So when I started this hullabaloo about ethical dressing I had another twinge of doubt/guilt (along with the massive twinges of “I need to shop less and more conscientiously!”). Cath and I are low-key as far as blog sponsors go, but we do have a couple. And here comes the twinge. How could I be so hypocritical! We have sponsors and I don’t even know where their products are sourced. Tsk, tsk.
To rectify this (and stop the head twinging – ouch!) I got in touch with our affiliate sponsor Shopbop, and asked if they could send us a list of their eco-friendly lines. They have a handy list of designers on their site, but no page that groups all of the eco labels together and explains exactly how eco/ethical they are. So here’s a handy list and explanation for ya:
Cleobella: A California-based brand that was inspired by a year of travel to foreign lands. All of their bags are handmade in Indonesia and Bali by local artisans and many of the materials are recycled. Their website also says that their leftover fabrics and leathers are given to charities that support local Balinese villages. They mention Care on their site under “Philanthropy” — woohoo!– but they don’t specifically mention how this is connected to their business. A percent of their profits perhaps? For more info on Cleobella, click here.
Kora: Oooh I like these guys. They use locally-sourced and recycled materials from around Africa (Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana) and the pieces are made by local artisans living in developing communities. Kora’s philosophy is “trade not aid” — providing sustainable economic growth to these communities — so cool! “Kora” means “work” in Kinyarwanda. To find out more, click here.
A Peace Treaty: an ethically-produced collection of jewelry and scarves started by a Pakistani Muslim and a Libyan Jew (I thought the name was a bit cheesy until I read that). They work in a different region of the world each season to provide fair-trade work to out-of-work artisans and disabled and widowed women. On their site they say that each jewelry or scarf collection resuscitates ancient handmade textile and metalsmithing techniques that are at risk of extinction. To read more, click here.
Lizzie Fortunato Jewels: designed and operated by twins, so you know it has to be good (wink, wink — I’m so subtle!). They use reclaimed and found materials for many of their pieces. I love these beautiful and simple designs. They have gorgeous, larger statement necklaces as well, but they go a bit beyond our price range. I’d like to know more about where they make their pieces and who makes them, but I’ll have a hunt around their blog and see if I can find out more.
Alkemie Jewelry: talons and skulls, ooo lala! These guys can claim that 100% of their designs are made of reclaimed materials and everything is made by hand in downtown L.A. I really love when companies are truly trying to follow what they say is important: sustainability and caring for their employees and the environment. I feel like a lot of supposedly eco-friendly brands I read about just scratch the surface and ride the green wave. Read more about Alkemie’s philosophy and story here.
Chinti and Parker: clothes! A British company that is carbon neutral and they state on their site that they are the opposite of fast fashion – woohoo! The downside is I know they are a bit pricey — boohoo. But they do a great job of explaining exactly how they stay eco/ethically friendly on their site (click here): almost all of their items are made in the EU, they want to make pieces that stand the test of time (less buying), their packaging is fair trade, all of their materials but the bamboo jersey is 100% organic, and they continue to try to come up with ways to be even more ethical and environmentally friendly. Let the saving begin!
Woohoo! Lovely list, right? Now I know what you might be thinking if you checked out some of these designers on Shopbop — they aren’t cheap. I do feel the one (fairly major) downside to ethical and eco shopping is the price. I know these designers aren’t as easily attainable as our cheapy loves of yore (F21, Primark, etc.). I do find it frustrating not to be able to scratch my shopping impulse itches any more with just $20 (that’s shoes and a cute blouse at Primark). Instead, I find myself gritting my teeth and having to think “Okay, do you need this? How was this made?” It certainly isn’t as fun, but I swear (even as I grind my teeth down to stubs) it’s much more rewarding.
With that thinking in mind, Cath and I both saved up for necklaces from Mettle via Shopbop. We wanted statement necklaces that were very wearable (no feathers or bright colors – love that, but needed something more versatile if we were going to spend over $100).
What’s really cool about this choker is that it’s made from recycled metal formerly used in bomb shells dropped by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Now that metal is being used by a fair-trade, non-profit skills training project in Cambodia by Mettle. A horrible, dangerous thing now being used in a sustainable way. Thumbs up all around.
I’ll keep plugging away at this ethical “investigation” and I hope it helps you guys if you are interested! I know some of you might be like “hush up, Lar, we wanna just keep shopping for fun!” And believe me I totally understand that. Making this public on our blog is making me stick to it. So even if you are getting tired of these rambles, I still thank you for keeping me on the straight and narrow (let the teeth gritting continue).
I want to see pics of your Mettle necklace too! I’ll make sure to take proper photos of mine, and we can do a twinsie post. Isn’t that cool that Chinti and Parker is run by twins? I think that’s why I envy the Olsen twins the most: getting to work together and live in the same city. Maybe we should work toward that, huh?
Miss you so much!