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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Sustainable Chic, Southwest Florida-Style: Area Retailers Offer Ethical Apparel

Aug 31, 2011 04:16PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Just as model Summer Rayne Oakes, featured in this month’s “Eco-Fashionista,” is doing what she can to take eco-friendly fashion mainstream, retailers such as Organic Effort, Natural Comfort Footwear and Thoughtful Threads are doing their part to bring chic, green fashions to Southwest Florida.

Organic Effort

Since 1997, Bukki Sittler, owner of Organic Effort, in Naples, has been designing and producing Sassis, a line of socially responsible, eco-friendly, organic fashions for men, women and children. “We understand that we impact the society we do business in, which is why we are committed to making the impact positive,” advises Sittler, who primarily designs timeless, classic fashions, using organic cotton and hemp/cotton blends. Batiking is done with a veganriendly, petroleum- free resist solution.

Organic Effort does not use any unfair labor, nor does the company tolerate unsafe or unhealthy working conditions. “We respect the work of the people involved throughout every step of production, from farm to showroom floor,” notes Sittler. Nearly all the raw materials Organic Effort Naples, Floridaand supplies are manufactured in America, and Sassis supports Fair Trade commerce by using imported goods sparingly and only if they are produced in safe work environments by workers paid fair wages.

While doing research for Sassis, Sittler interviewed numerous fabric suppliers and cotton farmers. Many had similar stories to tell about the history of cotton farmers that switched from natural to conventional farming methods, using toxic fertilizers and pesticides in pursuit of better crop yields. “After I heard how some farmers from past generations, as well as numerous family members and employees, died from cancer-related causes, I knew I wanted to support farmers who have returned to organic methods,” explains Sittler.

Natural Comfort Footwear

Natural Comfort Footwear’s two retail outlets in Naples offer men and women the opportunity to walk in eco-style. Several brands, including Simple Shoe, Gum Shoe, Thoughtful Threads Naples, FloridaHola and Christopher Agresta, manufacture footwear that is either veganriendly or constructed of hemp and recycled materials, such as corks from wine bottles.

Thoughtful Threads

Thoughtful Threads, a 100 percent organic clothing and bedding store in Naples, offers a variety of casual and dress clothing made from organic cotton and hemp for all ages and both genders. The company was launched in April by Food & Thought 100% Organic Farm Market.

Thanks to forward-thinking retailers, Southwest Florida’s fashionistas no longer need to choose between “green” and chic; today’s sustainable choices combine the best of both.

Organic Effort, 2068 J&C Blvd., Naples 34109. Call 239-449-8417 or visit

Natural Comfort Footwear, 769 5th Ave. S., Naples 34102; call 239-261-0228. 8140 Strada Place, Mercato, Ste. 8140, Naples 34108; call 239-514-0002 (opens October 1).

Thoughtful Threads, 2132 Tamiami Trail N., Naples 34102. Call 239-213-2222 or visit

Photos courtesy of Thoughtful Threads.

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