5 facts to make you re-think your desire for denim

slow jeans 5 facts to make you re think your desire for denim

Jeans have enjoyed a long and varied history. Today they are considered casual attire and the skinny and ripped trend seems to dominate the catwalk. However, once upon a time, durable denims were the staple choice of workmen across the western world.

Jean companies today strive to replicate this ‘authentic’ look. The process of pre-fading, dyeing and even tearing denim has destroyed the enduring quality of jeans.

We reveal five alarming facts about the Jean industry:

1. Deadly Denim

Ever wondered how your Jeans get their pre-worn look? Sand particles are used to blast jeans with a jet of air. Campaigners brought our attention to this deadly practice which can cause lung silicosis, if workers fail to receive adequate safety measures.

Since the campaign, many high street retailers have banned sandblasting in their production cycle. These include M&S, Arcadia, Primark, New Look, H&M and Calvin Klein.

2. Alarming Water consumption

It takes around 11,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. The production process includes growing cotton and wet processing such as dyeing, treating and washing the fabric which all proves thirsty work.

Levi’s, the pioneers of the pre-faded blue design, have reacted to criticism and launched Water

3. The Problem with Cotton

As discussed above, cotton requires a lot of water to grow. However, the problem with cotton is not restricted just to the issue of water consumption. Only 2.4% of agriculture land is planted with cotton. However, it accounts for 11% of global pesticide sales. These pesticides which are used to kill cotton pests can also seriously damage farmers who come into contact with them. Ethical Fashion Forum (http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/the-issues/pesticides) states that between 1 and 3% of agriculture farmers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning. This figure translates into between 25 million and 77 million farmers worldwide. Symptoms of the poisoning range from vomiting to death.

These appalling figures highlight the necessity of naturally grown cotton. Unfortunately, the sale of fair trade cotton dropped by 38% in 2015. Ethical Consumer’s research into Jean retailers confirms this decline as none of the brands in our shopping guide (http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/jeans.aspx) use fair trade cotton to produce their jeans.

While fair trade cotton currently appears to be in decline, the growth in use of GM and toxic-free organic cotton keeps us optimistic. For example, Jean brand, Nudie have achieved its target to use 100% organic cotton in its denim.

4. Lagging behind

Our recent research into Jean retailers (http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/jeans.aspx) confirms that Guess and Diesel, two of the most popular Jean companies, have received shockingly low results in our ethical shopping guide.

Many clothing companies have accepted new initiatives to improve supply chains and have committed to the use of more sustainable materials. However, both Guess and Diesel have kept quiet about supporting new efforts to make a fairer fashion industry that respects its workers and the environment.

5. Overseas production

Clothing production in the UK plummeted in the 1990s as financially focused companies outsourced production overseas to sweatshops with low wages and poor working conditions.

Prior to this transition, Cardigan in Wales, was recognised as a leading Jeans manufacturer. Dewhirst produced Jeans for a number of companies such as M&S. However, when M&S jumped on the immoral bandwagon and moved production to Morocco, the factory was left derelict.

We welcome an exciting new brand, Hiut Jeans, which has brought Jeans production back to Britain and specifically back to Cardigan. This company, which ranks in our top 5 ethical Jean retailers, uses organic cotton and prides itself to ‘make the best jeans we can and not the most jeans we can.”

These 5 facts reveal that some of the most recognised Jean retailers on the high street are failing their workers, consumers and the planet.

For ways in which you can prolong the life of your favourite pair of jeans, head to the Ethical Consumer website for our piece on ‘Slow Jeans’.

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/fashionindustry/slowjeans.aspx

This post was written by Georgina Rawes of Ethical Consumer magazine

My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe Edit

DSCN4639 2 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe Edit

Last weekend, I managed to find time for my bi annual wardrobe edit. I usually swap spring / summer and autumn/ winter clothes around at the beginning of the season. This is a really good opportunity for me to have a much needed clear up and clear out as well as reminded myself exactly what I have. I was pleased to find that I have plenty of clothes for the season ahead, so no need to buy anything new. Although my autumn winter wardrobe is no where as colourful as my spring summer wardrobe, I do love that it is full of lovely soft layers with lots of opportunities to add a bit of colour and interest by accessorising with cosy scarves. Over the last few weeks, autumn has definitely arrived, here are some of the outfits that I wore to work last week, all from my existing wardrobe and sustainable fashion.

DSCN4642 2 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe EditDress – Marks and Spencers (Made in Britain)
Jacket – Nancy Dee (Organic cotton, made in Britain)
Ankle boots – Made in Green (vegetable tanned leather)

The office can be particularly cold on a monday at this time of year so I chose to layer 2 supersoft fabrics for a really cosy and comfy outfit.

DSCN4647 3 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe Edit

 Dress and cardigan – Oxfam Fashion
Necklace – Made UK (ethical brand)
Boots – as above

Over the years, I have found Oxfam’s online shop to be a great source of work dresses and knitwear. I am always amazed at the lovely clothes that people have given away because they no longer want them. I would always prefer to buy a higher quality brand second hand than cheap, badly made  fast fashion that falls apart after a few washes.
DSCN4648 3 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe Edit

Cardigan – as above
Top – Sara C (bamboo, Made in Britain)
Trousers – M & S
Shoes – Clarks

Sara C has some amazing printed tops, which I think are great for adding a bit of colour and pattern to a dreary work outfit. I bought this one in the sale a few years ago.

DSCN4661 2 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe Edit

Jacket – Nancy Dee (Organic cotton, made in the UK)
Dress – SkunkFunk (organic cotton)
Shoes – as above
Satchel – Scaramanga (ethically made)

On Thursday, I had to go to London for a seminar. Whilst travelling, I always want to wear something comfy. I like to wear this Nancy Dee organic cotton jersey jacket as an alternative to a suit jacket as it is much easier to layer under a jacket. The satchel makes it easy to carry notepad etc.

DSCN4666 2 My Autumn/ Winter Sustainable Wardrobe EditDress – Annie Greenabelle (organic cotton)
Leggings – People Tree
Scarf and cardigan – Nomads
Shoes – as above

Friday is usually a dress down day at work and this outfit is pretty much a staple for me on a friday, the organic cotton jersey is just so comfy to wear.

Here are just a few ideas I have had about being just a little more sustainable this autumn.

  • A seasonal wardrobe clearout is the best way to properly assess what you have and haven’t got and the best way to see if you really need to buy anything new and if so exactly where the gaps in your wardrobe are.
  • When in need of a few extra cosy layers for the colder weather, charity shops are a great place to start. You can often bag a high quality knit or even some cashmere at a fraction of the price it would cost new.
  • With the new charge for plastic bags, I have definitely been inspired to seek out more stylish alternatives for carrying my shopping, hoping that I will never have to use a plastic bag again.
  • Autumn is  a great time of year for cooking up wholesome hearty meals. I am going to try and source much more of the food for my family locally and also stick to more seasonal foods, starting by ordering an organic veg box. I’ll let you know how I get on!

Will you be making any changes for a more sustainable wardrobe or life this autumn?

With warmest wishes

Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

fr Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

Friday 24th April is Fashion Revolution Day. We are 2 years on from the day that the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Rana Plaza. Fashion Revolution Day was created as an annual event to ensure that we don’t forget that day and those that lost their lives. It is also about celebrating all of those that are working towards change in the fashion industry and trying to move towards a more sustainable future.

fr2 Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

In preparation for Fashion Revolution Day, this week I have been asking the question to some of the brands that feature in my wardrobe. First up is Marks and Spencers, which I show in the picture above. The Label says ‘Made in India’ but unfortunately I haven’t had an answer to my question on Twitter ‘who made my clothes?’, perhaps I will try writing to see if I can get an answer. The website does explain Marks and Spencers committment to using 50% sustainable cotton (including organic, recycled and fairtrade by 2020) and I know that Marks and Spencers do have some great initiatives such as their Best of British collection but I can’t actually find out anything about the people who make the clothes. Shame as I find M&S clothes great in other ways and they always last well.

Of the other main brands that I wear, I didn’t really need to tweet them to find out who made my clothes as these brands just get it. They are transparent and share the information about who makes their clothes.

People Tree

pt Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

People Tree have plenty of information about who made their clothes on both their website and clothing labels. People Tree transform the lives of farmers and artisans in developing countries by working with cooperatives and fairtrade and organic cotton producers. You can find out more about each of the groups on their Who Makes Our Products Page or in the videos  like the one shown below.

Nancy Dee

nd Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

Another one of my favourite brands Nancy Dee creates beautiful organic cotton jersey clothes. Nancy Dee make their clothes in a factory in the UK and I was pleased to see pictures on their blog of the ladies (and men) whose handiwork creates their lovely clothes.

tumblr nn3sw1886T1uoky55o2 400 Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Day

Do you know who made your clothes? would you joining the revolution and asking your favourites brands #whomadesmyclothes on Twitter. You can find out how to get involved on the Fashion Revolution website www.fashionrevolution.org

With warmest wishes

Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 is from 23rd February to 8th March. It celebrates and promotes Fairtrade products including coffee, sugar, cocoa, tea, bananas and cotton and the positive impact that buying them can have on the lives of the farmers growing them. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. It’s about supporting the development of thriving farming and worker communities that have more control over their futures and protecting the environment in which they live and work. The Fairtrade mark is a guarantee for shoppers that the products have been produced in accordance with social, economic and environmental standards set out by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International .

Whilst you can buy clothes made from (certified) Fairtrade cotton, the Fairtrade mark is only used to certify commodities rather than manufactured products like clothes. The term ‘Fair Trade Fashion’ is used to describe clothing that has been manufactured in accordance with fair trade principles. Fair trade fashion is often handmade in developing countries and involves a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect placing importance on the rights of marginalized producers and workers. Yup it is pretty confusing but both certified Fairtrade cotton clothing and fair trade fashion are both good options if you are looking for beautiful clothes that make a positive difference to peoples lives. Here are some of my favourite places to buy them:

martha embroidered dress in grey dc2cc077a38d Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

People Tree – the pioneer of ethical fashion, creating amazing clothes made in co operatives around the world with organic and fairtrade cotton.

pachacuti Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Pachacuti – Amazing panama hats which preserve traditional artisanal skills in the Andes through combining high quality, environmentally-friendly materials with Fair Trade working practices.

bibico Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Bibico – beautiful clothes handmade by fair trade groups in India and Nepal.

sessun jacket Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Sessun – a sustainable fashion brand that uses organic and fairtrade cotton wherever possible.

adini dress Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Adini – a very affordable ethical fashion brand with its factories being certified by Sedex.

nomads shirt Fair Trade Fashion for Fairtrade Fortnight

Nomads – Beautiful hand made clothing  that comply with a comprehensive Fair Trade policy. Nomads is recognised by the British Association of Fair Trade Shops.

Have you ever shopped with any of these brands? If so, what do you think?

Have a amazing week!

With warmest wishes

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Nancy Dee For Valetines Day


DSCN3900 2 Nancy Dee For Valetines Day

For Valentines Day myself and Mr S went into Bath for Tapas. My outfit features a dress and jacket by Nancy Dee, one of my favourite ethical brands at the moment. Nancy Dee makes all of their clothes in the UK from beautiful soft, comfy and cosy organic cotton jersey fabric. It is a real joy to wear. I couldn’t help accessorising my outfit with my glitter heart necklace by another ‘Made in Britain’ fashion brand, Tatty Devine. If I can’t wear a heart necklace on Valentines Day then when can I wear it!

The boots are my faithful Dream in Green boots which are made from vegetable tanned leather. This is a more eco friendly alternative than conventionally tanned leather. I love these boots as they go with just about anything and the wedge heel means that they add a bit of height but  are still really easy to walk in.

It was lovely to have a bit of time to ourselves for once as life can get so crazy busy with work and the children’s busy schedule of homework, clubs and socialising. On Saturday I also did my first training walk in preparation for a 30 mile walk across the Brecon Beacons. It was amazing to get out in the fresh air early in the moring and the perfect opportunity to catch up with my 2 friends who I haven’t seen since Christmas. As usual the weekend has just flown by and I can’t believe that it is back to work tommorrow.

I will finish by sharing a few Instagrams from the last week.

poncho Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
I love dream catchers and was delighted to get this very cute mini one along with the seventies poncho that I ordered from LA based, Desert Cat Vintage on Etsy.
huevos ranchos Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
This is probably one of my favourite breakfasts ever. Huevos Rancheros.It is basically egg poached in a salsa (tomatoes, onions, chillis and peppers), served on warm tortilla with grated cheese and avocado.Jamie Oliver has a recipe for it here.
bento Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
My daughter loves having Bento lunch boxes or ‘themed lunch’ as she calls it. I don’t have time to make it every morning but this week I managed to make a Valentines themed lunch with teddy sandwishes and heart shaped veg.
td Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
My Tatty Devine heart necklace
lady1 Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
As soon as I sit down for a second, the cat jumps straight on my lap.

flowers Nancy Dee For Valetines Day

Red roses from Mr S.
cake Nancy Dee For Valetines Day
A very yummy Valentines cake made by the girls.

I hope that you had a fab weekend, whatever you did.

With warmest wishes

Happy Christmas

DSCN3450 3 Happy Christmas
Jacket – Rokit vintage
Necklace – a pressy from my mum
Top – M & S (Fairtrade)
Skirt – Kinky Melon Retro Boutique (AKA Vintage Vixen)
Boots – Dream in Green

Only a few days to go until Christmas and I can’t wait. I have been pretty organised this year so have food, pressies and outfits all sorted for the days ahead. No more work until after Christmas giving me a lovely relaxing break and the chance to focus on spending time with my lovely family. I am attempting to have an ‘eco ‘ Christmas this year which means cutting back a little on consumption and concentrating on the more important things like spending time with family and friends. I have to admit it has been quite tricky but even a little more sustainable has to be better than nothing. I will hopefully share more about that after Christmas.

In the picture above, I am wearing the outfit that I wore to go Christmas shopping in Bath a few weeks ago. The skirt is from (Vintage Vix’s) Kinky Melon Retro Boutique at which I picked up when they visited Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair in Bath. I love the bold pattern and colours on the skirt and it super comfortable to wear. So unusual for me to find a long skirt that actually fits and doesn’t need altering to stop it dragging on the floor.

Here my instagrams from the last few weeks…

bath abbey Happy Christmas
Bath Abbey

apres ski bar Happy Christmas
The Apres Ski bar at Bath Christmas market
mexican santa Happy Christmas
Mexican Santa- possibly my favourite Christmas tree decoration ever!
christmas tree Happy Christmas
christmas cat Happy Christmas
Christmas or no Christmas, this cat loves to sleep
white christmas Happy Christmas

 

mince pies Happy ChristmasA day off work and the chance to watch a Christmas film and scoff mince pies

Well that is it from me for now, I am signing off for Christmas.

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.

I look forward to lots more sustainable style and ethical fashion in 2015! I am ever hopeful that it will be the year when ethical clothing becomes the norm and fashion slows down.

How have you been preparing for Christmas and what are you hoping for in 2015?

With warmest wishes

#Secondhandfirst Week and an EFB Outfit Challenge

DSCN3441 2 #Secondhandfirst Week and an EFB Outfit Challenge

Coat- secondhand
Scarf – Oxfam (upcycled with pompom trim)
Jeggings – Oxfam
Top – SkunkFunk
Shoes – Clarks

Next week is #SecondhandFirst week, a event organised by the textile recycling charity TRAID to celebrate all things secondhand while committing to using more of our existing resources, rather than buying new. It will be marked by a week of events, workshops and initiatives between 17th – 23rd November in London.

But even if you don’t live in London, their are tonnes of ways that you can get involved, not least by wearing all or some secondhand clothes for the week and taking the #SecondhandFirst pledge to commit to buying a percentage of your clothes secondhand  and keeping clothes and other resources in circulation for longer by lending, swapping, mending and donating, visiting your local charity shop, running your own clothes swap.

Over at Ethical Fashion Bloggers we are also running a #secondhandfirst outfit challenge to create an outfit containing some or all secondhand clothes. You can see my outfit for the challenge above which features a pair of jeggings from Oxfam, my latest buy, a parka from Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair and a silk scarf from Oxfam which has been upcycled with a pompom trim. The chair I am sitting on is also made from recycled saris.

I will also be trying to wear as many secondhand pieces next week and will hopefully share them via Twitter and Instagram. Quite a large proportion of my wardrobe already consists of secondhand clothes but from now on, I am commiting to try source more second hand instead of new (when I need to buy something).

Will you be wearing anything secondhand next week? Do you have any great tips for buying secondhand clothes?

With warmest wishes

Fashion Bloggers Meet Up – Bath – 30th November

meet up Fashion Bloggers Meet Up   Bath   30th November

I have been meaning to organise a fashion bloggers meet up in Bath for such a long time. Prompted by the #Fbloggers Twitter chat about meetups the other night, I have finally decided to get on and do it!

With not one, but two vintage fairs/markets going on in Bath, I decided that Sunday afternoon on 30th November would be the time for a blogger meet up, who doesn’t love a spot of vintage shopping? It will be the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in some vintage clothes or your best dress or just show off your fabulous style, what ever it is.

Of course vintage shopping can be thirsty work so the meet up will also include a spot of afternoon tea. Depending on time, we can go to Lou Lou Lou’s vintage fair at the Pavillion and/or the Vintage and Antiques Market at Green Park Station.

I am thinking of the the Regency Tea Room for tea (above the Jane Austin Centre). I hope to book us a table in advance to ensure we have room for all and we can order a range of teas, cakes, scones (whatever you fancy) with Lady Catherine’s Proper Cream Tea  costing £7.90 pp and lots of other options depending how hungry you are feeling. You can view the full menu here. (this is subject to numbers and availability but if not here I will find some where equally lovely nearby!)

If you haven’t been to the Green Park Station Fair before, it is free to get in and has over 60 specially hand-picked stalls selling; High Quality Furniture, Jewellery, Brantiques (Upcycled Furniture), Decorative Accessories, Vintage & Retro Fashion, Homewares, Kitchenallia, Recycled Products, Silverware, Ceramics, Upholstery, Curiosities, Garden Ephemera, Cameras, Books, Militaria, Coins, Paintings, Sculpture, Clocks, Art, Collectable Vinyl, Artisan Arts and Crafts …plus a vintage DJ and some food stalls. Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair costs £2 to get in and features fashion, homeware and vintage beauty.

If you are thinking of coming along but worried that you won’t know anyone, please don’t be, I think probably most of us (including me) won’t know each other so it should be a great opportunity to have a chat with others that share your love of blogging and won’t mind endless photos of everything from food to outfits.

If you would like to come along, please email meat ceri@heathcotecommunications.co.uk with your name and the url of your blog and I will confirm full details, timings etc to you by email a few weeks before.

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Fashion – October Update

So we are in October already! Where does the time go? Whilst I am not a big fan of the cold weather, I have to admit I do enjoy cosying up in  front of the TV and cooking up comfort food at this time of year especially after such a busy summer. I have also been catching up on some of my favourite blogs and am delighted to share with you some of the sustainable and ethical fashion highlights.

It was lovely to see Ronnie from Dresses on a clothes line featured in the video of the AW14 People Tree collection (above). You can also check out her post Fly Me To the Moon to see some of the photos and read about the photo shoot. It looks like that moon print is proving popular!

I was pleased to discover ethical and British made fashion in the form of minimalist label Rikya over on Kingdom of Style. The latest collection takes inspiration from 90’s hip hop, tomboys and skater Peggy Oki. You can check out the post here.

Over on City Girl at Heart, there is a lovely giveaway and interview with creative concept store, Confined Space which features the latest in independent and sustainable design with some amazing ethical fashion.

At Morale Fibres, the latest your style interview features Kayleigh Innes of Wonderchebs. Check it out for some great ethical shopping tips.

On the Oxfam Fashion blog, Katie Cliss gives her charity shopping tips for a cosy autumn and winter.

I have recently launched an offers and discounts page here to share with you some of the lovely savings for ethical and sustainable fashion brands.

The Ethical Fashion Bloggers relaunch!
I have been noticing a growing number of bloggers posting about ethical and sustainable fashion and style and I have decided that I really ought to get the Ethical Fashion Bloggers community up and going again. The community was incredibly popular but I just ran out of time and energy to keep it up to date so it has been a little quiet of late. However I have now decided to start again with a renewed focus to create a vibrant community of bloggers who love fashion and clothes but want to minimise their impact on the planet and don’t want to compromise their ethics. If you would like to find out more check out the blog www.ethicalfashionbloggers.com and if you would like to join the fun, email me on ceri@heathcotecommunications.co.uk. I would also love to here from any bloggers who would like to write a guest post about their style, ethical shopping tips or favourite ethical brand.

That’s it for now, except that I am hoping to arrange a bloggers meet up for a vintage fair and afternoon tea in Bath on 30th November. So if you would like to come along, please pencil it in the diary. I will post more information soon.

Have a lovely October!

With warmest wishes

Ethical Fashion Update – September

There are definitely lots of ethical fashion goings on this month with London Fashion Week and Organic Month also with autumn just around the corner (although the weather is still lovely and warm), lots of new ethical fashion collections to check out.

For further information on organic beauty and ethical fashion events for organic September, visit the Soil Association website. You can also check out my store for ideas on where you can buy organic clothes and more information on the benefits of organic clothes.

upstate Ethical Fashion Update   September

There have been  2 new stores that have launched online recently and I am loving. Gather & See is a lovely boutique stocking a range of ethical labels including Beaumont Organic, US label Upstate and New Zealand Label KowTow. I recently bought a top for work by Upstate from there (pictured above) which is handcrafted using traditional techniques and Small Scale Production with zero-waste.

Cadogan bodycon dress Ethical Fashion Update   September

Another store that has come to my attention is Otillie Pop which features some fab printed dresses that are handcrafted in the UK. Each piece is made to last with digital printing so that the prints last wash after  wash and with a 5 year guarantee.

italian wardrobe sale Ethical Fashion Update   September

If you happen to be round and about in London in September you shouldn’t miss this wardrobe sale organised by Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe and MyBoodyVal, they will be selling a carefully edited selection of their outfits. From Italian labels not available in London to the UK’s finest designer talent, from Scandinavian to Japanese rarities, from vintage to upcycled one-offs and and more from ethical and sustainable brands, 200+ pieces will be availableVeronica and Valentina will greet you in person, and are looking forward to sharing each piece’s story with you. You can find out more on Facebook here.

What are you up to in September? Do you have any ethical, vintage or sustainable fashion events or goings on to share?

With warmest wishes