Last year for Blog Action Day, I was joined by a number of other fashion bloggers in an ethical fashion blogathon which you can find out more about here.
This year the need for more awareness of ethics in the fashion industry has become altogther more apparnet with the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. But the need for ethics in the fashion industry doens’t stop in Bangladesh, enforced child labour is happening in the fashion industry supply chain from the cotton fields of Uzbekistan to the bonded child trafficking labour in India which you can read more about in my article for the Urban Times here.
This year Esther at Ms Wandas is organising something even bigger and better giving fashion bloggers the chance to get involved in something that could make a really positive difference, by starting a conversation about human friendly fashion. Blog Action Day is on October 16th and it is a great opportunity to use your blog to speak up for why human rights must be a fundamental part of the fashion industry.
It is really easy peasy to join up and get involved. All you need to do is pop over to Ms Wandas and sign up. You can then get your blog listed on the Human Friendly Fashion Bloggers page here, download a Blog Action Day Kit which includes bagdes and avatars and a syndicated blog post to add to your blog and social media pages for blog action day. You can also join in the fun by entering the Human Friendly Outfit Competition.
Will you be joining the Human Friendly Fashion Bloggers for Blog Action Day?
With warmest wishes
Mr S is wearing – T shirt by Indigreen and recycled silver necklace by LA Jewellery
Just arrived back from a wonderful holiday camping with our campervan at Cotswold Water Park. As soon as we arrived home Mr S dashed off to collect the latest addition to our family, Lady! I haven’t taken too many photos as she is just settling in and very nervous, I didn’t want to scare her with the camera flash but I am sure she will be featuring in plenty of outfit posts in the future. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t really keen on getting another cat but she is such a lovely cat, so cuddly and chatty, I can’t help falling in love with her.
The summer is almost over for me now with just a week left before I dive head first into at least 6 months of working in an office. Here are just a few snaps of my recent break and the last few weeks of summer hols. In case anyone is wondering Cotswold Water Parks is an amazing place to go camping, so much outdoors stuff to do, we had an amazing time.
Campervan Breaky – Strawberry Pancakes
Hat – Pachacuti, Top – Kuyichi, everything else I am wearing is really old
The quickest way to get around the campsite – Mr S’s BMX!
Lots of lovely Lakeside walks
A floral print mix up! – Skirt – Oxfam Fashion Sale last year, top – a local charity shop.
Other stuff that I have been busy with over the last few weeks includes this post for Urban Times – Is your love of fashion supporting bonded child labour?
What have you been doing to enjoy the last few weeks of summer?
With warmest wishes
Things are going to changing around here a bit for a while. I am going to be working in the marketing department of a proper office (not my lonely little home office) for at least the next 6 months. This is quite a big change for me as I have been working from home for over 5 years now. Of course I have LOTS of clothes but immediately, I start to think, will any of them really work for working in an office?. Working from home you can pretty much wear what you like but from what I remember working in a office is going require a little more thought!
I have had a quick trawl of my wardrobe and discovered quite a few dresses which I think could work for an office. The one thing that I am sadly lacking in is a smart jacket. I have decided to make the most of the great sales and offers at People Tree this weekend and treat myself to some ethical work wear in the form of a blazer and dress (pictured above) that is reduced in the sale. I will also get free delivery and a £20 voucher.
I also grabbed a tailored jacket from the local charity shop for £6 although not hundred percent sure if the shoulders are a little on the puffy side and a floral print top for a few pounds which I guess will work well with a pencil skirt I have (another second hand buy).
As I have enough work clothes now and so many non work clothes that I probably won’t be wearing much for the next 6 months, today signals the beginning of a 6 month shopping ban, except for Christmas pressies of course.
If you are every in search of ethical / sustainable work wear or something to wear for an interview, I would also recommend Oxfam Fashion, loads of tailored jackets etc at great prices. Style-is.co.uk also has some great ethical workwear on its shift dresses page.
Do you work in an office? would you opt for ethical work wear?
With warmest wishes
Cardigan – Braintree Clothing
Top- Stewart & Brown
Leggings – People Tree
Necklace – Made UK
Shoes – Really old
Bangles – Really old
Just before I went on holiday, I was really pleased to get an email telling me that I was a runner up in the Braintree Clothing Feel Good Fashion Blogger competition. You can check out my entry here. Of course I was really chuffed and immediately picked out this lovely cardigan that was waiting for me on my return.
The last week has been super busy catching up with work and clothes washing and having the children home from school. I am really enjoying our little trips out and about and picnics in the garden, it is actually going to be a bit of shock when they go back to school. Here are a few of my summer instagrams.
A beautiful waterfall at a place called Bowood, where I met my sister and cousin last week for a day out. There was also a really dark and scary cave.
The Lavender in our garden which smells lovely and is covered in bees and butterflies at the moment.
Mr S and I enjoyed a quiet moment, a shandy and lunch at a nearby pub during the heatwave before the children broke up from school. (Hat by Pachacuti)
Cable cars to the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Summit.
Finally, I just wanted to share with you the latest post that I have written for Style-is.co.uk – High Street Fashion – 51 Sustainable Alternatives.
I hope you are having an amazing summer! What have you been up to?
With warmest wishes
I love the idea of crowd funding. Not only does it enable creative businesses to get funding for exciting projects by new talents, that might not otherwise be able to happen, it also allows us as consumers to get involved beyond just buying a product from brands that we love. It gives us a chance to be involved right from the beginning and play an important part in making the project happen. For ethical fashion brands crowd funding is great because it allows you to support something that you really believe in. I have noticed lots of exciting crowd funding projects for ethical fashion lately and wanted to share them with you.
Operation Wardrobe – Transforming Your Wardrobe Stitch by Stitch
This project has only 2 days to go and it is very close to its target. This campaign is on the new Crowd Funding platform dedicated entirely to fashion AudaCity of Fashion. The project by Junky Styling is to launch a capsule collection using upcycled suits at East to East, a new space opening its doors this autumn in Shoreditch’s Fashion Street. It has some fantastic rewards including a one of a kind clutch bag for a pledge of £20 I think it would make a lovely Christmas pressy.
Emi&Eve Recycle Ammunition into Beautiful Accessories
Turning something that is made to kill and harm people into something beautiful and fashionable may seem like a strange idea but that is exactly what this project is about and the end product is something pretty amazing. This Project is hosted by Emi and Eve on Indiegogo. The bags are made by disadvantaged artisans and disabled home workers and disadvantaged women in China, some of whom are disabled. The perks for this project include pendants, bracelets and clutch bags which would again make amazing Christmas pressies.
Antithesis – Modular Accessories Collection
Antithesis is a slow fashion label which creates transeasonal, multi functional clothes that can be worn in lots of different ways whether it be reversible, transformable or modular. They advocate quality over quantity. Their latest crowd funding project is hosted on Kickstarter and is a series of modular accessories (sleeves, waistbands, attachments) to go alongside our existing pieces. They want to encourage our customers to update their wardrobe without having to buy whole new garments. A pledge of £35 will get you a bamboo jersey t shirt for a man in your life (again I am thinking Christmas pressies).
Help IX Apparel Pop Up
IX Apparel is a London brand using high end fabrics and designs that are all sourced and made here in the UK. This project which is hosted on Sponsume is to fund a pop up shop which includes making at least 2 weeks of stock and designing and promoting the shop. For a £20 pledge you’ll land yourself an IX Apparel sticker pack, a t-shirt of your choice and a special mention on their Facebook & Instagram pages.
What do you think of crowd funding? would you support any of these crowd funding campaigns? Actually I am considering launching a crowd funding campaign of my own with some great rewards especially for fashion bloggers, hopefully will be able to reveal more soon.
With warmest wishes
I am just back from a very sunny two weeks in Tenerife, doing nothing but sit in the sun, swim in the pool, read my book and eat and drink far more than I should. Due to the luggage charges on the flight, I actually managed to pack a minimal amount of clothes this year and spend most of the 2 weeks in bikinis and sarongs. Here are a few of my holiday outfit snaps and outfits.
I treated myself to this lovely top in the Think Boutique sale. I bumped into Sara of Sara C a few weeks back at the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Summit and she mentioned that she is currently working on her next collection of fab prints. I can’t wait to see more!
Mr S has always been super sustainable with his style in that he never buys anything new. The only new clothes he usually gets are on his birthday. Not sure if he realises it, but I have converted him to an ethical fashionista by buying him pressies from People Tree and Komodo this year!
A hot and sunny place like Tenerife has to be the perfect place to wear my favourite tropical print summer dress.
Are you off on holiday this year? If so and you need new clothes, why not make use of some of these fantastic offers on style-is.co.uk or check out the fantastic sale at People Tree with free UK delivery on orders over £40 until Monday.
With warmest wishes
Dress – Frank & Faith
Sunglasses – Colin Leslie
Sandals – really old from Clarks
Bag – Oxfam Boutique
Jewellery – all presents
Lately I seem to have been wearing mainly bamboo! It only just dawned on me that I was wearing a bamboo dress at the same time as my new eco sunglasses by Colin Leslie which are also made from bamboo. This made me think about what a fantastic material bamboo is, it makes great clothes, feels great against the skin, drapes well and keeps you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold (it has insulating properties). For the sunglasses, it is exactly the opposite in some ways to the fabric, tough, hard and durable but again it looks great and a little more interesting than conventional plastic sunglasses.
Environmentally speaking bamboo is often hailed as a great eco friendly product but the fabric does have its oponents. Whilst the actual bamboo plant is grown without the use of chemical fertilisers (so much better than conventional cotton) and quickly regenerates making it highly sustainable (much better than synthetics made using petro chemicals), it isn’t without its impacts. The processing needed to turn it into a fabric uses chemicals and the actual product is spun rather than being made from natural bamboo fibre so it is actually a rayon rather than natural bamboo. Others argue that bamboo viscose production uses a closed loop process that relies on Sodium hydroxide as the solvent, which is a chemical approved for use on textiles by the Global Organic Textile Standards and used to process organic cotton. A bit of a confusing one really! But before I bore you with any more of my geekiness about how my clothes are made, I would just like to sum up that I believe that both my bamboo dress and sunglasses are a better alternative than those made from synthetic materials or conventional cotton and I hope will last me for a long time to come. Admittedly by far the most eco friendly choice would be to buy second hand as I did with the bag in this outfit. You can read up more on the bamboo debate here on Ecouterre.
So onto the weather and the royal baby…
I will not hear a bad word said about this gorgeous weather, bring it on, I say. I do admit though I am so glad I live in the countryside at the moment and can’t imagine what it must be like in London. I have been flagging a little today though with a combination of heat and hay fever, a very energetic body combat class this morning and perhaps the result of a few beers last night (to celebrate the royal baby of course). My answer is to eat ice lollies and lots of them, I am not even going to admit how many. I can’t help feeling a little excited about the royal baby as I would about any new baby but every so slightly jealous that Kate looks so presentable just a day after giving birth. I was a mess for weeks!
Anyway that is far too much rambling for one blog post. I hope you are enjoying this lovely weather. What are your top tips for keeping cool?
With warmest wishes
A cashmere cardigan is a great cover up for both the summer and winter months and over the years, I have had quite a few which have stayed in my wardrobe for a long time. They feel lovely against the skin and also keep you cool in summer and comfortingly warm in the winter. A cashmere cardigan is a also a great classic piece that is completely versatile.
However I was disappointed to find out a few years back that there are a number of issues surrounding the ethics and sustainability of cashmere and haven’t bought any cashmere since. The supermarkets seemed to be filled with cheap cashmere cardigans and jumpers for a while and as with anything cheap in fashion, there always seems to be a price for someone to pay in some other way.
Cashmere is a luxury fibre, which comes from the coats of goats. With only twelve regions in the world having the right temperature and terrain to accommodate cashmere goats including Mongolia, China, India and Iran, it has been traditionally it was difficult to get hold, hence the cost and luxury status. Recently 1000′s of cashmere companies have appeared in China but there is a question mark over quality, ethics and sustainability of this industry. In addition to concerns over the living conditions of goats reared in factory farms, there is also the desertification caused by overgrazing of goats and other ethical concerns over sweatshops and manufacture.
There is however a sustainable alternative and if you choose carefully, you can find brands which are working to reduce desertification by using a feed for goats instead of grazing them on the ecologically sensitive grassland. This also has a positive effect on both the quantity and quality of the fibre making for really amazing knitwear. The most sustainable and harmless (in fact it is actually helpful) way of getting the cashmere is to gently comb it and many sustainable cashmere brands now ensure that this method is used. Although there is no formal ‘fair trade’ structure in the cashmere industry, it is possible to find brands like Pure Collection, that cut out middle men ensuring that herders get a premium price for their cashmere.
If you do choose to invest in a beautiful piece of sustainable cashmere, you can prolong its life making it even more sustainable by caring for it carefully. I have lost a beautiful cashmere sweater to moths on a least one occasion! The best way to avoid this is by storing it in a breathable zipped bag with some natural moth repelling cedar wood balls. It is also best to hand wash your cashmere with a specially formulated washing liquid.
Do you wear cashmere? have you ever considered sustainable cashmere?
With warmest wishes
Last week was World Fair Trade Day and I decided to wear my Johari Tafriji dress as I love the pink colour and leopard design but also because I wanted to celebrate a brand that is really making a difference to peoples lives in Africa. I am also featuring Johari in my ‘Story Behind the Brand’ series as I think there is a really interesting story behind their clothes.
Johari’s Philosphy is simple, they believe that fashion should be ethical, stylish and beautiful. Johari means ‘something precious’ in Swahili and each piece of clothing and jewellery is handmade in Kenya by Social Enterprise Johari Designs. Johari empowers vunerable young adults to build a living for themselves and their families.
I have posted about Johari in the past here so thought that this time I would focus on the story of just one people behind the brand.
In its work with schools the Johari Foundation has recognised a need for support of particular children with their educational and social needs. They aim to help improve the employment prospects and provide long term economic opportunities for children who don’t have high academic achievements and avoid them being caught in a trap of poverty, drugs or prostitution.
Agnes (pictured above) is just one of the girls that has been employed by Johari as an apprentice on their Miale Scholarshop Scheme in Naorobi Kenya. 100% of the profits from the sales of Johari products go into funding this project.
“Ever since joining Johari as an apprentice my life has changed for the better. At Johari I have found a team that has encouraged me to look at life positively and found a reason to believe in a possibility of a good future. I have so far perfected my skills in dressmaking, and I’m familiar with purchasing of the workshop materials”.
Agnes has been working in the Johari designs studio, a bright airy space with plenty of natural daylight on the top floor of a building in central Narobi, since 2008. The workshop is well equipped with sewing machines, overlockers and jewellery making equipment. Agnes’s roles at Johari include making sure the production department have the necessary materials, sourcing and purchasing at least twice a week and compiling weekly reports. She says that her favourite aspect of working with Johari is purchasing as she gets to meet lots of different suppliers. She also likes unique items like the Ungana Necklace.
As part of the scholarship, apprentices are be given the opportunity to gain exposure to all aspects of the design, manufacturing and sales process. The girls divide their time between hand making intricate jewellery and dress making. They work between 9am and 5pm with 2 breaks and an hour for lunch and recieve £100 per month in pay plus access to people who can help with any social issues that they have including additional support with housing if needed.
If you would like to find out more about Johari Designs and the fantastic work that they are doing and check out their fantastic clothes and accessories, please check out www.johari.co.uk
. You can also find out more about Agnes on the Johari blog here
and meet the rest of the team here
With warmest wishes
I wanted to share an event that I thought would appeal to all lovers of vintage fashion tea and cake – A Vintage Tea Party at Vintage Fashion Fair London.
This looks like the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in a lovely vintage dress and catch up with friends or meet up with some fellow vintage loving fashion bloggers. The vintage tea party will be held at VIntage Fashion Fair London on 19th May. It is the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon with a vintage afternoon tea served on vintage china, music from the forties performed by singing and dancing act ‘My Favourite Things’ and the chance to shop for vintage clothes, accessories and textiles on the vintage stalls which stock a great selection of genuine vintage from a variety of decades. If the weather is nice there will also be tables available in the garden at Cecil Sharp House.
Tickets are £10 and available in advance from Eventbrite
* Entrance to the Vintage Fashion Fair for some great shopping.
* A lunch or tea consisting of delicate finger sandwiches, a selection of delicious cakes and a pot of tea or coffee.
* All served on vintage china at pretty table settings.
* Entertainment from ‘My Favourite Things’ who will be performing at 1.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m
Further information visit www.vintagefashionfairlondon.co.uk