Six Ways to Become an Ethical Fashionista

1) Check your labels
Grab five items out of your closet and check the labels to see where they are made. If they are clothes from the high street or mass produced labels, I bet the tag reads ‘Made in China’ (or PRC). I did an audit of my old clothing and shoes about 18 months ago and I was shocked to see that 80% of it was made in China! While we should be ever so grateful to the people in China who do work hard to make our products, I don’t know how grateful we should be to the companies that choose to manufacture in countries where they can:

  • pay staff less
  • make staff work extraordinarily long hours
  • employ or use children
  • use hazardous work environments

made-byI make sure the labels on my clothing come from a country I am confident has more laws in place that monitor factory working conditions. I will not buy clothing made in countries where factory working conditions are shady and unlikely to be enforced. If I do buy any clothing made from countries such as China or India, I make sure it has been certified fair trade by an organisation such as the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO, formerly known as IFAT) or Made-By.

Your Resources:
World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
Made-By

2) Check your fabrics

ORGANIC COTTON
Did you know your ‘regular’ jeans contain about 2/3 of a pound of pesticides and your t-shirt contains 1/3 of a pound? – Del Forte Organic Denim website

‘An estimated 1 million to 5 million cases of pesticide poisoning occur ever year, resulting in 20,000 reported deaths among agricultural workers and at least 1 million requiring hospitalisation’ – Environmental Justice Foundation

These statistics were enough to convince me to immediately switch to organic cotton purchases. There are so many stunning fashion items being made today from organic cotton that there is no need to keep using normal cotton.

SILK
Another natural fabric, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t stopped to think about was silk. I don’t like to list disturbing and gruesome information about the way some animals (or living creatures) suffer for things such as fashion, so if you want to learn more about silk, you can read this information provided by PETA. You can buy Peace Silk or Ahimsa Peace Silk instead, which is just as beautiful but is ‘made from the cocoons of caterpillars who have completed the moth stage and flown away.’

bamboo-fabricBAMBOO
I’ve started to limit the amount of bamboo derived clothing on Green Lashes and Fashion after reading articles such as the following:

Treehugger featured an article, ‘Is Bamboo Clothing Truly Green?’ in which Michael Lackman of Lotus Organics stated, ‘the growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly but the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises environmental and health concerns because of the strong chemical solvents used to cook the bamboo plant into a viscose solution that is then reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into yarn for fabric.’

3) Check where you shop

I used to enjoy popping into H&M and finding cute pieces at cheap prices but I no longer visit high street, big name shops due to where the clothing is made and the fabrics used to make the clothing. It wasn’t too hard to end this retail relationship once I saw the benefits such as:

  • less chance of running into another girl wearing the exact same outfit as you (the ultimate fashion nightmare)
  • increased fashion creativity. Interpreting fashion trends and outfits I see in magazines or on the street with clothing I already own (and a vintage accessory or two).
  • the thrill of finding a designer item or high street label at Oxfam for half the price and in excellent quality (perfect for moments when you may be tempted back to the high street).
  • supporting ethical labels by shopping at their sites and parading in their eco clothing looking simply fabulous, will increase the popularity and profile of ethical fashion which will then increase the market and lower the prices! It’s a win / win!

Your Resources: If you haven’t checked out ethical shopping online, you may want to check out the following stores (which are also featured on a longer list of shopping sites I have on the side panel of Green Lashes and Fashion).

4) Check what you really need

wearing-clothesBefore you reach for a pair of harem pants or other ‘must-have item this season’, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I still be wearing this in a year’s time?
  • How often will I wear this?
  • What other items in my wardrobe will it go with?

When shopping for new pieces, it’s important to purchase invaluable pieces that will suit your lifestyle. It’s also better to spend more money on one good quality item than several cheaper pieces that will date, loose their shape and / or colour or fall apart.

5) Check out vintage and second-hand stores

This is the greenest option by far because you are using fashion that already exists and not creating a demand for new items to be produced which can impact negatively on the environment and the people making them.

For anyone that thinks vintage is expensive (yes, it can be in big fashion cities) but I’m sure you will find some cool vintage stores in your town or online vintage sellers at Etsy, who will all prove just how affordable vintage can be! You can put together a whole new, fashion forward outfit from Etsy’s vintage sellers for less than $50.

6) Check out your sewing abilities

upcycled-clothingUpcycled clothing (clothing made from reclaimed fabrics, vintage clothing, end of line fabrics) is exploding in the fashion world right now. What better way to save the planet and look stylish and unique whilst doing it? If you or someone you know can sew, your fashion creations will be limitless but if sewing is not your thing, you’ll be pleased to know you can look online and find many sites and labels are producing some stunning upcycled pieces (see below for listings).

Check you have have a pretty reusable shopping bag for your ethical fashion purchases! You probably have your reusable bags for your groceries but why not keep an extra one solely for clothing purchases in your handbag?

Eco Fashion Spotlight – Cri de Coeur Vegan Shoes

Attention shoe lovers and animal lovers, today is a ‘praise the shoe gods’ kind of day!’ Call all of your friends and let them know you are now going by the name of Imelda Marcos because you will probably be buying every pair of Cri de Coeur’s Spring line of shoes!

I’m not going to distract you with too many more words when there are shoes involved. I’ll state the important eco criteria so you can move swiftly onto staring lovingly at these stunning shoes.

Cri de Coeur shoes are all vegan and handmade in Europe.
Cri de Coeur are not just content helping beautify the tootsies of eco girls everywhere but they are also committed to helping the planet. They have ‘partnered with Carbonfund.org’ to offset their carbon emissions and have also ‘pledged to sponsor a tree’ which will be ‘planted for every pair of shoes sold’. Very impressive!

 

cri-de-coeur-vegan-shoes-alexaALEXA
These open toe boots with cut out zipper and sand coloured canvas are the ultimate attention-grabbing shoes! I’m sure they will be gracing the pages of every top fashion magazine.

ABIGAIL
I love, love, love the coloured heel on these adorable sandals. So simple yet so striking! Available in Geranium (above) and also Gold.

CHLOE
These Chloe shoes are the perfect pair of elegant flats to have in your growing vegan shoe closet! They will look great with anything! Available in Black (as above), Mimosa & Midnight Black or Black & White.

cri-de-coeur-vegan-shoes-melissa

MELISSA
I’ve been seeing a lot of strappy-ness in the shoe stratosphere lately and I think these black suede effect Melissa shoes with zip front are sublime.

FRETA
A fantastic take on the strappy sandal! These edgy summer ready shoes will look perfect with any skirts, dresses or shorts.

cri-de-coeur-vegan-shoes-sierra SIERRA
Who would have thought an elastic band could look so chic and elegant? These Sierra shoes are ideal for work, casual or formal occasions. The Sierra shoes pictured above are ‘Moonless Night Suede’ (faux) with grey elastic band. Also available in a gorgeous Mimosa and Midnight Black colour.

Eight Great Graphic Organic T-Shirts

bellamy-tee-people-tree-t-shirtBellamy Tee – People Tree
made in india (IFAT) / organic cotton
Give a shout out to renowned ecologists, Bellamy, Attenborough, Nutkins and Oddie by wearing this truly eco tee.
People Tree – £15 (was £22)

crop-circle-t-shirt-mociunCrop Circle T-Shirt – Mociun
handmade in new york / organic cotton
A white tee or top is an essential item for summer and when you add a silver / orange crop circle into the mix, well, you’re the leader of the fashion pack. This fun tee mixes style with kookiness perfectly so that you can wear this dressed down with shorts and jeans or dressed up with sleek skirts and chic blazers.
Beklina – $80


butterfly-top-mika-machidaButterfly Top – Mika Machida
made in nyc / organic cotton
This ‘save the natural habitat for butterflies’ top is a wonderful fusion of creativity and quirkiness. I love the idea of using the butterfly’s antennae as the straps for one shoulder. Too sweet!
Planet Threads – $198


what-would-ben-do-t-shirtWhat Would Ben Do T-shirt – Look for Fiddleheads
made in chicago / organic cotton
I love a tee with an intelligent message and a sense of humour. This tee ticks both boxes for me, plus it looks downright cool. This one will certainly be a conversation starter!
Etsy, Look for Fiddleheads $26

christian-lacroix-tee-environmental-justice-foundationChristian Lacroix Tee – Environmental Justice Foundation
made in Turkey (Fair Wear Foundation) / organic cotton
Christian Lacroix is one of several stellar designers that helped The Environmental Justice Foundation (EFJ) produce a line of fair trade, organic t-shirts that help raise awareness to end forced child labour and the use of toxic pesticides within the cotton industry. Pick your favourite design and look great while supporting a great cause.
Fashion Conscience – £32

10-speed-tee-sub_urban-riot10 Speed Tee – Sub_Urban Riot
made in usa / organic cotton
This ‘bicycles are best’ tee should get your eco transport message across effectively and stylishly as long as you don’t wear it while driving, in which case you’ll need a plausible story prepared such as, ‘my bike is in the shop’ or ‘of course my car is electric / hybrid / running on last night’s leftover olive oil from dinner’.
Greenloop – $32

rain-forest-t-shirt-andiraRain Forest Tee – Andira
made in peru / organic cotton
A tee with stunning symbolism. This tee, featuring an upturned rain forest is from Andira’s line of Rain Tees which feature the ‘thoughts, illustrations and names’ of school children ‘living in endangered rain forests across Central and South America’. For every tee sold, a tree will be planted in an area of rain forest that has been destroyed in Costa Rica.
Econscious Market – $34.20

white-leopard-sash-edunWhite Leopard Sash – Edun
made in peru / organic cotton
Get your leopard on the green way with this v-neck tee from the perpetually cool label, Edun. Keep the look edgy by wearing the tee with skinny jeans or inject a flash of bright colour with a fun skirt or pair of shorts.
Edun – 55 Euros

Luxury Vintage Fashion – Atelier Mayer

If you thought Atelier Mayer only stocked ‘I’m sorry, could you repeat the price again’ vintage fashion, you may be surprised to see that most of the following pieces are under £100. Remember, as my fashion-frenzied Aunt Winnie always used to say, ‘even the shops that are snooty will always have some bargain booty! It’s true, I didn’t have to look for long on Atelier Mayer (I just clicked the under £100 sign) and lo and behold there were quite a few affordable vintage treasures that caught my eye! By the way, I don’t really have an Aunt Winnie but that bit of sage advice sounds better coming from an eccentric aunt, doesn’t it? One last thing, don’t be frightened by the price of the last dress. It’s just that I exercised such commendable retail restraint on a site filled with luscious £1,000 gowns that I had to squeeze in one truly decadent piece!

hand-embroidered-bodiceHand Embroidered Bodice £50
I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘where will I wear a black and gold beaded bustier?’ Well, even if you’re not brave enough to wear this to the boadroom and are not appearing in Beyonce’s next music video anytime soon, you could still make this beautiful bodice work for you. Sewing savvy ladies could transform this into a dress. The potential is there, it’s just waiting for your creativity and vision!

Gold and Ruby Heart Ring £34.50
Statement rings will always be popular and this heart shaped ring is no exception. With ‘frosted black, ruby and white diamante detailing’ and a fairly decent price tag, this is a great young, fun and fancy purchase.

hot-tangerine-frou-frou-shift-dress-atelier-mayerHot Tangerine Frou Frou Shift Dress £138
I know, it’s expensive, orange and there’s a bow and fringed skirt but I totally love it! The dress is from the ’60s but I’m sensing a little ’20s, flapper influence in the style, which is always a popular look.

gold-embroidered-evening-purse
Gold Embroidered Evening Purse £40.25

This eye-catching purse has a fantastic, futuristic look. You can’t go wrong with a chic, petite ‘wow’ purse.

Gold Aztec Necklace £92
Oh my! I wish I could be more articulate about this divine necklace but its beauty speaks for itself. Because the price is under £100, I could definitely consider buying a stunning jewellery piece such as this. You would have this heirloom piece forever.

Burnt Orange A-Line Swing Jacket £84
Here is the perfect little jacket for Spring and Autumn. The cheery colour is super flattering and a nice change from the numerous black jackets already out there. By they way, this is Hermes!

geometric-embroidered-bagGeometric Embroidered Bag £55
Hello, 1960s and all of your geometric patterned loveliness! This bag has Brady Bunch written all over it (in a good way). This is too cute and will look great today, tomorrow and for years to come.

bob-mackie-striped-siren-gownBob Mackie Striped Siren Gown – £1,800 (I know, but it was so pretty I had to show it here).
Just in case you happen to be attending a red carpet premiere soon or spent most of today pondering what to do with that spare £1800 you had lying around, here is the ultimate vintage dress for you. It’s from the 1970s and is a slice of striped sublimity in my books! Yes, the price is difficult to look at but sometimes it’s just nice to stare at a pretty dress every now and again.

Get Red-y the Vintage Way

vintage-heart-and-butterfly-brooch-from-pudding

Vintage Heart and Butterfly Brooch
– The Pudding Store Vint (Etsy) $11.50
This charming brooch will look beautiful pinned to any jacket, bag or hat.

vintage-red-apple-cookie-jarVintage Red Apple Cookie Jar
– Retro Kitsch (Etsy) $28
An apple a day or a cookie day? Tough decision but if you decide to opt for the cookies at least they will seem a little bit healthier when they are stored in this apple jar!

60s-asymmetrical-mod-red-jacket
60s Asymmetrical Mod Red Jacket

– Ophelia Vintage (Etsy) $59.95
Wow, what a statement jacket! From the black and gold buttons to the signature stripe, it has it all!

vintage-red-postbox-keyring
Vintage Red Postbox Keyring
Rokit, £3
Carry a little bit of London with you wherever you go with this adorable keyring.

1970s-red-belted-winter-coat
1970s Red Belted Winter Coat
Rokit, £60
Enduring the chills of winter won’t seem so hard when you can cloak yourself in this stylish and fabulous red coat.


vintage-wooden-duck-umbrellaVintage Wooden Duck Umbrella
– Jess James Jake (Etsy) $40
Red umbrellas always make grey, overcast and rainy days just that bit more prettier! And when you have a duck on the handle, you’ll be guaranteed to make a few people chuckle!

Stay Warm In These Long Sleeve Dresses

Mock the pseudo button dress and I, if you must but I appreciate its kooky quality. The second dress appeals to the travel writer within. What could be better than a pretty dress with a map on it? You would never be lost in the fashion world when wearing this. The final two dresses are classics. Sleeveless dresses are at their most stylish when they are done in a simple yet sumptuous red or black.

Three New Eco Outfit Ideas

THE GREEN GIRL
Such a quirky cool dress with buttons, pockets and a design that makes your waist look teeny, tiny. Black vegan booties add a little attitude and the earthy tones in the bracelet and bag mesh well to create an unpredictable but appealing look.

  • Vintage Green Dress – Mime QIQI (Etsy) $59
  • Vegan Boots (Hendrix) – Beyond Skin, £172
  • Ariel Clutch in Espresso/Mango – Mar y Sol, $19.99
  • Vintage Bracelet – Jeux d’Esprits (Etsy) $69.99

Eco 411- Vegan boots are handmade in Spain and the bag is made in Madagascar / Kenya from raffia.

SPARKLY NIGHTS
Shimmer the night away in this decadent silver top and skinny leg, organic jeans. Accessorize in both a girlie and tough way with the pink, cluster bracelet and incredible Cri de Coeur vegan sandals.

silver-skinny-jeans

  • Vintage Sequined 60s Top – Lethilogica (Etsy) $125
  • Del Forte Organic Jeans – Fashion Conscience, £135
  • Cri de Couer Sandals – Shop Flick, $221
  • Pink Cha Cha Bracelet – House of Vintage (Etsy) $49

Eco 411 – Denim jeans are made in the USA from organic cotton, vegan shoes are handmade in Europe and the bracelet is made from vintage glass beads.

AUTUMN WARMTH
60s-coat-and-glamorous-knee-high-vegan-bootsStay stylish and cosy in this wonderful 60s coat and glamorous knee high vegan boots. The berry coloured raffia clutch adds a bright pop of colour and the sweet stallion brooch adds a nice equestrian vibe along with the boots.

  • Vintage 1960s Coat – Love Miss Daisy, £75
  • Del Forte Organic Jeans – Fashion Conscience, £135
  • Vintage Brooch – Ritzy Couture Vintage (Etsy) $15
  • Purple Gigi Circle Clutch – Mar y Sol, $79
  • Vegan Boots (Apricot) – Beyond Skin £186

Eco 411 – Gigi clutch is made in Madagascar from raffia and the vegan boots are handmade in Spain.

It’s A Tree Thing

Organic Cotton Onesie
The life of a ‘Little Tree Hugger’ starts early. If you know one, I’m sure their parents and them will love this. It’s made with organic cotton and environmentally friendly water based paints. Made in Honolulu.
Purchase – Little Dew Drops (Etsy) $20

Eco-friendly Tree of Life Notebook
eco-friendly-tree-of-life-notebookPrinted on ‘tree-free lokta paper’ and made with recycled chipboard and paper. Available in many pretty colours. Made in Oregon.
Purchase – This Is It (Etsy) $12

Upcycled Maple Tree Apron
For some autumnal cooking, this apron couldn’t be better. It’s made from remnant fabrics and features a lovely tree design on each of the large pockets. Made in London.
Purchase – Green Lashes and Fashion (Etsy) $42

organic-cotton-redwood-tree-t-shirtOrganic Cotton Redwood Tree T-shirt
All green girls should have a fabulous tree t-shirt in organic cotton. Wear with your favourite organic jeans for the perfect casual, weekend look. Made in Chicago.
Purchase – Look for Fiddleheads (Etsy) $26

Vintage Money Tree Handbag
Wonderful kitschy, cool bag that will attract many stares and smiles.
Purchase – Planet Claire Vintage (Etsy) $35

Seven Vintage Zebra Finds

I couldn’t stop myself from finding all things vintage and zebra-related on Etsy today. The zebra is quite often my fashion muse. I just love black and white stripes and anything striking and unique. Here’s what I found.
Zebra Print Top (above) – Fine Feathers Vintage, Etsy ($18)

zebra-print-topWear with skinny jeans or under a jacket for an edgy look.

Chiffon Scarf – Candy Apple Crafts, Etsy ($15)
Perfect for those times when you need to give your basic black outfit a little lift.

Vintage Purse – Shop at Moxie, Etsy ($16)
Animal loving kids and adults will love this sweet bag.

Velvet Zebra – Cottage Farm, Etsy ($46)

velvet-zebra-cottage-farmSo refreshing to see plastic-free toys! This velvet zebra has so much charm and would make the perfect gift for anyone who is zany for zebras.

Safari Mini Dress – Dirty Betty Vintage, Etsy ($30)

safari-mini-dressI could see this dress on Gwen Stefani or Rihanna. It’s a dress that will always look different but will always stay in fashion.

Wood Bracelet – Ditbge, Etsy ($8.75)
Chunky bracelets always look great, especially in a zebra print!

Recycled Zebra Gift Tags – Paper Piggy, Etsy ($2.99)
Forget boring gift tags. Why not use these fun ones made from vintage playing cards instead?

Let me know if you want another animal inspired round-up next week. Meerkats, rhinos… I’ll do my best. It may not be stylish but I’m sure it will be entertaining!

About a Cat

Did I mention our new rental place came with a cat? I’d never looked after or been around cats before but this little one has my heart. I’m now that girl that takes copious, cute pictures of ‘their’ cat and then shares them with people, on their blog.

Vintage Moschino JacketRokit (£85)

moschino-cheap-chic-jacketI have tried to put a green spin on today’s post. I present to you a vintage Moschino Cheap & Chic jacket, complete with a cat in the pocket. I do think someone could pull this look off. It’s probably not me though. I’ll stick with my rental cat, Miss Custard Powder (nickname I have given her because that is the name on the cardboard food box she loves to sleep in).

Who hasn’t had a day when they felt like this?

‘Tis a funny world. The cat world. All the fickleness, preening and purring. If anyone has a cat or has ‘cat whisperer’ abilities and wants to share some tips with me, that would be great because I know next to nothing!