Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Paris Christmas Market

Just to spread a bit of extra post-Christmas cheer, I thought I'd share a few of my snaps from the Champs-Elysées Christmas Market in Paris, taken earlier in December. Aside from the usual enticing sweet smells and clouds of hot steam found at Christmas markets across Europe, there were a few extra little French specialities to be enjoyed. Macaroons, anyone?



My favourite part (by far) was the ice rink at the end of the market, complete with euro-pop DJ and ridiculous robotic animals all dancing the night away, whilst skaters tried their very best to make their way around a very (dangerously) lumpy track.

Sadie xxx

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Ethical designer: Samantha Pleet

Sometimes, you come across something completely by chance, and it really holds your attention. I was reading an article on Ecouterre and an interview video was embedded in the sidebar, and I decided to click play (can you tell that I'm supposed to be writing an essay?! haha). In the video, Ecouterre interviewed young Brooklyn designer Samantha Pleet, who has been producing stunning clothing made using organic & ethical fabric in her New York studio since 2006.

I seriously appreciate the mod influences in some of her pieces, as well as that chilled 70s boho vibe that she has managed to capture. Or, as the website more elegantly puts it, 'intertwining elements of the mysterious and fantastical with a sense of modernity.' All topped off with a cool hat. What's not to love?

Samantha emphasises that she, as a business owner, wants to be responsible about what she produces. She deliberately doesn't follow trends, preferring just to develop her own unique line, resulting in timeless pieces that you can wear for years on end.

I'm not sure what held my attention the most: the fact that such beautiful fashion can be created ethically, or the fact that I'm seriously jealous of her career! Either way, I feel more motivated than ever to keep exploring ethical fashion if this is what can be found.

What is your favourite piece? Have you got any tip-offs about amazing ethical designers?

All images found on I urge you to have a peek!

Here's the video:

If you fancy splashing out on some investment ethical fashion, Samantha Pleet is stocked in the UK here.

Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

People Tree AW 2012

These videos by People Tree were released a while ago now, but seeing as it's still winter, I thought I'd post them up as a bit of last minute Christmas present inspiration (or, rather, a procrastination opportunity). There is something very Orla Kiely-esque about their womenswear video. I can't quite put my finger on it except, obviously, some of the Orla Kiely collaboration pieces that are featured (my fave being this dress, and of course the peter-pan collar blouses which now appear to have sold out - boohoo!). 

In a completely different style, the menswear video is also shorter, but effective at showing off their finest menswear pieces in a casual, two-lads-hanging-out-looking-cool kind of context. I like the little message at the end thanking the producers for making the clothes!

It's nice to see ethical retailers using film to get their collections seen (i.e. seen in that vital fashion-forward video context that a lot high street brands have mastered). I'm already looking forward to the SS2013 versions!

Sadie xxx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Is it OK to spend a lot on second-hand clothes?

Buying ethically can be difficult when it comes to certain categories of clothes. Shoes are one of them. Once you get past the 'is leather ethical?' debate, you've got to find a pair you like and then make sure they fit, otherwise there is no point in having them anyway. This is a bit of a problem as a lot of 'ethical' shoe shops are online only, meaning you can't really try them on before you buy (important when you have awkward feet like mine!).

One way to solve the leather debate is to buy plastic-y faux-leather shoes on the highstreet, but then you get the supply chain issues associated with fast fashion. Alternatively, you can invest in good quality, usually leather, shoes that are built to last (and actually worth re-soling a few times). At least this second option is good for the environment, though not particularly vegetarian.

Alternatively, and the most ethical source I can think of, you can get them second-hand. My feet have been getting rather chilly in my ballet pumps here, so winter boots were required. I tried out some of the 'investment-style' shoes in some higher-end high street shops, but by chance stumbled upon these in a Dépôt-Vente on the way home from work. Dépôt-Vente shops are sort of like designer thrift shops, stocking quality second hand, where the seller earns a comission on what they sell on behalf of the original owner. I'm pretty sure I've seen similar things in England!

The only issue is, the items tend to be quite expensive. I paid €70 for these Kickers boots, which are in excellent condition but have got signs of wear. I estimate they'd be about €120 new. In cash-strapped student/intern times, is this acceptable as a price? What value should second hand clothes have?

I'm in two minds about it...

(but look, aren't they beautiful?)

Sadie xxx

Monday, 3 December 2012

Wonder Vintage Market, Paris

On Saturday I headed off to the North-East of Paris, to the Centquatre, which can be best described as a modern exhibition space that features culture and art (with restaurants, a giant charity shop and an enormous book shop thrown in). I arrived on a fresh Saturday afternoon to check out the Wonder Vintage Market, and it was, errrr... wonderful!

The event played host to some of the best vintage interiors displays I've ever seen, with some of the stalls feeling like real room set ups. The clothes were a little more expensive than I'm used to, but that was reflected in the fantastic quality. Winter capes, felt fedoras and even Betty Draper style night gowns were on offer.

I was a bit snap-happy at the event, so here is a selection of my favourite parts of the market!

Also, a quick shout out to the lovely Kat of Purrfect Kat Vintage, who recognised me from my blog! My first international recognition ;). Woo! You can find her blog here. I'm sorry if I came across a bit shocked - I was!

Sadie xxx

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Fru-Gal Challenge

Famous in ethical fashion circles for its 'Green Carpet Challenge', Livia Firth's ethical lifestyle website, Eco Age, also plays host to the 'Fru-Gal Challenge'. The idea is this: bloggers, universities and members of the public are challenged to put together an ethical outfit for each day of the week, and take a photo of what they come up with! The site has already featured over 250 outfits, and recently I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to add 5 of my own.

Seeing as a bit of time has now passed since I took part, I thought I'd take this opportunity to post them here!

I'm not used to blogging such huge photos, but I promise it's for blog aesthetics rather than vanity, haha.

Monday: Retro Blouse

I have a thing for retro blouses, and this is just one in my ever growing collection! I love ‘matchy-matchy’ outfits, and retro shirts are just perfect for this: wear one thing of each colour featured in the pattern, and voilà, you have an outfit. This is especially good when it means you get to wear brightly coloured tights.

I bought the blouse from a vintage shop in Bristol, the skirt from a charity shop (shortened a bit), the belt from a carboot and the velvet jacket from a charity shop. The shoes are hand-me-downs from my mum.

Tuesday: Vintage Cardigan

I’m currently catching up on Mad Men (I know I’m a bit late to the bandwagon), and I couldn’t resist this rose-pink cardigan found at a vintage shop in Paris – it reminds me of something Peggy Olsen would wear! I bought the skirt in a charity shop the day before I moved here, and the belt is from my childhood dressing-up box. It’s a bit of a strange colour combination, but I quite like it!

Wednesday: Red and Blue

Here in Paris, there aren’t many charity shops, but I’ve found a replacement for when I just need a good old thrifting session. Guerrisol sells second hand clothes, mostly for under €5 a piece. If you have the patience to rummage, you can get some really good things, like this oversized cardigan which I bought for €3. It’s super warm and super slouchy, perfect for the weather at the moment. I’m wearing it with a People Tree dress and a belt from my childhood dressing up box. The only problem: people here don’t seem to wear much colour so I stand out a bit…

Thursday: My favourite things

This is my all-time favourite dress, which I picked up from the Motel Recycle and Re-invent range a few years ago. Combined with my all-time favourite cardigan (Jaeger, and cashmere, by way of a charity shop!), this is, well… my all-time favourite outfit. I’ve worn the cardigan so much that I’ve made a hole in the elbow, so I think a purchase of some elbow patches is in order...

Friday: Homemade

I’ve been buying up lots of vintage sewing patterns lately, and this sleeveless blouse is one of the things I made. It fits like a glove – that’s the beauty of making things from scratch! The skirt was €5 from the ultimate Parisian thrift store, Guerrisol, and I had to alter it a bit because it was just far too long. I really love sewing, and I would definitely encourage anyone who is in doubt to have a go!

The rose-pink cardigan is from a vintage shop and the shoes are hand-me-downs from my mum.

Want more from Eco Age?
Like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter! The Fru-Gal challenge also have their own Twitter profile.

Sadie xxx

P.S. Millions of thanks to my housemate for taking these photos!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Ethical Christmas Present Guide: Boyfriends

I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds buying presents for men (specifically: boyfriends) hard. With this in mind, I've compiled a little ethical gift guide for men. I'm not really one for buying presents-for-the-sake-of-presents, but these gifts also give a little bit back to the world, which is a nice idea.

Any man that receives any of these things is luckier than my poor old boyfriend, as I'm sadly not quite rich enough to afford them on an intern's wage. But it's the thought that counts, right? Sadly the Dr Who hand-knitted scarf that has been requested several times is several years from completion (not started).

a) Oliver Navy Block Jumper £140, People Tree / b) Olive Bush Boot £59.95, Vegetarian Shoes / c) Green Energy £32, Oxfam Unwrapped / d) WeWOOD Army Wooden Watch £89, Ethical Superstore / e) Kopi Men's Wool Scarf €60.75 Komodo / f) Fire hose Billfold Wallet £62, Yours Sustainably / g) Hudson Blue Felt Hat £49.95, Pachacuti / h) Ethletic High Top Trainers £44, The Fair Corp / i) Set of 4 men's stripey socks £18.50, Bamboo Clothing / j) Laughing grey sweatshirt (organic) £40, Conquer Gear

...although perhaps that amazing Pachacuti hat can count for Christmas and birthday? Hmm!

Any tip-offs for other great ethical gifts? Send them this way!

Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Updating an old blouse with buttons...

As you may or may not know, I'm a contributor over at the Oxfam Fashion Blog. This week, I upcycled a blouse using some vintage buttons. To read more, click here!

Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

'The Life of a T-shirt' Infographic

Infographics get a lot of stick nowadays, but there are still some that are definitely worth seeing. I think this one quite accurately describes some of the reasons why I think twice about buying something new - namely water and pesticide consumption. If you stop and think about it, it's pretty shocking how much goes into one t-shirt, bearing in mind just how many the average shop stocks.

Thanks to the Urban Times for this infographic, produced in collaboration with TextƧure.

Life of a T-Shirt infographic

Sadie xxx

Saturday, 17 November 2012

DIY: How to make pompoms!

For some unknown reason, I recently had a massive urge to make pompoms. This is an activity I used to do with my mum when I was little, and is surprisingly easy (the proof: a 6 year old me could manage it!). I picked up the wool at the largest charity shop I have ever seen, Emmaüs, in the 19th arrondissement here in Paris. But more on this incredible shop another time. The balls of wool were 50 cents each as they were partially used, not that that even matters... making for a very cheap and fun little DIY!

You will need:
Sheet of cardboard (an old cereal packet will do)
Jar lid & coin (to draw around)

1) On your sheet of cardboard, draw around the jam jar lid twice.
2) Place the coin in the centre and draw around that too
 3) Cut the shapes out
4) Place the circles one on top of the other, and cut out a little wedge shape. This is a sneaky trick to make the process a bit quicker, but if you want a more even pompom just leave the two circles intact. Basically, this wedge method means that you don't have to awkwardly pass the wool through the small centre hole every time you wind.
5) Start to wind your wool around the two layers of cardboard.
6) Continue until the whole thing is covered and is several layers thick!
7) Take the scissors, and poke the end in between the two pieces of cardboard.
8) With the scissors between the two pieces of card, and with a firm grip on the centre of the pompom, cut all the way around the edge.
9) Thread a length of wool around the pompom, between the two pieces of card. Tie it in a tight knot as close to the core of the pompom as possible. You can repeat this a few times for extra pompom security.
 10) Remove the pieces of card! Et voilà!

And here's one I made earlier...
'But why would I want a pompom?', I hear you ask! Well, there are a million uses for a pompom and they are definitely 100% necessary as general household decoration, fashion accessories and finishing touches for all manner of customisation projects. If anyone has any fantastic suggestions, please feel free to mention them in a comment!

Also, aim for second hand wool if possible: it's just as good, 5x cheaper and doesn't use extra resources. Keep your pompoms ethical, guys! haha.

Sadie xxx

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A bit of a 'relooking'

'Relooking' is my favourite new French word... their bizarre version of 'make over'. You can pay extra money at the hairdressers for a 'relooking'. That is, if you're particularly brave. I personally don't fancy a makeover conducted in a foreign language.

Haircuts aside, I decided that it was high time my blog had a little change of design, as the old one feels just as stagnant as the frequency at which I post. In theory, this will motivate me to post more, but we shall see. I really want to get back into blogging properly, although whether or not this will actually happen is another story of course! This makes it sound like I don't enjoy blogging anymore, which is definitely not true (if it was, I'd just stop!). Thankyou to anyone patient enough to stick around despite the giant tumbleweeds rolling across my section of the internet.

I'm fairly pleased with the new design, but if anyone has any constructive criticism please feel free to let me know! I literally just discovered the benefits of .png files, making everything look a bit sleeker than before (I hope). However, after battling with Photoshop for more time than is acceptable, I took to my old friend MS Paint to do most of the graphics. Such a professional. Shh.

Anyway, I've also got a snazzy new matching Twitter account, which has somehow gained a load of followers all of a sudden. You can find me here: @sadieswardrobe

I'll hopefully be back soon with some actual posts.

Watch this space!

Sadie xxx