Fashion Revolution – Who Made My Clothes?

Fashion revolution week 2020

Next week is Fashion Revolution week. It first started back in 2013 when the Rana Plaza building, which housed a number of clothing factories in Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1100 people, most of them young women, and injuring many more. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. Ever since this day, many people around the world have joined the Fashion Revolution calling for change, trying to hold fashion brands to account and persisting with the important question of ‘Who made my clothes?’. Fashion Revolution week has also become a time to celebrate the ethical fashion brands that are working so hard to ensure transparency in their supply chains and ensure a sustainable livelihood and the fair treatment of their workers.

This year Fashion Revolution has particular meaning with so many people around the world suffering hardship and many of those working in the fashion industry being impacted by the global pandemic of Covid 19. With many retailers closing their doors due to lockdown and most recently, UK brands Warehouse and Oasis going into administration, Bangledesh factories are experiencing cancelled orders worth billions of dollars. This has forced factories to shut, often without paying their workers. Despite the gloom and misery caused by this dreadful pandemic and financial crisis, the lockdown has provided plenty of time for thought and reflection about the kind of society we have become. We can only remain hopeful that the world will emerge from this crisis soon with a new focus on sustainbility and the rights of workers in the fashion industry (and beyond).

So this year for Fashion Revolution week I wanted to share an outfit featuring some of my favourite brands that are already really making a difference…

Ninety Percent (dress)

Ninety Percent have an industry-leading garment manufacturing facility, Echotex in Bangladesh that puts planet and people before profit. This factory offers opportunities to workers including free lunch, free medical services for every staff member, [the subsidized store] Echo-mart and a childcare facility. You can find out about the team making their clothes here. Ninety Percent’s model is based on sharing and 360-degree empowerment with 90% of their distributed profits being shared between charitable causes and those who make the collection happen. A unique code in the garment’s care label can be used to vote for your chosen cause with options including women living in poverty, two children-focused charities and two environmental causes. Ninety Percent is all about clothes that are built to last, and love from  well-cut organic cotton sweats to detail-driven jersey staples and beautifully crafted knits from organic merino.

Hat – Pachacuti

Founded by Carry Somers, one of the founders of Fashion Revolution, Pachacuti has been calling for change in the industry and pioneering ethical fashion way before the start of Fashion Revolution. Pachacuti hats are made according to Fair Trade principles and the company was the first in the world to be certified under the sustainable fair trade management system by the World Fair Trade Organisation. This guarantees that they have a proven set of practices,procedures and processes which demonstrate social, economic and environemental responsibility through-out the supply chain.

Pacahacuti Who made your clothes

Shoes – Veja

Veja is a Brazilain brand that has built an name for itself for its fresh designs aswell as its transparenc, sustainability and ethical sourcing. This trainers were gifted to me by a retailer, a year or so ago. The cotton and rubber in Veja trainers are obtained  directly from producers in Brazil and Peru under Fair trade principles working in a transparent way with 1-year contracts with an agreed a market-decorrelated price.Veja trainers are made in the the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil with a close partnership between the brand and factory. Workers are well-compensated and live in normal conditions in contrast to the workers creating trainers for many brands in south east asian countries.VEJA countinues to push its factories for greater transparency by requiring them to perform recurring social audits and chemical tests.

I am also wearing a mesh top from ‘Made in the UK’ brand One Boutique and a necklace which was a present from the Bath Christmas market a few years back.

There are lots of ways that you can get involved with Fashion Revolution and also use your time in lockdown to review your wardrobe, fall in love with items of clothing that you have forgotton or don’t wear so often, find out some more about the brands that you buy  from and who makes their clothes and spend some time researching the most ethical alternatives for when you do next need something new.

Stay safe!

With warmest wishes

Sustainability at Gant

Sponsored post

Durability and longevity have always been part of fashion brand, Gant’s DNA. Since 1949, GANT has designed timeless pieces made to last, made from 89% natural materials and inspired by classics that never go out of style.This is really important to me as I have always considered buying clothes that you plan to keep forever as one of the most important parts of shopping sustainably. But I was also really pleased to hear that Gant are planning to take the sustainability of their brand to the next level with to some ambitious commitments!

Their goals are clear, well set out and aiming high:

2020 – nearly 80% of GANT’s collections will be sustainably sourced and labeled
2022 – GANT´s cotton will be 100% sustainably sourced
2025 – GANT will reduce its water use in manufacturing by 50%
2025 – GANT’s key materials will be 100% sustainably sourced
2030 – GANT will reduce its climate footprint by 30% throughout all operations

But sustainability isn’t just about fashion brands making changes to the way they work. It’s a 2 way street and consumers need to make changes too. Gant’s global initiative encourages their customers to take joint responsibility for the impact of their clothing on the world with their 7 rules. These 7 rules make complete sense to me, as I am sure they will do to the many other sustainable fashionistas out there.

I love that Gant is turning the traditional model of fast fashion marketing on its head. Instead of encouraging consumers to buy more and more, they help to ensure that a piece of Gant clothing will only be bought when neccessary and will go on for many years to come and reach its full potential. This is the only way to be truly sustainable with your fashion. So here are their 7 rules…

  1. Refresh – tips and tools will be provided to keep clothing in tip top condition
  2. Repair – lifelong repairs will be offered for jeans made in 2020
  3. Reuse – Gant Archive pieces have been auctioned to raise money for WaterAid
  4. Rent – will be available in selected stores from May
  5. Regive – donations will be made to Water Aid
  6. Remake – encouraging customers to see forgotton pieces in a new light
  7. Recycle – this will be available in selected stores from November

Find out more about Sustainability at Gant

It would be great to see some other brands following suit and commiting to be sustainable, giving consumers the opportunity to make the right choice!

What do you think?

With warmest wishes

Star Wars™ Falcon Sneakers by Po-Zu

Star wars sneakers by Po-Zu

Dress – SkunkFunk
Denin waistcoat – Oxfam (Karen Millen)
Bag – Reclaim (made from recycled rubber inner tubes)
Shoes – Po-Zu

Sneakers or daps as I like to call them have recently become my footwear of choice. They are comfy and practical and a great way to dress down a dress for a casual outfit. My last pair of daps has been quite literally worn to the end having been glued back together 2 or 3 times. So I was pretty excited when Po-Zu got in touch and asked whether I would like to review some from their iconic Star Wars™ collection.

If truth be told, I am not  the world’s biggest Star wars fan, although I will have to admit the design does make me feel a bit nostalgic and the arrival of my new daps has inspired me to watch the films with the children perhaps on a rainy afternoon . I do reallly love the line drawing and the detail on these trainers and the black and white colours make them so perfect for wearing with so many of my clothes. I also love the idea of the Star Wars™ designs as something a bit different and unique which won’t go out of fashion as so many other styles do.

Po-Zu Daps

Po-Zu Shoe box

Po-Zu are a favourite ethical brand of mine, you may have spotted me wearing my Po-Zu boots that I have had for at least 5 years. Po-Zu are all about transparency, minimising environmental impact and ethical manufacture. These sneakers were hand made in Sri Lanka with organic cotton and fair trade natural soles, helping to improve the lives of the people making them in Southern Sri Lanka.

Shoes have recently become more of a commodity, somehing that people buy cheaply and throw away quickly. The quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through long hours, low pay and dangerous working conditions. Po-Zu are bucking this trend with shoes that are created to last and with comfort (as well as style) in mind at the same time respecting traditonal craft communities.

They also feature a unique coconut fibre foot-mattress that moulds to the shape of your foot. I can vouch for the fact that these really are super comfy as are the boots that I already own making them perfect for me as I walk a lot.

I like to know about where, how and who has made my shoes and Po-Zu makes this information easy to find.You can see more on the video below.

There are also some other pretty cute designs in the Star Wars™ collection. For autumn/ winter I am loving the Rey.

Rey boot

And of course Po-Zu also have a pretty fantastic collection of non Star Wars shoes. These are definitely on my wish list.

What do you think of the Star Wars collection by Po-Zu? Are you a Star Wars fan?

With warmest wishes


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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


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Paguro Upcycle Necklace Review

Paguro Upcycle Feather Necklace

I was recently contacted by Paguro Upcycle a Nottingham based brand selling accessories made from recycled and upcycled materials to see if I would like to review an item from their website. All of their products are made by artisanal producers in Cambodia, Indonesia and the UK with each enterprise aiming to support their local communities by offering fair working conditions and wages, as well as other benefits such as free daycare for their employees’ children.

Of course, I jumped at the chance, to try something out, as they seem to be the perfect mix of ethics, sustainability and style, with unique and individual pieces that are certainly very different to what you would find on the highstreet. What’s not to love?

feather necklace

It didn’t take me long to decide on this feather necklace which is made from recycled inner tube. I already have a clutch bag made from inner tube and I love how it looks. The detailed feather cut from the inner tube makes for a real statement piece which is great for adding interest to a basic outfit like this M&S Fairtrade cotton vest top which I am wearing with some skinny jeans  from Oxfam. I loved the quality of the necklace with a magnetic clasp making it really easy to fasten. I have already worn it a few times. I think it would look really good with a high neck simple white or colour top which would really show it off the detail of the feather.

This necklace is made by Sapu, a creative collective, based in the Indonesian town of Salatiga, comprises a diverse range of talented people: designers, artists, craftsmen and recyclists, most of whom originate from central Java or Australia. They aim to make use of the world’s abundant and unwanted man-made materials, using recycled tyre inner tubes, army tent, plastic bottles and magazines to create something beautiful. By doing so they hope to inspire environmental change by changing attitudes of those that come into contact with their creations. I think this necklace is definitely a conversation starter which is great to get people talking about both sustainability and style.

The Paguro Upcycle website also features fashion accessories by Smarteria, a social enterprise taking inspiration from the streets and markets of Cambodias capital, Phomn Penh. Traditional Cambodian weaving techniques are used by artisans to create bags in elaborate designs using repurposed netting and carrier bags. Smarteria aim to make a positive difference to the lives of their employees through living wages, benefits and progressive working practices.

What do you think? Do you like interesting accessories? If so I would definitely recommend checking out Paguro Upcycle.

Have an amazing weekend!

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Pants to Poverty – The Story Behind the Brand

Pants are something that we all wear everyday or at least most of us wear most days, no? Yet do we ever stop to think where our pants come from and how they are made? They may be just smalls, but actually they can make a big difference.

This is where ethical underwear brand Pants to Poverty comes in. Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s call to a generation to rise up and to make poverty history back in 2005, Pants to Poverty create fun, fairtrade and organic cotton pants. The brand now supports and creates a sustainable livelihood for over 5000 farmers in India proving that they really do have power in their pants.

Pants to Poverty

Pants to Poverty have some pantastic plans ahead for 2015. They will be moving to India to ensure that they their ‘cotton to bottom’ process is aligned with the cycles of the farmers. The team at Pants to Poverty will be learning about the process at each stage of the supply chain, living with the realities of life for the communities that they partner with and strengthening their relationships with the people who make their pants. Next there will be new collections designed with the people who make them.

In the meantime Pants to Poverty will be continuing to stock up on pants ready for Christmas. I am loving the idea of such a fun and useful gift that also says ‘Pants to Poverty’. If you would like to treat your friends or family, just don’t leave it too late as they are selling fast.

Get a pantabulous 15% off at Pants to Poverty with my discount code ETHICALFASHIONBLOG

Pants to Poverty will also be posting a series of vlogs on their site documenting their trip to India and bringing you a piece of the magic that they will be creating.

What do you think? would you like to make a big difference with your smalls?

Ok that’s it, no more pant puns, I promise!

With warmest wishes

 

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Gandys Flip Flops – Story Behind the Brand

Gandy's Flip Flops

I am just back from 2 weeks of gorgeous and relaxing summer hols and before I went, I treated myself to a new pair of flipflops as I always spend most of my time around the swimming pool. I decided to opt for a new brand that I discovered through the Bibico blog and whose story and mission really caught my attention.

Those who were old enough at the time will vividly remember the shocking TV footage of the 2004 tsunami that hit the coasts of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand on Boxing day causing devastation and misery for all those involved. Rob and Paul Forkan, founders of Gandy’s Flip Flops and were affected directly when an adventure of a lifetime with their parents working on humanitarian projects in India and Sri Lanka turned into a nightmare. They lost both their parents when the Tsunami hit the fishing town where they were staying in Sri Lanka and they both faced a very difficult journey with their brothers and sisters to find their way home to the UK from amidst the chaos that surrounded them.

Fortunately for the Forkan Children, they were supported by friends and family allowing them to finish their education. Rob and Paul got jobs in London and saved up enough money to complete the trip that they had started with their parents including returning to India.

But the story doesn’t end there. Rob and Paul wanted to find a positive end to this tragedy and decided to continue in the spirit of their parents by trying to help orphans like themselves in the countries that they had visited with their parents, orphans who weren’t lucky enough to have family and friends to support and help them as they had. After Rob woke up with a “mouth like Gandhi’s flip flop” at a festival one morning, the idea for their new flip flop brand was born. A brand that is designed in London, inspired by travel and fuelled by giving back.

Gandys is a social enterprise with 10% of all profits going to the ‘Orphans for orphans’ mission or the Gandy Foundation which is already beginning to make a difference by funding homes for orphans in India and Sri Lanka. This year the first home is opened in memory of Kevin and Sandra Forkan marking the 10th anniversary of the tsunami.

Gandys have a fantastic range of flip flops in a selection of colours and patterns. I was particularly taken by the Liberty print ones which have been pretty much welded to my feet for the last few weeks. As always with the ethical fashion brands that I love, it is great to have something that looks great but that also makes a difference.

You can find out more about Gandys story and mission or check out their collection of flip flops on www.gandysflipflops.com.

With warmest wishes

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Everybody Warm – The Story Behind The Brand

Everybody Warm Scarf

Everybody Warm is a Social Enterprise recently set up by Kelly Tennick. When Kelly got in touch to tell me a litttle more about the story behind Everybody Warm and offer for me to try out one of their beautiful scarves of pashminas. Not only is this a great story that I think needs to be shared but also because this lovely scarf is the perfect addition to my wardrobe complimenting so many different outfits that I have!

Everybody Warm sell ethically traded scarves and pashminas sourced from North India, and then use the profits to buy blankets, duvets and sleeping bags for those in need. The first donation by Everybody Warm is scheduled with a homeless charity, Winter Comfort based in Cambridge this July, and Kelly is keen to buy as many sleeping bags for them as she can! WinterComfort work with homeless people or those at risk of losing their home. Instead of just ‘throwing’ a few blankets their way, they will be working alongside project managers to understand exactly what the needs of their clients are before funding their first donation.

The mission behind Everybody Warm is simple “to keep everybody warm”. Whilst Kelly recognises that she can’t solve all of the problems in the world, Everybody Warm is working with Giving Partners both here in the UK and abroad to make the situations of those in need a little better.

What do you think? would you like to help keep Everybody Warm with a beautiful scarf by from Everybody Warm?

Each time someone buys a scarf from Everybody Warm, it is a step in the right direction and each time they wear it, they can wear it with pride knowing that they are helping to make Everybody Warm.

You can check out the shop at Everybodywarm.co.uk

or keep up with the story by following on

Facebook or Twitter or Instagram
With warmest wishes

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Story Behind the Brand – The Feather Tree

I have just discovered the most amazing brand whilst following the Ethical Fashion Forum Brand Preview on Twitter. Before I share the lovely story behind the brand, I just wanted to share with you some of the amazing pieces featured on their website many of which are most definitely making their way onto my wishlist!

Masai feather earrings

The Feather Tree Dress

African print dresses

African Print Dress

The Feather Tree was set up by Lissa and Bo inspired by their magical world filled with feathers, outrageously quirky prints, quills and skills. The brand is all about hair feathers, colourful handmade jewellery and unique clothing that combines UK trends with a contemporary Kenyan edge. Lissa and Bo saw the beautiful potential in  recycled fabrics brought from Matumba (a Kenyan Market) and traditional Masai beadwork both to create really amazing clothes and jewellery and also a seed of opportunity for people in Kenya on very low incomes. Paid per piece of clothing or jewellery, everyone involved in the manufacture benefits from every single piece sold, allowing them to supplement their incomes and build a better life. Hair feather and feathers used in The Feather Tree jewellery are ethically sourced and then dyed by Lissa and Bo.


The beaded jewellery at The Feather Tree is made by Dayvid. Lissa’s family met Dayvid and when they asked about the colourful beaded belt that he was wearing, they discovered that he had made it himself. The Feather Tree was a great way to promote the amazing talents and craftmanship of Dayvid and others in Kenya allowing them to get their products to marketplace and the chance for us in the UK to buy these beautiful and unusual pieces.

Odayo is the talented tailor at Feather Tree. He was born and raised in Kisumu on the shores of lake Victoria. He has completed a 4 year course in tailoring but only got the chance to use his talents in a full time role when he was discovered by Lissa’s mum working as a gardener. The money that he has earnt has helped him to build a small house for his family and he hope to be able to continue and pay for his children’s education.

The Matuba Market started in the nineties selling good quality clothing at affordable prices that had not been sold in high streets in Europe. The market is now a thriving industry creating 1000’s of jobs in Kenya and a source of interesting fabrics used in clothes made by the Feather Tree. Locally Kenya sourced Kitenge fabrics are also used to create clothing. Instead of using plastic buttons, The Feather Tree uses coconut buttons and painted beads which are handmade in Kenya in their clothes and jewellery.

You can find out more about The Feather Tree and check out their fantastic designs and hair feathers here:

www.thefeathertree.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/TheFeatherTree

https://twitter.com/thefeathertree

Have you discovered any amazing brands with a great story to tell lately? If so please share!

With warmest wishes

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Fashion Revolution Day #Insideout #Whomadeyourclothes

Today’s post is all about Fashion Revolution Day. If you haven’t already heard, Fashion Revolution Day is going to be annual event from 24th April this year. It has been organised by key figures from the fashion industry and beyond including industry leaders, press, campaigners, consultants, representatives from charities and campaign organisations and academics, all with one common goal to drive change in the fashion industry to prevent another disaster like that of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh and to help raise awareness of the true cost of fashion.

The theme of the first Fashion Revolution Day is ‘who made your clothes?’ with the aim of encouraging us to become more curious about how our clothes are made and who made them. If you would like to get involved or find out more you can:

Checkout the website http://www.fashionrevolution.org
Follow Fashion Revolution on Twitter @Fash_Rev

You can also wear an item of clothing inside out, showing its label and share it through instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #insideout and the question ‘who made your clothes?’

I have been taking a look at some of the labels on my own clothes and considering who, where and how they have been made. Here is what I have found out.

This label is on a top which I got from a clothes swap. It is originally from the Cacharel Vintage Collection at Uniqlo. It was made in China. Whilst they do rate better than many of the other high street shops in the Ethical Consumer Shopping Guide to the High Street there is a lack of information about how their clothes are manufactured on their website. You can read more in this post on Ethical Nippon.

This label is from a red New Look dress which I bought from Oxfam. It was made in China. New Look actually come out top of the list in the Ethical Consumer Guide and they do seem to have a fairly comprehensive ethical policy although their score 10/20 would suggest that there is still a fair amount of room for improvement. There is also some more in depth information about them on Labour Behind the Label although it is from 2011 so I guess things may have changed.

This dress is from the Orla Kiely collection at People Tree and is made in India from organic and fairtrade cotton. People Tree have made a strong commitment to fair trade and ethical manufacture of clothing and they work to create sustainable livelihoods for people in some of the poorest parts of the world. Organic and Fairtrade cotton also means that the farmers receive a fair price and that there is no child labour in the supply chain. There is plenty of information about the co operatives that People Tree work with on their website.

Do you every look at the labels on your clothes and wonder who made them?

With warmest wishes

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