A Chemical Change

Violet Gross

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear words like fluorinated chemicals and formaldehyde? I’ll take a wild guess it’s not fashion. But it maybe should be.

Fluorinated chemicals are among the world’s most toxic materials. These toxins are used across industries to provide strength, resilience and durability sounds great right? Wrong. These hazardous toxins are resistant to degradation so they break down slowly (if at all) in the environment. When these chemicals are added to consumer products, they can migrate into air, household dust, food, and can pollute drinking water. You’re currently playing with these chemicals when you cook in your non-stick pan, wear your winter boots, throw on your fave screen print shirt (that likely says something ridiculous like “I’m a mermaid-unicorn") and when you wand your daily dose of mascara. Per Vogue business, “they’ve been found in the blood and breast milk of the vast majority of people who’ve been tested.” Yikes!

One of the main reasons fluorinated chemicals are used is because of it’s amazing stain-resistant ability and the lack of alternatives available. Levi Strauss & Co. decided the benefit of stain resistance didn’t justify its environmental cost and discontinued an entire product category that used the chemical, despite it being a significant business to the company. This is case in point what we mean when we talk about the concept of the greater good!

Wonder how some of the shirts you buy seem to stay so crisp? That’s thanks to formaldehyde’s anti-wrinkle properties. Also, the same chemical used in medical labs as a tissue preservative and in pesticides and fertilizers. Yuck! Given the choice, ten out of ten times, I’ll take a wrinkled shirt. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard (a pioneer of the greater good concept) has unapologetically nixed formaldehyde since he founded the brand in the 1970s, confidently stating “Our clothes are meant to be worn to get dirty and explore in — people can worry about wrinkles in their other clothes.” With a net worth over $1B, I think it’s safe to say Yvon’s decisions aren’t so absurd.

What’s the solution? Reducing or eliminating the use of these chemicals. The first step includes eliminating nonessential uses of these chemicals. Simply put, “It’s possible we use them kind of like antibiotics. You use it when needed,” says Scott Echols, programme director for ZDHC. These hazardous chemicals are used for wire and cable insulation for computer and cell phone circuits to enable high-speed data transfer; high reliability hoses for aircraft and cars to reduce emissions; and sterile equipment used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals,food products, and chemicals and in firefighting foams for extinguishing fires. These feel like essential reasons to employ harmful chemicals — keeping your shoes bright white does not. Can we agree on that?

As with most things it starts with us, the consumer, and being curious about what’s going into products we're using on a daily basis. It also means supporting businesses like Patagonia and Levi’s who are making change now. Change will happen when customers tell companies with purchasing power what they expect from them.

One small change you can make today? Consider switching to an organic dry-cleaner. Dry-cleaning facilities use a TON of both fluorinated chemicals and formaldehyde. Be sure to ask whichever dry-cleaner that claims themselves as organic what treatments they actually use (not all are equal). Moral of the story, be curios, ask questions, propose change!

xx Merri

Nice Package!

Violet Gross

Nice package…we never say that…for any reason. We’ve been anti-packaging from the start, not because it was relevant but because we personally loathe the amount of waste associated with packaging, especially in beauty and retail. It’s too much! So we stripped it from our plans even though we knew that meant giving up a core branding opportunity — for a start-up brand identity and exposure is crucial. But we’ve never looked back on that decision and turns out you all like this approach as much as we do which makes us all giddy inside. It proves not only do we bond over our shared love of fashion but we also share the same values, and that means something to us as we build and foster the Tulerie network.

We recently read an awesome article in Vogue centered around the advent of this disposability mentality and the absurdity of package waste. Let us summarize it here with a line in the article quoted by the TerraCycle (refillable packaging) CEO, “Recycling is a solution to the system of waste, but not the root cause. It’s like taking Tylenol every morning because you have a migraine. The Tylenol is a solution to the symptom, but you aren’t solving the reason you have a migraine. The earth’s “migraine” is the climate crisis, and you could say the “Tylenol” is the persistent greenwashing and meager efforts from global brands to reverse it. The root cause isn’t one specific thing, like fast fashion or air travel; more broadly, it’s our culture of disposability.”

Are you a culprit of the disposability mentality? We used to be, and while fast fashion isn’t the only issue in retail it was certainly allowing that mindset to persist in us personally. Since launching Tulerie we borrow more and buy better and we’ve given so many women the opportunity to do the same. We're giving ourselves a little pat on the back this weekend because it's not often we stop to recognize what we're building, together with you. Dare to share.

Youth v. Gov

Violet Gross

What were you doing at 18? I was sneaking into a club to dance the night away. At 14, I remember being in Poland at a bonfire with my aunt and grandparents. And at 11? I have no clue what I was doing —but I can confidently tell you, I wasn’t doing anything close to what the Juliana plaintiffs are doing.

What is the Juliana plaintiffs group, or rather who are they? They are 21 plaintiffs that make up the Juliana group ranging from age 11 to 23 and each have a personal reason for fighting climate change. These young activists have put their own lives on hold for the notion of the greater good. They’ve taken semesters off school, quit jobs, traveled to educate others, all in the name of a healthy planet to live on.

Why is their case unique? The Juliana plaintiffs have claimed a clean planet a constitutional right. And while most attorneys assumed they’d get laughed out of court, 3.5 years later, they’re still in the game. First suing the Obama administration, they’re now suing the Trump administration for contributing to climate change.

In October, with the release of the frightening UN report on climate change, we learned that we have only ten years left to save us from a ‘climate catastrophe’. We’re already seeing the effects, and the California’s wildfires, the decimating Caribbean hurricanes, and rising ocean levels are just the beginning.

These kids are terrified of their existence on this planet. The groups message reached Davos this year when Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 16 year old plaintiff and Time 100 powerfully demanded ‘I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic’.

The group is mainly funded through grassroots donations. Please consider a donation here.

xx Violet

Are you Conscious?

Companies Doing GoodViolet Gross

Olivia Wilde is partnering with one of her besties on a new platform called Conscious Commerce, which connects non-profit foundations to sustainable business models. Some of the brands in their roster include the CFDA, Maiyet, and Birchbox. One of the newest initiatives via the Conscious Commerce platform is a collaboration between ThredUP and Olivia Wilde, who have joined forces to silence the little stigma left around wearing used clothes. Like we always say, if you’ve ever stayed in a hotel (which you have) you’ve shared sheets with someone…what’s the difference with clothing?

We’ve long been fans of ThredUp and their brilliant partnerships and we drool over the content in the annual ThredUp resale report, chock-full of great stats! The second-hand giant has teamed up with Olivia to create her own line, made solely out of used clothing, valiantly called “Choose Used”. Bless her! So why is she doing this?  “We’re in the midst of a fashion waste crisis, and buying secondhand can make a real difference,” Wilde told HuffPost exclusively. “I’ve always loved vintage and I’m proud to wear used clothes, so I was drawn to thredUP’s mission to keep great clothing in use and out of landfills. I hope this collaboration inspires others to embrace secondhand to lighten our collective fashion footprint.”

We had a girl crush on OW long before this, but now she kind of feels like kindred spirit.  

Vay-Cay Ritual

Violet Gross

"Vacation” was a hit song released in 1982 by the all-female rock band the Go-Go’s — I wasn’t born yet but for some reason it’s my go-to song while I’m packing for a trip. As soon as the cheerful chorus kicks in “vacation, all I ever wanted, Vacation, had to get away” I am even more pumped for whatever get-away I’m headed for next. Like my go-to song, we’ve noticed Tulerie has become the go-to for our members any time they plan a trip. Some are craving something new, others need out-of-season essentials, but often they use Tulerie for the convenience of sending their wardrobe directly to their destination. Kind of genius. In that case, if I had nothing to pack I would just play my packing song while I browse Tulerie to keep the ritual alive!

Our members love Tulerie so-much-so they’ve been known to takeover our instagram stories and let us in to their lives for a brief moment in time. They share more than just their style, they clue us in to great restaurants, packing tips, and fave beauty products. As Violet and I always say, Tulerie goes way beyond “renting clothes”, we’re a community founded on the interest of fashion who embraces the nature of sharing.

Vacations, while a privilege, are also a necessity in my opinion — not just to rejuvenate the soul but more importantly to inspire the mind. So even if it’s a day trip to an unfamiliar neighborhood in Brooklyn or transversing a new country, make it a priority to educate yourself through the medium of travel as often as you can. Check out the Lookbook for some of our favorite vay-cay pieces available to borrow for your next trip!