Tuesday, February 20, 2007


hi lena, so i have seen those shoes in almost every kmart/walmart in florida. know anyone in the sunshine state?

Monday, February 19, 2007

minutes of 2/4/07 meeting

well, our first meeting of 2007 was really fun and inspiring! we were hosted by lena at her lovely home in fort greene, brooklyn. in attendance were lena, myself, jen, caitlin, sherise and angie. oh, and of course gus and gertie!

our first topic was the introduction of two new saplings. first is angie, of a.s.i.s. (angela spencer's irresistable stuff) who participated in our sample sale back in november. she told us a little about her business and her goal of selling to more stores this year. the second is alisa, who is based in L.A. and will be one of our west coast correspondants. alisa is a multi-media artist and designer.

we also bid farewell (geographically speaking) to jen of raeburn ink. jen is moving to humboldt county in northern california and we will miss her, though like alisa and alice, she can still be an active SAPLING through the blog! we look forward to seeing how raeburn ink will emerge as a california company.

next we each reviewed our accomplishments in 2006 and our plans and goals for 2007. this conversation segued into one about designing textile swatches to be repped by a print studio, which seems like a flexible and fun possible source of extra income that several of us are interested in pursuing...

sales venues were also discussed. i personally am planning to open an etsy shop as a way to sell odds and ends and pieces that come back from consignment at the end of each season. several of us expressed a desire to transition from selling our goods on consignment to wholesaling them outright. caitlin advised skipping a season in order to make a collection of samples 6 months ahead (fashion week schedule), when stores are placing orders. we also talked about showrooms vs. repping ourselves, and sharing space during trade shows (ideally nearby but not IN the show as they are prohibitively expensive for most of us) to show our collections to buyers.

we are hoping to have another sample sale this spring, on the sidewalk outside treehouse.

finally, lena showed us her studio and gave us a sneak preview of her upcoming book. it may still be top secret so i won't say any more for now, but we'll keep you informed as it progresses for sure...

i think that covers it, but as usual, if i left anything out, please post it!

Friday, February 16, 2007

seen these shoes?

hi saplings

i'm doing a project with canvas slip-on shoes, and i'm looking for this one style, that has a little bit of gathering across the top.... i found a small photo of them online, but the link didn't work. does anyone know where i can find them? i've seen them before, i think at dollar stores (and maybe in chinatown?) but now that i need them, i'm not sure where to go. any suggestions?



Thursday, February 01, 2007

ethics vs. style

some of you know that for the last year-and-a-half or so, i have vowed to myself to stop buying clothing manufactured in sweatshops by huge corporations. actually, i'm not really buying any new clothes at all unless they are made by someone i know, or another small, independent designer. my goal is to have my wardrobe consist solely of self-made, indie or vintage! that will be a great feeling. there are a few categories i've considered exceptions to the rule... things that i've always considered difficult to make like bras, jeans, coats, though eventually i hope to conquer each of these areas too (check these out! i definitely need to try 'em...)
anyway, shoes are an area i haven't quite figured out how to deal with. in particular, i've been in need of some new sneakers for many years now, but never seem to find any that i like. and now that i've started walking to the Y, my old thrifted sneaks that i've been wearing for over 10 years just aren't cutting it anymore. so in december, i was on the subway and saw a girl wearing the pumas pictured above. it was love at first sight: the colors (with no jock-ish white anywhere on them!), the metallic leather, the slip-on factor, and that je ne sais quoi... i was smitten. so i went online and looked them up, and found that they were still available and reasonably priced. but this little voice kept nagging at me, telling me i'd better dig a little deeper and find out more about Puma, knowing in my heart it would lead to nowhere good. but i kept hoping, thinking 'hey, they make that yoga line with christy turlington, so they must be ethical, right?' but sadly, i found out the bad news: according to co-op america, 'Puma has been repeatedly implicated in egregious violations of workers' rights in China, El Salvador, Indonesia and Mexico. A 2003 Sustainability Report makes it sound like Puma is beginning to work on improvements. And Puma has made moves to remove vinyl from its shoes. But it appears that Puma has a long way to go before it becomes a green company.' sigh.

so where does that leave me? i decided to check out what simple has to offer. these are my favorites, but somehow they just don't make my heart race like the pumas do! their reputation, however, is stellar. this whole thing makes me feel so shallow... it's like choosing between the hot trampy girl with the criminal past and the virtuous girl next door. ack! it's a micro-example of an issue i've encountered more and more recently: why does ethical design seem always to have that 'crunchy' esthetic? i hope this will start to change as labels like 'green', 'sustainable', 'organic', etc become more in demand as well as more available. any advice or suggestions of other ethical shoe companies would be hugely appreciated. in the meantime i'll be hobbling to the gym in my treadworn old kelmes...