My favourite eco, ethical and sustainable gifts

pukka bamboo keep cup

Last minute shopping for the plant based, eco warrior in your life? Or maybe you just need some inspiration for good eco and ethical gifts. Look no further than a few of my favourite products that I use and highly rate.

These tick eco friendly, sustainable, stylish (and if not stylish, then useful!). Would love to hear your what eco presents you have given, received or recommend. After all, ethical and sustainable should be all year round, not just for Christmas.

Continue reading “My favourite eco, ethical and sustainable gifts”

Sustainable and ethical gifts from Madagascar

Handmade ethical embroidered Kindle Case madagascar ethical gifts

Madagascar ethical sustainable gifts Kazy Anastasy, Vololonirina Marie Cleire, Rasoamihanta Elyse

I’m fascinated by people who go away on holiday and come back to completely change their lives. Sarah Brown, an art lecturer from Leeds, went on hols to Madagascar and saw how extreme poverty has affected women there – she saw a lack of self belief, poor living conditions, no access to paid employment and illiteracy. She decided to do something about it so left her job, moved to a small village in the South East of Madagascar called Sainte Luce and set up Stitch Sainte Luce embroidery project to teach women how to create beautiful products which Sarah now sells online at stitchsainteluce.org.

Take a look and you’ll see traditional creativity mixed with bold graphic prints. Really love the first one which looks fresh and modern.

Handmade ethical embroidered Kindle Case madagascar ethical gifts

Purse by Esterline madagascar ethical gifts Madagascar Olga with cushion ethical gifts madagascar Make-up bag by by Didiane ethical gifts

Creating and selling these products brings in an income stream for the women and they also learn new skills. What I also love is the fabric is recycled and the products are brought back to the UK by volunteers who are on holiday in Madagascar so no additional air miles are expended. Stitch Saint Luce is supported by SEED Madagascar, a charity which aims to help people, animals and plants of Madagascar in a sustainable and ecological way.

Do check them out and consider them for any gift buying – beats an ordinary purse from the high street for sure! The products are also available on Etsy.com: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StitchSainteLuce

 

3 Great Gifts for International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Last year I celebrated with a post about why we still need International Women’s Day. This year I’ll mark the day with a choice of awesome gifts you can give to celebrate female power.

Selfish Mother t-shirts

Selfish Mother is a brand making fabulous sweatshirts, tees and accessories stamped with power messages designed and created by Molly Gunn and various collaborations. Not only a cool addition to your wardrobe but products support a long list of amazing charities too.

Strong_Design_supports_Yazda_1_grande

we are wonderwomen bag

My lovely friend Laura, founder of Cocoon Child bought me a Selfish Mother Y sweatshirt and popped me on her Instagram page with her gorgeous daughter Zelia.

sisterhood sweatshirt yazadi women

£10 from every sale goes to Yazda, a charity that supports women from the Yazidi community in Iraq who have been through horrific abuse. I was going to add a link to Yazda charity but it seems Yazda has been shut down according to this Guardian news report, which is terrible news. As my family heritage is Iraqi I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting, thoughtful or powerful present. Whatever the charity’s situation really hope they can continue some of the work they do in Iraq in some way.

Buy Selfish Mother at thefmlystore.com

International Women’s Day t-shirts at Teespring

There are a heap of tees and bags celebrating women at Teespring, most carrying bold and beautiful messages. Some are available for a limited time only but this yellow Girl Power tshirt seems to be from a permanent range and 25% from every sale goes to Catalyst.org, a charity supporting diversity in the workplace. Healthista.com where I work is giving away a few awesome Teespring tees so enter here if you fancy your chance at winning one!

girl power t-shirt teespringBuy Teespring t-shirts here

Fifty Shades of Feminism book

Another great present from a friend (thank you Charlotte), Fifty Shades of Feminism by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach and Rachel Holmes is a book full of anecdotes, opinions, musings and stories from female writers and opinion formers about feminism and women. It’s a book I always pick up when I have spare reading time and always feel inspired or moved by an extract I read. Highly recommended to give or keep!

Fifty Shades of Feminism book

Buy Fifty Shades of Feminism at Amazon here

Finally if you’re still uncertain about what feminism means or if you are a feminist check out musician and activist Annie Lennox summing it up in this quick clip with Channel 4.

“To boil it down it is about human rights, it’s about protection of women, it’s about justice, and it’s about equality.” – Annie Lennox

Let me know if you have other great gift ideas for women or International Women’s Day xx

In My Wardrobe: New Veja Trainers

New trainers! Veja trainers. After years of following the brand, I’ve finally got round to buying a pair. For me, Veja is a brand with the most amazing ethos and commitment to everything related to making a product: the environment, ecology, fair trade, workers and style.

Veja trainers Aida Shoreditch

The soles are made from Amazonian rubber trees (instead of usual petroleum-derived rubber) and help to provide an income for 60 Amazonian families as well as provide an incentive to keep trees up and not deforest.

I love the transparency in the who, where, what and why of Veja shoe-making – check out the video below to see more about how the shoes are made, and the brand’s inspiring commitment to workers and sustainable materials.

By doing things differently they can attempt to distance themselves from worker exploitatio and environmental degradation which is sadly the usual result of most things we produce and consume. Instead, I feel like there’s a lot of respect for people and the land, and that’s my kind of brand.  Read more about Veja materials and projects here

If you’re due a new pair of trainers, and want a decent alternative to the usual suspects, Nike et al, then check out the endless number of Veja stylesAnd if, like me, you try to minimise consumption of leather and animal materials, then many are almost vegan. Some are totally non-leather, others have some or very little. I believe mine (above) have a little bit in the V cut-out. Although I would have preferred a totally non-leather pair, from what I’ve read, Veja leather is said to be eco-tanned without chromium (a lingering pollutant) and with knowledge of the source and living conditions of cattle.

Check out the online Veja store (they ship to UK from France) as well as a few boutiques around London. I bought mine up from the gorgeous Aida in Shoreditch for £75.

Let me know if you have a pair, buy a pair or love them as much as I do. @YanarBeauty

PS – this is NOT a sponsored post. Just genuine love for a decent brand! x

Farmers’ markets won’t change the world

The column by food writer, Jay Rayner, in The Observer today rang true. Shopping at artisan markets where food is made with organic, quality ingredients and sold at double the prices of a supermarket won’t challenge the high street. Nor will it change the world. Shoppers shouldn’t adopt any moral high-ground by making these purchases or be under false pretences of what shopping at a farmer’s market will achieve. It’s just a personal choice.

Same goes for ethical fashion. Lucy Siegle tackles the paradox of ‘ethical consumerism’ – is there such a thing? It’s an issue I grapple with a lot. I fully support small fashion makers engaging with workers in a fair way but this shouldn’t come with the virtuous notion that you’ve done your bit to change the world. Beware of brands marketing their highly priced ethical goods with this fuzzy warm glow. Choose ethical fashion (or beauty) because you like the product and you believe in the efforts the brand is making. A hand-crafted, organic cotton clothing made by a women’s cooperative in Congo, for example, may be beautiful and unique and helping women who may not have any other source of income, but it won’t put Primark out of business nor will it force countries such as Bangladesh to change their labour rights.  That requires mass change.

That’s not to say I don’t support buying from the women’s cooperative. I do, because if there’s a choice between one brand choosing to do business in a way that doesn’t harm others and one that exploits along the way for the benefit of profits then I’ll always choose the former. But I won’t expect that choice to have a wider impact. It’s simply where I choose to spend my money. The concept of people’s spending power changing the world is sometime over-exaggerated. Changing the world is far more complicated. It will involve changing what the masses, the mass market, big players, governments, as well as workers themselves, do. If they change, the rest will follow.

 

Farmers' markets won't change the world

The column by food writer, Jay Rayner, in The Observer today rang true. Shopping at artisan markets where food is made with organic, quality ingredients and sold at double the prices of a supermarket won’t challenge the high street. Nor will it change the world. Shoppers shouldn’t adopt any moral high-ground by making these purchases or be under false pretences of what shopping at a farmer’s market will achieve. It’s just a personal choice.

Same goes for ethical fashion. Lucy Siegle tackles the paradox of ‘ethical consumerism’ – is there such a thing? It’s an issue I grapple with a lot. I fully support small fashion makers engaging with workers in a fair way but this shouldn’t come with the virtuous notion that you’ve done your bit to change the world. Beware of brands marketing their highly priced ethical goods with this fuzzy warm glow. Choose ethical fashion (or beauty) because you like the product and you believe in the efforts the brand is making. A hand-crafted, organic cotton clothing made by a women’s cooperative in Congo, for example, may be beautiful and unique and helping women who may not have any other source of income, but it won’t put Primark out of business nor will it force countries such as Bangladesh to change their labour rights.  That requires mass change.

That’s not to say I don’t support buying from the women’s cooperative. I do, because if there’s a choice between one brand choosing to do business in a way that doesn’t harm others and one that exploits along the way for the benefit of profits then I’ll always choose the former. But I won’t expect that choice to have a wider impact. It’s simply where I choose to spend my money. The concept of people’s spending power changing the world is sometime over-exaggerated. Changing the world is far more complicated. It will involve changing what the masses, the mass market, big players, governments, as well as workers themselves, do. If they change, the rest will follow.