Ethical in Venice Beach, Featuring Gudrun Sjoden: How I Wear Ecofashion


Venice Beach is a wonderful, wacky neighborhood in Los Angeles—and my favorite part of that iconic American city. Part arty enclave, part beachy paradise, there aren’t many neighborhoods that offer so much in such a small, walkable area.

My partner and I took a fun 5-day visit to the area recently, staying in an adorable AirBnB cottage just a couple blocks from the beach and a couple blocks from the shopping area on Abbott Kinney Boulevard.


On the first day, I went black-and-white: my vintage stripe traveling scarf, Gudrun Sjoden’s lyocell Vippa pants, and my vegan Bhava sandals, which I wrote about here.


After scoring a coffee at Blue Bottle (above) we were ready to explore! Wait, first we needed a very late breakfast….(there is so much amazing food in Venice, it’s an embarrassment of riches).



At Butcher’s Daughter, a healthy vegetarian restaurant (no dairy, but they do have eggs), we relaxed on the front porch area in the sunshine and shared a flight of freshly made juices, including a beet combo and super-refreshing jicima-lemon-cucumber one.

After that we wiled away the afternoon getting to know the area on foot—the best way to get to know a new place is by walking it for a few hours (then, ideally, having a nap before drinks and dinner! Which is exactly what we did.)



The next day, we headed over to the incredible Getty Museum. It’s an truly mindblowing space that’s designed so both inside and out is an experience with modern architecture you won’t forget, and it’s filled with a variety of art.  That’s me with the map, above, figuring out where to go in the many galleries and gardens.



We spent some time walking through the galleries, enjoying some less-known Impressionists, many Degas figures, and gazing out the various viewpoints over Los Angeles. We were lucky that it was a super-clear day and could see for miles, out to the mountains and the sea.



But we enjoyed the exteriors spaces the most, with views galore and complex, beautiful gardens.



I paired a Gudrun Sjoden Istanbul skirt (isn’t that peacock print amazing?) with local LA-designer Carol Young: Undesigned wrap top over a Simka Sol bra top, and over it all, a Gudrun Sjoden silk Vippa jacket (it’s the opposite-but-same print as the trousers, above!). And on my feet: Melissa flats in (full story on those beauties here)!



A bit of detail on the lovely patterns of my Gudrun Sjoden pieces along with a stone seat and the travertine floor below—the whole Getty was made of the stuff, which has all kinds of easy-to-find fossils in it!



The blue skies felt endless as we wandered the exterior spaces, with porches and plazas in such abundance that even though it was a busy day at the museum, there were still plenty of oases of quiet and space, as above.



It took awhile (we kept getting distracted!) but we finally found the Cactus Garden!



The cactus garden was one of my favorite areas of the museum, with a new perspective of the city behind and around it—looking down on all the tiny cars on the freeway, all going to-and-fro reminded us of how many stories there were below us in the City of Angels. Soon we were back in our own car on our way back to Venice.



Back in Venice, we explored around, finding all sorts of fascinating and fun street art, like the alligator (?) face below.



We headed over to Strange Invisible Perfumes on Abbott Kinney, where I got to sample all the new scents and added to my collection of their natural botanical perfumes.



Strange Invisible’s shop also has a truly impressive selection of natural beauty companies’ products, including some of our favorites like La Bella Figuera and May Lindstrom Skin.



We stopped by URTH cafe for a matcha cappuccino (or a ceremonial matcha, as I’ve seen it called in San Francisco), which was perfectly prepared.



As we headed out of Venice and back up to the Bay Area after our relaxing few days, we had to stop at a roadside citrus farm. Look at all those beauties! We definitely stocked up for the ride—and later.



The spring wildflowers were blooming as we made our way north; turning one hillside purple, another orange. Oh, California.



Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.