The electronics industry can rival the holocaust when it comes to mining in Congo, where over 5 million people have died and hundreds of thousands of women are raped and mutilated, children are sent into mines, and civil war, militias, occupations, and illegal smuggling has wreaked havoc on people, animals, and ecosystems. It is considered the deadliest conflict since WWII, yet may people aren’t even aware that the very computers and phones they use every day are part of this problem. So what should we all do? Well to start, we can support efforts for conflict-free electronics.

Enter Fairphone, “A seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first“. Fairphone is a brilliant idea that I am SO excited about. I wish I could give them an award. But what’s better than an award is our  support. In order to run their first production, they need 5,000 pre-orders. They’ve sold 3,850. So buy one and share this with your friends! It features:


Sock it to ‘Em

• Why the heck would a smart man wear Ralph Lauren’s (on the right) sweatshop-made, zero-transparency, conventional cotton socks when he could wear a superior pair of dashing stripes from Zkano made with certified organic cotton in Alabama using fair, living-wage labor (on the left)? The best part? They’re cheaper! Sorry Ralph, you just got owned by Fashioning Change.


Three Leaves, Rapanui and Vivobarefoot

Rapanui is “an Award-Winning Eco-fashion brand from on the Isle of Wight”. They make organic, ethical clothing in factories powered by wind and solar energy. Every piece is rated on its sustainability with a letter grade from A-G: A being organic, ethical and sustainable, and G being none of the aforementioned. Where the award winning comes in however, is through their traceability. For all of their clothing they have both a map and a description of the entire process, what they call “from seed to shop”, showing the journey their clothing takes through the entire supply chain to get to the store. Not only are their products animal friendly, but they also work towards animal welfare.

“At Rapanui we will never use fur and none of the products on our site were made after being tested on animals, nor were they derived from animal products.”

Fairtrade Cotton / FSC Rubber Shoes Wolfpack Sweat

Three Leaves, from Red Hook Brooklyn, is a new eCommerce store entering the foray of ethical menswear. That carry brands using eco-friendly materials, with strict certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), cruelty free shoes like Novacas, and socially responsible brands that would never use sweatshop labor, they strive to offer fashion staples for the uncompromising man. Although not entirely vegan (there is some wool and  leather, e.g. jacket zipper, jean tag) they will make note of it in the item’s description.


Vivobarefoot offers eco barefoot shoes suited for most any lifestyle, from trail running to casual. They are made from recycled, locally sourced materials in ethical factories using sustainable production techniques. Each shoe has an eco matrix, in the form of a numerical rating, to score their environmental impact throughout the lifecycle. If a shoe is vegan, it can be found under the shoe’s “features” labeled “Eco Credentials: 100% Vegan”.


Every season, Mercy and Wild will make a 5-piece unisex t-shirt collection around a charitable cause. They then commission an illustrator to portray their take on the theme, with 25% of the proceeds going to said charity. The shirts are “100% organic cotton, made at a small solar-powered factory in India which meets the Fair Wear Foundation standard regarding worker’s hours and pay – our t-shirts are even shipped over to us by boat to keep our Carbon Footprint low”. They use “water-based Soil Association certified inks and all waste products from the workshop are recycled where possible”.

Cardigan, a small town in Wales, has a population of around 4,000. For three decades, 400 of them made 35,000 pairs of jeans a week. Due to outsourcing, all of them lost their jobs. David Hieatt, a cardigan native, and his wife Clare intend to eventually employ all 400 of them again. Thus, Hiut Denim was created. So far they produce a line of both raw organic and Japanese selvedge denim. Due to such a high demand, they are currently not taking orders in most styles in order to work through the backlog.

They are committed to doing one thing, and doing it very well. No shirts, no accessories, just jeans. This way all of their artisans are doing exactly what they are good at, with no distractions. “We make jeans. We will only ever make jeans.”

In order to keep in line with their vision, they plan on staying independent. To keep their quality, any expansion will be slow and deliberate. They are not taking bank loans, so no debt, and only sell non-voting shares. But there is one shareholder in particular that they do keep in mind:

“We should run our business knowing that there is a silent shareholder called planet earth. And we have to keep that shareholder happy too.”

The jeans are fairly modern as well. The coin pocket has been replaced with one to fit an iPhone. Each pair comes with a unique history tag, so that you can upload pictures of your memories with them. This not only allows for you to look back at all that you’ve done in them, but should you pass them on to anyone, they too will be able to see their history.

I emailed them asking whether or not the jeans are vegan: “…labels are leather. We can make without the label. And I am sure we will do one with a paper card label one day for sure,”.

Eating Awesome in Portland

Contributor Paul Jarvis takes us on a unabashed, gastronomic tour of the vegan hub that is Portland. Enjoy.

It seems everything in Portland is prefixed with the word “vegan”. Everything from strip clubs to B&B’s to realtors can and do pull out the big V at every stop. And this is good news for wary vegan travelers in search of grub and adventure. Here’s a list of some of my favorite places to check out while in PDX.

Blossoming Lotus — organic vegan fusion. What does that mean? Think awesome, lots of raw options, and a diverse menu. A trick I learned to being able to eat a variety of menu items here is to go for happy hour and order half a dozen tapas (for yourself, more if you’re with friends) and go nuts.

Homegrown Smoker — stoner soul food. From mac-no-cheese to deep-friend Oreos, these dudes have your cravings covered.

Sweatpea Bakery — baked goods and strong coffee. The almost-lost art of sandwich making is alive and well (and vegan) here. Their desserts are insanely good as well.

Scapegoat Tattoo — vegan tattoo shop. Did you know not all inks are vegan? These guys and gals use plant-based inks and do a bang-up job. I’ve got a few tattoos from here.

Foodfight — heck yes, a vegan grocery store! No more do you have to stand around reading labels for hours, everything is vegan. They also carry a lot of hard-to-find vegan treats.

DC Vegetarian — mostly-vegan food cart. Although I’ve never tried an actual Philly cheese steak, their vegan version is easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Powell’s Books — massive bookstore. Get your vegan cookbook on in their vegan section!

Bye and Bye — vegan hipster bar. All vegan spirits and a killer southern kitchen (hello collard greens, I think I love you!).

Vita Cafe — mostly-vegan breakfast/brunch spot. They have a vegan chicken fried steak. Enough said. If you’re into “day drinking” they also have great morning vegan cocktails.

Prasad — a mostly vegan raw joint. They’ve got great lunches and killer juices.

Voodoo Donuts — any establishment where I am able to order a “coffin of donuts” is right by me. They’ve got a huge vegan doughnut selection, and they’ll even perform marriage ceremonies!

Being vegan while traveling can sometimes require a little more planning, but definitely not in Portland — almost everywhere has vegan options. The only downside is that I am not able to eat the entire city whole.