I loved this shiny-happy shot of Caroline Trentini in Vogue wearing a Bantu bikini. Bantu’s founder, Yodit Eklund, grew up in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya as the daughter of an American refugee coordinator, and told Vogue, “I was tired of seeing t-shirts that benefitted Africa but were manufactured in China.”
After finishing her degree in environmental economics at UC Berkeley, Eklund created her swimwear company, which features traditional wax-cloth prints that are designed, cut and sewn in Africa, providing a fair wage to the people who make them.
Mission: To introduce the world to African beach culture
by creating a hot line of beach and resort wear, accessories, and skincare products using indigenous prints, labor, and materials. All 100% made in Africa.
Whether you’ve planned a fabulous vaca this summer to an exotic locale or a weekend getaway an hour from home, you’ll want to pack your toiletry bag with some of our favorite summer travel products. Even if a staycation is on the horizon for you, these products will surely come in handy during these hazy, lazy days of summer.
First and foremost, you’ll want to keep the mosquitos at bay and avoid those dreaded red welts. I tested out EcoSMART’s Insect Repellent and not only did it keep the bugs far away, but I enjoyed it’s pleasant scent. Yes, you read that correctly. A bug spray that smells really good and works well! The kicker: It’s made with organic plant oils and it’s DEET-free.
Since bugs are on the mind, EcoSMART also makes a fantastic and effective travel size Bed Bug Killer and Repellent. Wherever your respite, you’ll sleep tight knowing the bed bugs won’t bite.
Suncreen is a must, but keeping toxic chemicals and a burn off your skin can be tricky. Loving Naturals makes a great sunscreen and we love Nature’s Gate mineral sportsblock. Both made Environmental Working Group’s list of best natural sunscreens. You should, at all costs, avoid any sunscreen products that contain the ingredient Oxybenzone as there is mounting evidence that is a possible photocarcinogen, meaning it mutates into a carcinogen when exposed to light. Also avoid the ingredient Retinyl Palmitate, as it is a vitamin A compound that makes skin more prone to sunburn and sun damage. Just be wary of using that sunblock from last year as many products lose their effectiveness after 1-2 years. You can learn more about your go-to sunscreen and whether it’s slather worthy at the EWG Sunscreen Database.
High altitudes, planes and AC can really leave your skin parched, so be sure to carry along a hydrating face mist in your travels. Fat & the Moon’s mist is created with organic and locally grown ingredients. Just one little spritz will leave you with that refreshed, baby skin we’re all after.
Every well-packed toiletry case has a toothbrush so why not bring along a better, lighter one? Radius makes small toothbrushes with detachable heads that fit perfectly into travel cases. Throw Tom’s Whole Care Toothpaste into that toiletry bag while you’re at it! And if you’re an active vacationer, be sure to pack all-natural deodorant from Kiss My Face. Your travel buddies will thank you.
When the bikini was first introduced, it caused a sensation, not to mention a generational rift. Well, we’ve come a long way, baby. Fast-forward to today, and there are enough bikini styles, fabrics and prints to necessitate real consideration of what bikini to wear to which watery locale. Yes, there is such a thing as matching bikini style to destination location! And of course, if you are going to buy a new bikini, it should be figure flattering and gentle to the environment in its production. Here’s Part 1 in our four-part series on gorgeous suits and the best places to wear them.
The Bikini: Teeki
Teeki bikinis are made from about 12 recycled water bottles per suit – not that you would ever know it by the (supercute) looks of them. Handmade in California, the suits are totally 80’s trendy and not for the faint of heart, coverage-wise. But contrary to what one might think, sometimes more coverage doesn’t mean more flattering, so try on a teeny bikini, you might surprise yourself!
White suits looks great on everyone except those with the lightest skin, and as long as they’re well-lined, these bikinis can wear as a neutral like black or navy, but with more of a pop. This one has the cheeky twist of leopard print almost-suspenders holding the top up. Not only is it a little more fun than a plain white bikini, it’s great support if you are doing some wave diving or beach dancing.
The Locale: Kahena Black Sand Beach, Big Island of Hawaii
Which means the perfect place to wear this suit is while swimming in the wild waves of The Big Island of Hawaii’s white, black, and even green sand beaches. Created almost entirely of volcanic materials, the sand on The Big Island’s beaches varies constantly, from black, which is composed of the newish lava that forms most of the land underfoot, to green sand (found only on one beach which gets its sand from a volcanic deposit of Olivene, a naturally green rock).
A white bikini against the black sands of the Puna area beaches would not only keep one covered in the waves, but would segue perfectly into the evening dance parties that go on at Kahena Beach every Full Moon night. Keep an eye out for the fire dancers!
Eco Chick Escapes Editor Starre Vartan, Treehugging at Kahena Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Just because we travel doesn’t mean we have to throw our fashion senses to the wind. There’s no need to sacrifice style for comfort. Since traveling is something we all do, whether we’re on our way to work, to visit with a friend, or to take an adventure in another country, it’s good to always have a few key pieces in mind, especially when trying to travel lightly.
It’s easy to mix and match. What you to travel during the day can easily be transformed to evening wear with a cute heel and a stunning necklace.
Especially this summer when it’s all about the pop of color! Like in the outfit below, throw on a few accessories, accentuate with a big bauble or a killer heel, and switch the day hobo for a nighttime clutch. And these luxe fashions are both made from ethical materials and are timeless and will never go out of style, which is even more sustainable!
$80 - lagarconne.com
$220 - lagarconne.com
$47 - endless.com
$43 - endless.com
$1,520 - barneys.com
$3,510 - barneys.com
If you’re not that into coffee, you might want to stop reading now. If you’re the kind of person who thinks diner java is a-ok to quaff when need be, you might call me a snob (and in this case, I might well be). I have an obsession with really, really good coffee (and chocolate). To the extent that I don’t think the stuff is worth drinking unless it’s an intense shade of awesome.
Luckily for me, I live part-time in New York City, which has a high proportion of excellent coffee-makers who both buy great beans and brew it up just right (this actually requires a fair amount of training, and from my observations, quite a bit of banging of espresso equipment and packing of aromatic beans, as well as prodigious quantities of steam).
Recently, I ventured over to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Blue Bottle Coffee to meet up with Karen Stewart Brown, half of the creative duo behind one of my fave eco fashion labels Stewart + Brown. She was coming from Greenpoint, and I was coming from Manhattan, and Blue Bottle was conveniently located in-between. I had been looking for an excuse to check BBC out since it opened a little over a year ago (and the NYTimes wrote about it), so I made tracks to Billyburg.
A modern, open space greeted me, and as I glanced over the two giant community tables (there were a few stools, but this is more of a standing kinda place – haven’t you heard that sitting is totally unhealthy?) I was smacked in the face by the gorgeous blue wall with what looked like a glass beaker sculpture had been installed in front of it. Upon closer inspection, it revealed itself to be a new (actually old) way of brewing coffee. Japanese-style, this cold brew method takes all night, but this slow-java method is incredibly tasty.
“It’s theatrical,” said James Freeman, the owner, explaining the process to the NYTimes. “It’s incredible tasting, too. It wouldn’t be worth the show and the hassle if it didn’t taste great.” It certainly is a centerpiece and a talking point at the cafe, and quite sculpturally lovely too.
If you are in the mood for something a bit quicker, Blue Bottle makes an incredible cappuccino and serves pour-over drip coffee as well. If you are visiting NYC or live locally or are taking a day trip to Brooklyn, check them out on Berry St.
Location: Blue Bottle Coffee, 160 Berry Street (North Fifth Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Phone: (718) 534-5488
Website: Blue Bottle Coffee
S’mores done Brooklyn-style, with Mast Brothers chocolate, house-made graham crackers, and Kings County Distillery Moonshine marshmallows.