The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: clothing and shoes

March 8, 2017

Is Your Laundry Polluting the Ocean with Microfibers?

A month ago, a reader named Ida left the following comment in the “100 Steps” section of this website:

For your Clothes section you never mention that the plastic clothes we have release high levels of plastic microfibers in every wash! This is pretty new knowledge, but hugely important as we cannot as of today find a way to remove from the sea. So when asked, I usually tell people to stop buying fleece, acrylic etc, but also to handwash what they have, which at least might lessen the problem… :)

I was as surprised as she was.  I thought for sure I’d blogged about microfiber pollution.  So I checked.  As it turns out, I addressed the topic in the updated edition of my book, but I never posted about it on this site.  Fortunately, the Story of Stuff Project has not been slacking like me.  They have just released a brand new video and campaign called The Story of Microfibers.  It explains what happens when we launder synthetic clothing… Read the rest

January 16, 2017

How to Buy “New Shoes” without Buying New Shoes

Last year, I was trying really hard to buy nothing new, and while I fell short several times (more on that in a future post), I did pretty well in the shoe department.  Nearly all shoes have at least some plastic components.  Buying them secondhand or repairing the shoes you already have are great ways to get “new shoes” without actually buying new shoes and new plastic.

Buy Secondhand Shoes

I’m not one of those people who won’t buy secondhand shoes.  You can find some pretty great, almost new shoes at thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new shoes.  In June, my local Goodwill had a 50% off shoe sale, so I bought four pairs of practically new shoes for about $20.  (They were actually in much better shape than in this photo that I took today after having worn them for several months.)

When buying secondhand shoes, make sure the soles are not scuffed (or only minimally scuffed) and insoles are in good shape.  If you’re… Read the rest

December 17, 2014

Kamik Recycled and Recyclable Rain Boots

So, I have kind of a confession.  I waited until we had the biggest rainstorm in years to even think about buying rain boots.  I waited until my work shoes and socks were soaked through, and I was sloshing around the office all day, to ask myself, “I wonder if I can buy Kamik recycled rain boots here in the Bay Area.”  I’d already researched the boots for inclusion in my book.  I just hadn’t bothered to actually try them out.  Until now.

So, last Thursday evening, I found myself in Nordstrom at San Francisco Centre asking if there were any Kamik rain boots and basically getting laughed at for thinking any store in town would still have any rain boots left.  So I did something I’m not proud of.  I ordered them overnight from Amazon.  And they arrived the next day.

Kamiks are great but Amazon sucks

Okay, first let me tell you about the boots, and then let me explain why ordering from Amazon is not the best idea.

Most Kamik… Read the rest

July 3, 2012

Feelgoodz natural rubber and hemp flip flops

Confession: Up until a week ago, I still sometimes wore plastic flip flops.  Granted, they were flip flops I purchased back in 2005.  And I wore them until they had holes in the heels.

But still, why would I continue to wear plastic ones after discovering the natural rubber flip flops from Feelgoodz two years ago?  It had to do with the straps.

The natural rubber straps were fine for short walks, but if I wore the flip flops for an extended length of time, the straps would irritate the top of my foot a little bit.  So I would revert to the plastic ones for a while.   Many other people love the original Feelgoodz and have not had this problem, but now, I’m psyched to have discovered that Feelgoodz is offering two alternative models with soft hemp straps instead of rubber, and they feel really great.  Just in time to save my heels, Feelgoodz sent me a couple of pairs of flip flops to review.

Soft Strapz flip flops

(Disclosure: If you purchase FeelgoodzRead the rest

December 22, 2011

Buying Clothes Without Plastic. We Ask. Companies Listen.

Clothing is fraught with plastic. From the synthetic fibers that the majority of clothing is made from nowadays to the hidden plastic packaging most of us never see, the world of fashion is a plastic-free gal’s nightmare. But I do what I can. And now some companies are listening.

Organic Cotton Clothing

A couple of years ago, I was thrilled to find prAna brand 100% organic cotton clothing (with zero synthetic fibers) at a local Oakland woman’s clothing shop (See Jane Run).  (I’m not a high fashionista.  I’d live all day in a cotton hoodie and pajama bottoms if I didn’t have a real job.)

The prAna clothes had zero plastic. The zipper was metal. Even the tags were made of fabric and attached with twine instead of plastic.

Avoiding the plastic wrappers

What I didn’t know was that most of prAna’s clothing (like almost all brands of clothing these days) was delivered to the store and to mail-order customers … Read the rest

September 7, 2010

Feelgoodz natural plastic-free flip flops

I need new flip flops. Seriously. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes since I stopped buying new plastic three years ago, and this summer, I’ve been walking around on worn down foam Teva’s that look like this:

Any podiatrist worth his/her degree would be appalled.

So anyway, I needed new flip flops, and I remembered that Lisa from Condo Blues had worn a pair of natural rubber FeelGoodz flip flops to the Blogher conference last year and loved them. So I wrote to the company and asked for a pair to review on Fake Plastic Fish.

(Disclosure:  If you purchase Feelgoodz flip flops via this link, I earn a small commission to support my plastic-free mission.)

The shoes were sent in a plain cardboard box without any additional packaging.

The flip flops come in all different colors, but I chose black for the sake of versatility. I’m not a big shoe collector, like many women are.

About Feelgoodz Flip Flops:

1) Made from 100% natural rubber.… Read the rest

February 26, 2010

Oh the Irony! WesFeld’s Ocean Inspired Plastic Gowns at New York Fashion Week

Plastic dresses inspired by the ocean? What will those crazy fashion-designing kids think up next?

Last week was New York Fashion Week in NY City. I know this because I watch Project Runway, the only reality show I can admit to watching without embarrassment because it’s all about talent and creativity. And in fact, last summer, I got to have lunch with Tim Gunn, who is as nice in person as he appears on the show.

So it was with disappointment I learned that a couple of contestants from the show have been co-opted by the plastics industry.  (Thanks, Brande, for sending me the link.)  Winners of the 2009 Plastics Make It Possible Design Competition sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (the mouthpiece of the plastics industry), designers Daniel Feld and Wesley Nault created a gorgeous collection of looks called WesFeld, inspired by ocean life.  The dresses really are breathtakingly beautiful as well as sadly ironic.… Read the rest

December 18, 2009

PACT: Changing the World through Changing my Underwear

(2017 Update:  Please note that unfortunately, Pact has changed its packaging and is using a lot more plastic.  Specifics about the new packaging have been detailed below.)

This is what happened. I generally hate shopping for clothes. And I really hate shopping for underwear, which you often can’t try on. (How can I know how it’s going to fit and feel if I can’t try it on first?) And now, with the added conviction that my undies have to not only feel good but be good for the planet, finding the right ones has become a real drag. So I procrastinated on buying new ones, repairing my old panties over and over again until they were just shreds of thread. I had a lot of reasons to hope I never got into an accident!

The motivation to finally take care of business came before my trip to Disneyland. I knew I’d be sharing a hotel room with a co-worker. Holy crap! What if she sees my holey underwear? I jumped on Google and once again started my hunt … Read the rest

October 20, 2009

When 100% Cotton Doesn’t Mean 100% Cotton

So I found myself in Target last night shopping for a jacket.  Don’t bother to ask how that happened.  It would require an in-depth analysis of my addled brain, which would probably bore you to sleep.  Suffice it to say, I was in Target (which as far as I’m concerned is on par with Wal-Mart) in the Women’s Wear section, obsessively checking the label on every single top, sweater, and jacket to find something that was not made out of plastic.

Plastic clothing?  That’s right.  Labels like “40% wool, 60%  Acrylic,”  “90% cotton, 10% Spandex,”  “50% cotton, 50% polyester,” or “100% cotton shell with 100% polyester liner” all mean clothing partially made out of plastic.  Plastic that comes from oil.  Synthetic fibers produced by the petrochemical industry.

Okay, I realize that I was in Target and that even the cotton there is probably loaded with pesticides and flame retardants… Read the rest