Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta

I have taken a few pictures at Sliema Street Art Festival that took place this weekend at the seaside. There were some bands playing next to the artists. The place was fun and lively.

I like to see artists at work. You can see them using sprays as if they were using paint brushes.

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta: graffiti on a small truck

(click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta: graffiti

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta: greater flamingo graffiti

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta: graffiti in progress

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta : yarn bombing on a palm tree by Julia Rio

yarn bombing on a palm tree by Julia Rio

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta: graffiti on a car

Sliema Street Art Festival in Malta

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Coral silk dress

I have spotted many nice dresses in Franch brand Ekyog summer collection. Those short dresses seem comfortable and chic enough for a party or a wedding.

I’m adding this coral silk dress with a black belt to my virtual wardrobe.

illustration of a woman wearing a coral silk dress with a black belt

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Sabina in white lace dress

When I discovered Consciously Sartorial, Sabina’s blog, I fell in love with its aesthetics. This blog, written both in English and in Spanish, is an eye candy. Sabina has a gift for finding pictures, objects and clothes that are super-stylish and that are sustainable too.

Sabina has agreed to answer my questions and to pose in her favorite outfit, a white lace dress whose boho style I love.

drawing of Sabina wearing a white lace dress


Who are you?

I’m a 35-year-old language teacher, and part-time sustainable fashion aficionado. Born and bred in little Heidiland, I soon became curious about the big wide world out there. My first stop was a small island in the south of England. From there I regularly escaped to the capital, as well as to work in Holland and Italy for a while. Four years ago, my better half asked me to move back to his native Spain with him, I said “SI” and so here I am, ready for new adventures!


Could you tell me the story of your outfit?

I bought the dress in Gran Canaria, it was a last-minute buy for a local carnival night called “Eel carneval de los indianos”. The local custom demands that everyone wears white, preferably colonial-style costumes in keeping with what their people wore in South America at the time. It was possibly one of the most magical nights in my life! Everyone throws talcum powder at each other, and by the end of the night it feels like being surrounded by ghosts!

The necklace was a present from my dear cousin-in-law, friend and blog-life-saver Anita. She brought it all the way from sunny Bahia de Salvador in Brasil, one of my all-time bucket list destinations!

The straw bag comes from a small artisan workshop in Altea, a town on a hill near Alicante (Spain). Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten its name. It was a present from my husband, and holds lots of good memories (literally and non-literally).

The shoes, I have to admit, are from Topshop… They we’re the very first purchase from my first proper wage in England. I tend to wear them as little as possible, so they’ll hopefully last me for some time to come…


What are your favorite fashion shops/brands?

I live in a midsize city with little variety when it comes to shops, so I really enjoy shopping when we’re on holiday. Recently, I’ve come back to one of my old favourites, vintage clothing, I love Lotta Vintage in Madrid (http://www.lottavintage.com), and Rokit in London (they also sell online: http://www.rokit.co.uk/).

I’m a huge fan of upcycling, one of the brands that has most impressed me in this field is Wintervachtjas from Holland. They’ve just released an amazing collection made from old curtains, which may sound a little bizarre, but it totally works! Sustainable leather bag brand O My Bag is also pretty high up on my wish list – I hope my husband is reading this…!

If I lived in the US, I’d wear pretty much everything by ethical super brand the Reformation – they’re just too good to be true!

I also adore Pachacuti’s fair trade Panama hats and I’m still incapable of deciding which latest Birkenstock’s model to choose for this summer – they’re all just so great!


Your blog is specialized in Sustainable Fashion. What would you advise to someone who is interested in dressing more ethically but doesn’t know where to start?

Inform yourself about all the different aspects of ethical shopping through websites such as Treehugger, Ecouterre, or
Clean Clothes, or books, like “The Sustainable Fashion Handbook” by Sandy Black and Hilary Alexander (available on Amazon).

Twitter is also a great place to find websites and blogs dedicated to ethical fashion, some of which might tell you a bit more about what’s happening in your local area.

I also think shopping more systematically is important, if you’re in need of a wardrobe edit, you might like Project 333 and Into Mind.

Once you’re in the know, you probably want to decide on a shopping strategy according to your budget. As a student with little financial resources for example, you’re best off going down the “vintage lane” ( Rokit, Asos Marketplace etc.), start customizing your clothes (check out I Spy DIY), or organizing a clothes swap with friends (see Swapaholics UK).

However, there are many great labels out there that are quite reasonably priced and they can usually be found in big cities or online. Take for example Nudie Jeans, with their repair-system they’re a pretty good buy!


Thank you Sabina!

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It rains in my heart

Following on from my series of illustrated poems, I have drawn a melancholic woman whom the poem ‘It rains in my heart’ by French poet Paul Verlaine evokes for me.

Drawing of a melancholic woman to illustrate the poem 'It rains in my heart' by Verlaine

Drawing inspired by a picture by Brent

It rains in my heart
As it rains on the town,
What languor so dark
That soaks to my heart?

Oh sweet sound of the rain
On the earth and the roofs!
For the dull heart again,
Oh the song of the rain!

It rains for no reason
In this heart lacking heart.
What? And no treason?
It’s grief without reason.

By far the worst pain,
Without hatred, or love,
Yet no way to explain
Why my heart feels such pain!

Paul Verlaine, Il pleure dans mon coeur (translation by A. S. Kline)

What is the price of ethical clothes in France?

On the internet I often read stories of people telling they can’t afford to dress ethically, with fair trade, green and/or locally made clothes. Yet I know people who dress ethically on a budget. So I had the idea to write this article about the price of sustainable fashion.

Today I still have few ethical clothes but I’m intested in ethical fashion and I share here some information I have found on the internet and while shopping. This article will focus on brands you find in France because I know them more and tackle all budgets, from high to low.

What can I buy with several hundred euros ?

Ethical fashion brands are high end or middle end brands. Within high end brands, there are designers such as Suzie Winkle, Honest by or Valentine Gauthier who sell dresses under 200 €.

Middle end brands’ prices are cheaper than prices of low end brands. They are also higher than prices of low end (and not ethical) brands like Zara or H&M but the quality is not comparable.

What can I buy with less than 100 euros ?

With less than 100€ , you will find something that suits your taste among ethical fashion brands such as Ekyog, L’herbe rouge or People Tree or brands that manufacture in France such as Mars Loves Her, Bleu de Paname (for men) or le Mont Saint Michel.

However, to optimise your purchases, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions before buying anything. For example: Is it of good quality? Is it my style? When will I wear this garment? Does it make you stand out? Is it comfortable?
And the most important question: Do I need it?
In short, it’s worth taking a few minutes to thing so that you won’t regret your purchase after.

In order to spend less, be on the lookout for sales (“soldes” in French) and special offers.

drawing of a woman wearing an organic made in France T-shirt and black leggings

an organic and made in France outfit by Post Diem, spotted under 100€ on special offer on le dressing du cocardier

Here are some exemples of prices of items on sale I have seen:
a pair of Veja fair trade sneakers for the price of a pair of Nike sneakers
organic cotton jeans at AlterMundi for the price of Levis jeans
an organic cotton Mr. Poulet T-shirt for 22€
an Artisans du monde silk scarf for the price of a Monoprix supermarket silk scarf
a pair of Bleu Forêt socks made in France for 7,5€

What can I buy with less than 10 euros ?

Let me be straightforward: you can’t have an ethical T-shirt for 5 euros.

With less than 10 euros, you still can find small ethical things: an Artisans du Monde fair trade hair slide or a Marron Rouge upcycled clutch bag for example.

But if you want more, the solution is the second-hand market. Buying second-hand clothes it’s recycling so it’s ecological.

You can find second-hand clothes on the internet, in second-hand clothes shops (“friperies” in French), in consignment shops (“dépots ventes”) or in “vide greniers” (which are a mix of garage sale and flea market). I’m always impressed by the treasures that shopping experts find for a few euros in second-hand clothes shops. It’s worth mentioning charity shops such as Emmaüs, Oxfam or Bis boutique solidaire.

And what if my budget is closer to zero ?

I you have no budget to allocate to clothes, keep in mind that not consuming is the most ecological thing to do.

drawing of two women in a café. One says: I did something for the environment: I bought an organic cotton skirt. The other one answers : I did something for the environment too: I bought nothing!

Nevertheless if you feel like renewing your wardrobe, you can take advantage of a resource you have: you already have some clothes! Those clothes, you can wear them, fix them, transform them. If you don’t like them any longer, you can also sell them, swap them or lend them. Showing imagination can help to make good use of what we have.

As a conclusion

Whatever your budget, there are solutions to dress more ethically.

And if you’re still worried about your wallet, follow environmental journalist Lucie Siegle savvy advice: only buy a piece you can commit to wearing 30 times.

Other articles about ethical fashion on this blog:
Ethical fashion shops in Paris
How to buy clothes without feeling guilty

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Livia Firth, activist and entrepreneur

dessin de Livia Firth

For my series of inspirations and inspiring people, I have taken an interest in Livia Firth unusual career. She is an entrepreneur in the luxury industry but also, in her own words, a ‘professional agitator’.

Livia Firth was called Livia Giuggioli and was a production assistant when she met actor Colin Firth during the shooting of a mini-series. One wedding and two children later, Livia Firth produced documentary films and founded Eco-Age, a sustainability consulting company, with her brother Nicola.

Livia Firth got in the spotlight as the wife of a famous actor. So she had the idea to take advantage of her exposure to defend a cause. In 2010, partnering with journalist Lucy Siegle, she took up the ‘Green Carpet Challenge’. She succeeded in wearing ethical and sustainable evening dresses during all the awards season, at the Golden Globes, Academy Awards etc.

Thereafter she has convinced other stars such as Meryl Streep or Cameron Diaz to join the Green Carpet Challenge and she has also convinced brands such as Armani or Lanvin to create some ecological outfits. In parallel, her company Eco-Age advises brands on sustainability strategies. For example, Eco-Age has helped Chopard to source fairmined gold and diamonds for its ‘Green Carpet Collection’ of high jewellery and for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm.

Through all her projects, Livia Firth shows that fashion can be both magnificent and ethical. What I find amazing too is that she managed to invent a job that matches her values.

For more information:
Eco-Age website
the Green Carpet Challenge original blog hosted by British Vogue

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Malta traditional townhouses

In Malta, you can find some picturesque streets with old townhouses in Maltese stone. Traditional Maltese houses have similar facades with an arch-topped front door, wooden shutters and an enclosed wooden balcony. There are gardens at the back of the houses. The shutters and the balcony are often painted in vivid colors, which brightens up the street.

drawing of a Sliema street with Maltese traditional townhouses with enclosed balconies

Enclosed wooden balconies (‘gallerija’ in Maltese) were introduced in Malta in the 18th century. I’m not sure what those typical balconies were used for. I imagine they allowed light in while keeping heat out. You could also sit there to look out of the window.

drawing of a Maltese traditional townhouses with enclosed balconies

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2014 Fashion Revolution Day: Who made your clothes?

drawing of a woman wearing a tank top and shorts inside-out for Fashion Revolution Day

I have already written about Fashion Revolution Day, this international mobilisation on April 24th for a more transparent and ethical fashion. Today my small contribution is this drawing of a woman wearing a tank top and shorts inside-out and wonders who made her clothes.

You can participate too now by taking a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out. Share the picture on social media with the hashtag #insideout.

You can follow the international campaign on Fashion Revolution website.

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Denim shirt and Fashion Revolution

drawing of a woman wearing a shirt inside-out for Fashion Revolution Day

I only have a few ethical clothes but fortunately my illustrated characters can wear all the clothes I spot on the internet.

So my illustration is wearing a shirt of the French sustainable brand L’Herbe Rouge, worn inside-out.

Why inside-out? Because this blog supports the ‘Fashion Revolution Day’ which will take place on April 24th. One year after the Rana Plaza tragedy, we can join this international movement so that our clothes are finally produced in good conditions. It’s very easy to participate:

1. Take a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out

2. Share the picture on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc.) with the hashtag #insideout.

3. Contact the brand and ask ‘Who made my clothes?’

The aim of this campaign is to initiate a connection between consumers and the people who made their clothes. When you wear a garment insideout, you can see the label on it and learn where your clothes were made. When you write to a brand, it’s to let them know that their clients want to know how their clothes were made and who made them.

I have played the game and sent an email to l’Herbe Rouge to ask where this shirt was coming from. They have quickly answered me that it is made in Europe:

- the buttons are made in France

- the fabric is made in Spain and ‘made in green’ certified (manufactured in factories which respect the environment and the rights of workers)

- the shirt is sewn in Romania by a workshop specialized in sustainable clothes and dyes

It would be nice if all brand were as transparent as them. The problem is that many brands subcontract and don’t even know where the clothes are made. But they will find out if the consumers ask them.

Besides taking a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out, you can follow the international campaign on Fashion Revolution website.

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