Thursday, 26 September 2013

Eco Chic - the savvy shoppers guide to ethical fashion

Book Review

I have just finished reading Eco Chic by Matilda Lee. The book overall is very informative but some chapters were more interesting to me than others. Matilda Lee discusses in great depths the consequences that mainstream clothing manufacture has on humans and the Eco system as a whole. I feel Matilda Lee has researched this topic extremely well and the book is a good start for anyone wanting to be more ethical. There is also a directory at the rear if the book, although some companies are no longer in business. 

Eco Chic was written in 2007. The foreword is written by Katherine Hamnett and the book quotes people like Stella McCartney, Saffia Minney, Ali Hewson, Bono and Katherine Hamnett. Many of these people are pioneers in the Ethical minefield, proving to consumers that you can buy quality Fairtrade items without compromising on style or quality. Regular manufacture of clothing etc can cause terrible illnesses and issues for humans. This is discussed throughout the book.

The book features chapters on

  • The labour behind the labels
  • Throwaway culture
  • A tale of two fabrics
  • Fashionably dangerous
  • The rise of eco fashion
  • Fabrics of the future
  • What's fair is fair labour
  • Design pioneers
  • Can the highstreet be green
  • DIY fashion
These are some of the companies that are mentioned in the rear of the book who are still available to purchase from. I have also added some of my own, which I have purchased from.

Albatross - women's pyjamas and lingerie made from organic cotton
American Apparel - US based sweat shop free clothing
Bamboo Clothing - clothing for men and women made from bamboo fabric
Belle and Dean  - clothing for babies, toddlers and women
Buttress and Snatch - lingerie made in the UK
Calico Moon - Fairtrade
El Alto - manufactured in Bolivia
Epona - t shirts and sweat tops/ hoodies
Gaiam - yoga
Gossypium - yoga
Greenfibres - organic sell facecloths, towels etc (purchased from)
Liv - clothing, bed and bath (purchased from)
Pachacuti - Panama hats (purchased a hat through PeopleTree)
Edun - denim (purchased from)
Katherine Hamnett - Katherine E. Hamnett is the ethical line
People Tree - clothing for men and women (purchased from)

Beyond Skin - vegan and vegetarian footwear
Birkenstock - footwear
Ethletic - trainers similar to converse


Fifi Bijoux


Manumit UK


Silver Chilli

Other companies 

Kazuri - ceramic beads ethically made. Bafts member (purchased from)

Earth Squared - fairtrade bags and accessories (purchased from)

Samantha Holmes - ethically made accessories and bed socks (purchased from)

Bronte by Design - throws, cushions and bags made in the British Isles (purchased from)

Melin Tregwynt - skirts, Welsh Blankets and cushions

Brora - cashmere made in Scotland (purchased from)

Johnstons of Elgin - cashmere made in Scotland (purchased from)

Seasalt - clothing business with ethical practices

- Louise

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


and where does yours come from?

In recent years cashmere has become a lot easier to find on the high street from department stores to high street shops. Most of the time it is cheaper than other cashmere items but the quality isn't as good. Cashmere is an investment and with care can last for many years. My two favourite brands of cashmere are Brora and Johnstons of Elgin. Both of which are still made in Britain.

Brora shares it's manufacturing with Johnstons of Elgin. Brora's cashmere is made at the Johnstons of Elgin mill in Hawick. Brora has 14 stores throughout the UK and also an online shop. Brora was created by Victoria Stapleton in 1993 it offers modern cashmere and clothing mainly made in Britain. Brora blog

Johnstons of Elgin - Made in Scotland since 1797. Johnstons of Elgin is the oldest cashmere mill in Scotland. They offer classic clothing and cashmere accessories Made in Scotland. I visit the Johnstons of Elgin cashmere visitor centre in Hawick regularly. It's a lovely place to browse through the collection and also to enjoy afternoon tea.

This information is taken from the care card that came with my scarf. Johnstons of Elgin has been producing the finest quality cashmere and fine woollen goods since 1797. Traditional craftsmanship and refined Scottish design, together with luxurious and sophisticated fibres, remain the foundation of the company's products and success today.

Johnstons cashmere, the most luxurious fibre imaginable, comes form the farthermost reaches of inner Mongolia. The physical properties of cashmere, the soft downy undercoat of the cashmere (originally Kashmir) goat, explain it's supreme desirability. Johnstons cashmere products are designed and created in Scotland. We use our pure Scottish water to wash the cashmere, ensuring an immaculate finish. Experience the indulgent softness of cashmere and wrap yourself in luxury.

The very first purchase I made from Johnstons was this scarf. Johnstons used to have a small retail shop in Corbridge. I purchased the scarf in 2010 and it's so lightweight and cosy. I plan on purchasing a few items to create a set.

I really love the quality of the things I own and knowing where they come from is a real bonus. Johnstons now have a Royal Warrant too.

These navy and grey herringbone gloves were purchased Autumn last year when I was in Hawick. These are a longer length than the Brora gloves I have owned. 

I plan on adding some grey or navy cashmere to my collection soon so I have a complimenting set.

I store all my cashmere items in a drawer with lavender pillows I purchased from Folksy. There are many other things you can use to prevent moths from ruining cashmere or wool in general. Brora offer a range of products to care for your cashmere items.

With the cashmere items I own I believe I am buying the best and I don't need a drawer filled to the brim with woollens. I feel two full sets of hat, scarves and gloves are enough. If one pair of gloves is being washed I always have a spare.

Do you own anything by Brora or Johnstons of Elgin? I would love to hear your thoughts and what your favourites are.

- Louise 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Happy Autumn

I have two favourite seasons Spring and Autumn.

Autumn for me is a wonderful time of the year. The changing colours of the season, the warmth of a lit candle and the cosiness of a wool throw. Autumn like Spring sparks me into de-cluttering and re-organising the home.

So far this Autumn, I have changed my bedroom accessories of warm neutral shades to deep red, taupe and cream. I have a reversible throw by Bronte which is red with cream spots on one side and the other is cream with red spots. Bronte are made in the British Isles. My chosen accent cushion is from Hilly Horton Home on Etsy and is a heart motif made from vintage fabric sewn onto a taupe linen.

I also like to light candles in my bedroom and I have a basket filled with various ones from Isle of Skye candle company, Abahna, Haskell and Shearer candles. To say I love candles is an understatement and this is the perfect time of year to start enjoying them again. Instant cosiness.

What is your favourite season?

- Louise