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Shopping with a Conscience: 5 Stores to Check Out

Boutiques and Brands that Do Good Are Always Fashion-Forward

Rauwolf Brutalist Ikat black and white clutch, $2,613.

Shopping has changed. In the post-great recession environment, more factors go into our choices than just getting what we want. These days the vast majority of us (more than 80 percent, according to a recent survey on corporate social responsibility by Cone Communications) want what we buy to be from stores and brands that demonstrate corporate responsibility to social and environment issues. Shoppers look for common cause with stores and brands and are willing to pay more to support those enterprises. In other words, we want our dollars to buy more than the goods we take home; we want them to also promote responsible practices from the brands we purchase and the stores at which we shop.

These five shops new to the OC scene fit the feel-good bill.

Haskell Collection

What’s Inside: Tucked behind what looks like a repurposed motel on Costa Mesa’s rapidly trend-ifying East 17th Street sits a small wooden structure that would be at home nestled in a mountain hamlet in the Sierra. Be glad, though, you don’t have to travel that far to explore Laura Haskell’s selection of new and repurposed discoveries that have included midcentury chairs, a vintage Sparkletts water carafe, a quilt sewn from ikat fabric, wooden toys from the 1950s, ’70s-era oil paintings, vintage macramé bags, carvings and jewelry. Rather than call the collection “curated,” a word that is hopelessly overused, consider the shop a repository of items that in a more crowded environment, say a garage sale or flea market, the more ocular-challenged among us might miss. In other words, we all get the advantage of Haskell’s discerning eye to obtain the perfect accessory about which our friends will say, “Where did you ever find that?” In fact, Haskell Collection has quickly become a resource for interior decorators who recognize and appreciate its eclectic sensibility. The store also offers a display of the Haskell Collection’s “eco-sensitive, functional furnishings” that, in addition to being both stylish and comfortable, are locally manufactured with an emphasis on regionally sourced materials, including recycled steel, low-to-no-VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes, fabrics that begin as byproducts of post-industrial waste and are fully recyclable after a long and useful life, and foam that’s up to 40 percent derived from plant-based renewable resources.

The Cause Connex: A visit to the Haskell Collection is a demonstration that you don’t have to jettison style in the practice of sustainability’s three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. Instead of ending up on the ash heap of history, Haskell reclaims heretofore overlooked treasures that still have plenty of life in them for the next owner; and the Haskell collection of new furniture is manufactured locally following the principles of sustainability and
ecological responsibilit.

445 E. 17th Street, Costa Mesa, 949.945.8928 :: haskellcollection.com

Dover Saddlery

What’s Inside: English riding-style equestrians will find everything they need to be kitted out in style – from helmets and wellies to bridles and hoof boots – at this one-stop wonderland for the horse-obsessed. Newbies to the sport, and old hands taking on new challenges, will appreciate the knowledgeable posse of salespeople as they guide you through the course of choosing the proper breeches for, say dressage or jumping, or help fit you in the right saddle, which because of its, um, anatomical impact on the rider, is crucial. When it comes to the formal elements of the sport, such as gear for shows, tradition reigns; elsewhere there are splashes of color and whimsy like colorful helmets, brightly patterned socks, rope leads in purple or red, two-toned turnout blankets, or rhinestone-studded belts to hold up breeches in every shade of the rainbow. As one saleswoman said, “Half the fun is the fashion.” And for those who want their stable of four-legged friends to match, there are coordinating collars, leads and jackets for your canine companions.

The Cause Connex: Dover Saddlery’s commitment to national and local equine rescue societies and therapeutic riding across the country starts at the top:  President Stephen L. Day is passionate about the rescue and repurposing of off-the-track thoroughbred racehorses. The nationwide brand looks to its local stores to seek out those equine rescue and therapeutic riding centers that bring the same passion to their cause as Dover brings to its mission to provide the best equipment to the sport. In California, Dover supports 17 organizations that benefit horses and the therapeutic benefit of horses, including the Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding in San Juan Capistrano.

23052 Lake Forest Drive, Laguna Hills, 949.707.1897 :: doversaddlery.com

Urban Decay

What’s Inside: Don’t let the dazzling combination of ornate gothic lettering and the purple hue on the outside of the born-in-Orange County cosmetic line’s home base – and only U.S. store devoted to the brand – fool you into thinking this is exclusively ground zero for wild-child makeup. Yes, Urban Decay is the go-to for makeup on – and sometimes over – the edge, but all ages and styles from teen glam rockers to their grammies will find exactly what they’re looking for, if what they’re looking for are the raw materials for putting their best face forward. While it’s true that you can buy UD products elsewhere, here you can sample the brand’s exclusives, like the sparkling Moondust eye shadow collection that can’t be found in other stores. Complimentary makeup services include your choice of the UD Iconic Eye, UD Iconic Lip or Ultra Definition Skin. Or book a makeup date for The Standard ($50) or, for special occasions like a wedding or holiday party, The Full Monty ($100).

The Cause Connex: If there’s a native OC glam power partnership, it has to be Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani. For its first year, the Ultraviolet Edge, UD’s global initiative to empower women, recognized the Fullerton-born Stefani as one of the inspiring women who rock the world; Stefani returned the favor and helped raise the organization’s profile and goal of raising the first $500,000 – 100 percent of the proceeds from an eye shadow primer, now sold out, created specially for the initiative – to be distributed to women’s organizations around the world.

Urban Decay at Fashion Island, 949.644.6550 :: urbandecay.com


What’s Inside: In Moncler’s capable hands, which meld the technical know-how of dressing for snow-covered peaks and a fashion-forward sensibility, sartorial splendor and puffer jackets are not mutually exclusive. With the brand’s luxurious down-filled toppers and other cool-weather accessories for men and women, there’s absolutely no reason to forsake style to stay warm and toasty. (Hey, the thermometer is bound to go down. And barring that eventuality locally, there’s travel to places where seasonal cold is a fact of life. Hello, polar vortex!) Jacket and coat colors for men and women range from snow white to black, subtle neutrals to bright red – some trimmed in fur. Women’s jackets include those in woven animal patterns and opulent metallic embroidery. Rounding out wardrobes for warmth are hats, gloves, shoes and sunglasses.

The Cause Connex: To raise money for amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure, whose goal is to find a cure for AIDS by 2020, Moncler Chairman Remo Ruffini collaborated with amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost to create “Art for Love,” for which 32 of the world’s best-known photographers – including Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, Raymond Meier and Brigitte Lacombe – shot photos featuring Moncler’s Maya jacket, which was designed in 1952, the year the company was founded. After an exhibition at the New York Public Library, the photos were sold through a silent auction with proceeds benefiting Countdown to a Cure. Moncler is also a longtime sponsor of an afterparty at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS event in Antibes, France, which also raises funds for Countdown to
a Cure.

Moncler at South Coast Plaza,  714.559.7331 ::  moncler.com

Atelier 7918

What’s Inside: In a region with no shortage of sources for women to find stylish attire, Annemarie Brandi’s new shop stands out for the sly wit found in its fashion offerings. Here women can find outfits that have a European sensibility by way of Orange County: sophisticated, but not staid, with a sense of fun that’s a wink to having a good time while being exquisitely turned out head to toe. Take, for example, a selection of beautifully constructed skirts by designer Stella Jean, in fabric patterns that meld Indian iconography with plaid or leopard prints. Or an elegant striped mesh column dress by Self-Portrait; Giamba’s Bee Dress, a ladylike mini in an ethereal pattern of applique flowers accented with jeweled bumblebees; and a selection of Mugler’s beautifully constructed pieces. The same wit and what can only be described as sophisticated whimsy is demonstrated by the choice of accessories, especially Yazbukey’s Lucite minaudières that proclaim either “yes” or “no,” “strike a pose” and “big spender.” Or Olympia Le-Tan’s limited-edition handmade clutches that resemble books on ballet as well as a choice of ladylike handbags by Perry Ellis’ daughter, Tyler Alexandra. A selection of jewelry includes Venyx’s Reptilia collection inspired by gators and Madagascar tortoises. Need something to top it all off? Slip on one of the headbands from Masterpeace, designed by Moscow-based artist Evgenia Linovich.

The Cause Connex: Atelier 7918 is taking a multilevel approach to giving back by carrying lines that have corporate responsibility built into their business models, including Stella Jean, which works with African and Haitian artisans to make their communities self-sustaining, and Friend-Of, which is donating 10 percent of profits from its Catherine Baba line of sunglasses to Orange Babies, which provides care to pregnant, HIV-infected African women to help prevent transmission of the virus to their babies. Locally, Atelier 7918 is an on-going supporter of the Crystal Cove Alliance.

Atelier 7918 at Crystal Cove Shopping Center, 7918 E. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.715.0899 :: atelier7918.com

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