Etsy

What can I find on Etsy? Why is it ethical?

Etsy is an online marketplace where individual sellers can set up shop. All the items sold on the site are strictly vintage or handcrafted so by it’s nature the company is sustainable. It’s a place to buy one off creative treasures.

  • Online only
  • Sells everything!
  • Ships to the UK

Is it ethical?
Everything sold on Etsy is supposed to be vintage or crafted. To be honest it’s difficult to find specific information about particular sellers but according to Etsy’s policy, we’re good.

What I’ve bought
If there’s something you can’t find in your usual places, then Etsy is a good place to look. I love buying special birthday gifts for my family and jewelry for myself and on here. The nice thing about the jewelry is that you can find interesting pieces made from real gold and gold plate which is great for sensitive skin. Here are some items I’ve purchased myself.

Tiny Dot Earrings

Tiny gold hoops

I like either really chunky gold earrings or minimalist simple style that goes with everything and always gold or gold plated.

Leather Mexican huaraches

I recently bought a pair of these Mexican huaraches after being unable to find sandals locally – can’t wait for them to arrive!

Etsy offers huge choice whatever your style.

Happy browsing!

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Why is it so hard to find sandals?

I want sandals that are beautiful and comfortable. Why do I have to choose between style and being able to walk properly? Are there any sustainable options?

Hurray – summer is here but yet again I’m landed with the annual problem of not being able to find a good pair of sandals. I want a pair of comfortable, timeless, stylish sandals ethically made from natural materials. Is that too much to hope for? Evidently yes because what’s on offer appears to be a choice between an elaborate strappy, gilded thing encrusted with diamonds that I can’t physically squeeze my apparently ginormous foot into or what on first glance appears to be a medical support shows with a thick sole and a boat-like width.

Throughout the years I’ve grabbed a few gems that I wore down to the soles of my feet but nothing lasts forever.

So here I will document my latest search for sandals and I would love any suggestions or help you can give. Ok here’s the first contender.

  1. Dr. Martens sandals

Not gonna lie, back in the day I was a bit of a goth so I’m no stranger to Dr Martens. No longer a teenager, I wonder if I can still pull off this kind of shoe but a pair featured on A Small Wardrobe made me want to give them a chance.

Are they ethical? Dr. Martens have an in-depth Sustainability section on their website and a Modern Slavery Act statement. However good on you has rated them Not Good Enough. Not ideal ethically but I’m struggling to find other options.

The style I’ve chosen is GRYPHON BRANDO STRAP SANDALS – a black, classic shape in leather.

OK I’m off to the shop to try them on. My favourite branch in London is the Covent Garden shop. I’ll report back on my findings 🙂

The verdict? Too boaty. The search continues…

2. Leather Mexican huaraches!

When all else fails Etsy is often the answer. Had a search on there and immediately found what I was looking for. I owned a pair of these Mexican huaraches before that I found in a charity shop and they were prefect – comfortable, cute, classic and went with everything.

Are they ethical? Everything sold on Etsy is supposed to be vintage or crafted. To be honest I can’t find specific information about this particular seller but according to Etsy’s policy, we’re good.

Can’t wait for them to arrive!

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Online ethical and sustainable fashion UK

What ethical online brands are there that ship to the UK?

These brands have an ethical or sustainable organisational policy and all ship to the UK.

  1. Organic Basics

Organic Basics is an online fashion brand that sells beautiful, ethical basics. Yes it’s pricey but investing in quality basics that you will wear day after day until they wear out makes the cost worth it.

  • Men and women’s wear
  • good on you rating Great

2. People Tree

People Tree is an old-school Fairtrade fashion brand. I have vague associations with the mumsy, hippy attire you’d find in fringe Fairtrade shops of nether years but no longer. People Tree has moved into the new millennia with an online shop and a delightful range. This pioneer of ethical fashion has come into its own with the new demand for clean fashion.

  • Womenswear
  • Good on you rating Great

3. Thought

Thought is a UK online retailer with a pretty big range. Although I wasn’t aware of them until recently, they started back in 1995 in Australia and changed their name from Braintree Clothing in 2017.

  • Women and Men’s wear
  • good on you rating Good

4. Rapanui

Rapanui is a UK online retailer whose products are made from recycled / organic cotton and printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory.

  • Women and Men’s wear
  • good on you rating Great

5. Everlane

Everlane is an online fashion brand that claims to be ethical. The clothes are stylish, the price is affordable so I really want to believe it is. There has however been controversy about how ethical Everlane really is.

I’d love to discover more online ethical brands that ship to the UK – please let me know your suggestions in the comments.

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Rapanui

What’s this brand about? Is it any good?

Rapanui is a UK online retailer whose products are made from recycled / organic cotton and printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory.

  • Online only
  • Ships to the UK
  • Men and women’s wear
  • good on you rating Great

Is it ethical? Yes! Check out the product journey and sustainability story.

What are the clothes like?
This is a kind of outdoory brand. I’m not a big fan of their graphic tees but their light, summer jackets – wow!

Men’s Full Zip Jacket

I bought this jacket for my husband and I borrow it. It’s smart and lightweight and great for active things like jogging and hiking. Lovely range of colours too.

Verdict
If I’m ever on need of another lightweight jacket I’ll be back!

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Thought

What is Thought? Are they ethical? What are their clothes like?

Thought is a UK online retailer with a pretty big range. Although I wasn’t aware of them until recently, they started back in 1995 in Australia and changed their name from Braintree Clothing in 2017.

  • Online only
  • Ships to the UK
  • Women and Men’s wear
  • good on you rating Good

Is it ethical? Yes. Thought is an independent, organically grown business and as the name suggests they’ve put a lot of thought into sustainability and ethics.

So how are the clothes?
So I’ve only bought one thing from this shop so far!

Men’s wear

Raffaele Sweater

My partner needed a new jumper and to stop him gathering another nylon item that would wear into holes at the armpits and develop an unnatural shiny luster after the first wash, I volunteered to help. I couldn’t find anything suitable at the obvious choices so I experimented with Thought. Much to my delight the item is made of beautiful, soft thick cotton and looks pretty smart.

Verdict

I’ve only just started with this brand – can’t wait to invest in more.

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People Tree

Who are People Tree? The clothes are Fairtrade but are they nice?

People Tree is an old-school Fairtrade fashion brand. I have vague associations with the mumsy, hippy attire you’d find in fringe Fairtrade shops of nether years but no longer. People Tree has moved into the new millennia with an online shop and a delightful range. This pioneer of ethical fashion has come into its own with the new demand for clean fashion.

  • Online only
  • Ships to the UK
  • Womenswear
  • Good on you rating Great

Is it ethical? As the proudly displayed Fairtrade logo announces, you can’t get better. People Tree are conscious fashion pros who where there at the beginning and continue to lead the way. Read their story and check out at all these delicious logos.

So it’s ethical but are the clothes wearable?

Here are the items I’ve bought personally from People Tree. As you’ll see, I’ve started out my experimentation with basics since it’s hard to go wrong. When investing in new sustainable clothes I tend to stay conservative and leave wild experimentation to my vintage and preloved finds.

Soft Bra Top

I’ve been on the hunt for a simple, supportive, comfy, organic cotton bra for a while. I’m always wary of none lingerie brands selling lingerie but at £18 I couldn’t resist giving this one a try. This was my first taste of People Tree purchasing and, I was so impressed that I bought a few more.

Nicole Bodysuit in Black

If you’ve read my Everlane post, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a bodysuit. I couldn’t resist this Fairtrade, organic cotton offering. I was slightly startled to find there are no buttons and you basically have to climb into it but it fits well and looks good!

Yoga Racer Back Vest In Black

I’m done with strappy vests. Yes they keep me cool in summer but that’s not worth the trade off of having to look down at my chest every 4 seconds to check my cleavage isn’t spilling. This racer back vest is a good alternative – nice high neck and flattering back. Plus I can use it for that yoga class I’ve been planning to join for the last 3 years.

Helka Trousers In Navy

Ok these were a bit of a gamble but I’ve been hunting for the perfect high-waisted pant and these looked like a contender. Navy looks so chic with white and brown so I ditched the black and opted for these. The cotton is gorgeously soft and the style is flattering. The size was slightly bigger than expected but, as there’s elastic in the waist and I have a preference for slightly larger trousers to extenuate the waist, I’m extremely happy with these.

Verdict

I love this brand and I’ll be buying more. I’m just upset they don’t make shoes…

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Everlane

It’s cool. It’s affordable. It says it’s ethical but is it?

Everlane is an online fashion brand that claims to be ethical. The clothes are stylish, the price is affordable so I really want to believe it is. There has however been controversy about how ethical Everlane really is.

  • Online only
  • Ships to the UK
  • Men and women’s wear
  • good on you rating Not Good Enough

So is it ethical? Everlane show transparency about the factories their clothes are made in and have a comprehensive sustainability policy. However they still have a way to go and good on you has given them a rating of Not Good Enough.

How are the clothes? Here are the items I’ve bought personally from Everlane.

Women’s wear

Long-Sleeve V-Neck Bodysuit

Maybe it’s nostalgia for the 90s when I thought I was the coolest in my Tammy Girl bodysuit and cut off jeans shorts or maybe it’s that they remind me of ballet but I love a bodysuit. This one is made from beautifully thick cotton. As a tall woman, I bought a size larger than normal and thank goodness it fits like a glove. Problem was it is too low cut for comfort and for a while I was starting to regret my purchase. Then I had the genius idea of wearing it backwards and now, with the high neck and low cut back, I can’t get enough of it.

The Pima Stretch Long-Sleeve

This one is no longer available but I really like it. Thin and light without being see-through and beautifully soft – a super basic that can be worn with anything. Here’s actual me in it:

The Cotton Bralette

This did not work for me at all because of the lack of support.

Men’s wear

The Relaxed Summer Jean

Bought these for my partner. Very soft cotton but they don’t look as good at the vintage Wranglers they replaced.

The Chore Pant

Every man needs a pair of chinos. You don’t want to get a pair that are too old-man, M&S wide or TopMan skinny. These were pretty good in a pleasing warm brown and I also bought a similar pair in blue.

365 Fleece Hoodie

My partner requested a hoodie and, although horrified by the association of youths with asbos and men in there 30s riding skateboards, I indulged him with this. It’s surprisingly nice! Very thick and cozy with the fleece lining. He’s had it for a year now and it still looks great.

Verdict
OK, Everlane aren’t perfect but they’re a damn sight better that the flock of plastic weaving charlatans on the high street. Their range is incredible, their clothes are stylish and well-made, I just really hope they step up their ethics so I can buy more.

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Organic Basics

What is Organic Basics? Is it ethical? Are the clothes worth the cost?

Organic Basics is an online fashion brand that sells beautiful, ethical basics. Yes it’s pricey but investing in quality basics that you will wear day after day until they wear out makes the cost worth it.

  • Online only
  • Ships to the UK
  • Men and women’s wear
  • good on you rating Great

Is it ethical? Yes! The founding ethos of this brand is putting sustainable thinking at the center of everything. Check out the Organic Basics story and this useful guide to clean fashion.

So how are the clothes?
Here are the items I’ve bought personally. As they are on the pricey side, I’ve been asking for items as gifts when people ask what I want for my birthday and Christmas. I also always seem to be able to find coupons for this brand floating about on YouTube.

Women’s wear

TENCEL™ Lite Turtleneck

Who doesn’t love a black turtleneck? Goes with everything, looks chic, comfy – it’s an essential basic. This one feels luxurious and looks great on me. I’ve washed it a few times and it still looks new.

SilverTech™ Basic Bra

I’m a basic bra bitch. This one hits all my demands – organic cotton, comfy, supportive, good for posture. The only thing I’d say against it is that there’s no seam in the center which can create what feels like a kind of mono-boob.

Men’s wear

Organic Cotton Tee

Bought this for my partner and, although it’s expensive for a white Tee, he looks really hot in it and it’s washed well.

Organic Cotton Boxers

Same goes for these bad boys haha.

Verdict on Organic Basics

You just can’t argue with looks good, feels good, super ethical and timeless. Although I’d like to buy out the store, my cash situation means I’ll continue my slow investment in basics from this brand.

Stay tuned!

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How do I shop ethically?

I know fast fashion is bad but what can I do? What if a brand isn’t 100% ethical?

Ok so you want to avoid fast fashion and protect the planet but how do you do it? Let’s face it, with fast fashion and single use plastics the norm in our society, nobody is going to shop 100% ethically.

We can however be mindful about everything we consume and make better choices when we can. Here are eight ways we can make positive purchases.

  1. Brands that look after their workers

There are a growing number of brands who have transparent policies about the treatment of their workers. If there’s a brand you like, check out their About Us page and, if they have nothing to hide, you should be able to find out where their clothes are made and how their workers are treated. Check the brands good on you rating.

2. Brands that use natural or sustainable fabrics

Not all brands make clothes made of plastic. Often higher end brands use quality and natural materials. Even better, there are companies who use soley organic (no nasty chemicals) or recycled materials. This is another thing to check in the About Us. Buying new from a clean fashion brand can be expensive, but a great tip is to invest in timeless, high quality basics. Check the brands good on you rating.

3. Fairtrade

Look out for the Fairtrade logo! This is the best marker you can get for clothes that were produced at a fair price and that no-one was exploited throughout the process of material sourcing, production and manufacture. I remember when the only places you’d catch site of this was in fringe hippy stores selling incense and brightly coloured hemp to middle aged ladies but things are changing.

4. Preloved

Whether it’s a great value find in a charity shop or finding a unique vintage piece from the past, shopping preloved is one of my favourite ways to shop ethically. Not only are you reusing items that would have gone to waste, you are supporting a charity or business with a clean fashion business model. The best thing is that the low proces won’t limit your choice and when you’re finished with a piece you can give it back! I find this a great way to experiment with different styles.

5. Crafted

Every time I watch The Great British Sewing Bee I imagine myself crafting a wardrobe of magical clothes but, lets face it, that’s never going to happen. The furthest I’ve got is knitting a pair of lumpy socks. If your not up for crafting whole garments, you can easily learn how to mend or if you have the money get a tailor to. There are though wonderfully skillful people crafting beautiful, original items. You can find these for sale at craft markets but my favourite place is to hunt online at Etsy.

6. Clothes hire

When celebrating a big event we all want to look fabulous with an elaborate dress or suit. How many such outfits are worn once only to spend the rest of their lives in the back of our cupboards? An alternative is evening hire and there are some online companies with enormous and varied choice.

7. Clothes swaps

One woman’s rubbish is another woman’s treasure. This is true of clothes! Got a group of friends who love fashion or part of a club or social group? Why not organize a clothes swap event? The idea is to invite people to bring along quality items they no longer wear, the items are laid out and people try things on, talking home the pieces they love. I’ve found a surprising amount of items this way and it can be a lot of fun.

8. Invest in basics

We can all feel some days like we have nothing to wear – nothing that fits quite right or suits the occasion. This can lead us to buy yet more clothes that can bring more confusion. It’s been said before but I endorse investing in quality basics. They look and feel great on any occasion, don’t go out of style and you can wear them until the wear out.

The take away

We’re never going to shop entirely ethically but every positive purchase we make is supporting the growing demand for clean fashion and at some point we’ll tip the balance to making this the norm.

I’d love to hear your tips, please contribute your suggestions in the comments.

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Why should I care about fast fashion?

What is fast fashion? Why is it bad? What’s the alternative? Join the revolution in sustainable shopping!

Go to any town or city in Britain and you’ll find the same thing – a high street packed with shops offering a dizzying array of affordable clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. An ever changing offering of new styles each season. And that’s not to mention the feast available online. Is this a dream come true for those of us who love fashion? With all this choice what’s the problem?

What is fast fashion?

Of the myriad of items available to us, how many of them are well made, gorgeous pieces that make us feel amazing and can be treasured in our wardrobes indefinitely? It’s not hard to see that the majority are badly made from cheap, artificial fabrics that will soon date and end up on landfill to be replaced by more of the same. Welcome to fast fashion.

What’s the problem?

Where do all these clothes come from and why are they so cheap? By using cheap, synthetic fibres and outsourcing production to developing countries, fashion manufacturers reduce the costs required to make clothes.

Synthetic fibres not only look cheap and feel uncomfortable, they are essentially made from plastic, so every piece that’s discarded contributes to plastic waste dumps and ocean pollution. Just think about the amount of clothes sold per year in the UK alone and imagine what that amounts to.

But worse is the consequence for the thousands of human beings who make these clothes, working long hours for menial wages in unsafe conditions. On 24 April 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which housed five garment factories, killed at least 1,132 people and injured more than 2,500. Sadly this is not an isolated incident.

By buying fast fashion we are contributing to the pollution of the planet and damaging the lives of people in the developing world.

What’s the alternative?

Gorgeous timeless designs that are made to fit your body and make you feel amazing. Luxurious fabrics that feel soft, hang beautifully and let your skin breathe. Yes a bit more expensive and yes there won’t be so many changes each season but you will know that with every purchase the person who made your item will have worked in a safe environment and have been paid fairly for their work. Luckily the market supplies what the customer demands so let’s join together and demand better!

Join the revolution in sustainable shopping!

Fast fasion is everywhere but if we look closer we can find alternatives. I started this blog to document the findings of my search for sustainable and ethical fashion. Whether that’s slow fashion brands, vintage, thrifting or making your own.

I’m based in London and my dream is to be able to feast on a department store of clean fashion where I know that everything I try on is sustainably sourced.

If you have any tips, suggestions or know of some good brands I’d love to hear from you.

Stay stylish. Stay slow.

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