Belinda and Kelly of The Sway

Belinda and Kelly of The Sway

When my cross body purse by The Sway dies, I'm going to bury it in a funeral with taps. That's how much I love that thing. Bought four years ago at a Bloomingdale's sustainable fashion pop-up, this luxury upcycled accessory been slung across my shoulder at (I estimate) more than a hundred all-night ragers. It's had all sorts of alcohol spilled on its fringe, been bounced and yanked around in all directions, and been stuffed unceremoniously inside my closet when not in use. Despite this rough treatment, it still looks like a damn fine purse, and I've never taken it in for repair--I haven't needed to. This fall I felt justified in splurging on a classic biker jacket by The Sway, knowing it would last for a long time. I wear it with pride every chance I get. s_FW130615Neelia-65829 I got in touch with Belinda Pasqua, the beautiful mind behind the sustainable leather label The Sway, to see if she would tell me about her NYC life. Turns out, she and her creative director Kelly Andrews have  escaped the clutches of the harried, grey, striving city and moved to Maui, where things are lush, green, and considerably more laid back. But even though they are in the land of surfer trunks and garish colors, they're still designing leather jackets and purses with the perfect downtown aesthetic. The cuts are fierce and the designs are timeless--both in look and quality. I asked Pasqua and Andrews to participate in my How I'm Livin' series, with an island twist. Bookmark this for your next trip to the Hawaiian island of Maui.

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What’s your favorite Maui restaurant?

Paia Fish Market. (The fish burger is a staple.)

Your fave bar?

Well, we kinda head outdoors a lot more here in Maui than in NY. If we wanna have a few drinks, we grab our friends, grab some wine and head to the nearest waterfall, sunset, or motorbike track.

What’s your favorite place to shop?

Pink By Nature in Makawao. They carry The Sway and a bunch of other cool, local, and international designers.

Do you vintage shop? Where do you go?

Yeah, we love to shop, not a huge amount of vintage stores but lots of thrift stores on the island. Everything in store is mostly lightweight to suit the climate.

You can only see one musical artist perform this year–who do you choose?

Belinda: Midnight Oil Kelly: Mogwai

Your favorite Hawaii-made brand?

Belinda: Queen Bee Exfoliant Kelly: Aloha KuKui Oil

If you had to move back to the continental United States, where would you move?

Belinda: New York Kelly: New York

What’s your biggest unsustainable bad habit?

Belinda: Plastic kitchen trash bags. Kelly: Paper towels.

How has living sustainably change your life for the better?

We feel happier when we make conscious choices.

Do you ever lecture your friends on their non-green choices?

Absolutely!

What do you find most challenging about living sustainably?

Finding cutting edge luxury fashion that is made sustainably.