Fashion Blogger Carly Gerber: My Journey Toward Conscious Consumerism

During a family vacation in Hawaii, I was sunbathing by the pool when my mom struck up a conversation with a fellow hotel guest. She explained how her daughter, who was a high school student at the time, had created a fashion blog. My ears perked up. I absolutely loved that a teenager began a blog out of pure passion for a topic such as fashion - something I also love.

This conversation stuck with me. Then, a few months later, while taking classes in Fashion Studies at Columbia College Chicago, I was learning about the environmental and humanitarian issues within the fashion industry. I NEVER thought about where my clothes were coming from and who was making them. Why would I? I never thought the brands I loved would manufacture their clothes in unethical ways. Thankfully, I had the most knowledgeable professors at CCC who taught me about the not-so-glamorous side of the industry. It was left up to us students to decide if we’d help amend this industry we love so dearly. I decided to do something about it.

My monthly - okay weekly - visits to my favorite departments stores weren’t as enjoyable as before now that I knew the hidden truths about the industry. I would investigate the garment tags of potential purchases to see where they were made. Basically, if the tag didn’t read “Made in USA,” I wouldn’t buy it. I used to LOVE shopping, but then it became a dread. I needed to find clothes that were both beautiful and made by brands that were environmentally and socially responsible.

While searching online for eco friendly stores in Chicago, I came across Greenheart Shop. After clicking through the boutique's website, I was filled with excitement and anticipation to visit . The moment I walked in, it felt enchanting and inviting. The clothes and accessories were fashionable, the home goods had a touch of exotic, and the body care products were made with mostly natural ingredients.

I. Was. Hooked.

After learning about, visiting, and loving this boutique, I couldn’t contain the news (well, news to me) that there are brands that make stylish clothes and accessories environmentally and socially responsibly. But, how would I let other fashionistas know what I’d learned? Since that conversation in Hawaii, I’d wanted to create a fashion blog, but, up until that point, I didn’t have a direction for it. This was it! I would create a fashion blog highlighting brands and boutiques that aligned with my ethics.

Today, I’m the founder of Hippie and Heart, where I promote brands that are creating products ethically and the boutiques that are selling them. Greenheart Shop has been invaluable with helping me discover brands I can trust. Because of Greenheart Shop, shopping’s no longer a dreaded necessity, but an empowering, motivating, and, most of all, fun experience!

Some of Carly's favorite purchases from the Greenheart Shop:

Above: Raven + Lily was one of the first responsible brands I fell in love with. I wear this blouse almost once a week!
Below: (L) I’m a sucker for anything celestial. I’m always getting compliments on this Milky Way themed jewelry from Roost. (R) Living in a city, I try to surround myself with images of nature. That’s why I love this butterfly poster by Timbergram.

Carly created the fashion blog Hippie and Heart because she was frustrated with the fashion industry – i.e. environmental pollution and human abuse. As a consumer, she realized that she could help change the industry through her purchases (power of the dollar, baby!). On Hippie and Heart, she features stylish clothes AND schools you on how they’re thoughtfully made. Carly was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago and now lives in the Windy City. She loves to read, be active, and explore her beloved city.