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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What Was I Up To In March 2018

March was a very cold month with some surprising and exciting snowy days in Glasgow, which made me think about how lovely my warm home is with heating and warm and dry covers. That’s when I wrote the post about why we should feel gratitude for having a home. Homelessness should be an issue that is addressed at all times, but especially when it is cold outside!

Why You Should Feel Gratitude For Having a Home - byLiiL

I loved the interview I did with Nadja, who is the founder of MAVOLU the webshop for sustainable fashion with innovative materials. She has great insight into material innovation and what sustainable fashion is all about! I also shared a bunch of articles that are helpful to a sustainable lifestyle. And finally, I share a big collection of sustainable news from February.

March also saw International Women’s Day and I got tickets to see Priscilla the musical as a present, which I enjoyed a lot! March also saw International Water Day and Earth Hour, two very important days to remember our connection to nature. I found it funny that the beginning of March saw such cold days and also very beautiful spring days. Finally, I shared beautiful Instagram pictures.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Something Good - byLiiL

The start of April is cold again and I hope we will get warmer and sunnier days soon! Sun definitely boosts my efficiency and energy, so come on sun!

How was your March?

With love,

Lii

 

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU – Material Revolution

Nadja, the founder of MAVOLU, and I go way back to our undergraduate studies where we both showed interest in sustainable fashion. This common interest was definitely a part of what kept us as friends ever since our University studies. I am happy to have a friend with whom I can discuss my interest in sustainable fashion and who is an inspiration to me. I can always count on her support and am every day impressed by her integrity and drive for what she wants to achieve. I wanted to share the interview with Nadja as she has some great points on sustainable issues and innovation currently and she has founded a great new platform for sustainability! I hope you will enjoy this interview and let me know if you want to read more of these kinds of posts in the future!

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

Who are you? And how are you connected to sustainability?

My name is Nadja, I am from Germany and 28 years old. After completing my BA in ‘Fashion Business’ at Glasgow Caledonian University I moved to Berlin in order to study an MA course focussing on sustainability in fashion. My MA project was examining innovative and sustainable materials, in particular, peace silk, banana fibre and soy fibre. I went on a research trip to India in order to learn more about the production and sourcing processes of each fibre, and in addition to that, I designed a small capsule collection made from those materials. After finishing the MA course me and some other students decided to continue working together as re/GENERATE, focussing on collaborations and workshops that are aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  We also got the chance to show our MA projects as part of the ‘Fashion Sustain’ Conference during Berlin Fashion Week, which was very exciting! A small summary of all the projects can be found on our webpage.

What is MAVOLU?

Ever since I’ve started the MA course I’ve been somewhat obsessed with material innovation, especially because there is so much experimentation going on right now in terms of new and sustainable fibre options. But while I was doing the research for my thesis I realised that it is often quite difficult to gain access to clothing and accessories made from ground­breaking and innovative materials. While there are some designers that are already working with those materials, it is very time­consuming to actually find all of them. So I thought the easiest way to solve this problem was to create a marketplace specifically for products made from innovative materials. I, therefore, started an online platform that is currently covering eight different materials, with the intention to add more over time. In the online shop, you can find beautiful and unique products such as wallets made from banana fibre, dresses made from peace silk, and bags made from cork. In addition to that, MAVOLU wants to create a knowledge exchange in the field of sustainable textiles and fibre options, which is why I have added a material library that will show a short summary of each fibre. I have also recently started a blog where each material will be discussed in more depth and where I will introduce the different designers and brands who are behind all these beautiful products.

Where do you see the future of fashion and sustainability?

While material innovation is a big passion of mine, I am of course aware that the right material choice alone is not going to change the whole fashion industry. But I do believe that it makes a very big difference to choose a low­impact fibre or material at the very beginning of the supply chain, which will then have a positive impact on all other stages ­ for example, a material that is free from chemicals will cause less harm in terms of human toxicity for farmers, weavers, and of course also consumers. This can be as simple as choosing organic

cotton instead of conventional cotton, because its production requires a lot less water, chemicals and fertilisers.

What is the most interesting innovation in terms of materials so far?

I am a big fan of fibre production from agricultural residues, such as banana fibre and pineapple fibre. Banana fibre, for example, is derived from the pseudostem of the banana plant, which would naturally rot once the fruit has been harvested. The fibre is therefore entirely made from a by­product of the food industry and its cultivation does not require any additional resources. The same goes for pineapple fibre production: the fibres can be extracted from the leaves of the plant (again a by­product of the food industry) and can e.g. be turned into Piñatex, an innovative material created by Ananas Anam which is often used as a vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to leather.

 

What do you see as the biggest problem within material innovation?

I think for now a lot of the material innovation is still in the research stage. While fabrics made from Tencel, ramie and hemp have been around for some time now, others are not quite as developed and are therefore not used by many designers. That seems to be the main reason why it is currently still quite difficult to get your hands on items made from innovative and sustainable materials. But I also think that there is a huge interest in developing those materials further, as well as coming up with new alternative fibres. E.g. if you look at the winners of the Global Change Award in the past years then you will notice that at least one of them is focussing on some sort of ground­breaking fibre or material ­ be it from citrus waste, algae, or even cow dung. So over time, those materials will hopefully be used by more designers, and as a result, more people can gain access to it, offering them an alternative to mass­produced items made from unsustainable fibres.

And what do you see as the biggest problem within sustainable fashion?

I think that most of all, we need to start changing the current mindset in terms of value. We are too used to clothing being insanely cheap and therefore disposable. In fact, we are so used to cheap fashion that it has now become the norm, consequently making sustainable fashion appear ‘too expensive’. However, I think it is necessary that we re­value the labour that goes into each and every garment ­ starting with the fibre production, the spinning, the weaving, the sewing, the distribution. If you consider all those individual steps in the supply chain then suddenly sustainable fashion doesn’t seem quite so expensive ­ it’s just a realistic price for a realistic amount of work.

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

Do you have any tips for people who want to be more sustainable in their fashion consumption?

Start small and don’t get demotivated! To be honest I often get demotivated myself, thinking that I can’t really make a difference compared to the bigger picture. But as consumers, we all have a choice, with every single purchase we make. And even if sustainable fashion is not within your budget then there are still plenty of other options, such as buying second­hand or renting your clothes (e.g. from ‘fashion libraries’ such as Kleiderei. All those seemingly small steps are contributing a lot towards a more sustainable future in fashion.

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

 

I hope that interview got you more excited about material innovation. Now go check MAVOLU out and learn even more about innovative materials. And check her beautiful Instagram account as well!
If you have any additional questions to Nadja ask them in the comment box below!
Shop the products in the post:
With love,
Lii

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery

Jewellery is often associated with something permanent and long-term. Especially the jewellery made out of precious metals and possibly containing precious gems. Their beauty is celebrated for years to come as they don’t decay, and they can be passed on as heirlooms to future generations. I have a lovely golden necklace with a ruby from my mother, which I cherish! I remember wanting to play with it when I was a little girl and when I grew up my mother gave it to me. It is special, it is beautiful and it reminds me of my mother. I am sure many of you have had beautiful stories with jewellery from engagements, presents or dates. I would love to hear them!

The one thing we don’t want is to look at our jewellery day after day and be reminded of the damage it might’ve had on our planet or people. However, sadly, this is the case with many high street jewellery, nevertheless of the undying efforts of NGOs, consumers and even jewellers. We’ve all heard about the blood diamonds, but who’s heard about the unethical and very environmentally disruptive way gold, platinum or gems stones are produced? I found out about it only recently, and couldn’t have imagined how widespread the problem is.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

WHAT ARE THE ETHICAL ISSUES IN THE JEWELLERY INDUSTRY

  • Mining and Toxic Waste – Mining requires certain toxic chemicals to extract precious metals cost efficiently. It produces a lot of toxic waste, which is a mixture of different chemical, which often ends up in local waterways contaminating local ecosystem.
  • Destroying the Ecosystem and Relocating Populations – Toxic waste is often dumped in the local waterways where it contaminates and kills not only the aquatic life but also the local ecosystem, enters the food chain and destroys peoples drinking water. People are often forced to relocate without an incentive and they lose their livelihoods. Examples 1 and 2.
  • Human Rights Violations – People are often forced to work in the mines with lower than minimum wage in dangerous conditions. They can face job fatalities with rock falls and tunnel collapses as well as experience heat exhaustion and get various respiratory diseases such as lung cancer or tuberculosis.
  • Blood Diamonds – Warlords use diamonds as a currency to finance their illegal war efforts.
  • Jewellery Production – Energy used to make jewellery, packaging materials, toxic dyes and chemical disposal.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

Thankfully there are better alternatives and jewellery industry seems to try and change things. It is still not easy to find absolutely sustainable options, but there are several companies that are driving the change and showing that customers want their jewellery to be ethical and sustainable! One of these companies is Cred Jewellery. My fiance stumbled upon Cred Jewellery when he was looking for a birthday present for me and after I received my beautiful earrings I decided to make an investigation into the company. I was happy to learn that their webpage offered an answer to all my ethical questions. Cred Jewellery works with their partners to keep the supply chain transparent, so you know exactly where the items in your jewellery come from.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

FAIRTRADE GOLD AND SILVER

I found it fascinating to learn that sustainable mining is said to be a practice of artisan and small-scale miners, where they refill and replant topsoil to minimise mining impact, and use non-toxic and have low energy requirements. Oro Verde is owned by 194 families in Columbia to produce responsible and traceable gold and platinum. It is a collective that provides small-scale and artisanal miners profitable activity whilst keeping it traceable and fairtrade.

Cred Jewellery used only Oro Verde gold and was one of the first companies to pay a premium for ecological gold. The premium is then invested by the mining community the way they need it. All the mining is done under stringent social and environmental criteria and is independently audited. Did you know that silver is often a by-product of gold mining and requires less energy to produce? Neither did I!

RECYCLED SILVER AND PLATINUM

Platinum is a very energy intensive to get off the ground and is very rare. In addition, medical and catalytic converters use it and require it more than the jewellery industry. Therefore recycled platinum is much more sustainable option and virgin platinum. Cred Jewellery uses only recycled platinum and some of its silver is recycled.

GEMS AND DIAMONDS

All of Cred Jewellery diamonds are certified conflict-free by Kimberley Process. There has been critique about whether Kimberley Process is as reliable a source of diamonds, but there is no other body to certify this yet. Actually, there is no fairtrade mark for gemstones and diamonds yet, however, Cred is working hard to source gems responsibly with economic justice to people involved.

In addition, Cred is working hard to help the people involved in the mining processes from safer working conditions to healthcare and education. Their source in Namibia established a jewellery training school for those who were previously disadvantaged due to mining practices.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

I was definitely impressed by what Cred Jewellery is already doing to help pave the way for sustainable and ethical jewellery and am so happy to wear my earrings with a good conscious!

Read more about sustainable and ethical jewellery from ethical consumer and check the Cred Jewellery website here!

 

How do you think we should address the ethical and sustainable problems in the jewellery industry?

With love,

Lii

 

Why I Don’t Shop On Black Friday – The Issue With The Sales Culture

It is the time of the year again when shops are filling with sales signs, people have made lists in anticipation of what is going to be on sale and hoping to find the best bargains for Christmas presents or in clothes and technology. In the USA people are going crazy and hurting themselves when pushing into the shops to be the first one to get the long-awaited bargain and in the UK people are browsing through the Amazon deals finding what they think are treasures. Mostly this is just the start of the stressful time before Christmas and we could argue whether sales and high expectations for Christmas are making the time ‘less wonderful’. I have to agree that every year I do check the Black Friday deals, but somehow none of the sales have so far enticed me enough to buy something, or I am just too late and the deals are already gone.

Lately, been more involved with small businesses I have come to see sales and especially Black Friday as the villain of the retail and quality products. There are numerous articles on why Black Friday is not really benefitting the retail industry, but of course not quite as many as ‘find the best bargains on Black Friday’, unfortunately. Black Friday, however, is not a problem only for retailers but for the consumers and for our environment as well!

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

The Sale Is An Illusion

It is widely known that retailers either raise the prices during a previous month to make their sales look good, or inflate the “original price” on the add or the tag for the product making it look like a bargain. Actually, this tactic is used outside of Black Friday all the time. Have you noticed how prices on your favourite products at Asda jump up and down weekly and sometimes the sale price isn’t actually lower than the products price on a month before?

What is less widely known is that brands manufacture items specifically for Black Friday items with a far poorer quality to make up for the sale tag, especially within the technology sector. It generates additional waste and requires more cheap labour. This phenomenon is also seen in discount retailers such as TK Maxx to which brands manufacture a specific lower quality product.

Of course, there are some genuine discounts during Black Friday as well, however, in the mids of all the other falsified discounts they might be hard to find.

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

Small Business’ Suffer

We can already see that small business’ have trouble competing with big brands pricing. I’ve heard numerous times how small business product prices seem too high for the conventional consumer. So when the big brands lower their prices it provides an uncomfortable pressure for the small brands to lower their prices as well to be able to compete.

Although Black Friday is meant to be only one day many brands and retailers, have extended their sales for a weekend or even a week. Now Amazon made it for the whole month!

Small brands generally don’t make the same profit as big brands from the items sold, as production costs are much higher for locally made items or those made in small batches, so discounting any items will probably end up in them losing on profit altogether.

If small brands do not discount their prices they are likely to miss on any product sales as customers pass them on their way to the sales shelves and racks.

Our culture seems to think it is always appropriate to have a sale. For example, Etsy, which is known to be a marketplace for small brands and which should support them, sends emails before Christmas or sales period advising sellers to discount their items.

 

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

It Is Not Necessarily Better For The Economy

People often have “sales goggles” on when shopping during Black Friday which results in a lot of returns afterwards, where products have either been faulty or suddenly people realise they don’t need the products that they thought they were craving for.

Although big brands might sell a lot during Black Friday and other sales events advertising and returns might not make this event any more profitable than any other day.

In preparation for sales seasons, some brands keep their prices originally higher so that they won’t make a loss during the sales periods, therefore, raising the product prices. Could this be avoided if we didn’t have sales periods and rather have slightly lower priced items all year round?

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

What We Could Do To Support A More Sustainable And Economical Trade

Instead of trying to get the best bargain we could just keep supporting the small brands with their fair prices. This will support the brand and the local economy.

The modern understanding for Black Friday is that it is the start of the shopping period for Christmas and is a completely commercial marketing tactic, so to not be swept in the craziness you could just not shop on those days.

While reading the Ethical Unicorn blog I came upon brand Very Kerry who instead of discounting their items during Black Friday gives a portion of their sales to charity, what a great idea!

 

What do you think about Black Friday and other sales events?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News Of The Month – September 2017

What’s The Annual Value of Trees? $500 Million Per Megacity, Study Says – Research conducted by international researchers in 10 of the biggest cities in the world, where 7.5 billion people on the planet live, found that trees bring big value to people and the cities they live. It is not a surprise, but now there is research to back it up.

Sustainable News Of The Month - September 2017 - byLiiL

How 139 Countries Could Be Powered By 100 Percent Wind, Water, and Solar Energy By 2050 – A resent most comprehensive research into energy services and clean energy tells how it is possible and what are the benefits of it.

More ‘Human’ Companies Outperform Business-As-Usual Competitors – More research has emerged showing that customer’s respond to purpose rather than profit. Which could potentially be good news for small independent brands that do things differently.

Sustainable News Of The Month - September 2017 - byLiiL

Organic On The Agenda in Parliament – Taking an example from what Denmark is doing, organic produce a topic in the UK parliament. I hope they make a good decision!

New Climate Risk Classification Created To Account For Potential ‘Existential’ Threats – Researchers identified that potentially dangerous threats could hit our planet no later than 2015 due to climate change.

 

If you have read any other interesting news about sustainability I would love to hear about them!

With love,

Lii

The FINE Deodorant

Like everybody else I was long on the hunt for the natural deodorant that is aluminium and alcohol-free, is not drying and actually works. It sounds like an impossible task and I really felt as though it was! I tried a bunch of them from the high street to ordering one from MADARA, but nothing seemed to tick each box. There were several others online, which nevertheless of the great reviews I was afraid to order due to their higher price and no promise for it working for me. Your armpits, as well as any other part of your skin, can behave in a different way from everybody else and although something might work for your friends and family, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. I thought I had to settle for something that wasn’t exactly working for me but was the best option from everything I had tried until my friend brought me a sample of Fine cream deodorant.

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

I had never heard of this brand or their deodorants before, but my friend reassured me it was her favourite deodorant brand since she had tried it. I was excited to try the product but quite sceptical whether it would work for me and what a surprise it was! After only a first application I lasted without extra application for at least 2 days. There wasn’t even the slightest scent of odour, my armpits were feeling moisturised, dry and comfortable. Once I finished the sample sachet I knew I had to get the real deal!

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

FINE Deodorant is a natural, organic and vegan deodorant designed in Berlin, Germany. Their cream deodorants come in two scents; vetiver geranium and cedar bergamot. I’ve only tried vetiver geranium, which I absolutely loved, but am quite interested in the other scent as well. What for me was the most exciting thing is they are alcohol and aluminium free, how amazing is that! The idea for Fine deodorant came from the need for a natural deodorant that is healthy and it works, and that is exactly what they created. Funnily enough, they share this idea even in the name:

FINE is Italian for “end”. And this is exactly what FINE does: it finally puts an end to undesired odors from sweat that are often paired with feeling uncomfortable. And last but not least it ends your search for a clean and efficient deodorant. FINE also means “great” and “beautiful” in English of course. And that is FINE in one word!

The deodorants come in glass jars with a wooden spatula and they have the original scent in a tube as well if you prefer that. FINE is not tested on animals, it is GMO-free, Nano free, Parabens free, Gluten free, Petrochemical free and it does not include any synthetic preservatives, fragrances or fillers. They list all the ingredients used in their products on their website and even explain about their ingredients, although that is in German.

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

If you are not familiar with the cream deodorants, they might seem funny as it is actually a cream that you spread into your armpits with your fingers. I use a pea-sized amount, after a shower, that I massage into my armpits and enjoy the wonderful smell of vetiver and geranium that smells clean and invigorating. It dries in an instant and you do not get those white marks on your tops when putting them on!

One of my favourite things about this brand is that they offer sample sachets for you to try their product before committing to the quite heftily priced product (30mg is around €28). If you got interested, and I think you should have as my life completely turned for the better after FINE, you can find their products on their own website, which although is beautiful is not yet quite perfectly developed for the English reading customer (you are still able to order easily, but the terms and conditions are in German). They also have several other shops selling them in Berlin, all around Germany and in several online shops around Europe. In the UK you can find FINE in The Method, an Edinburgh based lifestyle store.

 

Have you heard of FINE Deodorant before?

With love,

Lii