14 December 2014

Ethical Sustainable Handmade Christmas Gifts

I shop online almost exclusively - partially because I like to rock an all-day PJ - partially because I can ensure what I'm purchasing is up to my ethical shopping standards without depleting my entire data plan.

This year I've committed to buying, for both my personal 'needs' and friend/family holiday gifts, items which meet my aesthetic desires and quality requirements while also satisfying the ethical/sustainable rules I've set for myself.

Since not everyone in my life wants a Leotie Lovely clutch, this means delving deep the the depths of the internet to find gems hidden under the waves of paid advertisements from big bad brands. A lazy gal's treasure hunt of sorts.

As I made my way down the holiday list of my ever growing family this past month, I discovered a few goods worth sharing which just might hit your last minute holiday shopping needs, or at the very least inspire a smile:

Like American Apparel but without all the sweatshops and sexual assault claims. HORAY! It costs about the same amount of cash to get all your cosy comfys but they come from a company committed to sustainability with products made from sustainable fabrics, dyed with non-toxic low impact/natural dyes and washed with their G2 Eco Wash which uses 60% less water. Their products are produced by factories which are certified under Fair Labour Association & Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.

Super beautiful handmade phone cases made from eco friendly materials, recycled plastics and eco friendly ink

It was slim pickinz in the ethical sleep and slink wear departments, until Luna Hava came along. They've got beautiful pjs and lingerie using ethically sourced and sustainable fabrics, handmade in England.  (pic via http://rachelmanns.com/studio/)

I spent about 12 hours searching for an ethically produced, sustainable, handmade wallet for my sister and this company was the very best I could find. Though they use leather (produced from bovine animal meat production) their slow fashion ethical practices and sustainability processes are incredibly impressive and the people who work there are truly kind. I adjusted the embellishment on mine to make it match with the Souk Soiree clutch but it looks great as is too.

Glass beaded bracelets handcrafted by artisans in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Each purchase empowers Nepalese artisans to rise above poverty through fair trade and enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth.

This beautifully British company makes in-ear headphones in a variety of colours for £25.00 (the same price as Apple's worms). They have FSC certified plantation hardwood chassis housed in 100% recycled packaging. To top it off, they plant a tree for every 100 products sold, and are members of 1% For The Planet, which united 1,200 companies to give to 3,300 not-for-profits resulting in more than 100 million dollars given back to mama earth.

8 December 2014

Best Buds: Eco-Friendly Earphones & Headphones

Despite efforts to live a sustainable lifestyle, my partner and I have managed to wreck at least ten pairs of headphones and earphones between the two of us in less than six months. 

The blame lies partially with the creators of these wastefully produced products, but principally, with my partner and I who are guilty of buying cheap goods 'on the fly' to scratch the immediate itch of our 'pressing needs’ ... while being irresponsibly wild and carefree with the sole enabler of our musical wanders.

To remedy our cyclical sins, I went on a hunt for well made ethically produced headphones and was pleasantly surprised by the quantity of quality sustainable aesthetically pleasing goods, produced by small businesses committed to eco friendly products, who also happen exemplify exemplary philanthropic activity. 

If you have a need for headphones, you probably like music, and therefore probably know this name. Bob's relatives created a company called House of Marley with a full line of over, on and in ear headphones made form sustainable materials and FSC certified woods. To top all that goodness off your purchases support the 1 Love Foundation which is dedicated to giving back through charities that empower individuals to take action for sustainable and responsible living. Their current campaign, Million Acts, calls for people around the world to commit an Act Of Love, Act Of Kindness, and/or Act of Community to help strengthen nations around the world and build a compassionate global community. 

This beautifully British company makes in-ear headphones in a variety of colours for £25.00 (same price as Apple's worms). They have FSC certified plantation hardwood chassis housed in 100% recycled packaging. To top it off, they plant a tree for every 100 products sold, and are members of 1% For The Planet, which unites 1,200 companies to give to 3,300 not-for-profits resulting in more than 100 million dollars given back to mama earth. 

Made with reclaimed wood upcycled from discarded furniture and flooring industries, LSTN has a full line of slick and sustainable over, on and in ear headphones. While their goods bring music to your ears, your purchase literally brings HEARING to the ears of another, as the company supports Starkey Hearing Foundation with each purchase. Their website has videos of their charity work which will move even the darkest souls to tears, gives a whole new meaning to sharing music.

So, whether you're replacing your own headphones or putting things under a holiday symbol for someone you Love, just a few extra dollars will get you to your goal while doing good for the earth and others. Win. Win.


27 November 2014

Make It Mean Something: Ethical Box Elation

I put a call out on Facebook asking for ideas of markets to sell Leotie Lovely pieces this holiday season and was almost immediately led to a site I’d subconsciously imagined creating and consciously dreamed of finding.

My Messiah came in the form of an online marketplace cleverly titled Ethical Box, which is in the midst of creating an online community for ethically minded people to buy and sell products made with the earth and it's inhabitants in mind. 

And the products ain't your classic 'green gal' goods. They only launched last month and they've already got enough wonders in the woman's section to get my christmas list crawling:

Ethical Box embodies the change I hope to see, and help create, in the fashion world and beyond. Their tagline: Forget The Ego. Embrace The Eco, politely nudges ones mindful shopping intentions, simplifying their beautifully articulated mission statement. 

Intended for those fed up with the waste and destruction of today’s fast fashion, their hope is To create a place to buy fashion that you can be proud to wear. Fashion that makes you feel as great as it makes you look. Fashion with a positive impact, without compromising on style, which means beautiful products that won’t cost us the earth, our health, or the rights of our fellow human beings. “

They’re the first who’ve brought an Etsy like approach to the ethical shopping world as they strive to create a meaningful marketplace, helping to shift the online shopping world to engage in a greater good, by simplifying the (sometimes exhaustive) search to find products created with the intentions of integrity and love, rather than greed and selfishness.

The online marketplace will open it’s street level doors for their first pop up event this weekend – so if you’re in the holiday shopping mood and happen to be in London adjust your compass slightly north east of Oxford Street instead:

29th and 30th of November
Beach London
20 Cheshire Street –
E2 6EH

If you're like me and prefer to shop under the duvet, their online doors are always open and ever growing right here: http://ethicalbox.co/


18 November 2014

Make It Mean Something

Our little world needs to see some change and the quickest/easiest way to get to it, is adjusting our daily and seasonal habits.

Over the next month those in the western world will whip wildly through a list of loved ones, excitedly purchasing delicious and delightful declarations for them as part of the traditions that fall during this season.

There are a multitude of beautiful things which result from these celebrations, many revolving around Love and kindness, which is why it seems slightly ludicrous that we express our positive feelings for others by spending money on items produced with the opposite emotions and intentions.

There are many suggestions to be made about how we can change our daily lives to improve the social, economic, political and ecological situations we’ve found ourselves in, and I don’t pretend to have the answer to any of them, but I would like to challenge myself, my loved ones, and the world at large to make the choice to #MakeItMeanSomething, through our actions, purchases and beyond.

This challenge is an easy one to commit to, to close your purchasing scope a bit by committing to adhere to one, a few, or all, of the suggestions below while exercising your purchasing power, this Holiday Season, and (if it suits you), in the year(s) to come.

*#MakeItMeanSomething #Top20*

If you're gonna buy:
1. buy less
2. buy something with meaning
3. buy local
4. buy handmade
5. buy ethical
6. buy sustainable
7. buy organic
8. support a small business / musician
9. Buy vintage/second hand
10. Recycle, upcycle, repurpose

Or don't buy it at all:
1. adopt a pet in need of rescue
2. volunteer time
3. donate money
4. hold out a helping hand
5. write a letter/poem
6. paint a picture
7. build a sculpture
8. bake something
9. make something
10. find a cause to care for

To partake in this challenge - just do it - and hashtag #MakeItMeanSomething if you find a moving moment.

Big Hug x

17 October 2014

Eco Fran├žais-ly

As an eco-friendly clutch 'designer' I'm doing my best to live my daily life in a way that reflects the sustainable lifestyle I promote.

And, since moving to Paris, I've been doing my best to engage in the culture and language I'm blessed to be surrounded by, in an attempt to immerse myself in this experience.

There are some days when I feel that if I were to put my actions on a rating scale I'd get a gold star sticker for practicing what I preach. That said, there are just as many days when old habits creep in and I fall off the proverbial eco boat and end up swimming in the swamp.

Today, was one of those days I was sailing smoothly. I woke up and read a book I’ve been meaning to read, printed on recycled paper, written by a Vietnamese monk living in France (if you ever have the chance to visit Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness practice centre, do, it's magical: Plum Village)

Feeling clever, I geared up and went for a run in my favourite Parisian park (Parc des Buttes Chaumont) wearing my eco-friendly, ethical, fair trade sneakers, made by a French company here in Paris (Veja).

With my brain and body jazzed up after the run, and an honestly healthy juice in my belly, I sat down and got creative finishing the tassel on the eco-friendly Leotie Lovely Souk Soiree clutch which was ordered by a French customer

Creatively, physically and mentally fulfilled, I hopped on the metro down to the Canadian embassy to take care of some logistical loveliness and on the way… found myself wandering into a Starbucks, standing zombie like in a line full of North Americans, and, after a day of using French ferociously, ordered a 'soy latte' in English. 

With one sip, my eco francais-ly day melted away in a haze of vanilla flavoured consumerism and that gold star I'd been eyeing floated out of my reach.

I mentally scolded myself with a quick "Dagnabbit, Holly",  and smiled at passers by, doing my best to enjoy this guilty pleasure, knowing tomorrow I'd (probably) do better. 

x Holly 

13 October 2014

Nifty Newbies: Rare Breed Cashmere Turban and Bobble Hat

After a slight 12 month delay, I'm pleased (and relieved) to announce the arrival of these two winter warmers to my shop.

The turn of events which lead to their creation was a lovely one, beginning as most things do, with a kind introduction. Knitwear designer Edina Ronay, my former boss, introduced me to Lesley from Devon Fine Fibres who had provided her with beautiful rare breed cashmere produced, for the first time, in the UK (normally cashmere is produced in Mongolia and then sent to Scotland for washing and spinning).

I was so inspired by Lesley and her husband Roger, who escaped city life to build a beautiful farm down in Devon and create a heart lead business, the first of its kind, where rare breeds of Sheep and Goats live their lives in a lush loved up environment, cared for by people who ensure they are treated with the highest ethical and welfare standards, or in Lesley's words: "like family".

The love shared with the animals who produce these fine fibres shows in the quality of yarns produced, after the goats and sheep are sheered Lesly hand washes and spins the fibres into yarn herself, sending each ply off un-dyed, in the natural colour seen in the hats above, alongside a lovely personalised note filled with blessings and encouragement for the creative process to follow.

In the spirit of the love filled process Lesly began, and to express my complete admiration of  Katie MeylerHolden M Warren and the rest of the team down in Liberia, I've decided to donate 25% of each hat sale to More Than Me Foundation's Ebola-Free West Point Coalition. You can follow their emotional fight against Ebola on Holden's instagram account and/or donate to the foundation/coalition's causes HERE

x Holly

15 September 2014

Romping Around: Gypsy Queen

CLUTCH: Leotie Lovely - PLAYSUIT: Spell Byron Bay - BOOTS: Ash - FLOWER CROWN: DIY here

This month marks the second month on the move as my guy and I, having given up our shoebox abodes in London and Paris, Airbnb our butts around Europe like caravan-less gypsy's in an attempt to complete the post production of our short film.

For the editing phase, we're living in magnificent Madrid, getting a glimpse of the sweet summer we missed between work bound lock downs indoors.

I could embark on a dreamy dictation of all the magic Madrid holds, but I'll begin with just the simplest of salutations to the walls, doors and buildings, painted all the colours of the wind, which greet us each day as we emerge from our modest flat sniffing for coffee and carbs.

I'm lucky as a leprechaun my partner in crime's milkshake of professions includes photography, which means some days he'll capture pictures of our prancing.

We came across one of Madrid's elusive flower shops the other day, located across the street from this gorgeous green wall which just happened to be painted the exact colour of the beautiful Gypsy Queen Romper by Spell Byron Bay I bought from lovely Frankie at The Native State around summer's solstice.

I was in the midst of designing my clutches when I purchased this floral frenzied frock and, inspired by Spell's pretty playsuit, combined a piece of driftwood I had found on the beach in Morocco with a hand died one-of-a-kind upcycled piece I'd made earlier on to create this ONE-OF-A-KIND GYPSY QUEEN CLUTCH named after the romper it was inspired by.

What I'm Wearing
PLAYSUIT: Spell Byron Bay