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Sustainable Style

Olive’s Kristy Crowell shares tips on eco-friendly fashion.


Erika Pino

When most people think of eco-friendly clothing, chic designer duds aren’t the first three words that spring to mind. But after nearly five years in business, Kristy Crowell, owner of Danville’s Olive boutique, has kicked those preconceived notions to the curb. From skinny dark denim jeans to bohemian bangles to airy sheer dresses, Crowell’s collection of stylish pieces is anything but granola.

Her secret? Letting people fall in love with the brands first. “Sometimes, people think eco-friendly or organic, and they think, bleh, boring,” she says. “It’s better to get people superexcited about a line and then say, ‘Oh, by the way, it’s eco-friendly.’ They see how easy it is to be stylish while still thinking about the environment.”

Ready to give it a go? Follow Crowell’s tips to add green to your wardrobe.


Decide on your own definitions: “Eco-friendly means something different to everybody. To me, it means that all the lines have an environmentally friendly story, whether it’s how they produce, where they produce, what they manufacture with, or if they’re local.”

Start small: “Start by buying one thing a month that is environmentally friendly. It’s like a diet. If you give yourself some ridiculous diet, you’re never going to stick to it, because it’s not realistic.”

Loosen up: “It’s not necessary to follow every rule. It doesn’t always need to be made with organic soy dyes in a solar-powered plant in California. You have to do what you feel good about. If you think about what you’re buying and where it came from for 30 seconds, that’s a lot more than most people do.”

Stock up on jeans: “Weirdly, denim is one of the hardest things to find. Organic cotton makes it more expensive, but there are definitely ways brands do it, like mixing it with reused denim.”

Look beyond the closet: “It’s easy to find organic cotton and American-made bedding. It can be a little intimidating to think you need to change everything in your life, but tell yourself, ‘Next time I buy sheets, I’m going to buy these.’ ”

730 Camino Ramon, Ste. 130, Danville, (925) 362-0767, theecofashionista.com.



Brands to Know

Gypsy05: Known for its lightweight prints created with organic fabrics, soy softeners, and low-impact dyes inside its solar-powered dyeing, printing, and manufacturing plant. gypsy05.com.

Pendleton Portland Collection: The collection uses 100 percent virgin wool, which is recyclable and compostable, and a naturally renewable and sustainable fiber. portlandcollection.net.

M2F Brand Denims: The first company to create colored denim that fades and frays like traditional blue jeans, M2F uses yarn free from harmful substances and a dyeing process that requires half as much energy and water. m2f.com.

Prairie Underground: The Seattle-based company produces übersoft hoodies with 100 percent organic cotton and incorporates sustainable textiles into every collection. prairieunderground.com.

Alex and Ani: Bangle bracelets, necklaces, and earrings created with recycled or reclaimed metal from local mills. alexandani.com.


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