As you will know, if you've been reading my blog recently, I've become very interested in trying to consume more ethically where possible. Now I'm not suggesting that everyone should do the same. I very much believe in live and let live and I'm not trying to preach to anyone on this blog, I'm just simply sharing my journey and the difficulties it sometimes entails.
On the clothing front, I've only really dipped a toe in the water. Initially, there were the grey Gandy flip flops, a brand that was created by brothers who were orphaned in the Boxing Day Tsunami, over ten years ago now and who have created a company to help give back to others in need.
There were the bamboo socks for OH that I've been buying lately from Braintree Clothing. Bamboo, I've read, is supposed to be a much more sustainable material than cotton, as it doesn't require the use of insecticides and other chemicals in order to grow, although I do believe there are some issues around it's commercial use and how this can affect wildlife, which I do need to look into. Incidentally, these socks have been a great hit with OH and I may be purchasing more to give to other members of the family come Christmastime.
My first real purchase of an item of ethical clothing for me was also from Braintree Clothing, which I believe is a brand that was created in Australia, but which is now based in London and has a website that sells here in the UK. They are an online company that sell Fairtrade and organic clothing. Initially, I purchased the sweater below in their sale. I think it was about £18-£20, and I liked the kind of slouchy casual style of it, the pouch style pocket on the front and the fact that their sizes went up to a size 18 or XL, which many don't, unfortunately.
When it arrived and I tried it on, however, I did find that it felt a little scratchy against my skin and when I looked at the label, it was partly made of hemp which explained this. I will definitely have to wear it over a long sleeved t-shirt in the autumn/winter, but in spite of this, I do like it. I won't, however, be buying anything made of hemp again unless it softens with washing I'm afraid, but you live and learn.
More recently, the brand People Tree were having a sale on their website. They sell organic clothing which is fairly traded and manufactured, and they actively develop very close relationships with their suppliers. I've been following the brand on YouTube and it appears that they design many of their garments with the skills of the workforce they use in mind, which must be a first for a fashion house. A very inspirational brand.
Anyway, I ordered a couple of items in their sale a few weeks ago, namely a grey leopard print sweatshirt and a brown leopard print t-shirt dress. The dress does have a tie belt, but I haven't pictured it as I doubt that I'll wear it and instead wear the dress loose. The dress also has pockets sewn into the sides which I like about it.
Both items cost less than £20 (although one of them is now on sale at a much higher price on the website). I was very pleased with the quality of the items when they arrived. I have worn the sweatshirt a couple of times. It's not quite as roomy as I'd hoped (it is a size 16, which is the largest they go up to), but I can see me getting quite a bit of wear out of it this autumn.
Don't ask me why both items I bought were leopard print, I guess it was more to do with the fact that I liked the look, cut and price of both garments, and they both just happened to be leopard print too, but they aren't a garish print, more a casual look one.
A month or so later and my most recent ethical clothing purchase was this organic cotton denim skirt, again from Braintree Clothing, but from the Ethical Superstore website, in a size 16 and quite a roomy one at that. It's a very nice quality skirt, which came in at just over £25 using a voucher I'd earned on Ethical Superstore's website and in their end of summer sale. I am very pleased with the fit and style of it and am looking forward to wearing it for the remainder of the summer and possibly even into autumn/winter with tights and boots. It, or a similar one, is currently available on Braintree's website at full price for £45.
All of these items are very good quality and whilst they may not be high fashion, there are some very good classic designs available out there at the moment in terms of ethical clothing. I will be buying more from these brands and others I've discovered I'm sure, but I want to get some wear from these items first before I do.
I would recommend anyone to check out the websites of these brands and see what you think. Braintree have today launched their new autumn/winter designs and there are a few items in there that I am interested in. (Perhaps as birthday/Christmas presents) You might be pleasantly surprised. People Tree in particular, enter into various collaborations with very famous designers such as Orla Keily and Zandra Rhodes, the results of which, although a little out of my usual price range, are definitely worth checking out for a special occasion.
I'll let you know of any future ethical clothing purchases I make, but for the moment, my wardrobe isn't really needing anything adding to it, so it may be a good few months before I post again on this subject.
Please note that as always I am not being sponsored to write this post. My opinions are all my own and I have purchased all of the above items myself.