Elaine Lipson

Articles by Elaine Lipson:

Greening the Brown Bag: Lunch Solutions


Sometimes the solutions are so simple. No need to give your kids a throwaway brown paper bag when a reusable, washable organic cotton lunch bag will do the job. I like these with bright designs, sold in pairs. Late July, a maker of delicious organic crackers, offers this bag with a zipper top and the option of ordering with a product sampler. If you’re feeling creative, make your own; there are easy free patterns on the Web, or try this lunch bag pattern for sale at …

A 'Touch' of Brazil


Brazil is, among many things, a country of artists, many now using their talents to send a message of environmental awareness told with imagination and beauty. We love TOUCH, a division of the Los Angeles-based Zoe Melo design group and a cooperative marketing effort showcasing the work of contemporary Brazilian artisans with a green mission, making objects that will enhance your space with an international sensibility.

I love the oversized, modern jewelry of Mana Bernardes, like this necklace made from recycled PET bottles, and the Kraft paper vases (above) dyed with …

Dressed to Thrill


I love the New York Times Thursday Style section, which recently featured a seductive plea by writer Guy Trebay (disguised as an article) for women to keep wearing summer dresses though fashion authorities are predicting their demise. After all, dresses are easy, cool, feminine, and designed to make the most of curves and legs. For all those reasons, men love them, too: “. . . you will have to concede that, for flattering a woman’s body, nothing is quite like a dress,” Trebay writes.

Some of the prettiest dresses made with eco-friendly materials …

Shady Business: Stylish, Sustainable Sun Hats


Even without “help” from global warming, the sun can be hard on skin. I love the beach and the summer rays – and I have, on more than one occasion, been sunburned to a brilliant shade of lobster red. These days I’ve learned to avoid extreme exposure, but the risk of skin cancer and rapid aging also goes up with everyday sun in the garden, market, or outdoor cafe. Fortunately, there are sun hats that protect, flatter, and are made from earth-friendly materials.

Amy Hamilton of Granville Millinery Company makes elegant, feminine artisan hats; the wide-brimmed Sand …

Go Vintage for a Viable Planet


Sometimes the best way to shape a sustainable future is to go back in time. While we can drive change by buying new clothes made with organic or sustainable fabrics, low-impact dyes and ethical labor practices, or new built-green furniture, we won’t save the world solely by choosing green stuff. The greenest gesture may be to use what already exists.

Fortunately, in fashion, art and decor, beautiful clothes and objects often outlive their owners, or get traded in or passed on, no worse for the wear. What’s more, craftsmanship and quality are often hallmarks of vintage finds. …

Cheap Fashion Has a High Environmental Price: Lessons of the $3 Billion Sustainable Apparel Industry


Between writing posts for EcoSalon, I’ve spent several months researching and writing a study on the business of sustainable apparel – one of those big, comprehensive business reports that companies buy to better understand the dynamics of the market.

The International Market for Sustainable Apparel was published last week by Packaged Facts, weighing in at 170+ pages and maybe 50,000 words (read the press release here and the abstract here). Some of this tome is devoted to defining just what sustainable apparel means, as this international industry – estimated at …

Scents & Sensibility


I’ve never been the kind of woman who commits to one scent. When faced with the endless rows of fragrances in my local beauty store, I find myself waffling between musky and floral, flirty and feminine. My scent has to match my mood, so my perfume collection reflects the range of emotions that encompass my personality each day. I’m always looking for brave new brands that challenge the status quo, which is why I was so excited when I found Tsi-La Natural Perfumes.

Tsi-La was started by model Annie Morton and her friend, Natalie Szapowalo, …

The Revolution Will Be Televised (But Will the Television Be Recycled?)


This post requires me to admit that I sometimes watch television. I could defend it by saying I’m part of the media and therefore must observe the media, or I could just say, “Project Runway. Lost. Buffy reruns. So?”

Either way, the powers that be say I’ll need a new television by February, 2009, when digital broadcasting takes over and old sets like mine will be obsolete. Yours may be too. With possibly millions of Americans disposing of old televisions, recycling them is key, right?

According to the Take Back My TV campaign, only