Tuesday 8 October 2013

Documentary: 'The True Cost'

'The True Cost' is a documentary that will highlight the human rights issues and environmental problems in the clothing industry. Producer Andrew Morgan will interview experts in the field, including Lucy Siegle, Safia Minney and Livia Firth, to provide insights into what goes on in the production process of many of our highstreet 'bargains'.

This is a great opportunity to make information about fast fashion more accessible, as well as to highlight alternative routes for the future. However, in order to produce the documentary, funding is needed! Find their Kickstarter page to make a pledge.

Sadie xxx

Saturday 24 August 2013

Inkkas: My snazzy ethical high-tops!

I spent most of my time at Who's Next scouting out ethical shoe brands, because like many others, I find shoes one of the most difficult things to buy ethically without compromising on style. Wandering around with my flatmate, we spotted the Inkkas stand from a long way off, thanks to its snazzy display of high-tops and low-tops made from stunning South American textiles. And their ethical credentials were on display too: all shoes are handmade in Peru, and 10% of every sale goes towards protecting the Amazon rainforest.

Inkkas only use authentic South American textiles in their shoes, which gives them their unusual look. The company is 'committed to ensuring the health, happiness and well-being of its workers', and ensures that their artisans are paid well above average, working in a hazard-free work environment, and following the 10 principles of Fair Trade. Inkkas also work with Amazon Watch, which promotes the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the civil rights of the indigenous people who live there.

It was really interesting chatting to the founder, Dan Ben-Nun, about his journey so far with this great start-up (only founded in 2012!). The brand seems to be doing really well already, and you can even find some styles stocked at Urban Outfitters. But for the full range, check out the Inkkas website!

Dan was kind enough to offer me a pair to test out. I opted for the Concrete Jungle high-tops - what do you think? I styled them up with the brightest outfit I could think of. You can never have too many patterns!

So what's the verdict? Really comfy shoes that look cool, give back, and that you can be either silly or sensible in (see above).

How would you style yours?

(...and as a quick note, I'm off travelling for the next month, so see you all in September!)

Sadie xxx

Disclosure: I received a free pair of shoes as compensation for this post but all opinions are my own!

Sunday 11 August 2013

Paris Ethical Shopping Guide: Bazar Ethic

I'm now back in the UK after my year in Paris (boo), but I've stockpiled lots of photos of cool ethical boutiques for my little shopping guide, in case any of you are visiting the city!

Today's post focuses on Bazar Ethic, a trendy kind of boutique right next to Canal Saint Martin. Stocking a mix of womenswear, menswear, homeware and even a section for children, the shop has everything covered, whether you are looking for gifts or shopping for yourself. There was also a wide selection of footwear, which included brands such as Toms, El Naturalista, La Charentaise-Tcha (slippers Made in France), and innovative flexible clogs by Bosabo. It's nice to have so many shoes in one place ready to try on!

In the clothing section, I was happy to find People Tree, Komodo, Ethos, Hemp Age, l'Herbe Rouge and Kuyichi, and there were plenty of accessories too, including bags made from recycled inner tubes by Cyclus and scarves by Soieries de Mekong. On the homewares side, I spotted the super popular brand Ferm Living, cool mirrors by Zen Ethic, eco-tableware by Ekobo and cute little plates for children by Smiling Planet.

There were so many cool brands at Bazar Ethic that it was impossible for me to note them all down, but I would definitely recommend visiting if you are in the area! Nearby is Veja's concept store Centre Commercial, as well as an Ekyog boutique. When you have finished shopping you could do some Amélie location-spotting along the canal, pop to the pretty boulangerie on the corner of rue de Marseille, and finish off with a smoothie at Bob's Juice Bar.

25, rue Beaurepaire
Paris 75010

Sadie xxx

Saturday 3 August 2013

Fair Trade hats by Pachacuti

A couple of weekends ago I popped to Who's Next, a big fashion trade show held 4 times a year in Paris. First on my list of exhibitors to see was Pachacuti, an ethical hat company that specialises in panama hats. The company was founded by Carry Somers in 1992, and nowadays the range includes floppy summer hats, hats with beautiful big feathers, and felt fedoras, among many other classic designs.

It was great to meet Carry and have a chat about how the hats are made, including the sourcing of high-quality customised ribbons that are produced in Devon, as well as the long search for an ethical source of feathers. Pachacuti is the only Fair Trade hat specialist in the UK, and works with women's associations in Ecuador. The women are given training as well as many other benefits including healthcare, pension schemes and access to specialists such as lawyers or social workers.

The panama hats themselves are available in different versions, with the option of paying extra for a finer weave. Many of them can also be rolled for storage while traveling!

Carry Somers has recently teamed up with Orsolo de Castro to establish Fashion Revolution Day in order to commemorate the Rana Plaza disaster. The first Fashion Revolution Day will be the 24th April 2014, and it is hoped that industry professionals and individuals will get involved, to 'celebrate good practice, raise awareness of key issues and continue to campaign for change'. You can find the website here and the Twitter here.

Sadie xxx

Tuesday 16 July 2013

5-a-day brooches with the Zoe Project at JustTrade.co.uk

I'm a big fan of novelty jewellery, so when I spotted Just Trade's tweet about a carrot brooch I simply had to investigate. On their website I found lots of other fruity/vegetable-y delights, including a watermelon and a radish, all of which would just belong on the lapel of my velvet jacket.

The brooches are made by the Zoe Project, one of several producers that Just Trade work with. The Zoe Project is based in two shanty towns in Peru, where 23 ladies combine their crochet skills with 'contemporary design training' to produce this unusual collection of jewellery.

As well as providing a more reliable source of income, bringing the ability to pay for medical care, homes and education, the project has allowed many of the women to work from home, giving them an opportunity to spend more time with their families.

The brooches retail at £9.50 each. To browse the collection, click here.

Sadie xxx

P.S. There are also animal and flower brooches!

Sunday 14 July 2013

Paris Ethical Shopping Guide: 9km

My quest for ethical shops in Paris recently took me to the 14th arrondissement, to visit the super trendy 9km shop on rue des Plantes. The shop caters for both men and women, featuring a range of ethical, minimalist clothing with an urban feel.

Brands included Stanley Stella (my favourite item being a rather cool 'Gone Fishing' t-shirt), organic t-shirts and underwear from Kolam Collection, and, to my delight, jeans and chinos from Monkee Genes. I was also happy to find a selection of organic canvas shoes in the store, from the brand Natural World.

The shop was quite small but great for wardrobe staples (including hoodies), and cool printed t-shirts. I visited during the bi-annual French 'soldes', but they do a rather cool offer which is kind of like a restaurant set menu: 1 pair of trousers, 1 plain t-shirt, and 1 pair of shoes for €100 - a really amazing offer for an all-organic outfit!

2, rue des Plantes
Paris 75014
Like 9km on Facebook

And if you're in the area, check out rue des Thermopyles, an incredibly beautiful little road that feels more like rural France than the heart of Paris - don't forget your camera!

Sadie xxx

Sunday 7 July 2013

Jimmy Fairly ethical eyewear

As someone who is shortsighted, I have always found sunglasses shopping really difficult and expensive. Each summer for the last 3 years I've launched myself enthusiastically into a search for the perfect retro frames, but the cost was a deal-breaker once actual prescription lenses and subsequent lens-thinning are added on (let's face it, there's not enough sun in England to make it worth paying loads).

The quest continued earlier this summer, given that Paris is a little sunnier! I spotted Jimmy Fairly on the ethical section of Nettement Chic, and soon found several frames on the site that fitted my retro requirements. After a bit of investigation, I realised that the lenses are FREE if you're prepared to leave them un-thinned and without anti-reflection coating (although seek some professional advice if you're using them for driving). How can they afford this? By designing and making their own glasses, they can cut out the middle man. Hooray!

Jimmy Fairly operate in a similar way to Toms: for every pair of glasses bought, they give away a pair to someone in need, through their partner institutions Voir la Vie, Peuples d'Himalaya and Emmaüs.

After bit of umming and ahhing over whether they would suit me (the problem with not actually being able to see how you look without your own glasses on), I decided to purchase the Monroe frames - €95, all included! And when I realised that the graded tint didn't work for me, they exchanged the lenses for plain ones, also for free. I was really impressed with their service, especially given that I was a particularly annoying, indecisive customer.

So without further ado, here are my new sunnies. Oh... and freshly cut new hair. Hehe.


I tried to take a close up to give an idea of the quality, although it's not very clear. But I'm very impressed with the overall construction of the glasses and would recommend them!

If you're unable to visit the shop, they have a free returns policy to put you at ease when choosing some frames.

What do you think of them? Do you have trouble finding good prescription sunglasses?

Sadie xxx

P.S. This post is not sponsored in any way - I just love the sunglasses!

Monday 1 July 2013

Veja x Greg Asner: Beautiful, ethical high-tops

Could there be anything more perfect than these printed high-tops from ethical shoe brand, Veja? The print is actually an aerial photograph of the Amazon rainforest, taken by Stanford scientist Greg Asner, and the whole effect is wonderfully 90s. And 'Wonderfully 90s' are not two words I ever thought I'd put together.

Anyone who has had the (dis)pleasure of being in the same room as me for the last few months will testify that I have been trying to decide whether or not to buy them approximately 24/7 for a ridiculous amount of time (if they weren't so expensive, they would have been on my feet a long time ago!).

The cream-coloured versions are now sold out on the Veja website, but they have just got some blue versions back in stock. And a little bird (i.e. the web page I open every day) tells me that they are on sale on Asos. Sadly, not in my size, but at least that makes it easier to decide.

Sadie xxx

P.S. For a little summary of what makes Veja ethical, see my previous post here.

Sunday 30 June 2013

Starwax the Fabulous: Retro, greener cleaning products

A little while back I visited the Salon du Vintage in the Marais. The vintage clothing on offer was all rather over-priced, but there was a little stand at the entrance showing off 'Starwax the Fabulous' cleaning products, which was so beautifully presented that I couldn't resist having a little look, and soon enough I was having a chat with the brand representative, searching my memory for cleaning product vocabulary.

You may be wondering how I can shoehorn cleaning products into an ethical fashion blog. I posed myself the same question. To justify myself, the retro packaging really appeals to me (retro > Duck, Dettol and Jif), and there is a hidden greener side: the brand focuses on old fashioned 'store cupboard' cleaning products like they used in the good old days. Think white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, all of which are surprisingly effective replacements for the usual chemical-tastic products that damage both your lungs and the rivers.

I haven't actually tested any of these products, but a quick search for 'cleaning with bicarbonate of soda' returns lots of positive reviews on Google, so I'd be more than willing to give them a try. You may wonder, 'what is the point in paying extra for something in a pretty bottle?' I suppose it's a matter of convenience/habit (or simply, pretty bottles), but the brand also puts a lot of work into giving out advice - including recipes for all sorts of cleaning dilemmas - although it's all in French at the moment.

You can find the products in certain hardware shops in France, but it could be one to look out for in a few years time in other countries.

Would you be willing to give traditional cleaning products a try? Do you already use them?

Sadie xxx

Friday 28 June 2013

Crowd-voted designs by Front Row Society

Front Row Society is a Berlin-based fashion brand which employs a system of 'crowd-voting' to decide which designs they are going to put in to production. Artists submit textile designs based around a brief, and the general public cast their votes for their favourites. In theory, this is a handy way to match supply with demand: only the most popular designs go in to production, which helps to reduce overall waste. An interesting concept, especially as it doubles up as a way for artists to showcase their work.

I've been aware of the company for a few months, but it was put back on my radar after reading a recent post on Dresses on a Clothesline which features a Front Row Society scarf (worn in 7 different ways!). This prompted a visit to the site, where to my delight, I noticed that they also sell some rather incredible leggings in a dazzling array of eye-catching colours and patterns. Even better: many of these are now on sale (can't quite work out if this goes against the point of crowd-voting or not, but it's nice that they are a bit more accessible price-wise).

Also. This rucksack. Need I say any more?
...apart from maybe that it is in the sale too?!

Sadie xxx