Teaching Resources: Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

With Fashion Revolution Week just around the corner (23rd -29th April), I have been thinking about my children and how I can develop an understanding of the environmental and ethical implications of fashion and help them to make informed choices as they get older. My oldest daughter is studying textiles and so is starting to an understanding of the complexities of the supply chain. My youngest daughter who is still at primary school is beginning to show an interest in fashion but is yet to get a fuller understanding of what is involved in the manufacture of clothing and its impact on the environment. So for any parents or teachers that would like to teach their children more about ethical and sustainable fashion, I have compiled a list of useful teaching resources.

Collaboroo, a teaching community has an interesting lesson idea for debating around fast fashion and its impact including the environment and rights of workers.

Fashion Revolution have a range of ethical fashion resource available to download including a design a Fashion Revolution Day poster, play our Fashion Ethics Trump Card Game or try our Quiz. University students can also get involved by becoming Fashion Revolution Ambassadors.

TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away. They provide a selection of high quality free education resources to support teachers and educators to investigate the impacts of the fashion industry. Most of these resources can be used in informal education settings, as well as in the classroom.

Redress have created a sustainable fashion education pack for higher education. It includes teaching materials, exercises and project briefs and covers a number of topics including a Garment’s Lifecycle, Zero-waste, Up-cycling and Reconstruction.

BBC Northern Ireland has a number of resources about ethical and sustainable fashion for KS3 children. This includes Art and Design – New Clothes from Old, Citizenship – The Cost of Cheap Fashion and Personal Development – Fashion and Self Image

The Clothes Line is a resource by Oxfam exploring cotton production and the textile industry in India for learners aged 7–11. It includes lesson plans covering fairtrade, India, cotton growth and print making.

For secondary teachers, Labour Behind the Label provide a sustainable fashion handbook for educators which includes practical ideas on how to teach about social and environmental responsibility in the fashion industry. It includes ideas for assignments, class based interactive activities, project briefs, course outlines, case studies, teaching experiences and reading lists.

If you know of any other useful resources, please do let me know!

Sunday Brunch Outfit

Sunday Brunch Outfit

Dress – Nancy Dee
Boots – TOMS

Last Sunday, me and Mr S had a rare opportunity for some time together so we popped into town for some Sunday brunch accompanies by a bottle of prosecco. I wore the new dress that I got for Christmas and my last new piece of clothing before starting on the no new clothes for a year challenge. Nancy Dee is one of my favourite ethical retailers, ticking all of the boxes of comfortable, flattering, timeless styles, ethically made in the UK, minimal waste and made from sustainable fabrics including organic cotton and modal. Although a bit higher price than some of the high street retailers, I look at Nancy Dee pieces as a great investment. I already have quite a few dresses and organic cotton jersey jackets that I wear all the time.

The No New Clothes for a Year Challenge Update

This time around (I did the challenge a few years back), I am hoping the challenge is going to be fairly straight forward. I think my clothes buying habits have really changed over the last 5 – 10 years. When I do buy new clothes I spend a bit more and go for items that will last in terms of quality and style. I think this has paid off as I now don’t often need to buy new clothes, my wardrobe is packedwith clothes that I never want to throw away. If I do need something, I usually find it is quite easy to find work wear or perhaps a new party dress as a treat from Oxfam online. I also treat myself to the ocassional vintage piece when I am looking for something a bit different.

Oxfam online  has become a real go to for me. As much as I love trawling the charity shops, these days, I am at work all week and just don’t have the time to get into town on the weekends. It offers a massive selection of clothes and you can quickly zone in on exactly what you are looking for using filters which include size, colour and brand. My daughter even managed to find a tweed jacket to create her Doctor Who, World Book Day outfit instead of opting for the fast fashion fancy dress alternative. Didn’t know Doctor who was a book? no me neither!

No Single Use Plastics Update

I will be honest I have had good weeks and bad weeks so far with this challenge. It has taken quite a bit of time researching to try and find usable alternatives to plastic covered products. I ams till very much focussing on food at the moment as I still have so much more to do with this. I am finding some of the changes that I am making e.g. making soup, cakes and visiting different shops really time consuming and sometimes I just haven’t had the time and have had to resort to a piece of plastic packed brocolli or ready made cakes and biscuits for the children.

I have however made one fantastic discovery, the local market on a Saturday morning. There is a fruit and vegtable stall which sells bowls of fruit and veg for a pound each. This works out pretty cheap compare to what I pay in the supermarket and the friendly chap that runs the satll is more than happy tipping the bowls straight into my reusable bag making it a lot quicking than buying individual fruit items in a supermarket. There is also a stall selling fresh bread which they will put in a paper bag for me.

How is 2018 going for you so far? have you taken on any challenges?

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Cutting Out Single Use Plastics for 2018

no new clothes for a year

Dress – SkunkFunk
Jacket – Rokit Vintage
Leggings – Thought Clothing
Necklace – People Tree
Trainers – Veja

There has been lots in the news recently about the environmental damage caused by single use plastics especially pollution of the oceans. The final episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 showed shocking scenes of the havoc wreaked to sealife and he has since stressed the threat to our oceans from plastics, explaining that it is putting the whole of himanity at risk.

I don’t usually bother with new year resolutions much but this year I was determined to do something to help reduce the amount of plastics that we throw away each week. I was further encouraged with this mission after seeing the pile of rubbish that we created over the Christmas break, much of it being from food.

So on January 1st, I started the new year with a plan in addition to the No New Clothes for a Year challenge again to stop using and throwing away single use plastics. I had no idea how I was going to do this but in the same way that changing to only wearing ethical and sustainable clothing, I knew it was going to take a bit of thought, online research and trial and error.

So nearly 2 weeks in and I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, researching and trialling different options.I havemainly concentrated on food to start with as I thought that this is the area where I could make the most difference.

The bad news: I don’t think it is possible for us to go completely single use plastic free. Not without being almost self sufficient. The busy lifestyle that we lead would make this very difficult.

The good news: We have already made some massive reductions in the amount of non recyclable plastic waste that we are creating.

The wins

There are some really positive changes that we have made:

  • Swapping shop bought sweet treats, biscuits and cakes for homemade options The main ingredients for these are available in paper or cardboard packaging (flour, sugar, butter eggs). It does take a bit more time but the children enjoy making them, they are much tastier than shop bought and possibly even a bit healthier.
  • Swapping ready made soup for homemade soup. In colder weather I eat soup most days for lunch and often for dinner. I tended to buy the plastic containers or cartons of readymade soup. This year I have got back to making my own soups which are also really healthy. My favourites: Leek and potatoe and Celariac and apple.
  • Buying in bulk. It’s pretty obvious really but if you buy food (or anything in bigger packs) there is less packaging. In particular, I have started buying big paper sacks of potatoes from the local farm shop rather than small plastic bags from the local super market. It also works out cheaper this way.
  • Opting for card/paper over plastic – for some products, it is possible to buy options packaged in paper and  card rather than plastic for example eggs, pasta, rice, mushrooms, puy lentils, icecream and fresh bread (instead of sliced)
  • Buying fruit and vegetables separately without plastic bags. The local farm shop and Morrisons have both proved good places to buy some fruit and veg not in plastic packaging including apples, carrots, bananas, kiwi, brocolli, peppers and tomatoes etc without plastic. I have also have also trialled an organic veg scheme with mixed sucess as some items were still in plastic bags.
  • Frozen items There are quite a few frozen items available in cardboard boxes rather than plastic. Particulary vegetarian and fish which I eat quite a lot of.
  • Reusable shopping bags I have been using my bag for life for some time but I am now being extra carefully to make sure that I always have it with me when shopping.
  • Packed lunches – not really any change here but I have always recycled plastic containers for pack lunches and filled reusable bottles with water to avoid buying packaged sandwiches and drinks. With the obvious benefits of saving money and being more healthy too.

The more tricky bits

  • Certain veg can be difficult buy plastic free. In particular cucumber, spinach, kale and lettuce. I have not completely gievn up on the idea of organic veg boxes and may try again to see if I can get a more plastic free option.
  • Meat– I have actually found it impossible to buy fresh meat plastic free. I have tried supermarkets, organic deliveries and the farm shop. All are wrapped in plastic. The local farm shop did however say that it should be ok to bring my own reusable plastic containers for them to put meat from the counter into. I hope to be able to try this out soon. In the mean time, I am buying meat in bulk to minimise packaging e.g. if I roast a whole chicken and slice for children’s sandwiches, there is much less packaging than individual packs of sliced meat.
  • Petrol- previously I have ordered all of my food in one supermarket delivery from one place. Trying to go plastic free has meant a lot more mixing and matching which ultimately means more driving around and more petrol and time.I hope to try and minimise this when possible by careful planning, bulk buying and popping into relevant shops when I am nearby.

I will update again soon with my progress on reducing single use plastics also on my no new clothes challenge in 2018.

Do you have any new years resolutions for 2018? If you are trying to reduce or cut out plastic, I would love to know how you are getting on and any tips or ideas!

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

NYE 2017 – Brag Vintage

vintage dress

I wanted to share my outfit that I will be wearing for new years eve, a lovely vintage maxi dress kindly sent to me by Brag Vintage. When I was asked whether I would like to pick me something out from their online vintage store or ASOS marketplace store, I loved this dress so much I couldn’t resist it but was worried that it might not fit. I usually find that maxi dresses are far too long and vintage sizing can sometimes be difficult to judge but I was happy and surprised when it turned up to find that it fitted perfectly. The sizing on the website was spot on!

Brag Vintage pride themselves on picking out the best high quality second clothing that has been made to last. They offer it a new lease of life by selling it in their online stores with attention to detail in their listings so that you know exactly what you are buying. They classify vintage pieces as being over 20 years old so you can be sure that anything in their stores pre dates the trend for fast fashions is well made enough to have stood the test of time. They also dye, repair and customise items to extend their useful life. They have a great range which includes denim jackets, jeans, vintage jumpers, cardigans, dresses, customised denim shorts and accessories. I have already spotted a few other lovely things that I may treat myself to with money I have been given for Christmas.

The lovely people at Brag Vintage were kind enough to give me a 15% off discount code to share. Just enter  STYLEEYES at checkout!

I was especially pleased to have a ‘new’ old (vintage) dress to wear for New Years Eve as this will mark the start of a ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge for me in 2018. I  first completed the ‘no new clothes’ challenge in 2015. You can read about it in my posts:

No New Clothes for a Year

No New Clothes for a Year – an Update

This challenge definitely changed the way I think about shopping and it has become much more of a only to do when really needed than a pass time for me ever since. I also managed to find some amazing second hand clothes. In the last 2 years since completing this challenge, I have bought a number of hugh quality pieces of clothing from ethical clothing shop. However it is easy to slip back into bad habits over time and I don’t feel there is anything new that I need at the moment so hopefully it won’t even be too much of a  challenge. For the occasional treat, I can always buy second hand or vintage. I also have another sustainability challenge/new years resolution planned but more about that in another post.

Are you making  any new years resolutions to shop more sustainably in 2018?

Happy New Year, I hope that you have an amazing 2018!

With warmest wishes

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No New Clothes – Family Celebrations and Christmas Parties

vintage dress

The run up to Christmas is always a busy time socially but this year it is especially so for me with some big family birthday celebrations as well as the usual Christmas parties and gatherings. The perfect opportunity to get a bit dressed up but as usual this year I attempting to buy no new clothes for the party season and instead make do with what I have got!

Last weekend was a black tie birthday party. I deliberated over whether to treat myself a new dress but in the end decided I really didn’t need anything new. I have quite a few party dresses and the sad reality is that they don’t get worn nearly as much as they could. So I opted for this dress bought from a vintage fair in Bath quite a few years ago. It has a lace top with a neutral coloured net lining and a chiffon skirt. Last time I wore it was a tad on the snug side, so I was pleased and relieved to find that it fitted much more comfortably this time allowing a little breathing space after a three course meal and wine. The earrings were also from a vintage shop although looked like they had never been worn as they were in the original packaging.

This weekend has been busy too with a works Christmas meal on Friday and a family birthday lunch at the Celtic Manor on Sunday. For the works night out comfort and warmth always has to be an important consideration as I have to get the train there and back. I also had very little time to get ready after work and didn’t want to miss out on the pre dinner drinks. I opted for a safe option of my navy SkunkFunk dress with thick tights and my TOMS boots, layered with a jersey Nancy Dee jacket and dressed it up a bit with statement necklace by Nomads which you can see here worn with a summery dress.

Today, for the family meal I wore this dress from M&S, again with my trusty Nancy Dee jacket again and a vintage handbag given to me by my Grandma.

So that is it for partying and socialising until next weekend. So far I am making the most of the clothes that I have in my wardrobe and managing not to splash out on anything extra.

What do you have planned for the party season ahead?

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Dress by SkunkFunk – Crete 2017

Dress – SkunkFunk
Leather belt – Handmade
Shoes – Clarkes
Bag – a gift

We decided to grab the chance for a last bit of sunshine and warmth with a trip to Crete before autumn arrives. It was the perfect opportunity for me to wear my new SkunkFunk dress which I bought earlier in the year but haven’t had much opportunity to wear with the UK weather and the practicalities of our camping holidays in Cornwall.

If you visit my blog regularly, you will no doubt be aware of SkunkFunk which is one of my favourite ethical fashion brands. When you find a brand that just works for your style, shape, size and ethics, it kind of makes sense that you keep going back. I love that the SkunkFunk collections are always feature some interesting styles, colour combinations and prints as well as some great fitting, flattering basics. For this dress it was the neckline that I loved. The dress was a little bit too full for someone of my height but I soon fixed this with this lovely handmade leather obi belt that I have had for ages, which is always perfect for giving a bit of shape to fuller dresses. I am also a big fan of monochrome as it is so easy to accessorise.

I had a lovely time in Crete, swimming, snorkelling, reading, eating and drinking far too much and enjoying some precious family time. Since arriving home, I have been really struggling to get back into the swing of things and keep warm. I have been digging out my warm boots, jumpers, hats and scarves. Look out for more cosy and warm outfit posts coming soon. Autumn always seems to inpsire me to getting cooking on a Sunday afternoon and today I will be making a big batch of celeriac and apple soup and apple cake to see me through the week.

What have you been doing lately? What are your favoruite things about Autumn?

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Veja Trainers

Dress – SkunkFunk
Necklace -Ethical Superstore
Trainers – Veja

I have had these Veja trainers since my birthday back in April but I haven’t really had the chance to show them off properly. The dress and necklace were also birthday treats and have become wardrobe staples over the summer months.

I was instantly obsessed with these floral trainers the moment that I say them. Over the last 5 years, my lifestyle has changed significantly, moving from running my own business at home to working in an office and also spending a growing amount of time at exercise classes. Trainers and daps (as we call them here in the West Country) have become my footwear of choice for those rare occasions when I am not wearing workwear or gym wear. They just seem to suit my active lifestyle. Apart from a low wedge for work, I don’t often wear heels these days. I really like the fact that these Veja trainers make a bit more of a statement than a plain old trainer, making them perfect for adding a bit of interest to this plain navy dress.

Plus I am loving Veja for their transparency and commitment to sustainability…

  • Veja trainers are made from Organic Cotton. Veja buys cotton from 320 families who live from organic farming, respecting fair trade rules, allowing them to a sustainable livelihood and helping to protect this fragile environment.
  • The soles of Veja trainers include rubber which comes from wild rubber trees in the Amazon. Rubber tappers live in the forest and harvest the rubber before turning it into rubber sheets using a process called  FDL which does not require any industrial intermediary processes but allows the them to make a higher income. The growth in the use of synthetic rubber since the sixties has  resulted in landowners turning to less sustainable land uses including cattle farming and wood extraction both of which require land clearance. Use of natural rubber results in a much more sustainable management of the land.
  • Veja trainers cost more to make than conventional  trainers because of their commitment to ethical manufacture and the environment. But they still manage to keep their prices competitive by not spending any money on advertising.
  • Veja also work hard to ensure that workers in their factories are treated ethically and paid a fair wage and that they minimise the impact of their packaging and transportation.

Despite all of these things, they are first to admit that they are not perfect. There are a number of the components used in their trainers that are not 100% sustainable. Their trainers are also not recycled. But in my opinion, they are making a great start and leading the way for other brands, definitely worth supporting, when I need a new pair of trainers.

Have you come across the Veja brand before? What do you think?

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Eco Undies, Swim and Fitness Wear!

One of my favourite eco fashion discoveries of late is ColiCo on Etsy! If you want to treat yourself to some new underwear that is beautifully and ethically handmade in Portugal, I really recommend this store. There is a massive selection of lovely designs to suit all different shapes, sizes and tastes. You can even pick from an array of different patterned fabrics to have your choice made to order.

I also really love the ColieCo swimwear and fitness wear with a range of different bikini styles, swimming costumes and crop top/bras, again made to order in your choice of fabrics. If you aren’t a standard size (let’s face it, who is?) you can order different size tops and bottoms. I wasn’t quite sure on sizing so emailed the owner Nicole for some help which resulted in a perfectly fitting bikini for my hols in May. I chose the palm tree print in the style pictured below.

I also treated myself to some other pieces from the ColieCo store back in April and was really pleased with the quality of both the fabrics and manufacture. This Porto cut out sports bra (pictured below) was one of my purchases. It is perfect for wearing with leggings for super sweaty summer workouts, when it is really hot, particularly on hols. They even do a pair of leggings in the same fabric, if you like to coordinate your whole workout outfit.

It is made from RPET recycled polyester fabric which helps to minimise its environmental impact. Not only does it make a really nice difference to wear a unique style and print instead of the usual sportwear brands that I so many people wearing. I also feel much happier knowing where and how it has been made. In making items to order ColieCo’s production processes focus on minimising waste and saving energy.

Next on my wishlist is the Layla sport bra (below)

Layla sports bra

I would definitely recommend checking out the store as there are so many lovely styles, colours and patterns!

This post does contain affiliate links however all items bought from this store and reviewed /mentioned in this post were bought by myself and this post contains my honest opinion. You can read more about my affiliate links here.

With warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

SkunkFunk Again!

skunkfunk dress

Dress – SkunkFunk
Scarf – SkunkFunk
Leggings – People Tree
Trainers – Veja

SkunkFunk dresses seem to be becoming pretty much a wardrobe staple lately. I can’t lie,I love the brand, the style of clothes just seem to work for me. This navy dress was one of my latest purchases. The style works for so may situations including work, casual or nights out.Despite it being summer, I layered up the dress with leggings as it was a bit cold to go bare legged. The scarf is also from SkunkFunk and the floral trainers from veja, both were treats bought with my birthday money back on April.

For those that used to follow this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately, so here come the excuses…

Work- manic
Children’s social lives – crazy
8 excercise classes a week – exhausting but fun
Charity/ voluntary commitments – full on
Time for blogging – nil

As ever life is a juggling act, that is the way I like it to be! But I am hoping that over the coming months, I will be able to find time to post a bit more often and spend a little bit of time finding out more about the latest ethical and sustainable fashion.

I have a bit of holiday booked this week and I will be dedicating my time to a bit of a clear out of the vast amount of clothing and shoes that I have been hoarding. It must be nearly 5 years since I stopped running my own business from home and much of the clothing I used to wear doesn’t really work for me any more as I spend most of my time in office clothes and gym kit. I will be holding onto my really favourite pieces of vintage but I thought it would be good to redonate any items to charity that just aren’t getting worn.

Do you hoard clothes or gte rid of anything you don’t wear immediately? I like to try and strike a balance between making good use and getting the most wear out of the clothes I buy, be they new from ethical and sustainable brands or second hand. But I think there comes a time when life needs simplifying a little and clothes that are not been worn to be released so that someone else can wear and enjoy them.

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend!

With Warmest wishes

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Fashion Revolution Week #Whomademyclothes

fashion revolution day
Necklace – People Tree
Dress- SkunkFunk
Leggings – Thought clothing
Shoes – Veja
Bag – Furla

Today marks the beginning of Fashion Revolution Week. 4 years ago, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1138 people and injuring 2500, it became the worlds fourth biggest industrial disaster ever. But Rana Plaza was a big wake up call, any deaths in the name of fashion is devastating but this number of deaths is completely unacceptable. Since that awful day, Fashion Revolution has become a yearly event when a movement of people wanting change come together to raise awareness of the issues associated with the supply chain and to encouraging people to break their habit for buying fast fashion and to seek out more information about the clothes that they are buying. The #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign is a key part of fashion revolution week. It is a simple question that makes us think about the farmers, factory workers and artisans that are involved in making our clothes but more importantly to ask this question to brands, demanding more transparency and accountability.

I actively try to ensure that I buy all of my clothes from ethical and sustainable brands, so today I am going to ask and answer the question, #whomademyclothes?

Skunkfunk is one of my favourite ethical and sustainable brands. I think they have struck the perfect balance of fresh and timeless styles combined with great ethics and sustainable fabrics. Their clothes are made in factories in Portugal, China and India. Their website provides some great information about their makers, you can meet them here.

People Tree
When it comes to ethical fashion, People Tree are probably one of the best known brands. Their beautiful clothing makes the most of handbeading and traditional techniques to create beautiful clothing and accessories. People Tree clothing is labelled so you know where it has been made and who it has been made by. Their website also has a dedicated ‘meet the makers‘ page with lots of information about the fairtrade farmers, artisans and producers.

Veja is a transparent shoe brand that creates some amazing trainers. The trainers are made in Brazil in factories where workers are paid well above the legal minimum wage and where workers rights are well respected. You can find out more about their producers, factories and workers here.

Thought Clothing
Thought Clothing work in partnership with producers to share growth,share the same vision and create more jobs, protect wages, and develop skills as well as businesses. You can read more about their supply chain here.

Are you getting involved in Fashion Revolution Week?

With Warmest wishes

Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.