Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II
Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

October seems to be a bumper month for awareness campaigns.  As well as yesterday’s World Mental Health Day, we are mid way through Hospice Care Week.

Hospices provide palliative care to those with life limiting illnesses. This means that patients admitted to hospices do not recover or leave the facility, except perhaps to spend their final few hours at home.

The annual Hospice Care Week is a time of celebration and action intended to raise the profile of hospice care in the UK and change people’s perceptions of them.

My paternal grandmother and aunt were both cared for by a local hospice, as was a friend’s mum.  I know that they provide vital emotional support as well as medical supervision during the darkest time that individuals and families face.

Hospices are staffed by doctors, nurses and volunteers, but unlike NHS hospitals, they only receive around one-third of their funding from the government.

As a result, hospices throughout the country rely heavily on charitable giving.

An easy way to support your local hospice during Hospice Care Week and beyond is to frequent their nearest charity shop.  

I was delighted when The Myton Hospices, a charity operating three hospices in my area, invited to me to undertake a style challenge at their newest store, Myton Fargo, on Far Gosford Street in Coventry.

I was so amazed and overwhelmed by the fantastic stock that the original terms of the challenge went out the window and I spent a happy day creating a week’s worth of outfits from their racks and rails.

Shortly afterwards, I returned to Myton Fargo with a view to shopping for myself.  In honour of Hospice Care Week, I thought I’d share two items from that haul with you.  Both chime with current and emerging trends from the catwalk, demonstrating that second hand doesn’t mean out of date.

You can use second hand clothes to create first rate fashion.

AW17 Trend: The Cardigan

I’m not a slavish follower of fashion trends but I do love to watch what’s happening on the catwalks as they can (can, not always!) be a great source of creative inspiration.

However distinctive our own style, we could all do with a new twist or turn sometimes.  One way to do this is to see what top designers are doing and integrate elements of that into our look.

It’s not about replicating an outfit top-to-toe, even if we could afford to; rather it’s seeing an idea with fresh eyes.

Case in point this season: cardigans.

For the last decade, they’ve been safe in the stylish hands of Michelle Obama while we all donned sweatershirts and jumpers.

Now, as always happens, the fashion tide has turned.  It’s all about cardigans again!

Even as an ethical and minimalist dresser, this lured me in like a siren.  Oo yes, I thought.  A cardigan is just the thing! (Easily influenced?  Me?  Perhaps).

Myton Fargo provided just the thing: a gorgeous red wine coloured number.  It’s chunky knit incorporates interesting detailing, including what I think is moss stitch on the sleeves (I may be wrong on that!).

It’s an easy wardrobe update that’s also warm and comfortable.

Just look at those buttons!

SS17 Trend: Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a huge style icon during her lifetime and twenty years after her death, her influence is having a renaissance.

Echoes of her famous outfits were evident across the recent Paris Fashion Week, notably in Virgil Abloh’s collection for Off-White, which included Naomi Campbell taking to the runaway in white cycling shorts.

A tad more wearable than cycling shorts is this amazing paste choker.  Myton Fargo shared it on their Instagram feed and I actually drove there the following morning especially to buy it.

An over-reaction?  Maybe.  But it all counts as research, especially having written recently about Princess Diana and costume jewellery!

Nothing has stronger associations with Lady Di than large blue sapphires so it’s a simple style reference – a way of nodding to the trend without going full-blown homage.

Unless, of course, you want to wear cycling shorts.  In which case, go right ahead.

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The round-up: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

After a week of posts featuring different categories, here is the final collected round-up.  All of the stalls that I visited on the eco trail at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate on 17th July: seventeen in total, although there were others that I didn’t get to in my one day visit!

I’ve been so glad to share these awesome eco, ethical and sustainable brands with you.

(I’ve previously done a round-up of the eco, ethical & sustainable firms at the Pulse show too).

Beauty & skincare, fashion accessories & jewellery, gifts, greetings cards & stationery, candles, Christmas: they’re all listed below.

I hope that you’ve found some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make from them!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Beauty & skincare

 

Big Green Tree

Big Green Tree is a family owned business that designs and manufacturers its natural skincare products on the edge of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.  They offer a broad range of paraben and SLS free products, along with a diffusion line of men’s skincare items such as shaving soap and post-shave balm.  As well as the friendliness and knowledge of owner Helen, what impressed me was that when they do use plastic bottles, they are recyclable.  Good to know for certain!

Starting from around £12.00.

Sorry I didn’t get any pictures from this stall!  

Beauty & Skincare: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

MOA

The Magic Organic Apothecary was established in 2010, creating natural skincare products with close links to old folklore.  Their key ingredient is herb yarrow (Achillea millefolium), commonly found in English hedgerows.  MOA grow their own in Somerset, where they plant seeds by hand!  The products combine yarrow with other herbs and essential oils, such as tea tree and damask rose.  The original multi-purpose balm has now been joined by a cleanser, bath potion and facial oil.

Prices from £4.00.

 

Fashion accessories & jewellery

Earth Squared

Scarves, hats, gloves, bags, purses: Earth Squared offer them all under the slogan ‘fair trade and fabulous’.  They certainly are both!  A member of BAFTS (the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers), they work with fair trade accredited producers.  Among their huge selection of products, there will be something for everyone but my personal favourites were the tweed purses, velvet scarves and knitted bobble hats – although I also have my eye on a navy wool sling bag 🙂

From £5.99.

EnviroTrend

EnviroTrend sell a variety of bags that are designed to eliminate the use of plastic bags.  They are all lightweight yet strong, and the SAKitToMe™ shopping bags fold up into a size that you can attach to your key-ring – so you never caught out at the checkout without a reusable bag again!

They have also created the INside OUT Umbrella™.  This looks like a regular umbrella and opens the same, but will stand up on its own when down.  It also turns inside out as it is closed, so that the water drains on the inside, meaning no more soaking the side of your leg when walking round with a used brolly!

RRP from £6.00 for the bags; the umbrella £25.00.

Mowgs

Mowgs founder Michal stumbled upon villagers making beautiful baskets while travelling around Myanmar.  Locals produce them when the rainy season prevents farming, using generations old weaving techniques but plastic strapping recycled from used materials around them – meaning each one is unique.  Michal now works closely with the same villagers, bringing a limited number to the retail market.  Unsurprisingly they sell out fast!

RRP from £19.99 to £45.99.

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Old Willow

Scottish jewellery firm Two Skies source old pieces of the iconic blue-and-white willow pattern china and porcelain then upcycle the pottery into hand crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.  This includes rings, earrings and necklaces that feature either a bird, a bridge or another part of the classic scene.

Their publicity even tells the ancient love story behind the pattern:

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

‘A peasant boy and a princess were in love but her father, the king, would not let them marry.  He built a large fence around the palace and arranged a suitable marriage with a duke.  Arriving by boat, the Duke found that the couple had already escaped to an island where the gods had taken pity on them and transformed them into immortal doves’.

Starting at £24.50.

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Claire Vaughan Designs

Claire’s free-hand artwork is inspired by the garden, the countryside and coast.  These designs then appear cards, coasters, stationery, prints, bottles, homeware and ceramics.  The vast majority of goods are handmade or hand-finished and come from the finest independent UK sources.  I was immediately drawn to the mugs as I’d never seen such beautiful examples; I was unsurprised to learn that these are from The Potteries, Stoke.

From £1.95.

 

Hannah Longmuir

Hannah is a countryside artist whose mainly pencilled drawings record the beauty of hedgerows, woodlands and fields.  These images become cards and stationery that really are works of art.  I don’t need to describe them; the images speak for themselves.

From £2.00.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Seasonal Soul

Inspired by owner Rhianydd’s own quest for more connection and wellbeing, Seasonal Soul offers small homeware products, stationery and greetings cards designed to help users to relish the season and rekindle their soul.  Designed and made in the UK, the prints, colours and slogans reflect different times of the year, from the ‘For Someone Who’s Just Blooming Fabulous’ summertime card in hot pink to the seasonal journal kit in autumnal greens and oranges.

From £2.00.

Totes Adore

The Adore-A-Bottle range showcases stylish upcycling by recrafting empty alcohol bottles into beautiful new products.  There are chopping boards, lights, candles, nibble bowls and drizzle bottles.  The bottle lights would look great on an outdoor table or nestled on a cocktail bar, while the bespoke option means that you can sentimental bottles (such as champagne from your wedding) converted into a candle with a matching scent.

From £15.00.

Wraptious

Wraptious regularly run competitions to find new artists to contribute to their animal and nature inspired lines of products.  They offer a broad range of designs on items such as greetings cards, notebooks, coasters, placemats, clocks, mugs, cushions and prints.  All are made in the UK.

Retail prices from £2.50.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

YooJoo Cards

YooJoo’s Monster Cards have a second life as a bookmark: you simply tear the perforations when you’ve finished displaying it.  If that weren’t ingenious enough, owner and illustrator Julie has now added the Plectrum range.  She collects used store cards from shops then makes plectrums from the plastic, adding them to her drawings of acoustic and electric guitars.  Again these can be kept when the card is recycled.

From £2.75

Candles

 

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Light Me Bio-oil Candle

Did you know that 4.3 million people die every year from indoor air pollution?  It was this statistic which inspired the creators of the Light Me Bio-Oil Candle to create their product.  Their alternative maintains the ambience of regular candles but are clean burning, without the soot and melted wax.  They also self-extinguish if knocked over.

From £10.99.

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Melt

For almost twenty years, Melt have been making hand-poured candles with scents that differ from the usual perfumed options.  From Angel and Aubergine to Verbena and Clary Sage, Violet and Black Pepper, there are many distinctive perfumes available in two jar sizes and three freestanding options.  Furthermore, more than 94% of their ingredients come from the county of Lancashire, where they are based – supporting local business while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

From £8.95.

The Recycled Candle Company

You know how there’s wax leftover whenever you’ve finished burning a candle?  Well the clever chaps at The Recycled Candle Company go round collecting this seeming waste product from London churches, pubs and hotels then they recycle all the bits into beautiful new ones.  Isn’t this the greatest recycling story that you’ve ever heard?!

From £6.00.

Christmas

Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!  After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

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Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

Prices unavailable at present.

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Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

Fashion Accessories: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Last week, I attended the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge event, made up of many producers and even more retailers looking to add new lines to their sites, stores and stalls in the autumn.

As with previous events trade events I’ve attended, my goal was to seek out those makers with an eco, ethical or sustainable tale to tell.  I thus set off on the organised ‘Eco Trail’ but I was defeated by the size of the show, covering only around two-thirds of it.

Even so, I met some awesome brands that I’m excited to tell you about!  

Having realised how mammoth my earlier ethical round-up was, I decided to break this summary up somewhat.  There are five parts, the first being beauty and skincare last night, plus a collated post on Saturday.

 

I hope that you find some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Earth Squared

Scarves, hats, gloves, bags, purses: Earth Squared offer them all under the slogan ‘fair trade and fabulous’.  They certainly are both!  A member of BAFTS (the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers), they work with fair trade accredited producers.  Among their huge selection of products, there will be something for everyone but my personal favourites were the tweed purses, velvet scarves and knitted bobble hats – although I also have my eye on a navy wool sling bag 🙂

From £5.99.

EnviroTrend

EnviroTrend sell a variety of bags that are designed to eliminate the use of plastic bags.  They are all lightweight yet strong, and the SAKitToMe™ shopping bags fold up into a size that you can attach to your key-ring – so you never caught out at the checkout without a reusable bag again!

They have also created the INside OUT Umbrella™.  This looks like a regular umbrella and opens the same, but will stand up on its own when down.  It also turns inside out as it is closed, so that the water drains on the inside, meaning no more soaking the side of your leg when walking round with a used brolly!

RRP from £6.00 for the bags; the umbrella £25.00.

Mowgs

Mowgs founder Michal stumbled upon villagers making beautiful baskets while travelling around Myanmar.  Locals produce them when the rainy season prevents farming, using generations old weaving techniques but plastic strapping recycled from used materials around them – meaning each one is unique.  Michal now works closely with the same villagers, bringing a limited number to the retail market.  Unsurprisingly they sell out fast!

RRP from £19.99 to £45.99.

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Old Willow

Scottish jewellery firm Two Skies source old pieces of the iconic blue-and-white willow pattern china and porcelain then upcycle the pottery into hand crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.  This includes rings, earrings and necklaces that feature either a bird, a bridge or another part of the classic scene.

Their publicity even tells the ancient love story behind the pattern:

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

‘A peasant boy and a princess were in love but her father, the king, would not let them marry.  He built a large fence around the palace and arranged a suitable marriage with a duke.  Arriving by boat, the Duke found that the couple had already escaped to an island where the gods had taken pity on them and transformed them into immortal doves’.

Starting at £24.50.

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You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry’s Godiva Festival

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

I’ve recently written about Positive Outlook, a conscious clothing company based with a store in Coventry (and also available online!).  While researching this piece, I became more aware of the flourishing vintage scene in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.  Obviously I’d have been surprised if one of the huge trends of the last decade or so wasn’t evident around here.

Still it’s been fun to discover local sources for gorgeous second-hand goods!

I was able to delve further into this new-to-me world when at Coventry’s brilliant Godiva Festival this weekend.  FarGo Village, the city’s home for independent creative businesses (including Positive Outlook), hosted a vintage marquee and I had a good rummage while chatting to various stallholders.

Before I introduce them, I want to say a huge thanks to my partner Mark for patiently holding my Pepsi during the time I was in the tent.  The bars were refusing to give out lids and it’s hard to browse racks, rails and table tops with an open bottle of pop in one hand!  He’s waited outside a lot of shops and stalls as I’ve conducted important research 🙂

So if you’re committed to conscious clothing, here are some great central England sellers.

 A Little Bit of Vintage

Birmingham based Kathryn’s stall stocked some real gems.  With the label ‘vintage’ too often used to describe clothes that are simply used, it was refreshing to see racks filled with genuine old school items.  I was particularly taken with a colourful patterned housecoat and a red and white dress comprised of a peplum top and pencil skirt, complete with original red patent belt.

Kathryn also had a range of compacts, fans, purses and bags, all at great prices.  She’s on Facebook if you want to find out more.

I wish I’d bought: one of the lovely little bags, but I couldn’t choose between the woven one and beaded one (okay, I could have bought both but this was only supposed to be a research trip!).

Martha’s Bazaar

If you’re looking to create a distinctive look then check out Martha’s Bazaar.  There was so much buzz around the stall’s vintage Asian clothing that I struggled to get a look in but even from a distance you could see the beauty and quality.  The dresses, separates, scarves and shawls come in opulent colours with rich embroidery and embellishment.  Anyone who’s ever harboured a Princess Jasmine fantasy (and who hasn’t?!) needs to check them out.

Martha’s Bazaar sell Asian décor and accessories too.  They’re on Instagram, Depop, Twitter and Facebook.

I wish I’d bought: several sets of the always stylish jewelled bangles to stack up both wrists.

Millerchip’s Vintage

There aren’t many vintage stalls that capture the attention of tween boys but that’s what Cindy managed to do with her display of unusual pocket watches!  Her section of the tent was like an Aladdin’s cave, full of quirky jewellery and clothing from the 1940s to 80s.  I was reminded how the high street hasn’t always been synonymous with throwaway fashion when I stumbled across an old Dorothy Perkins top, complete with a ‘Made in Britain’ label.  Hard to imagine.

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

Cindy offers vintage parties – what a great idea is that?  Find her on Twitter for more info.

I wish I’d bought: the patchwork suede purse – a fashionable twist on the Roy Cropper shopper.

Fab Fill a Bag by Heaven Vintage

The concept is simple and familiar at vintage fayres up and down the land: get a bag, fill it up and pay £10 for all the contents.  If it’s an eighties or nineties aesthetic that you’re after then this is the place to stock up!  There were tons of classic sportswear and casual options.  Jean jackets and cut-offs seemed especially popular with punters, which is always good to see given the environmental impact of producing new denim.

Heaven Vintage offer branded high street and branded goods alongside vintage.  They are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr and also have a store at FarGo Village.

I wish I’d bought: an old school wax jacket.  It was too hot to even think about trying them on!

Mrs Flower’s Fabulous Card Company

Not vintage clothing, but I had to give a shout out to Alison and her amazing wares!  Alison has a passion for old cards, be they greetings, cigarette or the playing variety, and upcycles these ephemeral items into unique nostalgic artworks.  I ran out of superlatives, not only to describe the beautiful old designs but her skill in giving them a fresh look.  There were people buying gifts for Christmas already!

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

As well as cards, Mrs Flower’s stall housed a selection of small vintage accessories and homeware.  Her website is here.

I wish I’d bought: given Adam West’s recent death, the Batman cards really pulled on my heart strings. Kerpow!

Do you have any ‘I wish I’d bought’ vintage moments?  Or have you splashed out on something that seemed frivolous only to find that you wear it all the time?  I’d love to hear your vintage tales; you can comment here or on social media (links below).

Thank you for reading!

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Scrimping with Style

In an article I wrote for Native Magazine last week, I reflected on how the greatest compliment I’ve ever received was being told by a complete stranger passing me in the street that she loved my style.  The fact that we were outside Vogue House in London only added to the magnitude of my pleasure at hearing this!

Charity shop skirt & the washbag that doubled as a clutch bag

I was also thrilled because what the kind stranger particularly liked was my skirt, which I’d bought for £2 from a Scope charity shop in Coventry the previous day.  Since that January day, I’ve worn the skirt innumerable times in all kinds of weathers and I always feel good in it.

We all have these kinds of treasures in our wardrobes.  The items that whenever we pull them on, we instantly get a confidence boost.  The garments that we know will get us through the day (and night too) feeling that bit more pulled together.

Yet as my skirt suggests, our fashion favourites aren’t necessarily the most expensive things that we own.  On the contrary, sometimes it’s the bargain finds that bring us the most happiness!  My friend Catherine over at Midlands Minimalist shares this view; she found that a cream and black Jean Muir skirt that she picked up in a dress agency fitted her perfectly and lasted for years.

Sartorial scrimping doesn’t mean sacrificing style. 

Choose to make-do-and-mend, whether for financial or ethical reasons, can drive ingenuity.  Not being able to chuck money at wardrobe crisis forces us to come up with more creative solutions.

Scrimping Style: washbag that doubled as a clutch bag || raeritchie.com

I admit that this is a lesson that I’ve had to learn over and over again.  I’ve made expensive mistakes, like limited edition trainers in a colour I loved but that I only wore once or twice because at the time I always wore heels.  In contrast, some maroon canvas pumps that I got for 20p from a jumble sale had a happy life on my feet last summer.  When I then wore out another pair of second hand trainers, I figured maybe it was time to invest in some brand new ones.

 

Last week I forgot to take a clutch bag on an overnight trip.  Given half a chance, I’d have purchased another but as that wasn’t possible I ended up using my small washbag instead.  I got several compliments on it and afterwards was glad to not have impulse purchase guilt.

Changing the buttons

Changing the buttons seems to have particularly magic powers in the realm of make-do-and-mend.  Over the years I’ve had two gorgeous second hand coats (one from a rail at the back of an ice cream parlour in the Cotswolds) that just needed replacement buttons to bring them back to life.  If you’re a bit uncertain about how to do this, Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Life has a straightforward guide to this entry level repair job.

Scrimping Style || raeritchie.com

Life styling

It isn’t just our wardrobes that can flourish when opt to make-do-and-mend.  It can benefit our spaces too.  Recently one of the sun loungers broke beyond repair, prompting a search for some new garden furniture.  Determined to continue the thrift theme, I dug two cream kitchen chairs that we no longer use out of the garage (purchased at the tip shop for £3) and found a butcher’s block in a local charity warehouse.  I added two bright cushions from John Lewis in the sale, and that little corner is now a new seating area.  And I feel inordinately proud of what £20 can do!

Scrimping with style

I’m now a bit obsessed with this idea of scrimping with style, looking around wondering what I can tackle next!

To help scratch my new itch, share your scrimping with style stories.  Tell your thrift treasure tales!

Reworked, reused, recycled – whatever it is, I’d love to hear about times when you’ve scrimped but the results have seemed anything but cheap.

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

While the sun shone down gloriously on London this Tuesday, I spent the day in the giant greenhouse that is Kensington Olympia.  I was there for a trade show featuring lots (and I mean *lots*) of companies looking for new retail outlets; imagine the Clothes Show or the Ideal Home exhibition without being able to buy any of the goods.  This is probably a good thing as I wanted so much, from sea shell earrings to several different kinds of bag to some oversize pink earrings!

Window shopping opportunities aside, I was there on a specific mission. 

In my fashion and beauty writing, I’m committed to featuring eco, ethical and sustainable firms as much as I possibly can.  In particular, I want to highlight the many innovative and stylish small brands working in this area – brands that don’t have huge publicity budgets but deserve exposure.

At Olympia, I was looking for companies doing good work in terms of conscious consumption so that I could share them with you.

Boy did I find some!  Below I’ve detailed my highlights in five categories (beauty, candles, fashion, jewellery and other).  I hope that you like their look, and their ethos, as much as I did.  Visit their websites, follow them on social media (check out my following lists on Twitter and Instagram if you like) and next time you’re making a purchase, consider buying from one of them.

‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’ Lao Tzu

Do you have any brands that you like to recommend?  Tell me about them!  You can comment below.  Plus if you enjoyed reading this post, please do tell others about it on social media – it really helps!  Sharing buttons are also below.

 

  • Beauty

Corinne Taylor Aromatherapy Products - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

Corinne Taylor Aromatherapy Products - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Corinne Taylor Aromatherapy Products

Corinne Taylor Organic Aromatherapy

Natural, organic handcrafted and vegan friendly, never animal tested, ethically sourced and eco-friendly handmade products in recyclable packaging.  Also free from SLS, parabens, synthetic fragrance, petroleum and mineral oils [That’s quite a list!].

Nathalie Bond Organics

Small batches of handcrafted botanical skincare and essential oils candles made using completely natural and organic ingredients [These aren’t a new discovery – I love their soap, as I mentioned last week – but they definitely warrant a mention].

Nathalie Bond Organics - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

Savon Stories

Raw minimalist organic skincare, handcrafted in England and made according to the family’s century’s old ethos of nurturing the best of good green earth and being rich with less than more.

 

  • Candles
The Bird Box - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
The Bird Box
The Bird Box - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
The Bird Box

The Bird Box

Sustainably sourced, handmade in Britain candles and home scents made using pure essential oils.

 

Join

Vegan, carbon neutral natural soy wax candles with cotton core wicks, essential oils and recycled packaging, handcrafted in small batches in a garden studio.

 

Join - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

The London Refinery - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

The London Refinery

Candles free from petrochemicals, parabens and synthetic fragrances.

 

 

 

 

Sun.Day - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

Sun.Day of London

100% free from synthetic perfumes, chemicals and paraffin, using only GMO-free coconut and plant waxes, pure cotton wicks and uniquely formulated aromatherapy grade essential oils.

 

 

 

Sun.Day - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

  • Fashion

Aura Que - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

Aura Que

Each product is created by handicraft charity units or World Fair Trade Organization producer groups in Nepal, giving local people an income in line with fair trade principles along with a continually developing commitment to minimising environmental impact as much as possible.

By Studio Hand - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

 

By Studio Hand

All products are designed and made in the UK using nontoxic dyes and organic fabrics; all are vegan.  The clutch bags are hand painted and made from abstract paintings, making each one unique.

 

Egos Copenhagen - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

Egos Copenhagen

Natural wool slippers designed in Denmark, manufactured in Nepal using eco-friendly dyes, World Fair Trade Organization certified.  Profits also support a Nepalese orphanage.

 

 

Pala Sunglasses - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Pala Sunglasses

 

Pala Sunglasses

For every pair of sunglasses bought, one person in Africa who needs prescription glasses gets them.

Pala Sunglasses - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Kimono - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Studio Kimono
Studio Kimono - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Studio Kimono

 

 

Studio Kimono

Vintage silk kimonos from Kyoto are upcycled into unique new items, such as clutch bags and jackets.

 

 

 

Terracotta Row - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

Terracotta Row

These bags are made in England from fabric discarded by industry.

 

 

Valentina Karellas -Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

 

Valentina Karellas

Trans-seasonal designs made from textile factories’ surplus yarn.

 

 

  • Jewellery and Accessories
All The Things We Like - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
All The Things We Like

All the Things We Like

Designed and produced locally to their Dutch studio using local artisans and social workplaces as well as environmentally sound materials such as FSC certified or recycled wood.

Artisan Life - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Artisan Life

Artisan Life

Focused on fair trading and supporting Columbian artisans, particularly women with no other employment options, while also using suppliers certified by the Administrative Department of the Environment in Columbia.

Caliz Jewellery - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
‘Vegetable ivory’ seed used in Caliz London jewellery

 

 

 

 

Caliz London

Handcrafted jewellery created from vegetable ivory, a seed from a Columbian palm tree – a natural, ethical and sustainable alternative to elephant ivory.

 

Just Trade - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
A Just Trade collaboration with WWF
Just Trade - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Just Trade

 

Just Trade

Just Trade collaborates directly with eight groups of artisans in Peru, Ecuador and India to create handmade jewellery that is fairly traded and crafted from locally-sourced and ethical materials where possible.

Ziko Afrika - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

 

Ziko Afrika

Founded by two sisters, Ziko Afrika (‘Afrika has it’) creates modern jewellery using traditional craftsmanship by local artisans in Kenya.

 

Ziko Afrika - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

 

  • Other areas
Anneka Textiles - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Anneka Textiles

Anneka Textiles

Creating upcycled homeware by taking mixed fibre knitwear, returning it back to fibre then re-spinning and felting into new sustainable material without using any harsh dyes or chemicals.

Helen Moore Revival Collection - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Helen Moore Revival Collection

 

 

 

 

Helen Moore

The Revival Collection of home accessories is made using off-cuts from the fast fashion t-shirt industry that are saved, sorted, shredded, woven and then reused by Indian families working in good conditions.

Tangent GC - Eco, ethical and sustainable brands to buy: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’
Tangent GC

 

TangentGC

Organic skin care along with garment care and shoe care, inspired by the creator’s grandfather, designed to allow us to better look after what we already own.

 

 

 

 

Seedball

Seedballs are designed to encourage bees and butterflies by making it easier for everyone to grow either wildflowers or herbs or salad.  They’ve been designed specifically for a north eastern European climate and each one containing of these British made balls contains a mini ecosystem of seeds, clay, peat-free compost and a little chilli powder to deter predators!  This is a new concept in the UK but seed balls have been used in ecological restoration projects around the world.

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Stop me from buying a pair of sliders: the allure of new shoes

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I own a dozen pairs of shoes.  This includes wellies, walking boots and the trainers I wear (occasionally) to actually exercise in.

I used to have over fifty pairs.  Back then, visitors to my bedsit studio apartment would marvel at them all stored in their boxes and stacked neatly against the wall in two tall piles.

Back then, I was known to choose cleaning my shoes over eating breakfast if I was running late in the mornings.

Over the decade since, I’ve become more committed to minimalism as well as ethical and sustainable fashion.  I spend more and buy less (actually I always spent a lot on shoes, so I guess I’m just buying less of them).  Right now I’m wearing a pair of patent loafers that I purchased sometime before I started dating my current partner, and we’ve lived together for two years.

I pride myself on having a pretty small wardrobe and sticking to my own style rather than slavishly following trends.  I’m even currently reading a book, Inger D. Kenobi’s How Do I Look?  The year I stopped shopping, about her twelve month boycott of clothes buying – and contemplating doing the same.

Of course you know that this is the point where I insert the big ‘but’.

But I want a pair of sliders.

I really want a pair of sliders.

Stop me from buying a pair of sliders: the allure of new shoes
Puma Fenty £64.99

This thought has been lingering for a while.  My interest was piqued a few months ago when I saw the beautician from next door to the coffee shop where I like to work wearing an Ivy Park pair.  Then yesterday I got serious shoe envy of a woman in a grey suede number on the train.  Now I’m obsessing.

Suddenly all my own shoes seem wrong: too warm, too dark, too heavy, too try hard.

 

More dangerous are my fantasies about what a new pair of sliders would do for me:

They’d complete my wardrobe.  I’d not need buy anything ever again.  This would be the final perfect purchase (even though I already suspect that my plans to wear some new linen trousers for a wedding in August will fail as I’m already wearing them pretty much daily).

Stop me from buying a pair of sliders: the allure of new shoes
Office Sweetness £38

They’d make everything better.  Literally everything in my life would be better if some beautiful new slip on summer shoes graced my feet.  Borderline personality disorder?  Building my career as a writer?  Fears that mental health issues will prevent me from having children?  But I would have bows on my feet!

Most pressingly: I’d feel amazing on at a friend’s birthday drinks on Friday evening.

 

As Inger recognises in How Do I Look?, such longings generate conflicting feelings.  I know that new shoes, any new shoes, won’t improve my life beyond the pleasure of the shoes themselves.

Yet still I hope they’d be as transformative as Cinderella’s glass slippers.

Such is the power of our desires and the lure of the fairytale.  Beneath the fantasy, though, what do I really want?  To lose the five stone I’ve gained through medication, to quell the anxiety I’m feeling about going out socially at the weekend (no matter that these people are my friends)… and to feel as carefree as I did when I was younger, when picking up a new pair of shoes for a night out really did seem to have magical powers.

This is how I felt back in the late nineties – back in the late nineties when I last wore sliders.

I’ve featured here some of my favourite sliders on the high street at the moment (I’d have bows on my feet!).  You can view some others over on my specially curated ‘Stop me buying sliders’ Pinterest board!

Tell me, have you ever had any magic slipper shoes?  Why were they so potent?  And what is your attitude to shoes now?  Do you buy cheap and often or would you rather a pair that lasts?  Do you own a cupboard full but always seem to end up wearing the same two pairs?  I’d love to know.

You can comment below.  Plus if you enjoyed reading this post, please do tell others about it on social media – it really helps!  Sharing buttons are also below.

Thank you for reading.

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.