For years, Starre Vartan lived life at the speed of light. The author, editor, and stylist pursued an MFA at Columbia University, blogged at Eco-Chick, published a book, and helped launch Greenopia. Suffice to say, she needed a break. “Since my two favorite things in the world are travel and writing,” Vartan tells Ecouterre, “I have been incredibly happy to be able to indulge in both at the same time over these past months.” From her home in Connecticut to visiting relatives in Sydney (with pit stops in Hawaii and L.A.), Vartan reveals how she keeps her closet green even when she’s living out of a suitcase.
About 50-60 percent of my wardrobe is eco-friendly, including vintage, used, swapped, and new sustainable designs, but taking five months away from my home presented a real packing challenge. I was going to be spending time in major cities and also living off-grid at the solar-powered Lova Lava Land eco-resort in the middle of the lava fields of Hawaii’s Big Island.
Taking five months away from my home presented a packing challenge.
After much deliberation, I decided on a color scheme (black, white, blue, and blue-green, with a bit of red) and a guiding aesthetic (classic patterns like stripes and polka dots, plus lots of solid tones I could color-block for interest). Above, a vintage reconstructed dress by Hairy Mary’s and a hemp-and-upcycled-leather bag by Teich.
What would I do without my Carol Young Undesigned LBD? This dress has been my standby and the single best piece I have in my suitcase. I’ve worn it over my black-and-white polka dot bikini paired with Chacos for lava-field exploring and beach time, as well as dressed up with a Rag & Bone scarf and hipster Fiona Campbell shoes for EcoStiletto’s Green Blogger Convention in L.A.
This dress is made from factory-second fabric, which designer Carol Young then subjected to a special bath which perma-wrinkled it in just the right way. It’s quick drying (15 minutes in the breeze!), incredibly flattering on my more curvy shape, and totally comfortable (I slept in it once!). Young’s collections are inspired by urban nomads, so it’s no coincidence that this dress is a world-class traveler.
My Levi’s Eco Collection organic denim jeans are a classic shape and color. I wore them when I went riding in Hawaiian ranch country recently (and also above to go out in L.A.). The top is a deceptively simple organic cotton one from Green Goods Apparel that has the best-cut basic tees I’ve found, period.