Lovely Links!

I have been seeing so many fantastic blog posts over the last few weeks, I have decided to start sharing them with a new feature called Lovely Links. Here is what I love this week.

Summer Rayne Oakes – this model is on a (sustainable) mission – another fantastic interview in the eco fashion series at Urban Times.

When costume becomes street cred – how amazing are these doiley leggings featured on the six items challenge blog?

A New Lease of Life for Tights – who hasn’t got loads of tights stuffed in a draw somewhere. I love this fantastic idea for upcycling them by Ms Castro on a Bike (Fashion Stylist, Lupe Castro).

Interview with Vintage Vixen if you haven’t already done so, you should check out this interview that I did for Oxfam Fashion.

Remade in Leeds – this article on the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Magazine tells you a little more about their shop of the month.

Red Carpet Recycler – it is great to hear that more celebrities are joining Olivia Firth in her Green Carpet Challenge as discussed in this Vogue article.

Tomorrow is the next update on  my progress with the six items challenge. It has been a tough week now looking forward to the weekend. Hope you have a lovely time.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Image credit – www.vogue.co.uk

Ethical Outfit Competition – The Winners

Yet again we have had some amazing entries for the Style Eyes Ethical Outfit Competition. We also have some great prizes, please stop by and check out our sponsors websites for more beautiful ethical clothing – From Clothing, Bibico and Grassroots Fashion.

It was (as always) a tough choice to decide who the winners would be, but I have finally made up my mind. Please check out the links to find out and see more images of the bloggers outfits.

First Prize – Mel Wiggins with her very pretty floral skirt, t shirt and shoes all from a chairty shop – check out her post for more info on the outfit.

Coast dress

Second PrizeHazel of World of Joy with her elegant second hand ball dress and clutch bag.

Third Prize – Vix of Vintage Vixen with her handmade shorts worn with charity shop top, boots and hat.

Fourth Prize – Kim of Sweet Monday with her vintage jumper and cute handmade necklace.

I also wanted to share all of the competition entries (in no particular order). A really big thank you to everyone who entered!

Florrie of Intrinsically Florrie wore a beautiful pink jacket and floral dress with some pretty accessories, her whole outfit is second hand including the Luella handbag.

Yasmin of Overly Selected wore a fantastic vintage dress with patriotic vintage dress for the jubilee.

Laila of the Kitten’s Whiskers choose a really unique and stylish outfit that featured a DIY’d and charity shopped top and skirt.

Sophie of Country Girl Does Norfolk wore a pretty second hand dress which she bought on ebay.

Dora of Vintage Passions Just Like Mine wore a fabulous vintage dress with a lace petticoat from a jumble sale and Melissa shoes.

I hope you are having a fantastic week despite the rain! I am on day 2 of the Six Items Challenge and already longing to wear something different from my wardrobe (I haven’t even worn all my six items yet). Never mind I have got some great accessories lined up to wear and might even have a little charity shopping trip to see if I can find any more. I will be posting on my outfits and progress at the end of each week.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

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Recycled Sandals – Brazilian Beach and Urban Style

recycled sandals

Brazilian Ethical Sandals

recycled sandals

I just wanted to share with you another fantastic ethical brand that I have come across. Marlandia is the exclusive U.S. online distributor for Retalhos Cariocas, a progressive Brazilian fashion house that transforms flip-flops with recycled and sourced
fabrics into sandals with a vibrant mix of Brazilian beach and urban style. They are now shipping worldwide!

Founder Silvinha Oliveira was born into the Barreira do Vasco slum, far from the beaches of Ipanema. With extraordinary determination, she worked her way through fashion school, returned home and created Retalhos Cariocas, which translates to “Rio Scraps.” Her vision is to empower local women by teaching them sewing skills and offering fair wages. She explains, “People from the favela… There’s a destiny of being poor, not being able to go to university, or get a good job. We’re fighting to destroy the mentality that a person from the favela doesn’t have the right to be someone.”

Today, the women of Retalhos Cariocas are fighting their way out of Brazil’s slums and creating economic opportunities to lift their community out of poverty. Through their use of fair trade labor and sustainable materials, Retalhos Cariocas has gained worldwide acclaim for empowering local women from Brazil’s slums, as featured in Cosmo India, Look Magazine U.K., Origin Magazine, and Forbes Magazine Blog as well as Rio Fashion Week.

The story behind these sandals is pretty amazing, you can see more in the video below but what I really love with this sandals is that they look amazing and really unusual. As you can see from the video, it is not just about fair trade, the design is also of huge importance.

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend. Please don’t forget if you have not already entered, my outfit competition ends today. I am enjoying my last day of freedom (in terms of what I wear) before I start on the Labour Behind the Label 6 Items Challenge. I will post more about this tommorrow but if you would like to read about it, you can do so here.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

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The Wardrobe Clear Out

You might have seen the video I posted in the post Can Ethical Fashion Be Stylish? about a week ago by Ms Wandas featuring Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe, London’s first Slow Style Consultancy. I really loved Veronica’s advice, particularly where she says

I tell my clients, If they can make their wardrobe look like a boutique and where everything actually fits them, they wouldn’t feel like going out and buying more

As my wardrobe is well overdue a clear out (as you can see from the image below) and I am on a shopping ban, I thought I would give it a go.

Before

Life has got really busy lately and everything has just got in a big old mess.

After

So when my mother in law offered to look after the children on Saturday, I jumped at the chance to get my wardrobe organised. I got rid of anything that didn’t fit or there was no chance of me wearing, which only amounted to a few things. Then moved all of the out of season clothes and shoes into the wardrobe in my office. I put my more occasional handbags into cotton shopping bags to protect from dust and stored all my handbags in a plastic crate, neatly stacked the shoe boxes full of my less worn shoes at the back and lined up everyday shoes on the shoe rack so that I could actually find both of them when I want to wear them rather than just the one! I also made a to do list of clothes that need repairs or alternations and those that I don’t wear but could upcycle in some way.

Then I did something I thought I would never do, something I had previously considered was only for those suffering from OCD. I sorted my clothes in to colour order, starting from whites and creams, then progressing into beiges, browns, khaki, yellows and blues  then moving into the pinks, reds, bold and bright prints, dark colours and black. I also made sure that everything was hung up with just one item per hanger.

My verdict – it really does work!

Seeing my clothes and shoes laid out like this, makes it really easy to find something to wear each day. Having a clear out and arranging nicely also reminded me of what I have and gave me some inspiration for new outfits. I now really like looking in my wardrobe each morning and picking out something to wear, it does feel a bit like going shopping for something new. I particularly can’t stop looking at the clothes in the bold and bright patterns section.

So far I have managed to keep it super organised all week and have stuck to the colour order. All I need to do is get Mr Style Eyes to put a hook on the side wall of the wardrobe for me to hang my scarf hanger. This will give my clothes a little more space and make picking out  a scarf much easier.

I would definitely recommend giving this a try, especially if you struggle with finding clothes to wear in the morning or are a shopaholic. What do you think, is your wardrobe overdue a clearout?

Have a lovely bank holiday and Jubilee weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Can Ethical Fashion Be Stylish?

I love this film made by Esther Freeman of Ms Wandas Wardrobe featuring Saffia Minney of Ethical Fashion Brand, People Tree and Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe.

Can Ethical Fashion be Stylish? of course it can and it is definitely time to to put to bed the notion that ethical fashion cannot be stylish! What do you think?

If you are still havings any doubts, you could also check out the latest outfit challenge on Ethical Fashion Bloggers. Some fantastically stylish ladies who know how to mix a print.

Hope you are having a lovely week and enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Grassroots Fashion – a Recycled Alternative to the High Street

Grassroots recycled fashion

Grassroots Upcycled Fashion

Grassroots sustainable fashion

Grassroots Fashion Upcycled Dress

With online Market places offering a fantastic opportunity for creative sustainable fashion businesses to get started, there are is some really amazing and creative stuff going on out there!

One such label which recently caught my eye is Grassroots Fashion which is available to buy exclusively from ASOS Marketplace here.

Charlotte Bobeldijk, founder of the recycled fashion label is a self confessed ebay addict. A few years back, horrifed by stories of unethical practices in the fashion industry, she vowed to shop more sustainably by only buying second hand clothes which led her to begin exploring boots sales, vintage fairs, charity shops and thrift stores.

She often picked up pieces because she loved a particular detail – an
unusual neckline, beautiful print or a striking silhouette, but would find that
something wasn’t right with it. Maybe the cut was unflattering, it had huge
padded shoulders or being vintage it was absolutely teeny tiny! Luckily she used her 5 years of experience as a pattern cutter and designer to alter them and make them look as she wanted.

Sometimes though, flicking through magazines at home Charlotte was be filled with a
desire for the latest high street trend and  began to feel frustrated that
shopping 2nd hand often limited her to a vintage look. She wanted to wear the hot
new colour of the season too! Or rock the latest trouser cut or skirt shape. It
was from this frustration that the idea for Grassroots developed. Charlotte was
determined that through upcycling she could rework 2nd hand garments to look like
brand new shiny clothes that reflected the latest trends. Who needs the high
street?!

I really love this idea but also how she cleverly manages to create something fresh and contemporary from something old. For each collection she spends time thoroughly researching the seasons’ trends and identifying key items and looks – just as high street designers do.Once she has put together mood boards she begins sourcing her garments through donations from the public and also boot sales and charity shops. When I’m sourcing, she look for items that have at least one of the trends already covered. For example for her last collection she found a gold lace top. It was long sleeved, shapeless and a little on the frumpy side, but the gold lace caught her eye as it is key to the pretty, delicate trend for the summer. She knew I could work with it.

Once Charlotte has got the garments she then looks carefully at each one to decide how best to upcycle it. Sometimes it’s easy and the garment almost dictates what is done, but other times it needs a total rethink to transform it into a completely different garment, such as the tie-dye scarf that she turned into a top. She will then spend time amending the garment which involves anything from dyeing or distressing the fabric to embellishing or completely picking apart the garment to create something new, before cleaning it and putting new labels in. The final piece looks like a brand new garment!

Charlotte commented

I think the high street is very appealing to consumers because of it’s ability
to offer cheap, fast fashion, but as we are all becoming aware, it also has a lot to answer for. I decided with Grassroots to take the pro’s of the high
street – the fast fashion fix and affordable pricing – but use upcycling to make it ethical. People aren’t going to turn their back on a quick fashion fix or cheap clothing unless there is a viable alternative and I believe that
Grassroots can offer that.
I think she is right,so many people have become completely addicted to fast fashion, it would be very difficult ot get them to give it up completely. This is definitely a great alternative though – sustainable, stylish and affordable! What do you think?
With warmest wishes
Ceri x
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Stonehenge Inspired DIY Printed Dress

This months DIY challenge at Ethical Fashion Bloggers was to create or upcycle a piece of clothing using your local area as inspiration. There is plenty of amazing stuff quite near to where I live but I finally decided to use Stonehenge.

Image credit

Incase you didn’t already know, Stone Henge is a world heritage site with some ancient stone creations. Whilst nobody really knows the meaning behind them, they are pretty awe inspiring. I decided to use them as inspiration for a printed design on a denim dress which I bought from the Oxfam Boutique in Bath.

I picked up some fabric paints from the bargain bucket in an art shop in Bath (orange and yellow being the only colours left). I borrowed some lego pieces from my daughter to use for the printing.

I marked out with French chalk where I wanted the prints to go.

I then used the end of the lego to print the Stonehenge shapes and outlined in black fabric paint with a paint brush. The orange paint was far easier to put on than the yellow which just seemed to sink into the fabric.

In hindsight I should have put something between the front and back layers of the dress as a little did sink through but luckily not enough to be too noticable!

So there we have it, my Stone Henge inspired dress! If you fancy joining in with some DIY or Ethical Outfit Challenges then why not join us at Ethical Fashion Bloggers.

Sorry if things have been a little quiet over here on the blogging front lately. It was my birthday this week so I have been far too busy relaxing and indulging myself (more on that soon!)

I hope that you are having a good week!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

My Shopping Strategy For An Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe

Leather jacket, top, bag and shoes – all a number of years old, bought from conventional fashion retailers (not ethical or sustainable) and hoarded in my wardrobe!
Vintage lace skirt – Swap party at The Good Fashion Show
Necklace and ring – Made

Over the last few years, I have been gradually changing and developing the way that I shop for clothes with the aim of making it more sustainable and ethical. I have spent a considerable amount of time not buying anything new at all and about a year ago I made the commitment to switch to buying only ethical or sustainable clothing.

It’s not easy being green!

I can completely understand the difficulties that people face in making this switch. Not only may they have concerns over cost and lack of choice but also the whole question of exactly what is ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ clothing and which ‘type’ or ‘brand’ of clothing is it best to buy, a topic which I could write about all day.

My work as a writer with a focus on ethical fashion has given me a greater understanding of the issues surrounding ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry and the variety that is available. Whilst I can’t say I have all of the answers, I certainly feel that I can make a reasonably informed decision most of the time and have totally bought into the fact that there is a fantastic selection of high quality ethical clothing out there that offers much better value than fast fashion and could definitely satisfy me in terms of finding what I want to buy.

How much is too much?

The difficulty for me in dressing ethically and sustainably comes into play when I try and work out how much is too much in terms of volumes of clothes. Obviously buying cheap poorly made clothes to wear once and then throw away is not ethical or sustainable. But I have never really done this, even the ‘fast fashion’ clothes that I have bought in the past have usually lasted for years and many that have managed to stand the test of time still remain in my wardrobe now. I treasure my clothes, shoes and accessories and I don’t buy anything that I don’t think I am likely to want to wear 3, 4 or 5 seasons from now. I get some inspiration from current fashions but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a slave to it and would never discard a piece of clothing because it wasn’t fashionable anymore.

My wardrobe is stacked full of clothes, I am definitely a hoarder/ collector.

Do I really need to buy any more?

I love clothes and I live clothes in both my work and leisure time. For me there is nothing shallow about fashion. What I wear is so important to me on many levels – my self confidence,  identity, comfort, success in work, the way others interact with me and treat me and also my own creativity and self expression (another topic, I could write all day about). I don’t need to but I like to wear lots of different outfits and I am constantly looking for and experimenting with new looks. Partly this can be satisfied by remixing, upcycling and recycling.

But

I also do have a desire to buy new stuff that if I am honest, I don’t really need. Through my blogging I discover so many amazing ethical brands. Not only to I love their clothes and want them but I also want to support these brands to try and help ethical become more mainstream. Supporting ethical brands is great but it isn’t sustainable to keep buying stuff that you don’t need. In order to change the fashion industry and the way it works, I think we all need to move away from the culture of constantly buying new stuff for the sake of it.

My Ethical and Sustainable Shopping Strategy

So here is the strategy that I have come up with, partly in a conscious kind  of way but partly it just felt right. Since making changes to my shopping habits I have been really happy with my clothes and the high quality wardrobe that I am building. I never really struggle to find something lovely to wear and I always feel great in what I wear.

1. I consider second hand or vintage is the most sustainable way to shop so I try and satisfy my whimsical desire to shop and constantly refresh my wardrobe in this way most of the time (it is also kindest to my purse!). Even with second hand and vintage shopping and I tend to end up buying too much so try and have in mind the sorts of clothes I am likely to wear and the colours and styles that will suit me and avoid just buying more of what I already have. I also upcycle, swap and readily accept donations of old clothes from friends. If and when I get bored of these clothes I just donate them back to charity.

2. Occasionally for a special treat I like to buy myself a piece of clothing from an ethical/ sustainable brand. This is often when I have some birthday or Christmas money. I always look at these purchases as an investment. I try and buy something that will be a high quality, stylish and flattering staple of my wardrobe for many years to come (if not forever) and will really add to and build on what I already have.

3. I only ever buy a piece of clothing that I really really love and tend to look for unusual and unique pieces. Where possible I try to buy from companies and brands that have made a company wide commitment to ethical fashion and sustainability and practice these principles throughout everything they do as I want to support then and help to push these practices into the mainstream.

4. Before I shop, I try and think carefully about what I need, what I am likely to wear and what colours and styles suit me. In the past I have made lots of mistakes. As I don’t buy as many new clothes as I used to and spend a little more on sustainable/ ethical clothing, I want to be sure that I get it right every single time . I have an ongoing wishlist where each item that I see and want is added, considered for some time and sometimes removed. I only buy something when I am absolutely sure that it will work for me in every way from making me feel good, to going with the other clothes I  have to being practical and eco friendly to wash and care for.

5. I do most of my shopping online as it gives me greater access to a huge variety of ethical and sustainable brands and makes it easier to compare, consider, research and read up on ethics if needed. It also cuts down on impulse buys.

So there you have it, that is how I shop. Do you have a shopping strategy? how do you decide what is too much?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Antiform SS12

Antiform recycled fashion

Antiform recycled fashion

Antiform are a sustainable label based in Leeds making quirky clothes using recycled and reclaimed fabrics. They combine heritage and contemporary styles. They source everything including materials from within 20 mile of their studio boutique in Leeds.

For SS12, their collection combines inspiration from folklore, heritage and sportswear. If you want to check it out for yourself then why not pop along to the collection launch on 29th March between 4 & 9pm in Dalston London. You can even enjoy drinks and a fabulous 20% off.

You can find out further details and shop the collection on the Antiform website.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

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DIY Hairband From Old T Shirts

We all have a few old t shirts in the wardrobe which have stretched out of shape or faded and no longer look great to wear but can still be used to make something useful. Inspired by a T shirt jewellery tutorial that I saw on one of my favourite blogs, Aqui, I decided to have a go myself. Actually my creation seemed to look better as a hairband than a necklace, so that is what I turned it in to.

First I gathered together some old tshirts and my fabric shears. I obviously went for the brightest and boldest colours and patterns that I had but you could choose more subtle combinations or even go for one colour.

Then I cut the t shirts on the bias (diagionally) into strips of about 3-4cm. Again you don’t have to make them this width, try thinner or wider and see how it turns out. You can then knot or plait your strips. I plaited 4 strips, my daughter also had a go a tying knots which worked quite well and she made it into a really cute bracelet. It helps to attach or loop it around something at one end.

I then weaved another strip through the plait and used to tie secure at both ends before tying the whole thing in a loop. if I am honest I didn’t really follow an exact process, it was more a case of just messing about with it until it looked right.

Here is how it turned out! and the verdict from Mr Style Eyes ‘yes it looks OK, better than some of the stuff I have seen you make and go out in’, I’ll take that as a compliment then!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

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