Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder?

As you have probably noticed I am all up to support the small brands and talk bad about the big brands, especially if I feel they are taking the small brands thunder with ethical or sustainable things. Not following? Let me explain. Recently I’ve seen a lot of articles about ethical swimwear; it seems there is a boom in the industry. Designers from Europe, USA, Australia and Canada, especially, are producing swimwear with various ethical ways such as GOTS certified cotton, fair trade or recycled ocean waste materials. I find it absolutely amazing to hear that these small brands are making their mark with their ethical produce!

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

If you have read about these small brands, you have probably also read about the fashion and sportswear giant Adidas producing swimwear and shoes from recycled ocean waste. My first thought was great, more marketing for the ocean conservation and sustainability. My second thought was, wait…  by using the same technology and marketing tactics isn’t Adidas taking the limelight from all the other brands within the narrow ethical fashion marketing sphere?

Recycled Ocean Waste

The highly marketed recycled ocean waste fabric is Econyl, a trademark by Aquafil which is made in Slovenia. It is a fibre made out of recycled nylon 6 which they collect from few locations around the world and some volunteers collect them discarded fishing nets. The fibre is produced in a closed loop system and can be recycled numerous times. It sounds great compared to virgin nylon and it is definitely a solution for nylon 6 waste. You can check their website if you want to read more about it.

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

There are several brands that use econyl to make their swimwear. Auria, a brand from London, was one of the first brands that used the fibre and has built a brand on making their beautiful ethical swimwear by using only econyl fabric. Koru likewise to Auria has built their brand producing ethical swimwear and only using econyl, whilst they are in New Zealand. There are several others that you can find just by googling and on the Econyl blog where they share the brands that are using their fibre. And then, of course, there is Adidas, who made a collaboration with Parley to create an eco swimwear collection and shoes to raise awareness for the ocean and marine conservation. Currently, they produce 50 % of their swimwear out of recycled materials but are aiming for 100%.

Econyl provides any brand with a sustainable new nylon fabric. Small brands don’t have to innovate to create an environmentally sustainable business. What they do with it is the difference. Small brands have to drive their sales with beautiful and unique designs, each catering to a slightly different niche market and retailing for £50-170 per swimsuit. They boast with ethical swimwear that is made out of recycled ocean waste and produced fairly by making it locally or in fair trade factories. Whereas Adidas caters to the mass market with a price to match £25-51 and although they spread the message of ocean and marine conservation to a wider public, the price questions whether the swimwear is made in fair conditions. In addition, when the small brands have been able to build their brands on the sustainable fabric, I wonder why it is taking Adidas this long to do it 100% nevertheless of their aims. Is Econyl production not quite meeting the Adidas swimwear production rates, or is it just green marketing tactics?

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

I do think that it is great there are many options to buy more sustainable alternatives than the general high street mass market options, but I do feel Adidas is stealing the thunder from the smaller brands while not being quite as committed to the cause. When googling recycled ocean waste swimwear Adidas collaboration with Parley has several first clicks, whereas I originally read about the smaller brands because I follow several ethical blogs. However, I do not think these small brands could have spread the message as wide as Adidas did, on their own. To make this planet sustainable we do need everybody working for it; producing sustainably, educating people and spreading the word. Maybe this way we challenge each of these brands to be even better and more innovative with their sustainable ways.

Pictures are from Auria, Econyl and Proswimwear websites.

 

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

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Use Your Power of ‘Choice’ When Buying

When I was young I often thought that what I do or my choices don’t matter. I am just one person and in the scale of the Earth’s population, or even just my own country’s population my choices don’t make a difference. Since I started looking at the world from a different perspective I learned how wrong I was and the longer I live the more I feel empowered with my own choice. I know there are still many people who think their choice doesn’t matter and I often hear them saying it as if it is a fact. Funnily enough, when I see these people after a period of time they suddenly have changed their minds. It could be the political climate that we are in that makes people find out and be more active, or it could be something else. I am just happy that they have found their voice and they are using their ‘choice’. If you don’t believe that your choice matters then keep reading and I will demonstrate how it actually does and why it is important to use it. Take a comfy seat and maybe some tea, as this is going to be a long post.

Use Your Power of 'Choice' When Buying - byLiiL

Our choice affects us as well as other people. Often the talk about choice regards how we can make smarter decisions when shopping, so that we save our environment and so that people are treated fairly. I absolutely think we should choose wisely for this reason as well, but the other reason is for yourself. It wasn’t that long ago when I wrote about the problems with commercial cleaning products, about how you don’t know what you are buying when you are shopping from big multinational companies. We often trust that these companies bring the best to the market and forget to question whether it really is safe for us to use. Although companies want to sell us products, their ultimate goal is to earn money to their stakeholders’ pockets. To earn more money they make decisions that will reduce costs in their production, which can affect in toxic ingredients. For example in the mid-1900s lead was added to gasoline, which was polluting the air that people breathe. Adding lead was bringing money to the ingredients patent holder and while it did help with some engine related performance, it is a neurotoxin that is easily inhaled by people.

Recently I started reading the book ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and already in the first chapter, it discussed how plastic products made in developing countries add a small number of toxic chemicals to the plastic, to make it more economic to produce. You have probably seen water bottles sold with a tag of “BPA free” so that you can make sure it is safe for you to drink from, as it can leak into the food or water that you are drinking and eating. And why have they been added into the products in the first place?

In my two examples, you can see that awareness of the problems has made a difference already. People have pressured these companies enough that they would make a change. The gasoline does not have lead anymore and many companies are making BPA-free products. This is because even though the business wants to make money, they also need to be able to sell their products. If people don’t buy their products they can’t sell them and they will need to make a change. Businesses need to provide products that are demanded of them to succeed. That is why we have healthy foods on the market and that is why originally fast-fashion emerged.

Use Your Power of 'Choice' When Buying - byLiiL

So you don’t want to consume toxic products, that is for sure. And in the best case scenario, nothing you consume should hurt the planet or people. But how can just your own voice make any difference? We, people, are funny creatures. We are quite self-absorb, even if we didn’t’ think we are. We feel insecure about our looks or we are annoyed at a certain thing, and we think we are the only ones thinking in this way. But since the internet has connected us we find out that so many other people think alike. Chances are that if you stop buying a certain product because you don’t agree with how it was produced, somebody else has already stopped buying it and a third person will stop buying it. You might not know that it is happening, but the company sure does when they are not selling that item as well as they used to. Then you might think that ‘if so many other people do it then why should I have to’. My only answer to that is ‘if everybody thought this way no change would happen.’ So what you choose really does matter and when you choose to do something in a certain way you can think of how you are contributing to this cause, whether it is buying healthier options for yourself or buying ethically made garments.

So what you choose really does matter and when you choose to do something in a certain way you can think of how you are contributing to this cause, whether it is buying healthier options for yourself or buying ethically made garments.

Use Your Power of 'Choice' When Buying - byLiiL

Some ways in which you can make a choice:

  • Buying products after acknowledging what is in them and how they are made.
  • Sending the company a query of how they produce their products.
  • Sending the company a message of how you disapprove of the way they produce their products or how you disapprove of their products.
  • Inform others of why you stop buying certain products or from a certain company.
  • Let others know of the better choices you are making when shopping, such as a new brand or a new great product.
  • You choose yourself what fights are worth fighting for.

Use Your Power of 'Choice' When Buying - byLiiL

The choices that I make in my everyday life are various. I prefer buying food that is fresh and if possible organic. I prefer making my clothes instead of buying, although I am looking into ethically and sustainably made fashion. I shop for items rarely and I try every time to find out more about the product and the brand I am buying from. I do not buy any products from Nestle, for numerous reasons. I prefer buying from small and possibly local companies to improve the local economy and help the small business grow. In addition, I feel empowered when I know how the products I buy are produced. I educate myself on how to live more sustainably and make more sustainable choices and try to share the information with others through this blog.

 

How do you make your choices?

With love,

Lii

Best Advents Calendars to follow

I have some amazing advent calendars at home that make every morning a bit cheerier to wake up to. If you did not get one on time, then here I gathered a couple of other ones, that could be fun to follow. Enjoy!

Ethical Unicorn’s Ethical Advent – Each day there is a recipe, tip of an ethical seller or other treats. Be sure to check it out!

Sarah Nourse’s Vlogmas – Each day you get a Christmas related vlog from a minimalist YouTuber.

Braintree Clothing – They have a giveaway a day on their facebook page, which is pretty amazing!

 

Advent calendars to Follow - byLiiL

Pic is from my trip to Edinburgh. Aren’t the lights just beautiful!

 

Let me know if you have found any other nice advent calendars!

With love,

Lii

 

5 easy ways to be more sustainable

I find often that it is difficult to think of how to act more sustainably and had to really write down things that I want to change in my life to become more sustainable. They are really easy tips, which everybody has probably heard before, but they are a good reminder as sometimes even the best of us can forget.

1. Expand the lifecycle of your items

Do not use products/items only once, but rather try to get as much use of them as you can. If you have a plastic bag, throw your rubbish out in it, or reuse it when shopping. Wear your clothes many times, reuse your old homeware items, reuse old rags as wash cloths. There are many tutorials how to do that on Pinterest! The more you use your items the more it pays back in what it cost to you or the environment.

5 easy ways to be more sustainable - byLiiL

2. Opt for shower instead of bath

We tend to use less water when taking a shower rather than a bath. Even if you don’t live in a country where clean water is scarce it does take energy to get us clean water.

3. Recycle

You can recycle most things you use in your everyday life! Card, paper, plastic, batteries, textiles, furniture and biowaste. When you recycle your things rather than throw them out, they will not take space in the landfills and they might actually be useful in some other ways.

5 easy ways to be more sustainable - byLiiL

4. Eat seasonally and locally

I am planning to write a more detailed post on this, hopefully, in the near future. Although, there is a lot of information on seasonal eating all over the internet. Eating seasonally and sourcing food from local farmers is likely to reduce the amount of pesticides used to produce your food, is more likely to be organic and there are probably fewer air miles as well.

5. Opt for public transport or cycling

I know how convenient it can be to drive your own car, however, even if you drive an electric car it can be harmful to the environment. Using public transport is more efficient and can be cheaper, whereas, cycling can be great for your health!

5 easy ways to be more sustainable - byLiiL

Do you have any great tips for being sustainable?

With love,

Lii

What is sustainability?

 

It wasn’t too long ago when I got asked this question.

What is sustainability? What does it mean? What does it entail?

We do correlate the term sustainable usually to the environment, however, what is surprising is how little we actually understand it. And as I want to promote and discuss the sustainability within fashion and living I thought it was about time I would discuss the meaning of the term.

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To me sustainability means continuity. Continuity of our planet so that it will continue to provide us with earth to live on.

What can we do so that our planet will continue providing to us and supporting us?

Well, we can’t continue using pesticides and dropping toxins and waste on our planet. Earth erodes and pollutes, which harms us through food, water and air. If this will continue, we will not have the space to live, except in litter and we will run out of food and water before long, not even talking about other necessities. Instead, we can become mindful and conscious about what we consume, start making smarter decisions and demand companies to provide us with these options and letting us know about the whole lifecycle of the product. Sustainability is not a thing that only government, companies or consumers would have to think about. It is a thing that everybody should think about!

  • The innovation of ways to produce products and food, which keeps our earth providing more.
  • Shopping more consciously and products which we believe are not harming the environment (local, organic, etc.)
  • Companies which are openly fully transparent with their supply chain and production practices.
  • Reinforcing laws in the whole world to ensure the continuity of life on earth.
  • Making changes that we will continue making and adapting. Rather than having it as a trend it should be a movement.
  • Worldwide\ knowledge and information about the problems and how to tackle them.

I don’t think people will ever stop shopping or wanting new things, but I do think that innovation towards easier ways to recycle products and waste less would be a great start in combination with non-harmful production.

 

What do you think is sustainability? Have I left anything out in your opinion?

With love,

Lii

 

 

 

 

Overdressed and the True cost -review

I mentioned ages ago, that I read the ‘Overdressed’ book and how excited I was about it. I also watched the documentary ‘True cost’, which I thought was an excellent addition to getting the whole picture of the issues in the fashion industry. Well, close to a whole. I am sure there are still many problems that have not yet come up to the public eye. First of what I would like to say is that if you like fashion and shopping for fashion, you should read and watch these. I think everybody should know the backgrounds of items they love so much. Not so that people would stop shopping, but so they would be shopping smartly, with intention and understanding. Also, I really think these two should be read/watched together. What one leaves out the other fills in.

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Overdressed: The Shockingly high cost of cheap fashion by Elizabeth L.Cline

This book goes through very well the insane mass consumption of fashion in the USA and the history of how they got to it. She is writing this from a USA point of view, however, I think it can be somewhat transferable to the European consumer as well. Elizabeth is not really blaming the consumer or the businesses for problems in the fashion industry but rather explains how the system is intricate and has so many layers it is difficult to tackle.

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Basically, she explains how fast-fashion is a horrible problem in many ways from exploiting labour to poor fitting fashion and masses of textile waste. Unlike articles about all these problems, however, she does explain what she thinks would help to slowly resolve at least some of these problems.

I was really interested in why there is no more support for small businesses and makers and why are the conditions in developing countries not improving in spite of all the media attention.

Elizabeth’s writing is very interesting, thorough and clear. I found it very easy to read although with somewhat mixed feelings. Where the book is interesting, it is also very sad and depressing and it made me feel a bit powerless, nevertheless of her tips. Although after reading it I felt this urge to do my part in moving towards slower fashion. The only thing I would have wished to have more in the book is the sustainability and other environmental issues, as she only scratches the surface on these issues and rather sticks with the labour issues.

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True cost movie (available on Netflix)

This movie does touch some of the issues mentioned in the book but concentrates more on the environmental problems, such as toxicity and erosion, which are usually overlooked in articles and in the media when talking about the problems in the fashion industry. I really liked how in depth they took this subject without blaming the consumer but exploring the wider implications. They questioned the economy and capitalism as a part of the driving forces in this problem, which rarely is mentioned and they talked about what we could do if we shopped sustainably and ethically.

The documentary was filmed well and Andrew Morgan has done a great job directing it. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, but also made me a bit depressed. The only thing I was wishing a bit more from the documentary was showing more the problems we have with the waste resulted from the fashion industry.

true cost

As a result of watching and reading these, I felt the need to do more and better and a little empowered to move in the right direction. Whereas previously I felt I didn’t have any options, now I feel I do. Yes, it is depressing but it is also so informative! There are so many companies and people who think they can get away with doing just about anything and this is one of the ways they can be exposed.

I definitely recommend checking out both of these and when you have please leave me a comment. I would love to discuss these issues further! And please let me know if this is something that you are interested in reading more about on my blog.

 

Pics from Take Part and Going Zero Waste. You can also read more about the topic from those resources.

 

With love,

Lii

Save the Bees!

Not so long ago, I was inspired by the Sentimental Cynic blog when she wrote about saving bees. I’ve heard this many times, but before looking into it I didn’t fully understand the full meaning and consequences of losing bees from the planet.

If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth then man would only have 4 years left to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man! -Albert Einstein

In today’s world, it might not be 4 years, but re precautions are major!

Why are bees important:

  • They pollinate about a third of everything we eat, and as we are already over-consuming food from the face of the earth, we do not want to cut out a third of it!
  • They pollinate also crops for the cows and they pollinate cotton.
  • They pollinate the seeds of flowers and berries that little birds and mammals eat. This would result in a disruption in the ecosystem. Everything in nature is connected.
  • In other words, bees need flowers to feed themselves and flowers need bees to reproduce. If bees do not get their food, they will die and everything else would follow. In the UK only, 25 out of 50 species have got extinct in only 50 years.

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What is killing bees:

There is no one answer to this, but rather many theories.

  • Bees need space for habitat and forage, however, over 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have
  • Bees need space for habitat and forage, however, over 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have dissapeared since 1945.There
  • There are parasitic mites and virus.Poor nutrition is
  • Poor nutrition, as there not enough flowers that bees like to consume.
  • Commercial pesticides, which harm the bees.

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What can we do?

  • One thing you can do is to support local honey makers and beekeepers.
  • To not kill bees or use commercial pesticides. There are pesticides you can make yourself, which are less harmful for bees.
  • To plant wildflowers or other flowers that bees like. There are flowers which bees do not like.

Just Bee is a small company, which work to promote beekeeping.They also make Just Bee Honey Water which supports local honey makers. One of their initiatives is to offer people FREE wildflower seeds that you can plant yourself to help the bees. You sign up in here, after which you receive an email that prompts you to send them an envelope with your name and a stamp and within couple weeks you receive your own packet of wildflower seeds that you can plant. Here I am happily planting my own packet and can’t wait for them to grow!

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I know many people are afraid of bees, but what I’ve found is if you leave them be they will not hurt you. If they are really attracted to you, well then it is because you smell so nice or because of the colour of your clothes. Bees are attracted to nice scents and certain colours. So be flattered!

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If you want to do one good deed for the planet, help the bees and save the ecosystem. We will need it! If you want to read more about this subject here are couple of links that you can follow: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3. Here is also some Pinterest inspiration on bees, how to be bee friendly and how to recognise the bees.

 

How do you feel about bees?

With love,

Lii