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