My People Tree Collection

Hello!

I’m in a bit of a blogging rut at the moment but thought it would be cool to share my favourite pieces I bought from People Tree (this isn’t sponsored – just genuinely love the brand!). I think ethical fashion can get a bad reputation for being ‘too hippy’ and/or ‘boring’ but hopefully this shows otherwise!

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I’ve put them in the order I got them – the last 2 are still available in the sale for under £25! The roll neck jumper dress is here and the burgundy print tunic is here.

I regularly wear the first three for work and the last one is more for fun – it has rabbits printed all over it, so I thought it’d be perfect for Easter!

They all wash really well and I love how they fit – they’re all in UK size 10, which is my usual size.

Which one is your favourite?

Review and Thoughts: The True Cost

true cost

A documentary was released at the end of May which is all about the cost of clothing to the environment and human rights issues.

I love a good documentary! But what makes this one special is how recently it was made AND how big it is – this interviews are with incredible people like the director of People Tree, Stella McCartney and Vandana Shiva as well as people around the world who are affected by the fashion industry.

40 million people are employed as garment workers – I knew this was a big issue, but it’s just incomprehensible! It shows as individuals what difference we can make as we buy clothes.

The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year – what?!! Again, this is incomprehensible. It’s so wasteful and shows how unnecessary most of it must be. I donate any unwanted clothing to charity shops, but that’s not a closed loop as I don’t buy ALL my clothes second hand.

There was also a load of really interesting stories and facts about the importance of organic clothing. This was something I wasn’t really aware of, so it was super interesting! I’m going to make an effort from now on to buy more organic food and clothing.

I think I knew most of the human rights issues around the fashion industry, but it’s good to get a reminder! And I didn’t really consider the environmental factor before. So while this is a great way to be introduced to the issues with fast fashion, it’s also a useful film for anyone really.

The website has 5 Tips for Shopping Smarter which I will be putting into practice!

In addition to the individual responsibility and brand responsibilities, it also touched on the economic system. Capitalism demands constant growth – this is inherently unsustainable and requires some people to forgo their human rights in order for the system to work. I think this is really important for people to recognise, as we are limited in what we can do as individuals.

However, my personal target will be to buy everything from truly ethical companies (People Tree, Braintree etc.) or second hand (charity shops, ebay etc.). I think the only time I’m going to fall down on this is with underwear, socks and tights, as I don’t want to pay THAT much and I also feel a bit icky buying it second hand… We’ll see!

Have you got any tips for avoiding fast fashion?

As for capitalism… Well, I’ll have to work on what I can do about that!

Here’s the trailer for The True Cost:

Capsule Ethical Workwear Wardrobe

Ethical Workwear

Apologies for the changing light! I was originally going to take these outside, but it kept clouding over so that’s why the photos all look slightly different.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve recently got a new job! It’s my first ‘career-job’ and the first one without a uniform. I love that I get to choose my own clothes every day. It gives me a feeling of self and it’s super important after going through the British school system and having to wear the same uniform for 11 years of my life!

But then there was the issue of ‘I have nothing to wear that’s suitable for an office’!!

I wanted to buy a capsule workwear wardrobe that I would be comfortable wearing, wouldn’t cost me too much and has come from an ethical source.

I started off with what I already had; the second outfit was my interview outfit, so that’s a good starting point! There’s also the leopard print People Tree dress which I’ve blogged about before.

Then I got some basics from New Look – the black trousers, black skirt and white shirt (can’t find the link for that, sorry!). They have a whole work section online, nothing cost more than £20, and I’ve mentioned how ethical they are previously.

I went to H&M for an extra shirt – the zig zag pattern one which I love (but can’t find the link for, sorry)!! Again it was cheap and I’m happy buying from H&M as they have a transparent supplier list.

Then I turned to second hand clothing; the shoes are from ebay and cost £7, the cream peter pan collar blouse is also from ebay and cost £3 (bargain as it was originally from Next!). Then Vinted came through with the bright blue dress – £20, the pinky-red shirt – £12 and the patterned trousers – £15.

Buying second hand meant that I got good value for money, and topped up my wardrobe so I now have all I need for work! It’s also the most ethical way to buy clothing as you’re not creating any more waste or encouraging the use of child labour. Just make sure to check out my tips on how to shop on ebay as it’s easy to end up with something that doesn’t fit/you don’t like.

I’m still searching for some nude/white shoes for the summer months, and I’m sure I would need to invest in more layers for winter wear, but apart from that I’m very happy with the capsule wardrobe!

Which outfit is your favourite?

Fashion Revolution!

It’s been two years since the tragic Rana Plaza collapse.

In case you don’t know; a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing and injuring thousands of workers. This highlighted the poor conditions that people work in, particularly in the fashion industry. There was an expectation that something would be done about it – more regulations and better conditions, but it looks like it’s business as usual…

This is where we come in!

Today is fashion revolution day, and it is our job to ask the question who made my clothes? By showing that we care about workers conditions, brands and companies will hopefully make their supply chain more transparent and improve conditions in their factories.

So the idea is that we take a selfie showing a label from a piece of clothing you’re wearing. You then post this image on social media, tag the brand and #whomademyclothes?

This is such a simple, quick statement to make – so I hope you’ll join me in this action! If enough of us participate then we’ll definitely make an impact 🙂DSC_0288

It’s dress down Friday at the office so I wore this t-shirt from H&M (the label is near the waist so kind of hard to selfie with!); although I’ve mentioned this brand before as being quite ethical, the label clearly states ‘Made in Bangladesh’. This is quite worrying considering this was where the factory collapsed two years ago! I’ll tweet them and if I get a response I’ll let you know.

Surprisingly Ethical Brands!

Since people will pay a premium for items that are more ‘ethical’/’environmentally-friendly’, some companies are pretending that their brands are more ethical than they really are. This is so so annoying for those of us who want to support genuine brands!

But there are also brands that are genuinely ethical, but choose not to advertise this! I wanted to share some of them with you guys so you can make simple changes to everyday purchases 🙂

Bulldog is a skincare brand in the UK, targeted at men and advertised as no nonsense stuff. But it’s also completely animal-friendly and ethical consumer ranks it highly. It’s not expensive at all, so a great find 😀

There are a couple of make up brands as well that are completely cruelty free that you might not expect; ELF, GOSH and Barry M. They’re all reasonably priced (I hope to do a few reviews using these brands in the future) and widely available.

There are also a few high street clothing brands – these aren’t as ethical as the more expensive brands, but are great if you want to reduce your impact and are on a budget! H&M, New Look and Zara are all making progress on improving their supply chains and reducing their environmental impact.

Plain Lazy is a great brand if you have teenagers to buy presents for! Or anyone who’s relaxed 🙂 A lot of their products use organic cotton, and they don’t break the bank.

Arena Flowers are a flower company that top the charts on the ethical consumer list. They stock Fairtrade Flowers and British Flowers too – a couple of great options!

La Tasca is a restaurant that I love – it’s a Spanish restaurant that tops the ethical consumer charts! It’s no more expensive than other chains, and is that much better for the world 🙂

I hope you found this useful. If there are any other ‘secretly ethical’ brands you know of, please list them below!

Favourite Fairtrade Brands

In case you didn’t know, it’s Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February – 8th March)! The definition of Fairtrade is this: ‘Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers’, but I think it’s more than that.

Fairtrade is the start of a conversation about how unethical our rampant consumerism has become. The current trade system is unsustainable (for both the planet and the people working in it), so Fairtrade offers an option for consumers to buy without feeling guilty for supporting that system.

I don’t think it’s a long term solution, but it’s a start! Therefore, I often try to look for the Fairtrade Symbol or WFTO symbol; any product can claim to be ‘fair’ or ‘ethical’ but the mark means it’s been judged by an independent party to be truly fair.

(Side Note: WFTO is actually better than the normal Fairtrade symbol – it means the whole brand, rather than just one product, follows the Fairtrade philosophy eg. Nestle can get the KitKat branded as Fairtrade by switching their cocoa suppliers, but they wouldn’t be able to be certified by WFTO as the company benefits from constantly undercutting suppliers – a big no no!)

Here are a few of my favourite brands that follow the Fairtrade philosophy, and have been certified accordingly:

– Divine Chocolate (aka chocolate of the gods) – this just tastes so good. It’s mostly owned by the farmers themselves, and they’ve got loads of interesting flavour combinations that make it a bit different from the usual ethical chocolate bars! They also do Easter Eggs 😀

People Tree – this is another well known brand for how ethical it is and the clothes they make are so classic that you’ll keep them for years. The prices are a bit steep, but they have some really great deals in their sale section (in fact I think I’ll treat myself to this – also WFTO certified!).

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Shared Earth – a great find for home accessories, this is the brand I got my A-Z bookends from. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they do have a great selection – the recycled materials are especially interesting!

There are many more of course! Leave your favourites in the comments below – I’d love to discover different ones 🙂

7 Top Tips for Shopping on Ebay

1. Be specific – over 1.5 million items match ‘party dress’ on the UK website; there is just so much on ebay you can’t trawl through it all! So try typing in specifics e.g. colour, style or brand. I find this is better than using the filters on the side as some sellers don’t use them.

2. Know your size – this is the main issue with online shopping, but especially with ebay as you can’t return it for not fitting! I tend to err on the larger side as it’s easier to take something in than take something out (although it is possible). If you really want an item, try it on in an actual store if possible. I recently did this with Topshop jeans (they’re not very ethical, cost too much but are good jeans) so I knew exactly what size to bid on.

3. Location – one of the filters I would recommend using is restricting the location to Europe/your own continent. Firstly because shipping costs would add up! But also, there are quite a few sellers who are based in China selling goods at really low prices… I have no proof but I suspect these are from sweatshop workers.

4. Bid at the last minute with your maximum price – in order to win any auction style item you have to be savvy with your bidding. I always ‘watch’ the item, that way I get an alert when it is about to end and I can sweep in at the last minute with my maximum price. If you bid before then you risk others outbidding you before the auction ends.

5. Ask questions/pictures – sellers want to sell their items! So they should be more than willing to answer any questions or take more pictures for you. I wish I had known this when I started as there are a few items I can think of that turned up and were a different material/colour/shape than expected!

6. Be patient – wait for the perfect item and spend more on that than multiple 99p ‘bargains’ that you probably won’t wear! I’ve been guilty of this and it’s not so bad because after a couple of months it can go to a charity shop, but it’s just wasting your own money.

7. Fat Fingers – this website finds items that have been spelt wrong (from all ebay sites) and therefore other people won’t find them and there will be fewer bidders to compete against. I’ve used this a few times – it’s pretty useful!