9 Things to Know About Shoes Made from Recycled Plastic Waste

Making products out of recycled plastics is amazing and it still blows my mind how plastic can be turned into fabric.

So when Clearwaters footwear got in touch to show me how they are tackling ocean and landfill waste by turning plastics into shoes, I couldn’t wait to find out more.

I talked to Clearwaters co-founder Sean Evans to find out exactly how plastic is recycled into their gorgeous, cosy slippers and what more we can do to make recycling plastics a mainstream thing that we can all benefit from.

Continue reading “9 Things to Know About Shoes Made from Recycled Plastic Waste”

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

 

Alternative ways of being #5: Katharine Hamnett

‘The reports were appalling… The environmental issues surrounding the textiles and the pesticides poisoning, the deaths from industrial accidents and workers living in slave conditions… it had to change and it was hard. Even trying to get organic cotton was impossible, no one was doing it.

 

‘Today it’s totally different. We’ve got sustainable recycled polyester, and sustainable alpaca from Peru in natural colours. Swiss mills are making the most beautiful organic cotton. I don’t know why Burberry aren’t using it for all their clothes. They f**cking charge enough!’

– Fashion designer, Katherine Hamnett, 70, on closing her fashion empire in 1989, after she commissioned an impact study into her business and the environment.

The politically driven slogan t-shirt was her signature trademark – George Michael wore Choose Life and her picture wearing her anti-Pershing missile t-shirt meeting Margaret Thatcher is one of her most famous shots.

Katherine Hamnett is now making a comeback with ‘Cancel Brexit’ and ‘Choose Love’ t-shirts and a relaunch of some of her classic pieces (online at KatherineHamnett.com now and then Liberty and Matches).

I love her gutsiness to speak out on issues such as the environment, war or social injustice. She wasn’t happy with the status quo of the fashion industry so she shut down her business and found alternative ways of doing things. We can do the same too by trying to influence small, positive changes in the industries we work in and the attitudes of people we meet. If something isn’t right or should or could be done differently for a great good, why not say something and be bold like Katherine Hamnett.

Quote taken from interview with Mark C O’Flaherty in FT Weekend Life & Arts, 11/12 November 2017.

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

Fashion made from recycled car parts

Yes, you read that right – one of my favourite press releases of late – Ford, the car manufacturer, challenged 10 emerging fashion designers to create pieces using recycled Ford car parts and textile waste. Dresses, shirts, jackets and skirts were made from seat covers and other parts and shown at Hong Kong Fashion Week. An inspiring piece of news for the possibilities of recycling, and the future for sustainable fabrics…

Ford fashion recycled material car parts

Ford already uses plastic bottles and post-industrial waste to make recycled fabric as part of its upholstery in its cars so it partnered with Redress, a Hong Kong based charity that promotes sustainability in the fashion industry, to see how designers could transform materials and waste from vehicle production.

The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge was born and held during Hong Kong Fashion Week. From ten finalists from around the world, including UK, there were two winners, from Malaysia and Sweden

How did they do it? If, like me, you’re intrigued as to how you get from plastic bottle to bolero, check out this video which explains how to make fabric (polyester) out of recycled bottles – it’s amazing!!!

 

I can’t believe the whole recycling process is so long and intricate; so many miles, countless stages, so much energy and hours of manpower (someone has to manually fish out the floating bottle lids from pools of broken down plastic?!). This complex process is carried out in China and probably only possible because of cheap labour. So now you know what happens to our plastic once we’ve chucked it in the recycling box – a long and arduous journey to reincarnation.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 2

Ford states that ‘on an annual basis it recycles enough plastic bottles and postindustrial waste to make more than 1.5 million yards of recycled fabric.’

This recycled fabric is then used as car seat covers, an initiative that has apparently been so successful Ford has committed to using at least 25% recycled fabrics in every car. Some, like this one, uses 100% recycled fabrics.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 4

Interestingly, I’ve been told that Ford is also working with Heinz to investigate the use of tomato fibres in developing sustainable plastics. It’s also decreased water use in its vehicle production, from 64 million cubic meters to 24 million cubic meters so it seems like Ford is on a bit of a sustainability mission.

It feels a little weird talking about a car manufacturer on an eco beauty blog but as I’ve always said, let’s champion the brands trying to tread more carefully on the planet – the fact that it’s a car manufacturer makes it all the more interesting.

I think innovation in sustainable fabrics is really cool and even high street stores – Marks & Spencer and H&M – are getting involved and experimenting with recycled fabrics.

Hopefully in the future we’ll see more and more products and materials made from post-consumer waste and hopefully it will become a second nature thing for brands and manufacturers to use recycled materials as a first port of call instead of virgin plastics.

I guess it all comes down to economics at the end of the day, so if and when virgin plastics become too expensive to use, brands will be forced to innovate and turn to recycling post-consumer waste. It’s not inconceivable that day will come sooner rather than later and thankfully there are already brands leading the way.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 3

1960s Vintage Makeup Tutorial

We’ve just stumbled upon this fantastic video at work in the BeautyMART office which shows a girl doing her make-up in 1969. It’s seriously slow but we loved it. Just check out the Alsatian dog watching her!

I think these videos are quite rare but Glamour Daze has sourced them and built an AMAZING archive of vintage fashion history, make-up guides, videos and tutorials from 1920-1950s. Really quite amazing, check them out. I’m hooked.  glamourdaze.com and youtube.com/glamourdaze.

Vintage buy of the week: 1940s hat

Velour Regale vintage hat Scarlet Rage

My star vintage buy this week has been a beautiful 1940s hat in immaculate condition, picked up from my local vintage shop, Scarlet Rage Vintage in north London, which stocks the most exquisite dresses, occasion wear and accessories.

The hat is stamped with the label Velour Regale Merrimac and a sewn label from John Wanamaker Philadelphia, which I’ve just discovered is one of America’s oldest and original department stores, opened in 1876.

I strangely can’t find information about Velour Regale – apart from a few pieces on Etsy.com here – but John Wanamaker is said to have pioneered the department store concept in the US and according to his Wikipedia page is considered to be a leading figure in the birth of modern day marketing.

So not only did I find a beautiful vintage item but it came with a small thread of traceable history too. ….I wonder who has worn this hat over the years…

Velour Regale vintage hat Scarlet Rage

I’m always looking for great vintage hats – notoriously hard to find as sizes vary so much and they usually come up very small – so I was lucky to find a perfect fit.

The detailing is simple  – a little cluster of velvet leaves on each side with a three-way, navy sequin motif. The hat sits on the top or side of the crown and holds securely via little flexible bars on each side (discreetly tucked beneath the detailing) and feels strangely secure.

I’ll be wearing this as soon as I can – day or evening events – and will probably style hair long with a casual pin-curl twist at the front.

See more vintage style.

Dress to impress

When it was pouring with rain last Friday, this was my morning inspiration. Now, after two days of unbelievable sun in London, it’s my inspiration once again. And why not. Take note girls, the message is simple: Dress to impress.

Thanks to Vintage Style Facebook page for the picture. There are plenty more like this posted every day from Vintage Style so check it out if you like. Me, I’m off to shop for a one-piece swimsuit.

Sneak Peek at new site – Opnuu

Opnuu screen-shot-

Opnuu screen-shot-

Just heard of this new site for recycling high-end fashion and vintage clothes called Opnuu – http://www.opnuu.com/ – the idea is that you can lend and borrow desirable items, clothes and accessories, to a community of like-minded people. If you have something to lend, it seems like you set your ‘rental’ price and period of time it’s available and members get to hire the piece out, allowing you to earn money off it. I’d quite like to borrow this hat..perfect for a winter wedding http://www.opnuu.com/sneak-peek/accessories/hat-with-feather.html

The idea is great – let others enjoy pieces they wouldn’t usually have access to and obviously a great way of supporting sustainable fashion. But what about if the person damages your one off vintage jimmy choos? The site is an invite-only community so I guess that cuts down on random riff-raffs but accidents still happen. I’m guessing there are codes of conduct to follow to help avoid this. I’ve signed up my interest anyway as I’m curious to know more and have more than enough vintage pieces ideal for rental.

So, another good option for your clutter ladies.. albeit temporarily. And if like me, you’re wondering where the name Opnuu came about, just found a blog post that explains it all – apparently it’s a play on the words ‘new’ and ‘opportunity’ which I really liked… http://emmasexton.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/whats-in-a-name-how-the-brand-name-opnuu-came-about/  x

New old shoes

New shoes

New shoes

I couldn’t resist but show you the four pairs of lovely new old shoes I got this week from the Antoinette Costume Hire shop in SE London as they did a big shoe sell-off on Ebay.

It’s amazing that all four fit perfectly, hoorah! Does anyone else get that nervous anticipation when Ebay items arrives, especially shoes: Will they be ugly? Will they fit? However well-versed you are in the art of Ebay and online vintage buying there’s always a small chance the purchase is a big bad no-no.

In fact, this week I bought another pair of shoes off Ebay which were simply horrid. Too big and too nasty. As soon as I opened the package they went straight back in the bag and off to the charity shop. Oops.

These lovely shoes on the other hand are worth showing off; from left to right: a special pair of 1970s Bertie’s platforms (I’ve been looking for a pair of platforms for a while); black fabric and yellow faux-snake skin flats which are very elegant with a cool mix of fabrics; a red patent, slightly battered androgynous-looking lace-ups; and a pair of pointy black quite masculine leathers with a wee buckle on the side which will look great with jeans or mid-length skirts.

Love them all! Please share your Ebay horror or love stories..

The Autumn-Winter collection by Veja

The slow but certain rise of ecological sneaker brand Veja is always on my radar. If you’re passionate about where and how your trainers are made then Veja is what you should be wearing. Here’s a sneak peak of new products ready to hit stores in the coming months.

Chemical-free treated leather in the new Winter '11 collection by Veja

Yummy bags made with naturally dyed suede by Veja

Having written about its French-Brazilian story several times for fashion pages, I find their commitment to style and sustainability eye-opening: Rubber sourced from wild Amazonian trees to fight deforestation, a respect for human rights, organic cotton, and leather tanning processes without the heavy chemicals.

The suede – in the bags pictured above – is tanned naturally and the leather is now tanned without chrome – a hugely polluting process that is currently causing India serious waste problems.

 The classic Veja styleAbove is the classic Veja style in new colours for summer. If like me, you don’t like to buy first hand leather (my vegetarian roots) this is the style of choice – 100% cotton and rubber sole.

350 families in North East Brazil are supported by the Veja’s commitment to organic cotton growing. The rubber soles are sourced from the Amazonian forest  (the only place in the world where rubber trees grow in the wild) by a cooperative who harvest the latex sap from the trees and turn it into rubber sheets without the need for industrial processes. This in turn gives them a higher wage too.

Artwork of the Veja rubber tappers in the Amazon

Veja has also opened a new concept store in Paris called Centre Commercial where the world of fashion, art, sustainability and style collide.

Check out more of the Veja story at veja.fr