my favorite blogs on the topic for a while now!). We have all committed to posting our resolutions today. You can check out the other truly inspirational posts below– and check out their blogs for some great resources! What do you resolve to focus on in 2016?

Hanna of Sotela’s Why Making Unresolutions Are Better
Alden of Ecocult’s Painfully Honest New Years Resolution
Leah of Stylewise Blog’s Year in Review and Ethical Resolutions
Hannah of Life + Style + Justice Blog’s Resolutions
Kasi of The Peahen Blog’s A Year of Wardrobe Resolutions
Elizabeth of The Notepasser Blog’s My One Big Resolution for 2016
Faye of Sustaining Life’s Shedding Layers for a Mindful 2016
Annie’s My 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Buy Only Ethically Made Fashion
Kamea of Kamea’s World’s 4 New Year’s Resolutions You Need for a Meaningful 2016
Holly of Leotie Lovely’s Gone Green 2016
Andrea of Ecologique Fashion’s Resolutions


Sustainable Living

Dressing Ethically


One of my favorite made in the USA items: the pantsuit from! You can wear it dozens of different ways.

When I tell people I am launching an ethical fashion company focused on made in the USA clothing, they inevitably look me up and down and ask me”is what you are wearing now made in the USA?”

The answer is generally “no, it’s not.”

But that’s for a reason, I explain. While I do try to show off my IMBY inventory, I have a limited number of made in the USA items in my closet. Why? Because I took the plunge into ethical fashion a little less than two years ago, and with the pledge to shop consciously, I also started shopping much less frequently. I have tons of clothes from my “pre-ethical” days, and I don’t think it’s ethical to throw all those perfectly useful clothes away to allow my closet to be “ethical-only.”

However, I haven’t bought a single new item of clothing since February 2014 that wasn’t made ethically or thrifted. That’s something I am proud to say. What I really realized in this process is that I simply don’t need much. I have more than enough clothes! I used to shop when I was bored or to kill time. Now anything I add to my closet now is something special, something that speaks to me, and something that fills a need.

To me, that’s being an ethical shopper– it goes beyond the label. It’s not throwing out all your old Zara and Forever 21 clothes, it making a conscious decision in this moment, moving forward, to be aware of how your clothes are made, and to tell the story of how you choose to spend your money.

That’s one of the main reasons I started IMBY, to help consumers who want to shop in this way find whatever they need easily, quickly, and affordably. And on my journey, I have come across so many other individuals taking this pledge and starting their own ethical companies. I am confident that ethical fashion is on the rise.

What does conscious consumerism mean to you?


Entrepreneurship, Professional Growth

The rat that launched my business

I have been a little off the radar lately. Let me fill you in on why.

In May, a series of events and unwanted rodents led me to discover that my new and quaint Brooklyn apartment was no longer the humble abode I had anticipated it to be. I left the apartment, moved in with my parents, and didn’t look back.

At the same time, I was starting to explore where I wanted to move next in my career. After three wonderful, challenging, and rewarding years of growth and learning at PresenTense, I felt it was time for a new challenge.

Unrestricted by a lease or a job, I had the opportunity to push my boundaries and dream big. So I decided to pursue something I have always wanted to: starting my own company. I started working on it on nights and weekends and on September 15, I officially left my job at PresenTense to start IMBY, an ethical fashion company.

I have SO much to share about my entrepreneurial adventure so far, the ethical fashion industry, and IMBY. Too much for this one post, so there will be many posts to come.

For now, I will leave you with a letter I wrote myself right when I started IMBY about what I wanted to remind myself during the process. I welcome your insight and feedback into IMBY, and if you are interested in getting involved, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Dear Sara,

You are starting to embark on an exhilarating, terrifying, challenging, and rewarding journey. Starting your first (or any!) company is not an easy feat. It will inevitably be one of the most fun and challenging things you take on. It will push you to your limits. Your passion will be tested. There will be long nights. And your creativity will soar. 
Sara, you will be a rock star. I believe in you. Sitting on the subway writing this letter I’m so excited for you and what’s coming. You have been preparing for this for years. You are completely and totally prepared and equally unprepared. 
I want you to remember some important things as you push forward. 
You will fail. And that’s ok. Failure it’s one or the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial journey. This is where you will learn more than ever before. 
Take in every day. Entrepreneurship is not solely about the final product but also the journey. Be curious and always be learning. Lean into discomfort. Live in possibility. 
The product will never be final or perfect. It will grow and evolve and pivot and change just like you will during this process. 
Remain humble and embrace support. You simply cannot do this alone. Ask for help. Admit when things are hard. Be vulnerable. You will do the best you can but others will be able to do things better. Accept their help, support, and guidance professionally and emotionally. 
Live the entrepreneurial experience you have always desired. Truly embody it. This is your first chance to test the waters, learn where you will sink and swim. You will sometimes need to fake it until you make it. Lean into that. 
The health of your business is directly correlated with your health and wellbeing. Don’t sacrifice taking care of yourself. Go to yoga, meditate, eat healthy, whole foods, and nourish yourself with what you need physically, emotionally, and socially. While it will be essential for you to push through discomfort at times, you will also need to draw the line and be kind to yourself. 
Be appreciative. You have an opportunity to do something amazing. Don’t forget that you are lucky to have the stars align in the right way to enable you to take this journey. 
Turn worry and fear into opportunities. You will, quite often, experience fear. There will be many unknowns. Recognize those moments and shift them into moments of power and action. For every negative thought, create a positive one. 
Create your own luck. Entrepreneurship is really hard, and it’s a matter of the effort you put in and the attitude you have. Allow yourself to believe you will succeed. Many people will doubt you along the way, understand that’s part of the process. Humbly accept their opinion then prove them wrong. 
When you make it big, don’t forget the little guys. 
You do you. You are different, you’re unique. You’re a troublemaker. No one is as dedicated to your mission as you are. Never forget that. 
Have fun. Don’t forget to laugh. Live in the moment. Don’t take anything too seriously. 
Make it rain. 
In possibility,
July 17, 2015 
General troublemaking, Professional Growth

On being best

As a New Yorker, it’s hard not to get swept up into the notion of being the best. Every year when the Forbes 30 under 30 list comes out, I count the years I have left to make a remarkable change, to be noticed enough to make the list. I feel the pressure nearly daily; scrolling through my newsfeed and Instgram feed I see the list of who is being asked to speak on panels, teach a class, who is being published in HuffPo or Fast Company. I wonder what do I have to do to prove I’m the best? How can I get published? Who will look to me to be the expert? How can I get on that damn 30 under 30 list?! I know I am not alone in thinking about these questions. I have had several conversations with friends who feel the same way. I am not sure if it is unique to NYC, but I sure think it is magnified here.

Today I was walking down the street and I realized something.

Am I trying to be the best, or my best?

These two options are quite different you see. The former, being “the best” at something is likely defined by society, by culture, by the Forbes 30 under 30 list. “The best,” is determined by others, by outsiders, not by yourself (unless you make those claims yourself, but then you end up like those coffee shops that say “best cup of coffee in the world!“).

Since I can’t deem myself “the best,” I realized, I can only be my best. To me, being my best means to live an authentic life, to do things we enjoy and that contribute, and that make us and others happy. We have genuinely believe in what we are doing, and in ourselves, before others will believe in us. And if our contributions go unnoticed? Perhaps they are not noticed by the media, by your boss, or even your friends or family, but if you are doing something you believe it in they are certainly noticed by the lives you are changing.

There’s a sticky note above my desk that says “do your best every day,” and I now know that is all I can do. While I can’t control who decides if I’m better at something than someone else, I can do my best work every day, and be the best version of myself. For me, that’s doing things I believe make a difference in this world (my work at PresenTense, volunteering at the Future Project, helping with PurposeFuel), taking care of myself (yoga, meditation, eating healthy, rest and relaxation), and being a good friend and family member. And the rewards I reap from doing those things are completely satisfying to me.

How do you do your best? What would it mean for you to do your best every day? Let me know in the comments.

Sustainable Living

Happy #FashionRevolutionDay

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. The movement urges individuals to shop in an ethical and socially responsible way, and to truly know where our clothes are coming from. I am a big fan of the movement, and not just for the day, but as a lifestyle.

My outfit for #FashioNRevolutionDay. Top and pants thrifted and made in USA, thrifted necklace, motojacket, warby parker glasses.

My outfit for #FashionRevolutionDay. Top and pants thrifted and made in USA, thrifted necklace, motojacket, warby parker glasses.

My friend Kristin started an apparel company called, where she manufactures beautiful, timeless, and versatile clothing in the USA. She is intimately involved with sourcing the fabrics (which are often surplus from places like J.Crew, who will throw out the fabric because of the slightest imperfections*) and the sewing of each garment in Denver, CO. I have been a big fan of since the beginning (you may be familiar with my versalette challenges!).

*Can you imagine what society would be like if we dismissed everyone who was imperfect? Why should we treat our clothing this way? Isn’t imperfection what makes the world beautiful. Just a thought.

Through one of the versalette challenges ( sells an item called the versalette which you can wear in dozens of ways, and Kristin has challenges to wear it 7 days straight!), I was introduced to Kestrel of Awear, and immediately took her pledge to be more cognizant of the clothing I purchase. Since February 2014, I have only purchased clothing items that are either thrifted, made in the USA, or socially responsible in their practices (she has some other options like vegan items, organic, etc.). It has been a wonderful and rewarding (and sometimes challenging) experience.

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Being mindful is important in all facets of life. Before I started following, I really never thought about where my clothes came from. Since then, I have realized how often we aren’t mindful at all, whether that’s with shopping, what we eat, who we spend our time with, or how our jobs make us feel. It is so important to decide what matters to you and pay attention deeply. To doing things with intent.
  2. I really don’t need much. I have so many clothes already from before the pledge that I really don’t need anything new. So I only purchase things I really love, and things I feel good about purchasing. I used to shop just to kill time, shopping at places like Forever 21 and buying ridiculously quantities of cheap clothing..’s items are more than I used to spend at Forever 21, but I feel great purchasing them, they are much higher quality, and I need less of them to be happy. Now I shop when I really want something new and can find something that meets my requirements.
  3. Just because I care about conscious consumerism doesn’t mean everyone else does. This topic is something I am really passionate about, but I can’t expect everyone to feel as passionate about it as me. I am sure many friends have passions that I don’t share! So I often share with people how I shop and answer their questions, but I choose not to proselytize them to join the cause. Issues like this are only powerful when they mean something to you.

So, as I write this in the flagship TOMS Shoes store in Venice, CA (which is plastered with signs saying things like “GIVE” and “we exist to make a difference”), I see myself continuing with the pledge in perpetuity, and I hope to expand it to other facets of my life. I often feel a bit like a fraud when I only buy ethical clothing but don’t pay as much attention to other things I buy. But you have to start somewhere, and this has been a rewarding and meaningful place to start.

Speaking of starting somewhere, how do you consume consciously? What do you pledge to pay more attention to this year?