I’m currently sitting on the bathroom floor of our hotel in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, because I made two promises last night: one to myself and one to Porter. The first promise was that I would be finished writing this blog post by the time we left for Kandy (Sri Lanka’s tea plantation countryside about a four hour drive from here). The second promise was that I would not wake Porter up in the process because he woke up at 1 am to watch the Patriots game live and went to bed all of twenty minutes ago (it’s 5:30 am). Speaking of which, has anyone ever been somewhere where the time change is some odd hours AND A HALF?! We leapt forward an hour and a half when we landed yesterday and it is throwing me off big time. Why can’t you just round it up like the rest of us, Sri Lanka?
But back to the topic at hand because it’s an exciting one. This is the very first brand-based blog post of this leg of our journey and, as always with these meaning-driven posts, I’ve been excited about it. So excited that I am up, right now, sitting in a shower with my husband’s laptop and using the glass screen as a sound barrier.
Bird & Kite is a Bali-based boho-minimalist brand that uses ethical, eco-friendly production methods to make (essentially) exactly the kind of clothes a girl needs when she is heading into hot, sticky weather. Last time around, I seemed to always be throwing on white jean shorts and a top on inter-country travel days, and while that’s sort of comfortable, after you’re sitting for a while, jeans kind of dig into you or make it hard to sit different ways and you arrive somewhere wanting to change quickly and head to the beach. Our travel plans so far have been to places way hotter with much more humidity (Dubai, anyone?) and I have been so very grateful for the three Bird & Kite pieces I brought along. They are light, breathable, loose but not so loose that you look sloppy, and as soft as pajamas (Porter actually refers to the jumpsuit above as my pajama jumpsuit. I’ve worn it on every single flight this leg, and it never fails me).
Something we try to push on here is the idea that to be truly ethical your wardrobe not only has to be ethically-made and capsule-based, but your pieces also have to be extremely durable and versatile. We are TOUGH on clothes around here. I’m seeing the effects of this on one of the bikinis I brought already, but clothing just isn’t typically built these days to be worn every other day for weeks on end (especially not fast fashion!). Two of my four pairs of shoes I brought along are really on their last legs, and while it makes me sad to see, I know I got probably two hundred more wears out of them than the typical owner. The construction of the Bird & Kite pieces already shows hints of the kind of lasting I always seek out. The material is simple, the design “flowy” enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if they held up long into the future.
Another thing I love about this brand is that I feel like it’s an ethical answer to a lot of popular, fast fashion labels that are out there (I’m thinking Free People). I think if there were an ethical counterpart to every fast fashion brand it would be a lot easier for consumers to make the transition because they wouldn’t feel like they had to sacrifice the designs and styles they loved. This is a huge issue we see and one that arises constantly. But Bird & Kite is eradicating that fear, manufacturing clothing with high moral standards while simultaneously out designing some of the biggest boho-chic labels of today. What’s more, they’re proving that making beautiful clothing backed by a commitment to supporting their employees and supporting the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing design. They’re able to quell the idea that eco-conscious clothes have to look eco-conscious (you know, made of hemp or burlap, formless, the kind of thing you imagine a hardcore yogi vegan wearing). While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of clothing, it serves a very niche market, and in order to steer the herd toward ethical fashion, it needs to have wide-sweeping appeal. Bird & Kite continues to thrive as a “railroad switch” appealing to the ethically-minded and not so ethically-minded alike, but introducing the latter to the world of eco-fashion before they even know they’ve boarded the train.
It was Livia Firth who said, “Call it eco fashion if you want, I just call it common sense.” Bird & Kite has sense in spades, and are leading an example worthy of their large following.
Anna Lisa & Porter
*Thank you to Bird & Kite for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain our own.