Thursday, 28 February 2013

Good Morning!

Just thought I'd post something to get you through the day and put a smile on your face. It definitely put one on mine : ) FYI please note, it's the unedited version so there may be a naughty word in there somewhere... 

But look how GOOD you can look in Thrift Shop clothes?!! 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Where you can find One Green Dress

Did you know that you can follow One Green Dress on Facebook and Twitter?
Follow us to keep up to date with the latest blog posts : )

You can also find blog posts that I write for Oxfam and The Fair Shop here : )

Monday, 25 February 2013

Beautiful Birthday Gifts

This weekend I celebrated my birthday with friends and family and was lucky enough to receive a selection of beautiful ethical gifts that I thought I would share with you. Thank you so much to everyone that made the weekend so fun and of course, thank you for all of my wonderful birthday presents, both featured here and otherwise, I am so grateful. Love to you all!

I received these fantastic ethical pants from my good friend Lizzy and was thrilled! Having just ordered a couple of pairs myself, I already knew that these were of the highest quality and ethical credentials. Who Made Your Pants use off cuts from the lingerie industry that would be wasted at the end of each season and employ women who have been granted asylum in Britain. The pants are fabulously comfortable and gorgeous! (FYI my pants were made by Samia...)

This delicious gift was also given to me by the wonderful Lizzy and is made by Hotel Chocolat's Rabot 1745  Purist collection who trade fairly without using the Fair Trade label. Here they explain why:

It is simply not possible for a company-owned cocoa plantation, such as our Rabot Estate, to gain Fair Trade accreditation. Only smallholdings are eligible.

The quality and scope of Fair Trade cocoa and chocolate is extremely limited. Our products differentiate themselves by exploring the subtle nuances of origin, quality and variety of the cocoa bean. So, using Fair Trade cocoa would severely compromise our aim of creating high quality chocolate.

We therefore needed a wider-ranging approach that would fit with our love for fine cocoa and allow us to continue making creative chocolate. In fact, the work that we do both complements and extends beyond the scope of Fair Trade.

Do take a look at their website to find out more about their ethical trading.

This beautiful upcycled necklace is a gift from my mum and is rich in history. The necklace is made by Caroline who upcyles antique solid silver cutlery into beautiful and quirky jewelry. Teaspoon rings were originally made by servants and used as wedding rings as they couldn't afford rings of their own. This tradition has been  brought forward into the modern age and is now a form of beautiful ethical fashion.

This beautiful bee necklace was given to me by my wonderful and very generous boyfriend Ed and is a classic piece from Alex Monroe's line of jewelry. His designs are consistently stunning and I have been lucky enough to receive jewelry from his collections in the past. I have had my eye on the bee necklace since I was first introduced to his work and am thrilled to finally be an owner of this beautiful piece of art. All of Alex's jewelry is still hand made in Alex’s London studios by skilled craftspeople to enable the highest of quality. 

This incredible find was given to me by my wonderful housemates; Ferna, Katie and Becky. It is a book from Amelia's Magazine that combines beautiful illustrations with ethical fashion profiling. Both stunning and informative, it is a delight to read and quite literally has my name written all over it!!

Thank you so much for all my wonderful gifts, do check out the links to find out more : )

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ethical fashion. Emphasis on Fashion.

This is how ethical fashion is done. MAIYET Spring '13 Collection

If someone would like to buy me the entire collection, just get in touch : )

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Second Hand Shoes

Shoes shoes shoes. Ethical shoes are often seen as being a bit of a nightmare to find but recently I have had quite a lot of luck with them. In the last two weeks I have found a new pair of Cowboy boots to replace my old ones (see my article for Oxfam Fashion Blog about them here) and also found this beautiful pair of Gucci shoes for the bargain price of £20 at a junk shop in the Isle of White. Win!

Check out the Oxfam Fashion Blog post here : )

Saturday, 2 February 2013

H&M Conscious Collection: Is it really ethical?

I remember when I first heard about H&M's Conscious Collection a couple of years back when it was just a fledgling line testing the waters. I specifically remember trying to decide whether or not I approved. It just reminded me of seeing the Fair Trade label starting to appear on Cadbury and Nestle chocolate bars- it just didn't feel right. Then I saw the Fair Trade label appearing on white tank tops in Tesco and that felt even less right. I suppose it's a trust issue- I just couldn't seem to equate a multinational corporation with the local values that ethical and Fair Trade fashion represent.

Before Christmas we saw whole hosts of activists 'fainting' outside H&M stores in a campaign to draw attention to the poor working conditions of labourers used in H&M's supply chain.

 "Last year, over 2400 workers passed out in Cambodian factories due to malnutrition as a direct consequence of low salaries. But H&M, one of Cambodia's main buyers, continues to refuse to pay a living wage to its workers,” 

says Jeroen Merk of the International Clean Clothes Campaign. H&M claim that as they do not own the workshops that create their clothes (they only place orders with them) they have no responsibility for them. If we look at H&M's website and sustainability report, they claim to be not only environmentally but socially ethical.

According to 'Labour Behind the Label', H&M "Accepts the principle of a living wage, but applies legal minimum/industry benchmark". They grade H&M level 1 on a scale of 0-5 measuring how well a company is doing in the task of aliviating poverty wages in its supply chain. To see Labour Behind the Labels's company profile for H&M and more detail on why they were awarded their grade, click here. The grading was given after a survey completed in the summer of 2011; so have H&M improved since then? A documentary was released in Sweden  explaining how H&M is not tackling social ethics in their supply chain in October 2012. To view the documentary, click here.

The documentary includes interview clips with H&M's CEO as well as their Head of Sustainability. These clips make for very interesting viewing as they highlight how uncomfortable these questions on the living wage make the high profile employees. According to the documentary, labour costs account for only 1-3% of a garments price so I struggle to understand why the living wage is not at the forefront of H&M's vision of sustainable fashion. 

Maybe it's that H&M is just focusing on environmental issues? The Ethical Consumer has awarded H&M's Organic collection 7.5/20 and H&M's regular line 6.5/20 using categories of research including Animals, Environment, People, Politics and Sustainability. So when focusing on ethics as a wider issue than just living wages, H&M scores much higher, though clearly still not anywhere near 'ethical' fashion levels. 

This tally's up with my thoughts on H&M's Conscious Collection- the line boasts of its organic cotton, tencel and recycled polyester which really focus's on H&M's commitment to environmentally ethical fashion. The launch of the collection will coincide with H&M's Conscious garment collection initiative which allows customers to bring in bags of unwanted clothing to be swapped for H&M vouchers. These unwanted garments will then be recycled. This initiative brings recycling to the forefront of the consumers mind- it encourages us all to think about recycling and our environmental impact a bit more when we shop.

It's this exposure to ethical awareness which really makes me want to find the good in H&M. Their Conscious Collection may not be 100% socially or environmentally ethical just yet, maybe not even 50%, but at least they are putting something out there. The bulk of fashionistas that walk in and out of H&M probably won't even be aware that there is such a thing as ethical fashion, because lets face it, it is still a niche, growing market. The fact that when they walk in mid-March to see this 'ethical' line has launched, it might make them question the ethical values of the rest of H&M's collection. It might encourage them to start to think about where their clothes come from.

And for those of us who are more aware of the impact of the garment industry, even though we can see that H&M isn't a forerunner in ethical fashion, if we buy their Conscious Collection, high sales and a larger demand might encourage the company to think about expanding the Conscious Collection values to the rest of their lines. Also, previews of this years collection are pretty darn fabulous so right now I think I'm leaning towards the pro-Conscious Collection team...but it's so tricky I'm just not sure. It's not expected to launch until March 25th so we have time to make up our minds. Clearly the H&M debate does not have a definitive answer, and there's so much more information on the subject out there, so I would really love to know what you all think and where you all stand. Comment below to let me know!  : )

Links and articles related to the Conscious Collection:

Lucy Siegle 'Is H&M the new home of ethical fashion?' April 2012

Sarah Karmali 'Vanessa Paradis Named Face Of H&M Conscious Collection' January 2013

Labour Behind the Label- Articles with 'H&M' tag

H&M- About- Sustainabilty

Cold Facts Documentary about H&M

H&M under fire as Swedish television unearths Cambodian production scandal

H&M: Workers left homeless and unpaid after factory closes