Rachel Kibbe is the owner of Helpsy, an sharp online boutique of handcrafted, recycled, upcycled, cruelty-free, local, vintage, handcrafted, eco-conscious clothing and accessories. Her discerning eye is evident in the wry design, downtown-cool picks, smart editorial, and her must-follow Instagram account. (Hello nail art!)
And girl’s got the chops for style. She has a degree in Fashion Design from Parsons, and has apprenticed under labels such as Alexander Wang and Jack Spade. She’s put her creative writing and Spanish degree from Emory to good use, living in Spain for three years while writing for a magazine about health and fashion, plus contributing the majority of fashion content to Agyness Deyn’s website, NAAG, then taking on the role of Contributing Editor of The Byrne Notice.
Every time I meet up with Rachel, she introduces me to a new coffee shop or wine bar that I lurve. Not everyone can be her Facebook friend and be treated to her hilarious and whip-smart social commentary, so I asked her to share her lifestyle picks with the readers of EcoCult. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite NYC restaurant?
Five Leaves. It’s in my neighborhood and I’m a burger kind of gal. IMO, they have one of the best burgers in the city. Plus, the waiters are cute.
What’s your favorite bar?
Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg—I love how it feels like you’re sitting in someone’s living room.
Describe your perfect Sunday.
Wake up early and the sun is shining. Then go for a run, get laundry done and have rest of the day to do whatever–go to the beach, lie outside and read, ride my bike over the Williamsburg bridge into the city, see a movie with friends.
You can only see one musical artist perform this year–who do you choose?
Outkast–Andres 3000’s costumes can only be appreciated in person. Although, I don’t know if they’re touring this year. I went to college in Atlanta, and they performed for free one year; hardly anyone went. Just my luck because I was right up by the stage–I may or may not have crawled up on the stage and gotten kicked off.
What’s your favorite place to shop in the city?
Opening Ceremony. They always have a great mix of the freshest, newest talent and older indy faves.
Your favorite NYC-made brand?
You have three days free to get the heck out of the city. Where do you go?
Upstate; it’s the quickest way to get distance from the craziness and quickly get back to it when I miss it after just a few days.
Do you vintage shop? Where do you go?
I love Stella Dallas; they’ve got some really top notch stuff. I was in Palm Desert recently and my friend who lives there brought me to this fantastic place called The Fine Art of Design. There were some of the best vintage selections I’ve seen. The owner is a Parsons grad and he’s just found the most glamorous duds from the 60s up til now–party dresses and all. Designer central—just jaw-dropping. Oh, and Resurrection in NY, of course. But that is usually aspirational window shopping experience for me, because it’s so expensive.
What’s your biggest, unsustainable bad habit?
Throwing things in the garbage rather than recycling! I hate to even admit it. I’m getting much better but it’s definitely a bad, bad, naughty habit.
How has living sustainably change your life for the better?
It’s better in that I have more of a sense of purpose. I know what we have at stake if we don’t live more sustainably. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, because I often feel the burden of spreading the message. But I’d rather be part of the solution than part of the problem, so it’s a burden I’m willing to carry.
Do you ever lecture your friends on their non-green choices?
Probably. It’s usually getting on their case about for shopping at fast-fashion chains. I know it’s so easy and cheap to pick up a Forever 21 or H&M top on your way home for that party tonight. But please … at least make sure it’s well-made and that you’re not going to throw it away next season. There I go … yup, I lecture.
What do you find most challenging about living sustainably?
We are so used to having options upon options. In living sustainably you automatically limit those options, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But like every American consumer, I’m addicted to options, so it can be hard to stick to your guns and make the right choice, not just the easiest and cheapest.
When it’s yellow, do you let it mellow?
Sometimes! But only in my own home when no one else is there!