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Fair Trade Style

posted in: Fashion Picks | 0

May 10th 2014 – today is World Fair Trade Day! So for this eco style post I’ve found pretty, feminine, fairly made products in celebration of spring and beautiful women around the world!

Feminine & Fair Trade summer fashion | Verena Erin

This group of clothing and accessories includes:

1. Sunshine Check scarf by Indigo Handloom, made from 100% cotton hand-woven in India, find it on Indigo Handloom shop.

2. Abigail Embroidered Top hand embroidered cotton, made by a fair trade women’s group in Bangladesh, find it on People Tree.

3. Scout Dress by Samantha Pleet, 100% silk and fairly made in India, find it on Ethica.

4. Tinted Lip and Cheek Balm by Mullein & Sparrow, made from natural, organic and fair trade ingredients, find it on Helpsy.

5. Tigist: Kaleidoscope Bracelet, made from recycled metals in Ethiopia, find it on Raven + Lily.

6. Diana Cut Out Dress made from 100% cotton by Artisan Hut, a fair trade group in Bangladesh, find it on People Tree.


Makeup Detox – Natural & Eco Friendly Beauty

posted in: Natural Beauty | 0

I am currently in the process of detoxing my makeup – replacing my current beauty and personal care products/brands with non-toxic, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free alternatives. I’m doing this for health (there are some pretty terrible chemicals in cosmetics that I don’t want to keep putting on my skin), environmental, and ethical reasons.

At first I thought this would mean a lot of sacrifices and not finding my favorite colours and comparable products, but I was completely wrong! With some research and advice from a lovely makeup artist, Kimberly King, who specializes in natural and eco-friendly makeup, I was able to get some amazing products.

I’m most impressed with the quality of the natural cosmetics I’ve tried and even noticing improvements in my skin. They do cost more than drugstore makeup, but I think the quality and knowing you’re getting a non-toxic and ethical product is worth the extra cost.

I recently did a Q&A with Kim after a shoot we did together where she talks about clean and eco-friendly makeup and shares some of her product recommendations:


Tell us a bit about yourself and when you became interested in being a makeup artist…

Hi! My name is Kim. I’m a 22 year old professional makeup artist, green beauty junkie, and holistic lifestyle blogger. I first became interested in becoming a makeup artist while still in high school. I have always loved art, creativity, and freedom of expression. I wanted a career where I could experience something new and different each day and, most importantly, have fun! After a couple years in the industry, and experiencing my own health issues, I started researching and began to realize how toxic the current beauty industry really is. From then on, I decided to re-create my business based around my core values – protecting our health and the environment.


When did you start using natural beauty products and what made you switch?

I began making the switch last year, when my own health issues began to worsen, and I started to really look into the lifestyle I was living. I would spend countless hours researching for reliable sources on all I could find about the beauty industry, learning about toxic ingredients, labor practices, animal cruelty, corporate corruption, and much more. It was shocking and overwhelming, to say the least, but it was enough for me to take the first steps and begin being part of the solution towards a healthier beauty industry.


Do you have any advice for someone wanting to do a ‘makeup detox’?

Baby steps! Start slowly – if you go through everything and throw it out all at once, you’ll just end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Begin with the products used daily, as these are the ones the skin is exposed to the most, and decide on a natural alternative before tossing what you have. Use the internet to look up reviews from others who have already tried the product, blogs of natural makeup artists, and other trusted, reliable resources. Many websites also offer samples, which is a fantastic way to test it out before you buy. Lastly, use your own two hands and create something! There are millions of DIY tutorials out there on natural makeup products – just be sure to use only clean and natural ingredients that are safe for use on the skin!


What is something you find people are usually surprised to learn about their beauty products?

I find many people are surprised to learn that you don’t need synthetic preservatives to extend the shelf life, many of which are probable carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Many essential oils have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, providing a safe and natural way of preserving products! As far as conventional products go, I find people are surprised to learn about what ingredients are actually in the products and the effect they have on the human body. Many conventional products contain ingredients such as lead, formaldehyde, dioxin, hidden animal products, synthetic colors and additives. These have been linked to effects such as cancer, tumors, behavioral symptoms like ADHD and depression, allergies and birth defects. Even if these chemicals are found only in minute amounts, when using all these products daily, you’re getting long-term exposure to these harmful ingredients. Although we can’t completely protect ourselves from all the toxins and chemicals in the environment, we can choose to use healthy, earth-friendly products, without all the harmful side effects.


Do you have a beauty philosophy?

It’s important to be mindful of not only of what we put on our bodies, but also what we put IN our bodies. When a diet is lacking in important vitamins and minerals, and too high in junk, processed foods, and sugar, it can show up through our skin. Many skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, and eczema, can significantly improve by a simple change in diet. Along with the food we eat, lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on our skin as well. Lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and stress are just a few examples of lifestyle factors that have a negative effect our skin. Try to incorporate more natural whole foods into your day, stay hydrated, go for a walk, and don’t forget to relax! It’s great for your skin!


Natural, organic, cruelty-free makeup look by Kim King | Verena Erin


What products did you use to create this look?

For Andjela’s look, I used the following products:

Moisturizer: Bubble & Bee Organic Face Cream

Lip Balm: Epic Blend Hemp Vanilla Lip Balm

Foundation: Sappho Organic Cosmetics liquid foundation in Mia

Setting Powder: Sappho Organic Cosmetics Silky Setting Powder

Blush: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Blush in Strawberry

Eye Shadow: Naked Cosmetics Mother Nature #5

Eye Liner: Naked Cosmetics Sierra Nevada #6

Mascara: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea

Lipstick: Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick 

Lipgloss: Lippygirl Extra Virgin Lip Gloss




If someone wanted a simple, everyday makeup kit, what are a few products you would recommend starting with?

I would recommend starting with foundation, either in liquid or powder, depending on your preference and skin type. Sappho Organic Cosmetics has a great line of liquid foundation, and Everyday Minerals is fantastic for powder. Blush and mascara are great additions to any everyday makeup kit. My personal favorites right now are 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Blush in Strawberry and Peach and 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea and Dark Chocolate. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a number one staple in my beauty and skincare routine. I can’t recommend it enough! I also love Epic Blend Hemp Lip Balm and Giddy Yoyo Raw Love Butter – the texture and scents are amazing.


It’s getting warmer- any favorite looks or makeup advice for summer?

Definitely protect your skin! Use a natural sunscreen (my personal go-to is Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF 35). Cover up when the sun is most intense and remember to re-apply your sunscreen after extended periods or long swimming sessions. As for makeup, stick to a more natural look and avoid using cream foundations or heavy moisturizers as they tend to cake up and can even melt in the heat. Consider taking a break from makeup altogether and let your skin breathe (but don’t forget the SPF!). If it’s a special occasion, a bright colored lipstick looks fantastic with a nude face. Also, don’t forget to adjust the shade of your foundation to match your tan!



Thanks for the great info Kim!

Happy healthy beauty everyone!! xx


Fallow Slow Goods Collection

A lot has been going on behind the scenes- I recently designed and made a collection for my new line Fallow Slow Goods. Which you can also view in my portfolio.

20140306-March 4 2014 - Verena Erin - Portra 160 - 013


Fallow Slow Goods is a line of clothing, accessories, and home goods focused on slow values. It is a simplistic collection that incorporates beautiful materials including organic cottons, naturally-dyed fabrics, wools, and silk blends. All the pieces use environmentally conscious fabrics and are made in Vancouver, Canada.


20140310-March 4 2014 - Verena Erin - Portra 160 - 031


Read more about the line at Select one of a kind and made to order items will also be available for purchase through the Fallow Slow Goods Etsy store.


20140310-March 4 2014 - Verena Erin - Portra 160 - 026

Lemon Juice Bleach Printing

posted in: Dyeing | 0

Lemon juice can be used to lighten hair and brighten white laundry, so the natural bleaching properties can easily be utilized in textile dyeing. I like to use lemon juice to recreate a reverse print of objects with interesting shapes and edges.

Natural dyeing, lemon juice bleach print - Verena Erin

This one was done on a cotton canvas dyed with pomegranate and an iron mordant – and as a warning, it does not seem to work on synthetic dyes and I am not sure how it works with other natural dyes and mordants.

How to create the prints:

Juice lemon and filter out pulp and seeds, pour in a spray bottle and dilute with a little water (not necessary if you want a stronger contrast)

Place flat leaves or objects onto dyed, dry fabric, spray fabric being careful around the edges of the leaves. – I always do this outside on a sunny day as I think the sun helps the lemon juice bleach.

Natural dyeing, lemon juice bleach print - Verena Erin

Let sit until the desired depth of colour but watch carefully because the lemon juice works very quickly and if you only want a subtle outline, rinse it off right away.

Natural dyeing, lemon juice bleach print - Verena Erin

Natural dyeing, lemon juice bleach print - Verena Erin

*Spray from farther away to get a more even bleached colour, for this example I sprayed just around the leaves.

Wash fabric to remove all lemon juice.

Natural dyeing, lemon juice bleach print - Verena Erin This fabric was dyed again in the exhaust pomegranate and iron, because I let the lemon juice sit to long (oops -I was taking photos!) and wanted less of a contrast on the finished garment.


Have you tried or seen any other examples of lemon juice bleaching? Please comment below, I would love to seen them!


Onion Skin Drop Stitch Scarf

posted in: Dyeing, Knitting | 0

Onion skins are a readily available and lovely natural dye, easily accumulated in your own kitchen or you can ask grocery stores or restaurants. The resulting colours are a range of golden-yellows and oranges.

Onion skin natural dye

The more you have the better! I usually boil the skins for 30-40 minutes, add the fabric or fibre and keep warm for about an hour and then allow to cool in the bath before rinsing.

This scarf was knit with yarn dyed with onion skins. I used an alum mordant and got a rich golden colour.

onion skin, natural dye knit scarf - Verena Erin

The scarf is square and knit using large needles and a drop stitch pattern of:
2 knit rows, 1 knit YO2 row, 2 knit rows, 1 knit YO2 row, 2 knit rows, 1 knit YO1 row, and repeating.

Draped Wedding Dress

posted in: Fashion Design | 0

This summer I had the privilege of making a wedding dress for my beautiful sister in law, Gabby. Gabby has great style and was looking for something non-traditional; together we designed her two-piece, draped dress.

It was a fun process co-designing and making her dress and I really appreciate Gabby’s trust -especially considering we live in separate cities and she didn’t even see the finished dress until a couple days before the wedding!

They had an amazing wedding and it was wonderful to be a part of! <3

Photography by Ampersand Grey

Wedding Dress - Verena Erin - Photography by Ampersand Grey

The flared dress is light grey, cotton-sateen with a v-neck and back. It has a white, cotton-silk over layer with square, draped panels and a subtle grey ombre from the waist.

Wedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand Grey

The perfect finishing touch was a beaded belt that Gabby found.

Wedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand Grey

Wedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand GreyWedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand GreyWedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand Grey

Congratulations Gabby and Paul!

Wedding Dress - Verena Erin -Photography by Ampersand Grey

Eucalyptus Natural Dye Experiment

posted in: Dyeing | 0

Recently I found some dried eucalyptus in the grocery store and decided use it as a dye. I have always wanted to use eucalyptus but unfortunately they are not common plants here. I didn’t know what to expect because there was no information about what kind of eucalyptus it was. Eucalyptus is a favorite among dyers as the different species produce a wide range of beautiful colours.

So hoping for a lovely red but also excited to see what would happen, I prepared an organic cotton pillow case. In Eco Colour India Flint recommends using a soy milk mordant, while it’s best to make your own, I used a store bought natural soy milk with few additives. The case was soaked, dried, and then rinsed.

Eucalyptus natural dye, soy mordant - Verena Erin

To prepare the eucalyptus, it was boiled for about an hour. I like to use ‘fill your own’ tea bags for fine, smaller quantities of dye materials.

Eucalyptus natural dye - Verena Erin

While the eucalyptus was boiling I did a simple running stitch to create some stripes on the pillow case.

Eucalyptus natural dye - Verena Erin

The pillow case was then boiled in the dye bath and cooled overnight. After drying and rinsing the final result was a pale beige/yellow. It was a disappointing result given all the beautiful eucalyptus dyed textiles, but it was an experiment so I knew that I might not get a very good result. I also think I could have gotten a stronger colour if I had used more since I only used about 30g of the dried leaves for the pillow.

However there was a exciting result with the wool swatch I added. The first one I added turned a lovely caramel colour, I also did an exhaust swatch which resulted in a soft yellow. Overall much better results with the protein fibres!

Eucalyptus natural dye - Verena Erin

I hope to do a lot more with eucalyptus and experiment with printing and different varieties. I also had more success with a eucalyptus eco print which you can see here.

Emerging Designer Competition

On September 20th I participated in Western Canada Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition. I designed a 3 piece, casual outfit and won 3rd place! The 13 other competitors had a large variety of designs and it was a great experience taking part in the competition. 

Photo: Ferd Isaac
Photo: Ferd Isaac

My iceberg inspired design consisted of printed leggings, a silk tank, and knitted sweater.

Photo: GREX Photographic Visuals
Photo: GREX Photographic Visuals

I wanted to create a wearable outfit and was inspired by the shapes and lines of ice and the arctic.

The organic cotton leggings are digitally printed with a glacier photograph. The a-line tank has a low back and raw finished neckline and armholes, it is made from a silk with a lot of volume so it has movement and floats. The open sweater is machine knit with draped pockets and angular, drop-stitch details on the back.

WCFW DesignThis outfit incorporates environmentally conscious features including:

  • certified organic cotton
  • digital printing which doesn’t use water and reduces dye waste and water pollution
  • ‘rescued’ fabric – excess fabric purchased from companies who want to avoid it going to the landfill
  • wool made from recycled fibres that would have otherwise been discarded in the production process
Photo: Kelly Rosborough
Photo: Kelly Rosborough

Thank you to the team who helped bring everything together and to the judges for the recognition! It was great to be part of the event and see the design talent from Edmonton and across Canada!



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