Cork by Grow From Nature

*This post contains affiliate links and if you buy an item using them I will get a small percentage from the sale. I only work with carefully selected partners who I genuinely like.

When thinking about vegan leather alternatives I often think of polyurethane based fabrics which are not great for our environment and in long-term not great for animals either. However, there are other great alternatives such as Pinatex (made out of pineapple waste) and cork, which is personally my favourite alternative.

Cork by Grow From Nature - byLiiL

Cork is a great sustainable fibre which has an interesting story. Cork oak trees grow in Portugal and unlike other trees, they thrive when their bark is peeled off them every few years, whereas other trees die if their bark is peeled off. They grew a different type of bark to protect them from forest fires and they regrow the bark when it’s burned or peeled off making it a renewable resource. It’s also waterproof, fire resistant and can be modified in many ways. To me, it reminds of all the corks used in wine bottles and cork tiles used for some interior design (a look that I’ve really liked), but now also, apparently, as a leather substitute in the fashion industry and quite frankly I really like the look of it!

 

There are not many brands that use cork to make their designs, but the few I’ve seen so far have been very promising. One of those brands I wrote about in the post about my favourite sustainable brands and now I would like to introduce you to Grow From Nature.

Grow From Nature drives their beautiful line of cork accessories by being sustainable, eco-friendly and vegan. They showcase the unique patterns of cork to their and the designs’ advantage in making each item special and in its own way beautiful.

 

They believe that sustainability isn’t the future but that it is the present. That is why they strive to be more sustainable in everything they do. They are very straightforward that there is still a lot of work to be done towards sustainability and explain what they are doing to achieve it. They use an eco-friendly cork from Portugal in all of their designs and actually tell an interesting story about their cork here. Their cork harvesters are paid well and they manufacture all of their designs in Portugal.

Now they are also expanding their range to cork shoes, how exciting!

 

You can check Grow From Nature through here*. Remember to check their Instagram as well!

 

With love,

Lii

Cork by Grow From Nature - byLiiL

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Sustainable News of August 2018

Climate Change

Earth At Risk Of Entering ‘Hot House’ State From Which There Is No Return, Scientists Warn – One of the possible futures for our planet if we are not rapidly doing something to prevent it.

Rising Heat Will Cost The Poorest Countries Billions Of Dollars A Year – Heath exhaustion doesn’t happen to only us living in Europe or the US where we are not used to such warm temperatures, it also happens to those who are used to them.

Hotter Climate Means Hungrier Insects Will Munch Millions More Tons Of Crops By 2050 – The one thing we didn’t even think about climate change.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Social

New Passport Checks For Families Are Sexist, Backward Step – In a modern world where we think we are moving forward with feminist issues we stumble upon new ones when legislations fight other crimes.

Why The World Needs More Female Leaders In Health Care – Whilst they occupy the most roles in health care females only have a small portion of leadership roles.

Reversing Burundi’s Pregnant Schoolgirl Ban Is Not Enough, Activists Say – Although a great start as the girls will have greater potential to earn a better living for their families in the future, it is still not concentrating on sexual exploitation.

Diversity In Sustainability – Addie writes with great enthusiasm and good points why sustainability should matter to everybody, not only white women.

This 9-Year-Old South African Author Has a Message We All Need To Hear – It’s so inspiring to see young children to take such initiative and show their enthusiasm to learning and bettering themselves as well as others lives!

Fake Foods Are Threatening South Africa’s Most Vulnerable People – Yes you read it correctly, fake foods or counterfeit foods are allegedly being sold around South Africa to the poorest population with serious health implications.

How Bikes Helped Cut Malaria Deaths by 96% in This Zambia District – As simple a thing as bikes can help poor nations and communities to get access to health and other services.

Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Intelligence, Study Finds – So we should probably do something about it.

 

Plastic

Iceland Is The First UK Supermarket To Sell Plastic Free Chewing Gum – And by this, they do not mean the packaging but the actual gum that you chew. Who would’ve thought that it is even legal to have petroleum-based substances in our consumables? Now you definitely don’t want to swallow it.

Decomposing Plastic Revealed As Hidden Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – It shouldn’t come as a surprise.

UK Plastic Pact Is Central To Forming A Circular Economy – In the mids of all the plastic fears this article tells about a pragmatic approach to tackle the plastic problem. Although, it discusses the circular approach it still doesn’t pinpoint how customers will be involved in it, or how they will make sure no toxic chemicals will be left in the recycled plastics.

This Is The Single Greatest Cause Of Ocean Trash – Lately, we have been hearing about cigarette buts and there is a reason behind it. Maybe it would be time to regulate this.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Recycling

Down With Upcycling? – With so many companies using waste products to make new products are they just using new sources of materials or are they thinking of the whole lifecycle of the product until the end?

 

Food

EU Households Waste Over 17 Billion Kg Of Fresh Fruit And Vegetables a Year – That is an astounding number and we all should start checking whether we actually eat all of the fruit and veg in our households.

Glyphosate Found In Breakfast Cereal In the US – Also found in the UK (especially in bread) as farmers keep using the pesticide before harvest so it is more likely to stay in our food. Buy organic to keep away from the carcinogen and if you want to help affect change in this in the UK you can donate money to Soil Association.

 

Fashion

France Is About To Ban Stores From Throwing Away Unsold Clothing – The idea is that the stores could give the clothes to charities and although this would be a great idea, I don’t think the volume of clothing that would go to charities would do good for either of the industries, I can almost see history repeating what happened to fashion outlets. It is important to do something about the volume of clothing that is thrown away by retailers and brands, but I am not sure if gifting them to charities is the way to go forward.

Why This Factory Is Making Its Factory Wages Public – An excellent initiative that will hopefully be shared by many other brands and bring even more visibility to this problem. Although, I don’t think it should only be factory workers wages, everybody in the company and the supply chain to provide a proper comparison.

Everlane Is Launching ‘Clean Silk’ In a Move Toward Greater Sustainability – The company’s plans are great and I am impressed with how they are reducing harmful chemicals from the production, however, not sure why there was no talk about using peace silk, only organic, which would’ve made the silk even more sustainable.

Shoppers Are Buying Clothes Just For The Instagram Pic, And Then Returning Them – This article talks about a deep-rooted problem in the fashion industry to which Instagram, OOTD and a new outfit for each pic are a fuel. If clothes can be even more disposable than before how can we ever change the fashion industry?

Adidas Launches FW’18 Collection Made Of Recycled Polyester, Organic Cotton – It’s great to hear that the brand is making changes to their ranges, however, this range is designed by Stella McCartney, I would like to see them changing completely to more sustainable materials!

Stella McCartney Evasive On Unsold Stock Issue – For a company that supports sustainability I am surprised and saddened that it is not more transparent on their own supply chains.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Ecosystems

Effects of Overfishing On Ocean Health – This describes very well the different problems overfishing has on marine life and it’s ecosystems.

Why Are Elephants Important To African Ecosystem – Although I’ve always thought they are important I never quite knew how important they are! Let’s save them all!

Climate Change’s Latest Casualty: Cute, Tiny Puffin – Unfortunately with the ocean animals are finding it harder to find their food and have to travel longer to get to their source of nutrition.

Scientists Just Discovered A Coral Reef Off The Coast of South Carolina – And it needs to be protected against oil and gas industry!

Top Performing Microbes Could Be Key To Sustainable Agriculture – Taking an example from nature at it’s best!

 

I think I might need to start doing these weekly as there are so many links to go through. What do you think weekly or monthly?

With love,

Lii

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us?

Whenever I find a new fashion brand or a shop I am always excited by the imagery and marketing message they are telling me. It is obvious the modern successful brands are good at providing a persuading brand image. They get me wanting a new piece of clothing or buy into their message and it is only after the sustainable fashion movement became a driving force that we’ve learned how the fashion industry works and what we are supposed to be looking for when choosing a new product or a brand to by into. But how available is the information to the general consumer? Not very, as many companies rather through around green buzzwords rather than back them up. In the last 5 days, I’ve stumbled upon 3 new brands which sounded interesting and I had to message all 3 of them questioning the information missing from their sites and confirm whether they are as sustainable as they claim to be.

It is difficult to know what happens behind closed doors and many companies like to hide things that we consumers wouldn’t like to see or we might stop buying from those brands.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

ANIMAL CRUELTY

The public outcry after we saw the tortured angora bunnies in a Chinese factory. Did those companies really not know what was happening to those animals, or were they hiding this from their consumers? Animal cruelty still happens throughout the fashion supply chains.

Leather is a very much unregulated trade, unlike fur, because the consumer presumption is that leather is always a by-product. It is often not so, especially if it’s something else than cow leather. Animals might’ve been kept in poor conditions. Fur on the other hand, due to consumer outcry, is strictly regulated even more so than wool industry. Wool, which is one of the greatest fibres can be cruel to animals. The animals can be kept poorly and shearing them is not always stress-free. In addition, some of the sheep have been bred to provide certain wool for the consumers use.

Look for brands that are selling cruelty-free products, who talk about how they treat their animals. The smaller the brand the better, as with big quantities they don’t have the time to take care of their animals.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

TOXIC CLOTHING

Do you know if your clothes are good for the environment or to you? There is a lot of information about how the production of clothes in many cases is dangerous to the labour and how the factories pollute the surrounding waters and the environment. Companies and factories have tried to keep this a secret, but the truth has come out. However, what is less talked about but as relevant is how the toxins might still be in the clothes we wear every day on our skin. You wouldn’t put toxic beauty products on your skin so how is clothing different? It is not.

When attending a talk in Berlin during a green fashion week about innovative textiles I heard a woman ask why aren’t we just coming up with a new textile which is originally good for us rather than incorporating good ingredients into textiles that are not so great?

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

I hadn’t before this thought about how toxic our clothes could be to us and it horrifies me know the way we think about fashion. I’ve come across many young women who want to find fashion that is brightly coloured, sequined, tight, different and CHEAP. Cheap clothing comes from Asian factories which do not have as stringent laws against chemicals as in Europe. The bright colours so sought for are the result of chemicals added to the die. And to transport these clothes without mould and wrinkles into our stores they are sprayed with chemicals. Manmade fibres are made with petrol based fibres that are full of chemicals and cotton is grown with pesticides. All these chemicals still exist in our clothes when we wear them and through friction and heat, they get absorbed by our skin.

We want these clothes and the companies hide these facts from us. In Europe, the law only requires companies to tell what fibres the clothes are made from, not what chemicals were used to make them. However, those chemicals can affect skin irritations, allergies and other more problematic health conditions. Some chemicals often found in our clothes: pesticides, insecticides, formaldehyde, flame retardants, other carcinogens and lead.

Read more about toxicity in clothes from Leotie Lovely, World Threads Traveler, Mochni and Eluxe. In fashion look for brands that produce clothing with toxic free dies and garments made closer to home require fewer chemicals to travel with.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

WASTE

It is widely known that the clothing we throw away becomes waste, but as recently reported to surprised and outraged consumers, companies burn the clothes they have produced too much off. It was Burberry that was under fire lately, but Burberry is only one of the many many big fashion corporations that do this. And it is not only clothes but fabrics and materials as well. When interning for a fashion company even I saw it and couldn’t fathom the waste of all the beautiful fabrics that many of us interns could’ve used on our Uni courses. And this is not talking about the waste that accumulated from designing (all the paper and energy), sampling (fabric cut offs, sample garments) and the production (fabric cut offs, thread etc.). And although that is the waste the company accumulated, you are paying for the waste. The garments are priced to cover for the waste materials as well.

Look for small brands that make fashion in small batches. This reduces the waste they create and supports their trade.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

SALE IS ONLY AN ILLUSION

It should be a common knowledge by now that outlet’s do not really sell designer clothing, but rather poorer quality clothing that they can attach a designer label on. The fact that the design labels have agreed to this is astounding, as those clothes still represent the brand even with the poorer quality.

However, what is not as commonly known are the discounts in stores. They claim to be to sell off the rest of the stock before the next season’s clothing and where that might’ve been the original reason and still one of the reasons, the bigger reason is consumers want the discounted items and wait for it. When much of the stock is sold at the discounted price the original price is steeper so that the stockholders will still get their share from the sales.

Support small brands that might not do so many sales, but who also rarely overprice their products. The customer service you get from them is also priceless!

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

CONTRADICTION TO MARKETING MESSAGE (OR GREENWASHING)

  • Using sustainability as a marketing tactic to sell products.
  • Companies providing a good message, but not doing the work behind the message.
  • Marketing a new innovation but not telling the whole truth.

Fashion companies are very skilled at branding and marketing an image that consumers want to see. That image sells, but only few will look behind the image to see whether the message is true to the core. Since sustainability and ethical fashion has become somewhat of a trend movement many companies have seen the potential to make money out of this by either selling a message that they are doing their bit for the fight (and really are not) or selling products with positive messages about saving the planet or feminism, with products that are more harmful for both. Beyonce’s Ivy Park line has been under scrutiny for promoting empowered women, but seemingly not empowering the women who made the clothes. SZA promotes sustainability and dumping plastic on clothes that are made by Champion, a company not so sustainable or one producing without plastic. Even though the proceeds go to fund the charities fighting for these problems the merchandise should not add to the problem. And then there are the feminist t-shirts that are made by women who are definitely not empowered.

Then there is the other side where small companies are trying to innovate something new and promote themselves tot he bigger audience with their innovation but leaving out information. I have been so excited to hear about fashion made out of waste products such as milk, apple waste, banana, lotus flower and seaweed. All renewable and sustainable options, however, not all are what they are marketing. Fabric made out of seaweed only actually has 4% of seaweed and the rest is cellulose, lyocell. However, at least Seacell does provide this information when looking for their specs, whereas other companies don’t. Bags cannot be made 100% out of apple waste, they need a binding agent, however, we do not read about that even though the company claims to be transparent.

Look for the information the companies tell you and question it. Ask them questions about their products and depending on their answers you can see how open they are about their products or whether they still want to hide something.

 

Ethical and Sustainable fashion is not all about making the world a better place. It is also about making better decisions for yourself and your health.

 

Unfortunately, companies are not happy to reveal information that is not entirely positive and often we might be sold something that isn’t entirely true. We can’t always blame the faces for what fashion industry is like, however, if we all question how the clothes are made, who made them and what chemicals were used to make them we might see change. Remember to share your findings with others, but to also be kind to those brands who are striving and working to be better. It is time for the fashion brands to stop hiding behind the closed doors!

Pictures by Godisable Jacob.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Let me know in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

Let’s Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going

As I’ve been away for half of the Fashion Revolution week I’ve unfortunately missed most of the events going on around the event. If somebody doesn’t know what it is about the best place to learn about it is the Fashion Revolution website, in short, though it is an organisation rallying behind a change we need to make in the fashion industry, especially after the Rana Plaza accident which killed over 1000 fashion workers. The aim of the movement is to make consumers aware, companies responsible and governments to make legislations so that we wouldn’t have to see another disaster, ultimately gaining a greater transparency in the fashion supply chains.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

I’ve been trying to catch up online with whatever I could. I’ve seen some inspiring articles published, screenings of important documentaries and talks about ethical fashion. Following all the events has made me hopeful that the noise we are making amounts to something, even though there is a lot to do about it. Fashion Revolution week has strongly questioned from all the brands “Who Made My Clothes?” and many brands answered, but I’ve also noticed that most (if none) of the fast fashion brands didn’t answer. To me, it tells a lot when a company doesn’t want to answer to who made their clothes.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

To help you be part of Fashion Revolution week and help make a change you can:

  • Ask a fashion brand who made your clothes either by sending a picture on Instagram, sending a tweet or even sending them an email. Remember to add #whomademyclothes when using social media.
  • Try a #haulternative instead of buying new clothes by shopping second hand, swapping with friends or refashioning garments in your wardrobe that you don’t wear. This article showed some great simple ways how to refashion your clothes.
  • Share a love story of a garment that you love or you are falling back in love with.
  • Donate to a sustainable fashion organisation that helps to make a difference.
  • Write to a policymaker.
  • Spread the word.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

To learn more about the problems we face in the fashion industry and how we are combatting them or how you can combat them check these articles from the past week as well, I found them really interesting:

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

I am happy that this movement has gained such a response and hope in the future they will also question “How were our clothes made?” meaning that we need to know if pesticides or toxic chemicals were used in the process, how did the company get rid of waste and what different stages made that garment. I know it is a long way for companies to start revealing this information, mostly because they want to keep trade secrets and it is easier to hide behind something that isn’t told, but that is a topic for another discussion. The way fashion is made and consumed now needs to be changed and therefore I hope everybody pays a visit to Fashion Revolution website as the steps you need to take won’t cost you anything but can make a big difference!

The Fashion Revolution week might be drawing to a close when this post comes up, however, we shouldn’t stop questioning brands who made our clothes or how they were made. I think this week should be just a reminder to keep fighting for a better fashion industry!

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

 

How have you contributed to the Fashion Revolution Week?

With love,

Lii

Why Do We Expect To Buy Cheap Fashion

It is a question that makes me think almost more than any other. I expect it, even though I am trying to be a more ethical shopper. Everybody I know expects it or at least say they can’t afford to buy anything more expensive than the regular high street items. I did research into this topic and I’ve read books on it and it still baffles me, but I’ve found few points that seem to pop up with most people. I know that this is a generalisation and you might not expect fashion to be cheap or you expect it for a different reason, but I hope it might make you think about it anyway.

Used To It

We are used to buying cheap fashion. We are not used to fashion lasting us long neither in quality or style preference, and we are not prepared to pay more money for something that isn’t lasting.

We Want To Get Money’s Worth

We want to get as much for our money every month and do not see fashion as an investment piece. Unfortunately, I see this problem with many other things in life as well. Fashion used to be an investment, or rather not disposable. Garments used to cost a lot of money and people took care of their garments so they would last. Now we want new clothes for different social occasions, we want to eat and party out, we want to go to the movies and possibly buy a present for somebody. Instead of saving to buy a garment that will last years, we buy the one that was suitable enough with a great price for this month.

It is the standard we expect

It is the standardised price. I am not saying it is the standard, but rather we all have in our minds a price that we are not willing to go over in each item. With technology we expect a higher price than with fashion, nevertheless, it costing just a fragment of the selling price for the company to produce. But technology is not quite as disposable as fashion is. We do not realise that we are not paying for the item to last, but rather support the unsustainable practice of sweatshop labour and profit for the high street brands.

Extra Value

When we pay “extra” price for any item we expect it to offer more for us; either a perfect fit or a superior quality. For people to use more money on fashion (or anything else) we require more value.

Lifestyle

In today’s world, we are not used to people making clothes themselves. We are at awe if somebody can make a garment themselves, although there was a time when women were expected to know how to make garments, or we do not believe they can make the garments well. Today we don’t see those who make the garments, we can just expect them to be in the stores. Today consumers expect that shops will answer their every need and want in an instant and those shops that do will succeed. Media from fashion magazines to blockbuster movies makes us want the image and the lifestyle of those incredible women with their incredible bodies and beautiful fashion items. Department stores and high-street fashion houses offer us the fashion items for cheap to achieve the feeling of that lifestyle and our peers offer us the agreeable response when we buy new stuff all the time.

What Value Does Fashion Bring?

The value fashion brings to one’s life is fleeting. It is the experience and thrill of finding a new item that fits into the person’s lifestyle at a bargain price. Once home, if the fashion item is still favourable, it is the experience of flaunting the fashion item in front of friends and family and getting those few compliments. It is the feeling of being trendy and wearing the image of yourself that you are dreaming of. And in most cases that is it. The garment will be forgotten when new ones arrive. It is rare when I hear people talking excitedly about a fashion item that they’ve had for months (or years) unless it is an expensive designer bag/shoes. It is rare for people to have staple pieces of fashion in their wardrobes that they feel good for more than a couple wears.

I’ve heard many people say that they can’t afford to spend £/$100 on a pair of jeans and quite frankly neither can I, but then again I can spend £40 on a pair of jeans once a year or spend more on a pair that is good quality with proper durable fiber and it might last me a lifetime. I am no longer happy to pay for high street retailers profits without getting much in return. I do see that the standard price of fashion is not at a correct point because I know what goes into really making fashion and it can’t be achieved with as low a price as the high street. For me, quality and ethics are a value when I buy fashion and when I buy it I do expect it to last me long if it doesn’t I know to question the brand that sold it to me.

Pictures are from this Pinterest board.

 

Why do you expect fashion to be cheap and what are you paying for then?

With love,

Lii

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing

Ready-to-made fashion sizes seem to baffle us all. We are frustrated when shopping for fashion and no wonder as we have to juggle between different sizes, as one doesn’t always seem to be the perfect one for us. We wonder whether we have gained weight or whether the company made a mistake when they made the garment. It seems to be impossible to find the perfect jeans and nothing fits perfectly. I’ve heard this all many times from friends and acquaintances, as well as reading from people’s blogs. People questioning why all of the brands don’t just use the same sizing so that it would be easier to shop for fashion. Unfortunately, I am not here to tell you how to find that right size, but rather explain why it is difficult to find your size and why you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about it.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

The current method of providing clothes with a size so that people would more easily recognise what garment is most suitable to them is quite new. It was during the industrialisation and the big boom of companies making ready-to-wear garments when they required a standardised size, before that women’s clothing was made as a made-to-measure by a seamstress or a couturier, or women sew their own garments themselves.

Making garments made-to-measure, although makes the garment to fit the wearer perfectly, is a slow process and is not suitable for the fast-fashion market (this might be changing now, but more about it later), which is why there is a size chart (or many) that groups certain measurement under one size.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

Women are obsessed with their clothing size and especially how small of a size they wear. I read an article where a stylist explained how her customers would refuse to take a bigger size that would fit them because they wanted to have the size small label. The fashion companies have recognised this and adapted accordingly with vanity sizing. You’ve probably heard that in her own time Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, but in today’s sizing, she would be a size 6. It’s because fashion companies want to make women feel better about themselves, but when each company decides the sizing on their own (and might have more than one chart within the range of garments they sell) it can be difficult to find one size that fits you.

 

The main reason, in my opinion, is that all of us are different shapes. It is rare that anybody can fit into a company’s size standard so that everything fits them perfectly, and if you are one of them then good for you! But the number of times I have been in the dressing room wondering why a garment fits perfectly on the butt but not on my waist and going smaller would be too tight. Or when I try a top which is perfect around my shoulders and arms but is bulging around my bust, but going a size bigger will look like a sack on me. This is why you can be the same size with your friend and not fit into same garments and look absolutely different in the same garments.

With standardised sizing garments are produced with specific measurements in mind, which is for a specific body type most often slim hourglass or rectangle. In which case, if you are any other body shape it might be difficult to find garments that will suit you well and enhance your appearance.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

In the end, size is just a number that doesn’t really matter. It is for the fashion brands to help sell their clothes and for you to possibly have a clue of what size of a garment you should be looking for. It has changed through the ages because of cultural pressure and norm. Fortunately, there is now technology that can help you find garments that fit you from the existing ones or even order made-to-measure garments. The technology is still in its infancy, but I am sure will make a big difference to the fashion industry in just a few years. For now, I’ve found Post-Couture Collective to have a great start on this idea and TrueFit, which finds you garments from many top brands that will fit your measurements.

I don’t think a size label will ever be out of our lives, but I hope the innovations in technology in fashion will allow better fitting garments for us in the near future with less headache over finding them.

 

Do you have problems finding the perfectly fitting garment? What do you think would be a solution to this?

With love,

Lii