Fashion Revolution Week

DSCN4980 (3)s

DSCN4974 (4)sDress – Nancy Dee
Jacket – charity shop
Shoes – Dream in Green
Bag – What Daisy Did

Today is the start of Fashion Revolution Week! A time when consumers around the globe ask #whomademyclothes? and a movement of ethical fashion advocates and campaigners come together to raise awareness of unethical practice in the fashion industry and work towards change.

As part of the Ethical Fashion Bloggers, Fashion Revolution round up, I wanted to share this outfit which I think fits particularly well with the principles of sustainable fashion described by Vivienne Westwood as ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’.

The jacket is from a local charity shop and the fun print immediatley jumped out at me. It makes a great alternative to a plain black jacket. The dress is from one of my favourite  brands, Nancy Dee and is ethically made in the UK from organic cotton. The shoes are made by Dream in Green, another favourite brand of mine with a great selection of shoes and boots made ethically from vegetable tanned leather. Last but not least, my colourful handbag is ethically made in India by What Daisy Did using upcycled leather. You can read more about the brand in my post here.

Last week I asked #WhoMadeMyClothes? of high street retailer Marks and Spencers here. No answer yet but I will keep you posted and let you know if and when I get answer. As a consumer, it can be difficult to find out and understand exactly what brands are doing to ensure sustainability and ethics in their supply chains which is why transparency is so important. Fashion Revolution have just launched a transparency index in partnership with Ethical Consumer which improving social and environmental standards and how much of that information they share with the public you can download it here.

Fashion Revolution Week

If you like the idea of a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Visit the Fashion Revolution website to find out more.

What will you be wearing for Fashion Revolution Week?

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Marks and Spencers #WhoMadeMyClothes?

Marks and Spencers dressDress – Marks and Spencers
Earrings – People Tree
Bag – vintage (Oxfam I think)
Shoes – Geox

Not long to go until Fashion Revolution Week and I thought I would get involved by asking Marks and Spencers, #whomademyclothes?

Just before Christmas I won an award at work and got to choose a £50 voucher from a high street shop to recieve. I generally consider Marks and Spencers to be one of the most ethical and sustainable options on the high street and on popping into Bath decided on this dress as it has such a comfy and flattering cut and will work well for both in and out of work for the spring and summer.

I was quite surprised to read on Morale Fibres that M&S had scored just 5 out of 20 in the Ethical Consumer Scorecard. It was explained that the score was largely as a result of the companies wider ethics and sourcing policies and did not apply exclusviely to its clothing. This did however prompt me to think about whether I should be asking more of Marks and Spencers and how ethical their clothing is, so I did a little research.

On the plus side Marks and Spencers have shown themselves to be committed to improving their sustsainability through their Plan A through which they provide detailed information on their website including exactly what they have and haven’t achieved. Amongst the achievements of Plan A so far are:

  • 32% of their cotton coming from better cotton initiative, fair trade, organic or recycled sources.
  • They have trained more than 652,000 workers in general merchandising supply chain since 2010 covering employment rights, health and financial literacy.
  • Global Sourcing Principles now cover a wider range of human rights issues. Launched on Human Rights Day in December 2014, They are now working with their suppliers to help them meet these requirements.
  • They have established a community Global Community Programme to benefit people in the key regions of the world where M&S products are sourced to strengthen the resilience of communities and security of supply by 2020 e.g. 8000 have been trained in Kenya and South Africa for the Emerging Leadership Initiative and the Project Hope Health Programme in Cambodia which has laready benefitted 14,500 workers.

Ethics and sustainability are never going to be a simple matter for such a large retailers with such a complex supply chain and there is no doubt that Marks and Spencers are making some really postive improvements.

My dress  is made in Turkey, so I looked for further information on factories used by Marks and Spencers in Turkey. There isn’t much information available on the M&S website.

I have since read about the use of Syrian refugee children in clothing factories in Turkey. Marks and Spencers have not been implicated in any way or found to be using child labour in their supply chain. But they were asked by Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), a non-profit organisation that monitors company ethics, about their Turkish suppliers and their strategies for combating the exploitation of Syrian children and adults. Marks and Spencers didn’t answer this questionaire but you can read their response here.  I feel like I would like to know a bit more.

So I am asking the question, Marks and Spencers #WhoMadeMyClothes?

I will let you know if I get an answer.

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Fashion Revolution Week is on 18th-24th April and there are lots ways that you can get involved from asking your favourite brand #WhoMadeMyClothes to making your own haulternative video. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know more about who has made you clothes?

You can find out more on the website fashionrevolution.org

FRD_impact_makers_square

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Minnetonka Mocassins – Story Behind the Brand

massai

Today I wanted to post about Minnetonka Mocassins, an American brand that I have been interested in for some time. The brand has been around since 1946 but has become popular in the last decade as the festival footwear choice of celebs.

Minnetonka shoes are beautifully handcrafted and if looked after, they should last well, growing more comfortable with wear.The website provides some tips on how to care for your Minnetonka shoes or boots to ensure that they last for a long time. Most of the shoes and boots are made in a factory in Minnetonka’s own factory in the Dominican Republic using materials from the US.

Through the Mocs with Meaning initiative, Minnetonka have partnered with Me to We to help empower mamas in Kenya. Each pair of Mocs with Meaning shoes are hand beaded by  Mama in Kenya, providing her with a sustainable income and an opportunity to support her family. Minnetonka also provided a $10,000 donation to build the ME to WE Empowerment Centre in Kenya providing a safe place for the women to work. Financial literacy training is also provided to help with overcoming economic challenges. The Me to We website states that 80+ mamas are employed full time in Kenya as part of this initiative. Each pair of ‘Mocs with Meaning’ shoes has a unique code that can be tracked with trackyourimpact.com so that customers can see the positive impact that their purchase is making.

Minnetonka have also donated to Free the Children with funds being used to build a rain catchment system to provide clean water in Haiti and to build a school room in the Marialapa community.

On balance…

There are lots of reasons I love the Minnetonka brand, however they are made from animal skins so for someone who is vegan and does not want to wear leather/ suede shoes, they would not represent an ethical choice.

What do you think of Minnetonka Mocassins?

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

5 Facts to Make you Re-think your Desire for Denim

slow jeans

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

autumn 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.

ethical fashion winter 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.

oxfam outfit

 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.
ethical fashion autumn

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.

nancy dee jacket

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)Dress – 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

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.

Fashiion 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

People Tree

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

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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.

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:

People Tree Martha Embroidered Dress

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

Pacha

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

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

Sessun jacket

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

Adini Dress

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

Nomads clothun

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)

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
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.
Mexican eggs
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 Box
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.
Tatty Devine Heart Necklace
My Tatty Devine heart necklace
lady
As soon as I sit down for a second, the cat jumps straight on my lap.

red roses

Red roses from Mr S.
Valentines Cake
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

vintage skirt
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
Bath Abbey


The Apres Ski bar at Bath Christmas market

Mexican Santa- possibly my favourite Christmas tree decoration ever!


Christmas or no Christmas, this cat loves to sleep

 

A 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

Seconhand first week

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