3 Reasons to Shop Natural Fibers



Silk, cotton, cashmere, anyone??  


This spring is all about sustainability. How can we shop for the good of the planet? How can we shop with forever in mind?

Synthetic fibers like rayon, acrylic, polyester, and spandex are everywhere, and in some of our favorite items of clothing! (Hey there, yoga pants). So what’s the big deal? Why shop natural fibers instead?


Here are our top 3 reasons and why:



  • Washing Synthetic Fibers can harm the environment


    • When you wash clothing made with synthetic fibers, little particles of the fabric are released into the wash. These little fibers are actually small bits of plastic that never truly exit our water supplyScreen Shot 2019-03-01 at 1.48.42 PM
    • Yikes! So what do we do?
    • Here’s what to do with yours



  • Shopping clothing made with natural fiber is an investment


    • You’ll save money in the long run with well- made clothing
    • You’re using less plastic by shopping natural fibers
    • There are natural fibers for every occasion :Cotton, Linen, Wool, Cashmere, Hemp, Silk, Alpaca, Bamboo


Shop our One of for a always changing selection of natural fibers.


  • Natural fibers elevate your closet!


    • When you purchase naturally made clothing, you become part of a tradition that has existed for thousands of years
    • When you buy clothing made from natural fibers, you can rest assured that long after those fibers have left your closet, no matter where they end up –  they’ll support- not harm the planet.
    • Natural fibers- (unlike synthetic fibers) are actually biodegradable and won’t live forever in a landfill.
    • Natural fibers create timeless pieces (talk about a capsule wardrobe!)


And that’s that! Write us an let us know your favorite wasCaring for the planet has never been so beautiful.



Gifting the Good – A New Kind of Gift Guide

Everything at Route is uniquely found, thoughtfully made and lovingly brought to you.  We are so excited to extend the same kind of effort to encourage our community in their gifting this season.  We could think of no better way to do that then to think about how people RECEIVE gifts and what makes people feel loved.  


We thought the best way to think about gifting was through than the 5 Love Languages.  If you aren’t familiar with them click through the link to learn A LOT more.   Instead of thinking through the love languages and asking ourselves “how do I like to receive love”, we want to use each of these to ask “how should I be gifting with love”.

The 5 Love Languages are:

  1. Gift of Time
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Gift Giving
  5. Acts of Service

We are going to take ten days or so for each love language, consider it and talk about it, ask our friends how they have experienced it, give YOU ideas for how you can gift in those ways and (of course) have ethical gifts you can purchase from Route for those amazing people in your life, for every way that they feel really loved.


We are so excited.  Follow along as we journey through creative gifting that shows love.  Along they way we will have promotions and specials for all of our ethical gifts.

Happy Holidays and as always,

Happy Ethical Shopping!






Getting Behind A Worthy Goal

So many of our partner groups have grown slowly over the years.  Their product and process is finely honed and now they are taking “next steps” to grow their impact and influence.  We were so excited to bring Purpose Jewelry into our line this Spring, because of the work they do every day, but also because of the goals that they are vigilantly working towards.

Purpose Jewelry1
The Sade, Rahim and Latrice necklaces.

Purpose Jewelry comes out of International Sanctuary, a collection of safe houses that balance income, education, healthcare and community for women coming out of trafficking.  Their current goal is to have 10 communities for women in the next two years.  An exciting and extraordinary goal.

This is where Route comes in.  Every time we buy a larger selection of their jewelry, we are able to help them forward quickly towards their goal.

Whenever you purchase any piece of Route jewelry, you are doing this type of work.  Fulfilling dreams and goals for these amazing visionary people who are diving into the world’s hardest and most dangerous situations.  Their work permanently gives hope for a safe and healthy life to women who did not have it before.

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 1.32.09 PM
The Latrice Necklace.                                  photo: Purpose Jewelry

Most of us can’t travel constantly across the world to those who are in most need, or start organizations or even spend large quantities of time volunteering.  But there are so many ways that we can help people who CAN do those things and who are choosing to.  What is so exciting is that we can do that through our purchasing!  We are buying anyway, let’s make the choice to purchase products that make dreams come true, and accomplish big goals.  Products that give dignity, safety and amazing life opportunity to the people who make what we purchase!

Enjoy Purpose and their beautiful designs.  Happy Ethical Shopping!



One Of – A New Route

Hi Everyone!!

I am SO EXCITED to announce a little adventure that we are embarking on at Route.  For a while we have been talking about how to make ethical fashion more accessible, but still stylish and fresh.  I love shopping second hand and recognizing great finds, I love buying local from artisans and designers that are doing effective and creative things in my neighborhood and I love buying ethically.  Bottom line, I just love shopping in alternative ways that make the mainstream seem boring and “basic”, and I’m passionate about putting together outfits from all of these different sources that are functional, beautiful, and classic.

This Black Jumpsuit is our first One of for sale!  Click the link HERE to purchase.

Sometimes buying ethically can be hard–either the pieces are boring, or the fantastically designed ones are out of an average person’s budget. Here’s where I want to come in:

In all of my second hand shopping I often come across pieces that are LEGIT finds.  Things that I cannot believe I have gotten my hands on, or pieces that are just so beautiful that I can’t leave behind.  So instead of keeping them for myself, I’ve decided to start sharing them with you.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and our instagram changing over the coming weeks as we add new sections and styles mixing in ethical with secondhand.

I can’t wait to share,

xo, Christina



To Change a Life with Dignity

The process of choosing which companies we will partner with and what products we will sell consumes so much of our work and conversation.  This is not a small process.  The goal is to put together a collection of well made, fashionable, well priced and deeply impactful products.  We want to choose the best of the best for you.  When you buy from Route, you can trust that these are pieces that people will compliment and ask you about.

When we start in on a new relationship (or in this case pick back up on an old one), we take that very seriously and approach it with care.  Years ago, Starfish Project came to visit our shop in Columbia.  We were thrilled about the work they were doing.  Literally bringing women out of brothels and exploitation into every level of their business.  Their goal is not just to teach women how to make jewelry.  They put women quickly into training and education programs to teach them computer skills, management, logistics and a slew of other seriously marketable skills.  These women will forever have careers that will safely keep them out of the situations that came from.  All of this while housing, caring for and helping to heal each women.

We have chosen not to buy from them in the past because we did not think the jewelry they were making had a wide enough appeal or that the style was updated enough to sell on it’s own without the story.  We are THRILLED that that has changed and recently found three gorgeous pieces to offer you from their current line.


Order one or two (scroll over image for link to purchase) knowing that the women behind these products are working hard to change the direction of their lives and you are helping to make that possible (and looking fabulous in the process).




Tonle: A New Way

One of our favorite vendors; Tonle, is a company comprised of a caring group of Cambodians and Americans who work together to make a beautiful clothing line happen. Working intentionally in this war torn country, it is unique in its ethical business model as it has created a zero waste model of production. This means Tonle is as environmentally friendly as it is friendly in it’s production process. Tonle upcycles fabrics to make new clothing. ZERO waste. That means even the tags are scraps.
But make no mistake in thinking these pieces look recycled. The empowered artisans they employ celebrate the culture and beauty of Cambodia while making the latest chic fashion statements. The art of garment making is perfected and is demonstrated in the beauty of the clothing and also the care of the community in which it is made.
We are so excited to chat with the founder and creative director of Tonle, Rachel Faller, to get the inside scoop on what is happening this holiday season.
Inline image 1
Your zero-waste business model is remarkable and completely different than any other model we’ve ever seen. How have you possibly managed to make this model sustainable?  
In short, it is always a challenge! And each time we create a new collection, we have fabrics that we have to recycle from the previous collections. Some people have commented that our products should be cheaper because we pay so little for the materials. And it is true that the materials are cheaper because they come to us in smaller pieces that other companies consider not usable. However in reality it is much more expensive to produce this way because we have to take time to first of all pick out the materials, hand cut them, sort them, and then process all the small scraps. Of course, hand knitting and weaving new fabrics is tedious. What we love about the process is in the end much more of the final price goes to the artisans than to material costs. Big win! But it doesn’t mean it is cheap! 
Would you say consumers are enticed more by the zero waste aspect or the fair employment aspect of the business? Does one hold more weight than the other?

It’s hard to say which is more important to people, but I will say that the zero-waste aspect of our business gets quite a bit of attention because it is quite unique. There are few companies in the world doing what we are doing in that regard so I think that really stands out to people, and it piques their curiosity – they want to know more about the process and learn what zero-waste means to us. Personally speaking, I think they are both very important, because first of all I know all the people who make our products and how much this work means to them; they are like family to me as well. At the end of the day though, our environmental mission and social mission go hand-in-hand; people who live in places that are deeply affected by pollution from the garment industry, like Cambodia, can testify to that.

Tell us about your exciting local partnership that is helping produce the new line this holiday season?
Weaves of Cambodia! We send them the smallest scraps left from our production and they hand-cut them into new yarn, and weave them into new fabrics. The whole process is quite tedious but the products are uniquely beautiful. Many of the weavers have disabilities from landmine accidents, as this region of the country has been war torn until the late 1990’s. Landmine clearance has really just begun in the last 15 years. This work creates not only a vital revenue stream for them but they say that the work and the community is really important and meaningful as well. The weaving is integrated in most all our products, however some of the new line statements which show the handwoven work is the sol triangle tote, srey crop top srey long vest. and the phnom scarf.
What are your plans to grow and keep things going?
Thinking about growth is very interesting because as a zero-waste company – we don’t want our growth to come at the cost of the planet. But at the same time, growth of companies like tonlé mean that more artisans are employed with fair and livable wages, and hopefully reducing the number of toxic products that are produced. So we continue to think about growth with all the caveats attached regarding staying true to our principals and mission.

A Collective Creative Process

I do not consider myself a creative person, and certainly not artistic in anyway.  I DESPERATELY need the help of photographers, writers and designers to help create our brand.  Each individual person has their own personal creative process.  Some sit in a quiet room, some play loud music, others prefer to be outside.  It’s usually a space, sometimes a time of day and may or may not include caffeine or certain foods.  The creative process seems to require this lovely combination of physical, mental and emotional details to really flow.

Until recently I’ve learned about this only second hand.  We started doing model photo shoots a few years ago, it is so much fun to find beautiful places in our city and reveal an entire clothing line to the photographer and models in beautiful spaces.  Model shoots are the first time I have experienced diving into the creative process.  What I love most about our shoots, is that it’s the creative process happening in community.  A communal creativity.  When it works, it is easily the most inspiring and energizing experience I have ever had.


We spent the morning laughing, exploring, talking, creating and making beautiful photography.  Through the process we felt connected, uplifted and in general walked away saying over and over again “that was so much fun”.  IMG_8563

How do you create?  When and where and with whom?

Route is about not just purchasing consciously, but living consciously.  Being aware and watching for those precious moments of connection with other humans, enjoying and valuing and sharing life with them.  I LOVE that the route of connection today for us was a communal creativity.  SO FUN.

Happy creating.

Much love,


Power of Interns

This semester, we have had four marketing interns working at Route. They have had two specific projects that they have been working on. The first was the True Cost film screening that we did in the store. They had lots of fun planning the event, and getting the store theater-ready!


The second project they have been working on is the launch of our first original Route product, the “Empowered” t-shirt line. They designed the tshirt with their own original art, found an ethically made t-shirt designer, and had the shirts printed. We now carry the shirts in-store and online, and are so excited for people to wear our creation!



Interview with Route founder: Christina Weaver

Recently, our founder and current board director, Christina Weaver was interviewed by the ethical blog, She Changes Everything. Read a portion of the interview, below.

September 21, 2016

Heather Young

There really are so many talented, crazy inspirational people and companies doing amazing things in the world. And we love hearing from the women who have the passion and commitment to do business in this space. That’s what the SHE Spotlight is all about! They have unique insights on the world and on sustainable, healthy, ethical (SHE) living that we’re always excited to share with you!

We recently had the chance to connect with Route founder and board director, Christina Weaver.

She passionately believes that many of us don’t know the impossibly complicated process that it takes for each product we use in every day life to get to us. More importantly, if we did know, we would purchase in such a way that the “route” our products take to get to us would be consistent with our values and therefore less harmful to the people who make them and the environment. You won’t view the supply chain the same way after reading her interview. Enjoy!

What does your name mean and how did you choose it?

Christina: The name “route” came to us in a moment and I don’t think we could have ever predicted how much it has come to mean. At the time, I (Christina) was doing a talk to a group of university students about the importance of “unveiling the supply chain.” If we really knew the harmful effects that purchasing cheap, fast fashion causes; I’d like to think that we would at least think twice before we purchased. So Route is that, committing ourselves to revealing the “route” and making it one that brings only positive effects to everyone along that product’s path, from maker to consumer. Route is also about telling the incredible stories of hope and resilience that come out of the lives and work of everyone who touches each of our products.

We absolutely love that your focus on the makers and the partner groups goes beyond a singular focus on fair wages! Tell us a little more about what this means for your company and why it is important.

Christina: We believe that holistically supporting communities and individuals in relationship is what brings lasting hope and change. Our goal is to see sustainable or long-lasting change where there was great strife. In our opinion, that has to come through employment, so by selling we are creating jobs in safe working conditions for makers paid livable or fair wages. But when poverty has been a norm for generations, communities often need more support (in dignifying and empowering ways).  So we buy from businesses or other nonprofits who are committed long term to communities. Each of the business’s consider the needs of their employees and work to meet those needs. Sometimes that’s counseling, housing support, connecting makers with other groups, creating community, childcare, education, the list goes on…

You are passionate about supporting products and projects that truly give back. How does that change your business model? How do you vet your companies?

Christina: Vetting our companies is about being in relationship with them, researching the areas of the world they are supplying from and when we can, visiting their sites (although that doesn’t happen as much as we wish it did). We do sell lots of products that are fair trade certified, but our goal is to tell the full story of each product, so we don’t tend to communicate certification as much the work that is being done and how.

We try and spend lots of time (sometimes months) in phone conversations, emailing, receiving photos and hearing or reading maker’s stories before we choose to purchase. It is so important that from the maker’s perspective, they are being respected and employed the way that they need to be, and receiving what they need to not only be respectfully employed but to support their families (remember from Half the Sky: 80% of a women’s income goes to provide for her family and community). Also, if we sell to a women in the U.S., telling her that her purchase is supporting women (this happens SO frequently in our industry), that’s not a small statement. And it should be true.

Not only that, but with a retail model, we are taking that customer’s investment in our products, paying for what we purchased, and if we can keep overhead low enough, buying more! That means each purchase multiplies the impact that one customer is able to make. Our business model is set up with that in mind: we take whatever money we are given and multiply the education to our customers and the impact that we can make in our maker’s communities.

Photo: “Mata Traders and World Finds work in countries with high numbers of child labor, intentionally employing women who have never worked before so that they can receive the income brought in by their children and their children can go to school. Done. What are these women producing? Beautiful pieces that are fashion forward, that we love to sell and wear,” shares Christina Weaver.

There’s a slight stigma around “ethical” products. But you break the mold with very fashion-forward, BEAUTIFUL pieces! Can you tell us more about your commitment to finding fashionable products to promote?

Christina: This is so hard for us! In our opinion, we owe it to the makers to do everything we can to make their job long term and sustainable. The only way that that is possible is if we are selling pieces that people want to buy and therefore, our customers return to us, not just because their purchase has impact but because they look and feel amazing in every piece of jewelry, clothing, or accessory that we carry. But unfortunately, we have to hunt so hard for this.

Furthermore, more and more women in the United States are talking about creating a conscious closet (a concept we love and at Route we have all started the journey towards). We often don’t have time to purchase second hand, tailor clothing or make our own clothes. By carefully selecting pieces Route’s goal is to be able to give women the option of purchasing a wardrobe from us that they can really be proud of wearing and look AMAZING in.  So, we are picky and are ALWAYS hunting for new sources for our collection.

(Photo: Shown, Christina, co-founder, Route)

Thank you S.H.E!!!

Read the rest of the interview on the SHE blog, here: http://bit.ly/2d2Jeir

Overdressed on Overproduction

At this point we all know well that the garment industry as it currently exists is largely about pumping out quantity (at varying levels of quality) cheap and fast.

As I continued reading Overdressed, Cline spends a significant portion of the book retelling her travels and experiences visiting both factories and middle men in a variety of countries.  What is so interesting is that she has no access to the sweat shops or buildings with poor working conditions, the factories that she visits are for the most part positive workplaces that are at least (from the worker’s perspective) supplying their worker’s needs.

I loved this portion of the book because it reveals just how complicated the whole situation is.  Here are some of the issues she runs into on her journey:

1. Cultural norms and values effect worker’s perceptions and opinions of their working conditions.  In the factory she visited in China, the hours that employees work and the conditions that workers live in may seem inappropriate to Westerners, but were sufficient and acceptable to the makers that she met with.

2. “Sewing should be a good job; it should be a great job” – Even the factories with the highest technology require people who are experienced and knowledgeable about sewing.  Beyond that, sewing as a profession is rewarding, communal and can be so much fun.

3. “The Race to the Bottom”as controlled by customer’s insistence on the cheapest fashionable clothing has dictated and driven manufacturing, pushing manufacturing out of countries with higher minimum wages or where workers require better compensation or treatment.

4. China is not the ultimate perpetrator of workplace abuse.  Over the last 5 to 10 years workers in China have increased their savvy, entire generations of people moving out of the country into cities are better educated and more fashionable themselves.  Factories have the highest technology, provide housing, food and often other job benefits.  However, producing in China is becoming more expensive (a 10-30% increase yearly) and several designers and retailers have moved production to less expensive countries.

5. Whether or not consumers like it, we may have hit rock bottom with clothing prices and it is highly possible that regardless of ethical fashion movements, clothing prices are on the rise because as manufacturing has now been in countries for almost a generation, cost of living is increasing, wages are increasing and workers are requiring more (as they should be).


I am excited and overwhelmed by all of this information.  As consumers the veil needs to be lifted on the production chain and primarily the factories that are producing our clothing.  Not only out of concern for the people making them but the environmental impact is important.   What dyes are being used on our clothing, how much air and water pollution is being caused?

Did you know that when you pay more for a piece, you aren’t necessarily getting a higher quality?  How do we learn fabrics and clothing again so that when we purchase we aren’t purchasing just a brand, but also a well made piece of clothing.  (Could you pick a french seam out of a line up?)

I think it is absolutely possible for us to look at tags and just from the information given know more.  We can know that if it was made in China, it’s likely a higher quality piece and working conditions were possibly slightly higher than other countries, however, there was likely no concern for environmental impact in production.  In Bangladesh or Vietnam it’s all bad.  In the U.S., what does “Made in the U.S.A.” may or may not mean that it is ethically made, more homework may be involved.



Where does our journey to an ethical wardrobe begin?  I think in the tags of the clothing we already own….

We’ve been talking a bit around my dining table (our online team’s frequent work place of choice) about this and wondering where our current wardrobe stands on an ethical scale of 1-10. YIKES.  A “come to Jesus” may be brewing for our closets.  More to come…

Happy shopping,


Photo Cred: NYT and Hercampus.com