Eco-Stiletto: Fair Trade Fashion Work-to-Play Dress from Africa

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Modahnik’s show-stopping fair trade dress ($270).

Got a hot date—and a stone-cold deadline? Some days you just don’t have time to go home and change. Made in Africa, these Fair Trade dresses are the answer: Throw on a jacket and you’re ready to meet and greet; take it off and the night is yours.

Designer Kahindo Mateene started Modahnik with the idea of supporting craftswomen in her native Congo, who create the beautiful fabrics for her line. Now a 2011 Designer in Residence at the Chicago Macy’s Fashion Incubator, Mateene brings sexy and sophisticated touches to even the most simple pieces—think perfectly placed pockets in a waist-nipping skirt and vibrant patterns offset by solid hits of color.

We’re so obsessed with Mateene’s beautiful line—and her amazing energy—that we asked her to host last month’s Green Girls Night Out.

Magrienne Collection’s African print wrap dress ($50).

Similar in style—although we haven’t met them personally—Magrienne Collection is a Ghanaian based fashion house that supports local designers by crafting gorgeous, form-fitting clothes from African prints. We love this mermaid-friendly blue dress, which updates the classic wrap shape with a flounce-y bow that can be worn front or back, and is available in a stunning red-and-yellow print, as well. Priced well at $50, we’re ordering both!

Think October’s all about pink ribbons? Think again. October also happens to be Fair Trade month, which shines the light on the idea of manufacturing products from clothing to chocolate at a living wage in order to alleviate poverty, reduce inequality, and create opportunities for farmers and artisans, including women, who produce the majority of fair trade goods. We found ridiculously inexpensive jewelry from Morocco, Fair Trade made dresses from Africa, chic clutches from Madagascar and Cambodia and super-soft sweaters and scarves from Bolivia and Mexico, all available at one of our favorite sustainable online retailers, Ethical Ocean, where our readers get 10% off through October 31st with “EcoStiletto1” at check out (please note that prices may vary slightly due to currency market fluctuations).

About Rachel Sarnoff

The blog is the brainchild of Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, a former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World who was editor of Children magazine—before she had three of her own. Rachel was featured in Los Angeles and Lucky magazines and has appeared on “Today,” “Access Hollywood” and “CNN Headline News,” among others. She is a writer, consultant and pre/postnatal yoga teacher, who also helps families with Healthy Home Assessments. Rachel can also be found on HuffPo Parents, at, on Facebook, at and tweeting regularly as @RachelLSarnoff.