Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018

It’s that time of the year again when we get frantic about finishing all the work, preparing for relaxation time and trying to find everybody some presents. My best tip is to check a couple of tip posts or articles out, for some inspiration, and especially the ones for ethical and sustainable presents, there are many of them this year! And then listen to your friends and family and what are they looking for. I think often the best presents are time and being together with somebody, or giving them an unforgettable experience, and that post I will be posting up soon, however, for those who want to give products I am sharing some great brands here where you can find absolutely amazing products that are ethical and/or sustainable, and there are options for different price points as well! Do remember that the most ethical present (in items) is something that the person wants and will use years to come.

You can check an alternative Sustainable Gift Guide that I wrote last year from here and the post about gifting experiences can be found here. The decorations and seeds seen in this posts are from LA Juniper online store and part of the presents I am giving.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Fashion and Homeware Gifts

Mavolu – An online shop based in Germany selling fashion, accessories and home products made with sustainable textiles.

Gaia & Dubos – A Canadian sustainable fashion company selling beautiful products, teaching how to care for them. In addition, they offer a bunch of tutorials for caring for your clothes.

La Juniper – A beautiful online store for homeware, stationery and gift products all ethically made.

Alicas – This is a Scottish brand working on providing women in crisis new clothes by repurposing surplus stock from retailers. They are selling ethical items with beautiful illustrations, right now to fund their amazing project.

Elvis and Kresse – Make amazing accessories from repurposed fire hydrants and off-cut leather. In addition, they give 50% of their profits to charity. This is one of my favourite brands at the moment and their accessories are on my Christmas wishlist!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Wild Tussah – Ethical accessory brand made by artisans.

Nandi Berlin – Ethical homeware store with items made by artisans.

Buy Me Once – Fashion,  homeware and gift that will last a long time, are high quality and look great.

Gather and See – Sustainable and ethical fashion from around the world.

LiiL – British made Giclee prints and ethically made sleep masks and homeware.

Primrose and Pixie – Ethical and sustainable lingerie from Scotland.

Studio Emma – Beautiful and colourful homewares made out of concrete.

Maik London – Homewares that are sustainably sourced and ethically made in beautiful prints. I especially like their socks!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Beauty Gifts

Acala – Zero waste beauty shop selling everything to women and men.

MyPure – Natural beauty shop for women, men and children.

Evolve – Natural and organic beauty brand, which is one of my favourites.

 

Zero Waste Supplies

White Spring – Sell high-quality bamboo straws, which are a great present for anybody who likes to drink with straws.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Better Subscription Gifts

Green EcoBox – They have a natural beauty and gourmet food-related subscription boxes which give back. These boxes are amazing for somebody who likes to try new products which are of high quality and from small brands. If you don’t want to get the whole box or a subscription then you can check just the products on their websites. They are amazing!

Sourced Box – A subscription box full of healthy treats and for Christmas, they bring in a healthy chocolate box which looks so delicious I might just have to order one for myself!

Ethical Consumer – A subscription to this magazine will support ethical consumer magazine and bringing information about ethical businesses. It is a great magazine which I like to support.

Willoughby Book Club – or any other book subscription. At Willoughby, you can choose how long subscription and what type you want to order.

Spotify – or any other music service. Having the premium service can be a nice difference when you don’t have to listen to the constant advertising.

Netflix – or any other video service. There are so many options and so many of us watch tv on a daily basis.

Who Gives A Crap – Why not gift somebody, especially those who might need it, a subscription of toilet paper which is better for the environment as well. I know this might be a controversial present, but I also know that some people would love this present!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Let me know if you have any other great shops or tips for Christmas!

With love,

Lii

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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

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

Sustainable News of July 2018

Climate Change

What’s Warming The World – This is an old article but explains in a clear way what really is warming the planet and explains how other factors can be taken out of the equation.

Trump Tried To Stop These Teens Suing Over Climate Change. It Didn’t Work – And the long-awaited trial is coming. I am very intrigued by how it’s going to go.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Fashion

Colombian Students Take Home Prize For Sustainable, Eco-Friendly “Vegan Wool” – It is dubbed ‘Woocoa’ and is made out of coconut fibres, hemp and mushroom enzymes. It is a very interesting innovation and definitely something that vegans are looking for. In addition, it is biodegradable and eco-friendly. They won the challenge set by PETA and Stella McCartney.

Circular Fashion Is The Future Of Fashion – An article explaining and introducing the circular fashion movement and how the industry is heading that way.

It’s Not Just Burberry – Burning Clothes Is Fashion’s Dirty Open Secret – Although Burberry is under fire at the moment in the fashion industry it is a general practice that garments not sold are burned or disposed of in other ways, because they want to keep their exclusivity, luxury and keep others from copying their work. It is a problem in the industry that works so fast it often over produces items and because factories that make them require certain minimum orders to actually fulfil orders at a certain price.

Luxury Brands Are Snapping Up Farms To Control Their Supply Chains – A way to take control of their supply chains, but what are the consequences for economies in those countries or for monopolising certain markets?

Who The Hell Wants To Only See White Women In Sustainable Fashion – This article is actually slightly older than from July, but still very relevant! We should see more diversity within the sustainable fashion brands.

Your Messy Closet Is Costing You Money – Do you remember what is in your closet?

Allbirds Is Making Sustainable Shoe Soles Out Of Renewable Sugar Cane – I really wish this would become more widespread, but would also look into how they get their sugarcane and does it contribute to the deforestation.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Plastic

Starbucks Bans Plastic Straws, Ends Up Using More Plastic – What are they substituting the straws with? Does this sound like they are trying to be more sustainable or rather just jump on the zero waste hype bandwagon and greenwash their company?

10 ‘Stealth Microplastics’ To Avoid If You Want To Save The Ocean – Most of these were not surprising to me, but some were very surprising!

Scientists Created Plastic Wrap Alternative From Seashells And Plants – Excellent! Excited to see if they will bring it to the market.

Wildlife

87% Of The World’s Oceans Are Dying: Report – Due to climate change, overfishing and pollution the majority of the world’s ocean’s ecosystems have been affected. Check from the article why it is important to take action now.

90% Of World’s Largest King Penguin Population Has Vanished – It is a sad reality of Climate Change.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Social

Google Is Giving Nigeria Free Wifi – What is becoming a third most populated country can benefit from free access to the internet through which they can access technology, increase their earning potential and increase access to health care.

Vegan, Ethically Made Condoms – Quirky Queer explains why the main brand condoms might be harming you and why it might be better to switch to other brands, with links to the better brands. Great post!

Charities Are Failing To Tackle ‘Endemic’ Sexual Abuse In The Aid Sector, Warn MPs – A problem which we hear too rarely about, however, is a big problem that should be talked more about to make a systemic change.

There Are More Statues Of Goats Than Real Women In The UK. But That’s About To Change – I don’t have anything against goats but am surprised why the UK has statues of goats? Now, there will finally be change and there will be a few more statues of women, however, they will be smaller than the gold statues Oscars winners get. Don’t know if that is a win?

There’s A Problem With Outright Banning Plastic Straws – Do we consider every person’s needs when doing this?

Brexit Could Cost Women Their ‘Fundamental Rights’, Warns Human Rights Report – Great…

Measuring The Cost Of Conservation – Conservation can be tough on the poor local economies.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Energy

Egypt Is Building World’s Largest Solar Energy Park – Great news for renewable energy!

Wealthy Nations Are Pushing ‘Dirty Energy’ Projects Across Africa – Not so sustainable.

Other

One Million Ton Of UK Waste Carpet Diverted – Excellent! I hope this can show how recycling can work.

Watch Out For Greenwashing On Compostable Products – This article is mostly for US audience, however, I think it is fairly transferable to other nations as well and it pinpoints how the eco-industry is trying to capitalise on the hype of eco products without considering whether there is infrastructure to handle its demands.

Fern’s Sequence Genome Holds Environmental Promise – Ferns could be the answer to agriculture as insects, in general, are not fond of the plant.

 

Did you read any other interesting news? Share them with me 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

Favourite Insta Pics From October

This month as I have been so busy I didn’t have quite as much time to check up on Instagram pics or pics weren’t as good this month. I still managed to get a selection of very varied pics which I liked this month. Most of the pics are not very autumny, but they represent being in the moment and enjoying life!

 

What pics did you like this month?

With love,

Lii

Inspiration of the Month – Have the courage to change things

A couple of days ago I went to the New Lanark to check out the historic mills that made famous by Robert Owen and his revolutionary way to conduct his business. I thought I was excited to just see the textile mills and especially the ones that are currently working. However, I was quite surprised to learn about how Robert Owen lead the way to revolutionise the industrial working and living environment of his workforse.

Inspiration of the Month - Have the courage to change things - byLiiL

At a time when business men and company owners wanted to be profitable rather than have healthy and happy employees, Robert Owen saw the benefits the happy community of worker would provide to the profits of his business. Since buying New Lanark mills from his father-in-law, Owen starts his “Great Experiment” in 1800. He reduced the daily working hours for all his employees, banished work from children under 10 years of age, introduced healthcare for all his employees, and a sickness fund alongside it, he build co-operative store so his employees could buy quality goods for fair prices, he build a school for children, introduced childcare and evening classes for working people. He and his philosophy were ahead of its time by over a century. He was world renown for his content and healthy employees with healthy and well-mannered village children and a profitable business model. He was a philantrophist, early day social entrepreneur and although currently his model of small communities of workforse might be connencted to colonies, the basic prinsiple of how to treat employees is still something every company should strive for. Listening and reading about his business model made me think how the world would be a different place if all the other textile factories worked in a similar way!

In addition to the exemplar way to treat the workforse, New Lanark was a great example of how to be nearly self-sufficient. It was built on a riverbank on a side of Fall’s of Clyde, where they produced their own hydro electricity that powered the whole mill. Robert Owen’s philosophy and work was the model for current working conditions, health care, co-operative movement and education that we currently have.

Inspiration of the Month - Have the courage to change things - byLiiL

I am extremely inspired by Robert Owen’s thinking and if you were inspired as well go check more about New Lanark and Robert Owen’s work here.

 

With love,

Lii