Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, “Mommy Greenest” and the maven behind EcoStiletto, is a force of nature. Her dedication to the sustainable fashion movement is as unflagging as her boundless enthusiasm, which she channels into her smart and sexy online guide to “stiletto-sizing” your carbon footprint with style. (She also gives away $500 worth of eco-shoes every month on her site, which certainly doesn’t hurt the cause.) Sarnoff gave us a tour of her eco-boudoir, a veritable Aladdin’s cave of some of eco-fashion’s brightest talents, which she describes below in her own words.
I’ve been fascinated with vintage clothes since I was a little girl. My great-grandmother made these hats during the Depression—she sold them door-to-door. I spent weekends with her when I was growing up, and the first thing I would do was pull out her hats to try on. She eventually passed them on to me and I wore them all the time. Yes, I was that weird, hat-wearing girl in high school.
Recently, my husband’s grandmother let me raid her closet. I scored some amazing pieces, like this silk Evan-Picone bodysuit. She’d never worn it—it still had tags from Nieman’s. I wear it with high-waisted Levi’s organic cotton Green Tab jeans and super-high heels when I want to channel Faye Dunaway circa 1974.
I was a dedicated Green Tab girl until about a week ago, when the generous folks over at Reco Denim sent me a pair of their super-soft, recycled denim boyfriend jeans. I’m obsessed!
I wouldn’t be an EcoStilettoista if I didn’t mention the shoes. Currently, I’m in love with anything by Cri de Coeur and Olsenhaus—they’re both vegan lines that prove you don’t have to use leather to make beautiful accessories.
Cri de Coeur and Olsen Haus prove that you don’t have to use leather to make beautiful accessories.
We gave both brands away as part of our $500 monthly sustainable shoe giveaway this year, as well as PURE by Rickard Shah, made from chrome-free leather and reclaimed silk, and Libertas, which is also heavy-metal-free and made from non-endangered snakeskin. I’ve got a pair of each on my shelves, but since I’m not allowed to win the giveaway, I had to buy them!
We also gave away two pairs of Greenbees boots recently. They’re veggie-tanned (no heavy metals), with recycled tire soles and are the perfect rugged counterpoint to take my soft little dresses—like this purple bamboo wrap from ecoSkin—straight through to fall.
These two jackets I found at a vintage show here in Los Angeles; the Alice + Olivia sequined T-shirt is from Wasteland in New Orleans. It still had the tags on!
I can’t wait to wear it with these pants I found at a Linda Loudermilk sample sale. I love all of her clothes—she’s been such a pioneer, creating fabrics from sustainable materials like seaweed—but I can’t afford a lot of it. These pants were samples, they never went into production, and they fit like they were tailored for me. See all the handwork on the interior silk lining? That’s so Linda. Every detail is perfect.
If I could wear Hala Bahmet’s Viridis Luxe sweaters every day this winter, I would. She creates totally unique blends of sustainable materials; this dress is eco-cashmere—not the mass-produced stuff from China—mixed with hemp. It feels like wearing a cloud. Seriously. I accessorize it with this perfect black bag by Ashley Watson. See the pockets? It was once a leather jacket!
The frame on this mirror is made from recycled oil drums by Haitian artisans. I love how the cut out birds and flowers make perfect hooks for necklaces, earrings and this awesome cuff bracelet by Alkemie (they recycle the metal from old bullet casings), as well as one of my favorite pictures: My husband and me at a wedding, when I was nine-months pregnant with our third child. Funny how those cheap photo booth snapshots are the ones you treasure.
In the midst of a tangle of vintage chains and necklaces, I have to call out these three pairs of earrings from one of my favorite sustainable designers, Melissa Joy Manning. She works only in recycled metals and fair-trade gems. I wear her hoops almost every day, and for date night these rugged studs make quite a statement: The bright blue pair is cavancite; the other is druzy, which looks like chunks of gold.
The rest of my jewelry is usually strewn across the top of this old Chinese lacquer dresser, where my husband keeps his clothes. See the clothes and shoes scattered around the room? My closet has no natural light and I share it with him—that’s his clothing on the right—so when it comes to getting dressed, I’m always pulling most of it into the room. Lucky for me, my husband is patient about how long it takes to put it back into the closet.
P.S. That blue dress I’m wearing in the photo? It’s Loyale, from last season. Organic cotton, of course!