A header image of all fashion models together, in front of the foliage of the Louisville Zoo.

The University of Louisville Volleyball Team in Eco-Friendly Fashion

Styled and written by Christine Fellingham | Photos by Kylene White | Hair and makeup by Jill Higginbotham and Mariah Sanchez for J Michael’s Spa & Salon

Green thinking is redefining how we dress. From sustainable fabrics to recycled materials and thrift-store chic, there’s a shift away from overconsumption towards ecologically-aware wardrobe building.

Eager to support this new fashion philosophy, we shopped local for eco-chic looks, then headed to our own rain forest at The Louisville Zoo for a nature-inspired fashion shoot. And, because their generation will soon be running the planet, we asked the University of Louisville Women’s Volleyball team to come along as models. This imposing team of young women put their personal twists on the styles and shared their thoughts on shopping green.

Ethical Aesthetics

Fabrics woven by a co-op in India are turned into the fair-trade fashions made by local fashion collaborative Anchal Project. “I try to shop at local and authentic places. It’s pricier but the clothing lasts much longer and was made in a more eco-friendly environment,” says Phekran.

Phekran Kong is wearing: Quilted Multi-check Cocoon jacket, $425, at Anchalproject.org. Anemone bralette, $25, and wooden earrings, $20, at Apricot Lane. Just Black Denim jeans, $75, at Mamili.

Flower Power

Earrings hand-made from nut shells by Ecuadorian artists support a fair-trade initiative while adding visual interest to any outfit. “I’m trying to be more selective about what I buy,” says Anna DeBeers, who regularly shops and donates clothes at Goodwill.

Anna DeBeers is wearing: Tagua by Soraya Cedeno fairtrade nut shell earrings, $24, at Tunie’s Boutique. One Hundred Stars kimono, $79; Lost + Wander top, $79; and Just Black Denim jeans, $69; at Mamili. 

Pops of Print

Florals and leaf prints are appearing everywhere– and look especially fresh on spring’s elevated joggers.

Nena Mbonu is wearing: Suzette top, $20; Elan cotton joggers, $59; and wooden necklace, $29; all at Apricot Lane.

Rare Beauty

A hand-stitched jacket by Anchal Project is a striking anti-fast-fashion statement.  

Cara Cresse is wearing: Cocoon jacket, $350, at Anchalproject.org. Sanctuary cotton joggers, $129, at Mamili. Tagua by Soraya Cedeno fairtrade earrings, $24, at Tunie’s Boutique. NIkibiki cotton, one-shoulder top, $25, at Apricot Lane.

In Full Bloom

Plant-based styling products helped create the frizz-proof waves that flatter this tropical print cotton dress.

Anna DeBeers is wearing: Hyfve cotton dress, $49, at Apricot Lane. EuforaStyle Behave, $26.75, at JMichaelsSpaandSalon.com.

Back to Nature

Mineral makeup, shell jewelry and cotton dresses combine style and green sensibilities.

Amaya Tillman is wearing: Eclipse Cocoon Rainbow jacket, $375, at Anchalproject.org. Tagua by Soraya Cedeno fair trade tagua nut necklace, $58, at Tunie’s. Style Rack cotton dress, $69, at Apricot Lane.


Alexa Hendricks is wearing: Tagua by Soraya Cedeno fair trade nut earrings, $20, at Tunie’s. Ocean Drive cotton dress, $49, at Apricot Lane.

New Naturals

Relaxed shapes and a glimpse of midriff match the laid-back vibe of sustainability-centric fashion thinking.

Cara Cresse is wearing: Lavender Brown cotton top, $145, and pants, $205, at Mamili. Wooden necklace, $20, at Apricot Lane. Eufora Style Behave, $26.75, at JMichaelsSpaandSalon.com.

Less is More

Pairing this simple cotton dress with shell jewelry and mineral makeup is a stunning move towards minimalism. “I’ve learned to ask myself, ‘Do I need this?’” says Phekran.

Phekran Kong is wearing: Tagua by Soraya Cedeno fair trade nut shell earrings, $24, at Tunie’s. Peach Love cotton dress, $65; bracelets, $20 each, and Spartina green stone ring, $52, at Apricot Lane.