6 Great Made in NY Gifts I Would Love to Get

6 MadeInNY giftsI am a notorious last minute shopper, always trying to find the *perfect* present. Here are six items I would love to receive. Is this a directive, my friends? No, more of a suggestion... Seriously, maybe this is an ass-backwards way of doing things but if I'm not buying gifts that I would love to have myself I'm at a total loss. So here are a few fabulous Made in NY finds!

1. Valtameri Handwoven Scarf by Pirtti Handwoven $295

Piritti Handwoven ScarfI think a beautiful scarf is one of life's small luxuries and that Anne-Marie Kavulla's are really some of the best. Each blue/gray dégradé silk and cotton scarf in this limited edition series is handmade by Anne-Marie and is appropriate for men and women alike. This one is available at Whisper Editions. You can see other styles and learn more about Pirtti Handwoven here


2. Chick-a-Tea Pot with Tea Cups $110

blue-teapot_cupPW This stoneware teapot conveys the essence of a mother hen with her two little chicks—hence the name, Chick-a-Tea Pot. Unique in form, this teapot is very special, with a cascading handle that merges with the base and a cork topper. The teapot includes two teacups, and all pieces are handmade in Brooklyn. You can find it at HannahJune.com


3. Zero Waste Design Top $85

ZeroWasteDesignTopI love the minimalist vibe of this shirt and it's the perfect gift for your fashionable friend who lives in black. Using a unique zero waste design process, this one of a kind shirt is handmade in brooklyn exclusively with high quality cutting room fabric scraps so no two are exactly alike. And by purchasing a ZWD piece, you are supporting: a reduction in textile pollution local artisans and crafters made in america fair labor practices a sustainable fashion habit Oh and it comes in gray or white as well! You can buy them on Daniel Silverstein's Site


4.The Deity Tip Ring (set of four) $160

CHRISHABANA DeityTip RingsCHRISHABANA is known for taking gothic iconography and filtering it through a pop lens. A fashion cult favorite his work has been worn by iconclasts from Madonna to FKA Twig. The Deity Tip Ring is a delicate curved ring that sits on the finger tip. This piece highlights a manicured finger or hand. It can also be worn as a midi ring. The ring is adjustable - slightly bend the sides to the desired fit. Available in polished brass plated in 18K gold or gunmetal and custom made in New York City. You can buy them at CHRISHABANAJEWELRY


5. Tactile Keys $98

TactileKeysPW I spend alot of my time on my computer - so much that I shudder to think about it. Which is perhaps what drew me to the Engrain Tactile Keys which strike me as a little bit of genius. They are textural wooden keyboard modifiers that allow you to type on a natural surface. The 3D texture is derived from the natural growth patterns of the wood, giving each set its own look and feel. The variation from key to key invites the touch sense to finally become involved in typing and key recognition. This natural,textural wooden sticker set can be affixed to Apple external keyboards. Made of sassafras wood, each set is unique and meticulously handcrafted in Brooklyn and can be purchased on Michael Roopenian Design. Your friends might initially dismiss this as a Brooklyn Hipster accoutrement...but then you know they'll soon follow your lead.


6. Glitter Bunny Clutch $149

LoveBunny ClutchWhat's a holiday list without a touch of whimsy and sparkle? This dazzling bunny clutch is all you need on a night out. Each bag is individually hand crafted, 100% vegan and ethically made by GUNAS New York, a brand dedicated to High Fashion. Zero Cruelty. Buy your clutch here

5 Painless Ways To Dip Your Toe Into Sustainable Fashion (aka I Love the idea of being eco-friendly but...

supima cotton nyfw Hey you! I'm talking to you! You with the stash of t-shirts bought at Forever 21 and the cute jacket from Urban Outfitters. And also to you with that fabulous namebrand handbag that was made...where? You don't know?

Lately it feels like sustainable fashion has gone from something out in left field to a topic that can't be ignored. There was even a massive discussion on one of my favorite sites, The Business of Fashion. But all this discussion and information can leave a person feeling... a little overwhelmed. As a person who loves fashion and the earth how can you find things that are both fabulous and environmentally friendly - oh and not break the bank? As the creator of StyleDefinedNYC and now of PixieWarhol I’ve been writing about fashion for the past seven years and moving into sustainability is admittedly a challenge but I have found two articles that make dipping your toe into a more sustainable lifestyle a little less overwhelming.

In a recent interview excerpt on Sierra Club, “Q+A With Kate Black, America’s Ethical Fashion Expert” she spoke about the fashion industry, its impact on the environment and ways we can create change on an individual level. One idea she mentioned was the idea of sharing clothes. Remember how you did that with your best friend when you were fourteen? Well the grown up idea is to use a service like Rent The Runway to rent a dress for a formal occasion when it’s unlikely you’ll ever need it again.

NYFW Supima Cotton Challenge

On the British Council site Fashion Programme Manager Kendall Robbins wrote an article called “How can you shop for fashion sustainability" that lists several ways you can begin to be more sustainable. She writes that remembering that there is a story behind your clothing – how it was made, how it traveled to get into the shop where you bought it – is a great first step. She also shares Lucy Siegle’s idea of a “curated wardrobe” aka being more conscious of what you buy and where it fits in with what you already own.

After doing my own research I’ve come up with five easy things you can do to move your dial further from fast fashion and more towards sustainable.

Play Dress Up – You know the 80/20 rule. We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Unlike de-clutter blogs I'm not going to ask you to get rid of that 80% (yet) Instead spend a day going through your closet and find new clothing combinations. i.e. take a skirt that you love but for whatever reason never seem to wear and see if you can find different ways to wear it. I did this and was amazed with some results. Be sure to take photos on your phone to easily remember them. • Stop Washing Your Jeans – washing consumes the largest amount of resources and the largest carbon footprint in the life of the garment so be like Tommy Hilfiger and don't wash them! Think of all the extra games of Ms.PacMan you can play at your local bar with the laundry quarters (or maybe that's just me) Afraid of germs? Throw them into your freezer next to the bottle of Absolut. In 72 hours all bacteria will be gone. • Visit Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to check the safety of your beauty products – So far I've been talking about clothes but many many popular products are toxic for the environment and for your health as well. You need to check this site to find which are safe and which are not so you can shop smartly. • Watch The True Cost documentary. - It's on Netflix. And Amazon. And Apple. Seriously, I should take away your plastic until you watch it. That's how major it is. • Buy Magnifeco - Kate Black's shopping guide is a straightforward way to learn where you can find sustainable options.

These are the things I've started with and well...it's a beginning. But I'd love to hear from you: what are ways that you've started changing your habits around shopping and fashion?

Katya Moorman is the Director of Digital & Social Media Marketing for Manufacture New York and a Creative Consultant|Image Maker with a focus on socially responsible brands. You can connect with her on twitter @PixieWarhol

A chat with designer Daniel Silverstein

Zero Waste Sustainable Designer Daniel Silverstein I am all about supporting local design talent and when I saw Daniel Silverstein’s Zero Waste top in my instagram feed it immediately caught my attention. And then when I learned about the concept behind it…let’s just say it’s going on my Christmas list of what I will be giving as gifts.

And being the slightly obsessive type that I am I decided to interview him to learn more. Daniel’s one of the talented designers whose studio is at Manufacture New York, an industrial space in Brooklyn where designers and manufacturers work side-by-side allowing the designer’s to make small runs of products and keep the whole process in New York.

Katya: So Daniel, how did you come up with this shirt?

Daniel: I'm super excited about this shirt because I've been dreaming of this kind of a thing for years. It’s literally all re-purposed cutting room scraps. New fabrics that have never been used or warn. Factories just don't use them. They cut out what they want and throw the rest away! So it's really pre-consumer waste. fabric and it’s taking the textile remnants and piecing them together to make something new.

Katya: Instead of deconstructing it’s like reconstructing. And it has that modernist feel I always associate with deconstructed clothes…the point of deconstructed fashion was to show that fashion wasn’t flawless and your pieces are kind of like taking a flaw in fashion – the wastefulness and using that to create something new and unique.

Daniel: Thank you! I've seen people take textile remnants and piece them together to make things to wear and they always look like they belong in like an eco-fashion category and that’s really been bothering me because I think everybody needs to stop thinking about it in a craft way of doing things and more of the future.

Katya: Yeah, let’s talk about the concept of eco-fashion and I'll just be straight up: I'm coming slightly late to the dance with the whole sustainable thing but now that I’m aware of it, in part by articles online and then by my designer friends changing their focus, I still see that a lot of people still associate it with a “hippie dippie” aesthetic and an assumption of lower quality. Where do you see yourself in association with “eco-fashion” or do you wish that was just something that would just go away as a term?

Daniel: Well eco-fashion has a connotation like punk has a connotation… punk can be super high fashion –look at Vivienne Westwood- so I understand it in a sense because we're all victims of that exact same thing where you hear a term and you think you know what it means and what I have come to realize and what I hope to see more of is that as people start businesses and large companies that have a huge market share right now grow everyone is seeing a need and a demand to make things in a more conscious way and so I don't necessarily think it's about being eco because I don't really know what that means but I think that conscious design and conscious consumption are incredibly important trends for the next generation of designers both as employees and entrepreneurs.

My focus is on how to reduce consumption, consume responsibly and consume better materials. I don't do any development on actual materials and I wouldn't say I'm ignorant but I'm not as well versed in some of the materiality as I would like to be because I'm just one person and I'm a team of one. But a common thread seems to be incredibly clear to me which is that less waste is better so I'm focused on that piece of it and as the people who focus on materials hone in on what the best things to use are I hope to incorporate those materials into my designs but right now I'm focused on how to use all of it or use less of it. And still keep up with the Joneses in fashion! Zero Waste Sustainable Designer Daniel Silverstein

Katya: So you’re a team of one. How on earth do you make these shirts?

Daniel: I actually came up with a model around the time I moved into Manufacture New York and I came up with this new idea just making sweatshirts –blogging about it, talking about it, doing different things. But to do something like this, one at a time, by myself.

Katya: Cray cray

Daniel: Exactly! I’d have to charge like 300-500 dollars for one of these just to make it worth my time. But I was able to produce it right here and can sell them at $85 a piece which is quite reasonable.

Katya: What’s it like working from here?

Daniel: I heard Bob (Bland, the Founder) say that every single time someone comes in here with her their reaction is so strong. Like oh my god, you can tell this is something really super special. And it takes so much time and so many hands to make something with this scale succeed. And one of the reasons is it’s an accelerator more than an incubator

It's a community building because everyone in here is brilliant, incredible designers, brilliant thinkers, motivated interesting people and you've just got so much energy in one place and you start seeing incredible stuff.

Katya: What do mean it's more an accelerator than an incubator?

Daniel: I feel like they offer services, like you can have your products developed here, you can have your things manufactured here but it's not like I'm going through a program as a designer here that says “this is how you become successful”, it's more like we have all these incredible resources and all these people and there are literally no walls between you. And it’s like “Go!”

Katya: Just listening to you I find it exciting. After all the depressing news about fast fashion and everything is made overseas this feels like a real little revolution…

Daniel: Totally!

Katya: So, you’re teaching a class this weekend as well?

Daniel: Right! I focus a lot on two different things: One is actually having an impact on reducing waste and the other is educating young designers and other professionals so that they can incorporate these practices into their designs as well. And the thing about zero waste is it's not an aesthetic it's a way of thinking. It’s just a process of design and manufacturing so with that being said, I always tell everyone you can sub in your own priorities where I use the word zero waste.

That's my priority, that's what I'm trying to do but if you care about made in your home country or you want things to be fair trade, or whatever, then that's your number one priority and that's how you can be actionable.

I've gotten a lot of feedback in the last couple of years that I seem like I’m working on too many things but I'm not. I'm only working on zero waste. There's a lot of different things going on whether it's a custom wedding gown or it's my zero waste shirt or I'm teaching a workshop, but it's always focused on zero waste. So I recently saw “The True Cost" documentary, it's amazing you have to watch it if you haven’t seen it, but I think that one of the things that it does for the viewer is that it really shocks them into feeling guilty about their purchases and at the end of the film I felt kind of good because I hadn't been a part of any of that for like five years. I was like wow! I'm still shopping, I'm still trendy I'm still making stuff and you just don't have to be a part of this system!

NOTE: Learn more and register for Daniel's workshop on Saturday November 21st here (At least 2 years of design, sewing knowledge and pattern making experienced required).