Drawinterview with Ceri from Style Eyes blog

Style Eyes is one of the first Ethical Fashion blogs I followed. I love that this personal style blog is written by a person who stays authentic and whose outfits are within reach. Ceri shares her work wear or festival-goer looks and also her sustainable fashion discoveries.

I have drawn Ceri wearing her favorite outfit and I have asked her a few fashion questions.

drawing of Ceri from Style Eyes blog wearing her favorite outfit

Who are you?

I am Ceri, Mummy, Digital marketer, blogger and ethical fashion advocate.

Could you tell me the story of your outfit?

My hat is by pachacuti. It is one of my favourite accessories but for one reason or another, one that I don’t get the chance to wear as often as I would like. It is made by artisans for Pachacuti, a Fair Trade brand which not only makes lovely hats but also creates opportunities for those that have be economically disadvantaged by the trading system. My hat is made in a family run workshop in Northern Equador.

My vest top is made from Fairtrade cotton helping to ensure a better deal for cotton farmers.

The jacket was originally a vintage dressing gown that I found in a second hand shop and shortened to create a jacket and the jeans were from a charity shop both alternatives to buying new.

The necklace and ring are from a brand called Made UK another Fair Trade brand creating handmade accessories in Kenya.

What are your favorite fashion shops/brands?

All of my favourite shops combine style with sustainability and ethics. I buy lots of vintage and second hand from Oxfam’s online shop and Etsy. I also love People Tree, Annie Greenabelle, SkunkFunk, Braintree and Bibico.

Do you have tips to dress more ethically on a budget?

I think buying from charity shops is definitely the best way to shop ethically on a a budget. Not only do you save clothes from landfill and reduce your impact on the world by not buying new, but you also contribute towards a very worthwhile charity.

Thank you Ceri!

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2016 Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution which takes place from 18 to 24 April is an opportunity to ask brands more information on working conditions in the factories that make our clothes. This year, I have asked French Ethical Fashion brand Ekyog who made my ‘Hoki’ T-shirt.

drawing of a woman wearing a coral T-shirt worn inside out and grey trousers by Ekyog for Fashion Revolution

A Hoki T-shirt worn inside out and grey Haby trousers by Ekyog

Here is their reply:

“The HOKI t-shirt was made in Izmir, Turkey, in a workshop we have been working with for many years.

For 20 years, the company has been developping and making items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, nightgowns, tracksuits etc. The company, that was created in 1992, is working exclusively for exportation. It’s a small factory with 25 employees.

It’s also GOTS (GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARDS) certified. GOTS is an international standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It regulates production environmental aspects but also social and organisational aspects (documentation preservation, implementation of an environmental policy…)

During our audit, we have noticed that the company is working on its employees well-being.

Here are some examples of what managers take charge of:

– Additional paid leave (in addition to legislation), sickness leave, maternity leave, sick child leave…

– Access to training

– Taking care of transportation, meals, tea & coffee

– Support the primary schooling of children near the production sites

The organic cotton comes from Turkey too, it’s knitted and dyed in a town close to Izmir.”

That is what I call a complete reply. Once a gain, a small brand show that it’s possible to be transparent whith its clients and to control the supply chain. It’s all the more important when you know that Syrian children are illegally working in some clothing factories in Turkey.

You can get involved in Fashion Revolution too. Here is how:

1. Take a picture of yourself with a clothing label visible

2. Post your picture on social medias with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes

3. Tag the brand you’re wearing to ask them who made this item of clothing

For more information:
Fashion Revolution website
Ekyog website (in French)

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2015 Fashion Revolution Day: Who made my clothes?

Fashion Revolution Day is a day of international mobilisation to improve the way our clothes are made. Last year I asked fashion brand L’Herbe Rouge who made their clothes. This year I asked the same question to ethical fashion brand People Tree.

I have the same cardigan as the character on my drawing. She is also wearing a dress from the Orla Kiely for People Tree collection.

drawing of a woman wearing a printed dress and a cardigan inside out for Fashion Revolution Day

So I asked People Tree who made my cardigan and they sent me detailed information on their supplier:
My cardigan was made at Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills in India.
Rajlakshmi uses mostly Organic and Fair Trade cotton and works to ensure Fair Trade is practiced throughout the supply chain right down to the cotton farmers from Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
Rajlakshmi also supports its tailors with different social schemes, for example contributing to medical insurance for employees and their families, reimbursement of education fees for children…

Brands like People Tree show that it’s possible to have a traceability of clothes. Fashion Revolution Day’s goal is that all fashion brands set up traceability systems for their products to prevent abuse by some subcontractors.

Here is how you can get involved in Fashion Revolution Day:

Post a selfie wearing an item of clothing insideout on all social media and ask the brands: Who Made My Clothes? with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes

Fashion Revolution Day is an opportunity to tell brands that their clients ask for more transparency.

For more information:
Fashion Revolution website
People Tree website

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Gina Rodriguez wearing a blue gown at the 2015 Academy Awards

Every year, I watch the outfits on different red carpets. I spot my favorite outfits and I try to spot the most beautiful ethical or vintage outfits too.

At the Academy Awards, I found that actress Gina Rodriguez outfit was a success. The gown was designed by Manon Gabard for Red Carpet Green Dress. The backless cobalt blue long gown is made from organic peace silk*. I especially like that her dress is as gorgeous from behind as from the front.

drawing of Gina Rodriguez wearing a backless cobalt blue long gown at the 2015 Academy Awards

* Peace silk is produced without killing the pupae

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Slow Streetstyle look in black and white

In my October favorites, I wrote about the #SlowStreetStyle Challenge initiated by Consciously Sartorial and So Good So Cute blogs. To take up this challenge, you have to create a complete look using ethical clothes. So here is a black and white look I have imagined with the Winter clothes I have spotted.

drawing of a woman wearing a shaded white to grey jumper, black trousers and white sneakers

Slow streetstyle look: shaded white to grey jumper, black handbag, black trousers and white sneakers

(1) Misericordia jumper in alpaga, shaded white to grey. Ethically made in Peru.

(2) Pampa & Pop leather handbag. Ethically made in Argentina. Tannery wastewater is recycled.

I have recently discovered Pampa & Pop colorful bags. This black handbag is more plain but it still has a fancy printed lining.

(3) Ekyog black trousers. 98% organic cotton, 2% elastane. Ethically made in Madagascar.

(4) Veja white sneakers in eco-tanned leather. Ethically made in Brazil.

In real life I would take Veja black sneakers but here I have chosen the white ones as nobody will step on my drawing’s feet ^^

You can create a look and join the #SlowStreetStyle Challenge until November 30th. Everything is explained on Consciously Sartorial blog.

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Gisele Bündchen green Prophetik dress at Rainforest Alliance gala

As a Rainforest Alliance board member, model Gisele Bündchen was invited to the Rainforest Alliance gala in May 2014. Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization whose goal is the protection of biodiversity and forests (you may have noticed their certified seal, a green frog, on some products).

For this occasion, Gisele Bündchen wore a magic mint strapless gown by Prophetik.

drawing of Gisele Bündchen wearing a hemp green Prophetik strapless gown at 2014 Rainforest Alliance gala

Surprisingly this satiny dress is made of hemp. It’s the first time I see a hemp evening gown. I already knew that hemp is ecological because it needs little water, no pesticides and it absorbs carbon dioxide. Now I can add that hemp is chic.

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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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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 or People Tree or brands that manufacture in France such as Mars Loves Her or Bleu de Paname (for men).

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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