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I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, my green lifestyle blog. Here you'll find all sorts of thrifty and easy hints and tips for living a greener life that won't compromise your sense of style.

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Posts by Category: Fashion

Fashion September 29, 2014 posted by

Your Ethical Style: Tilly Johnson

Your Ethical Style: Tilly Johnson

Today Tilly Johnson from the lovely lifestyle blog Paper Crowned is sharing her ethical style tips and secrets with us.  Tilly lives in Yorkshire, and in July of this year embarked on a charity shop shopping challenge, where, for one whole year, she will only purchase clothes from charity shops (with the exception of undies!).  Although only a few months into her challenge Tilly has already learned so much!

Over to the beautiful Tilly:

Tilly Johnson

Hi Tilly, can you share with us three fun facts about you? 
1.  I live with my pug Otis and my fiancé.  We get by on a modest budget, but we get by.  It’s not easy however, and there have been times where we have misjudged our budget and ended up on an ‘I’m a Celebrity’ diet – rice!
2.  I hate having my photograph taken and my blog started as a sort of remedy for that – I have a few pictures of me knocking around now and it’s an exercise in self confidence for me.  I’m lucky to have the opportunity to blog, so I embrace it and share my face.
3.  I love exploring.  I’m most at home on a windy mountain, clinging onto my bobble hat as I try persuade my feet to move forward.

Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
I love scouring charity shops.  There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be had in burying myself in the rails and coming out with something I adore.  That isn’t always the case, of course, but it is sometimes and that little pearl of satisfaction keeps me going.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
The last item I bought, in a charity shop, was a bunny jumper.  It has no label so I don’t know where it is from, but I love it and it will be one of those things I really wear out during winter.

rabbit jumper

Is there anything ethical or secondhand that you are lusting over at the moment? 
Aside from the aforementioned bunny jumper, I bought an orange tartan dress last month for £3 and I adore it.  I’m going to lift the hem a little bit as it is a little long for my hobbit-esque body, but once I have it hemmed and lovely I plan on wearing it all the time.  Possibly even in bed!

vintage tartan dress

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
Don’t be afraid.  I get a lot of people looking down at me if I reply ‘oh, I got this in a second hand shop…’ to them if they pay me a compliment.  Really, you just complimented it!  I’ve found gorgeous pieces in shops over the last few days and I hope my charity shop challenge (which I began in July, where I’m only shopping from charity shops for a year) highlights this over the coming year.

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
The biggest challenge I’ve had is digging through all the summery gear in the charity shops at the moment and getting my grabby little hands on some knits and thicker pieces that I can wear in winter.  Vests and cute little summer dresses?  No problem!  A chunky knit that will serve me from Autumn through to Spring (thanks, UK!)?  Not so easy.

Where do you get your style inspiration from?
A huge amount of places.  My style icons are Zooey Deschanel, Gizzi Erskine and the weather.  I love colours, prints, retro vintage pieces and one-of-a-kind items.  When I go into a shop, I don’t just keep an eye out for the brands I know from the high street – I keep an eye out for labels maybe that I don’t know.  The pieces that are a bit of a mystery.  The tartan dress, for instance. Bits that grab me by the heart and tell me to buy them.

woolly hats

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
I don’t think I can name any one purchase as my favourite!  I’m so fickle when it comes to my buys: I love them all.  I’m always really happy when I find something that makes my heart go all aflutter – there is nothing better than really connecting with something you buy.  I think second hand, it probably means a bit more as someone else has already owned it before I have, I’m just giving it a second lease of life.

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
I never thought I’d say this, but my ultimate thrifted find would be a wedding dress.  I’ve started to realise over the last few months that I’m going to have to really get stuck into wedding planning and preparing, and with our budget its going to be something I have to really watch my budget on.  Finding something in a second hand shop that I completely fall in love with would mean the world to me.

Finally, Tilly, can you share three ethical style tips with us:
1.  Don’t ever be afraid of experimenting with something that you ‘like’ and you don’t know why.  Sometimes your gut knows more than your eyes do.
2.  You can, can, CAN customise something for yourself.  It isn’t something that only the elite can do.  I can manage, I’m sure you can do it too – keep an eye out on the blog for my own story of this.
3.  Have fun.  There honestly isn’t any point in doing it if you aren’t having fun.  I wouldn’t find half of the stuff I manage to find if I felt like it was a chore doing it!

Thanks for taking part Tilly!  You can follow Tilly’s blog here and find her on Twitter or Instagram.  New to Moral Fibres?  You can also check out the other Your Ethical Style posts!  And don’t forget to take part in the big ethical fashion giveaway – there are over £450 worth of ethical fashion prizes on offer!

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via moralfibres@gmail.com to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

Fashion September 23, 2014 posted by

Ethical Fashion Resources: Buyerarchy of Needs

Ethical Fashion Resources: Buyerarchy of Needs

Hello!  How have you been? Like most people in Scotland (84.5% voting turnout!) I’ve been rather occupied with the Scottish Independence Referendum.  First there were a few sleepless nights before the big day.  Talk about nerves!  And then on Thursday night we sat up all night to watch the results.  Talk about disappointment!  This has been followed by a post referendum funk of the highest order, that I think 45% of Scotland is feeling right now.  This isn’t the place for me to articulate my feelings on the referendum, but if you’re interested the National Collective always hits the nail on the head for me.

In an attempt to distract me from politics I’ve been browsing Pinterest.  Something about the visual aspect of it has been quite soothing after everything!  Here I came across this great ethical fashion resource – the Buyerarchy of Needs by artist Sarah Lazarovic:

buyerarchy of needs

I love how Sarah succinctly shows that using what you have is always the most sustainable solution, and buying new should be your last resort if all other options fail.

Speaking of ethical fashion resources then If you’re in need of some pointers I’ve got a few!  With regards to thrifting there are some secondhand shopping guides on Moral Fibres such as my charity shop shopping tips, and eBay shopping tips, in case you haven’t come across them before.

With regards to making, my internet friend Jen of My Make Do and Mend Year has started two Facebook groups – Make Do and Mend-able for anyone interested in making and mending, and Pre Loved Craft Stuff where you can buy/sell/swap/offload any craft supplies.  I’m not particularly crafty but if you are in an way slightly crafty then I’m sure these will be valuable resources for you!

 Be sure to check out Sarah’s site too!

All images courtesy of Sarah Lazarovic.

Fashion September 8, 2014 posted by

Your Ethical Style: Summer Edwards

Your Ethical Style: Summer Edwards

After a week of food waste related posts thought I’d mix things up a bit with a Your Ethical Style feature!  Joining us today and sharing their ethical style on Moral Fibres is Summer Edwards, the blogger behind Australian ethical style blog Tortoise & Lady Grey.  You’ll love Summer’s blog if you are interested in slow and sustainable fashion and clothing DIYs!

Can you share with Moral Fibres readers and I three facts about you that they might not know:
I am a little obsessed with learning languages – I love the insight that they give you into other cultures and different ways for perceiving the world.  I have a reasonable fluency in Mandarin Chinese, I have a intermediate level of French, and know a few basic phrases in Japanese, Thai and German.

When I was growing up my family was very poor, but my parents taught me to cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, play music and grow veggies. These skills were devalued by society for so long, but I believe that we will recover them as we move towards a more sustainable society.  One of my motivations for writing my blog is to help others learn how to make their own clothes so I can pass on my skills to others.

While my feet are firmly planted in Australia, my heart will always belong to China.  I love it there, and would you believe that even smog can make me feel nostalgic?  I have been incredibly fortunate to learn the language and live, study and work in China in the past, and I am certain that my future will be entwined with China, even if it isn’t at the moment!

Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
Sustainability is always at the forefront of my mind, as well as the ethics of manufacture.  For new clothes I shop online as sustainable fashion labels just aren’t stocked in the stores in Canberra.  People Tree and Kowtow are two labels I have recently shopped with.  Charity or vintage stores are also great when I want the bricks and mortar shopping experience – we have one local boutique in Canberra that selects the best quality vintage donations to sell to raise money for suicide prevention.  I have found a few beautiful dresses there.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
A pair of cute flat shoes from soleRebels in preparation for the Spring (it is Winter here in Australia, so I keep an eye on the end of Summer sales from the Northern hemisphere to prepare for the Southern Summer).  The shoes are ethically made in Ethiopia using recycled tyres for the soles, and handcrafted suede leather from traditional techniques.  No factory farming or highly polluting tanning processes are used.
ethical style blog

Faritrade organic cotton t-shirt by 3Fish / Pebdant by Amy Rhoades / Skirt handmade by Summer from a vintage sari.

Is there anything ethical or secondhand that you are lusting over at the moment? 
Yes!  The amazing Rana Transcending Dress from Australian sustainable fashion label Pure Pod.  The dress is ethically made in Australia, with certified organic cotton from India, and screen-printed by hand with non-toxic inks.  It is also made to honor those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza factory collapse, and promotes ethical, sustainable slow fashion over wasteful, exploitative fast fashion.  I really want the dress, but I am currently pregnant, and you can’t really breastfeed in a dress either, so I will have to just admire this one from afar I think!

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
Support local artisans when you can.  Instead of visiting the high street, check out your local markets.  If we don’t value the skills of artisans in our community, these skills may be lost to our communities entirely.  We don’t want a situation where we are forced to buy from unethical factories simply because they are the only places that have the skills to make clothes anymore.

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
There are so, so many ethical considerations.  Ethics of manufacture, environmental harm, slavery in the supply chain…  The list goes on.  Our shampoo could be contributing deforestation; those socks could be made with child labour; that cotton dress could be produced with slave labour…  Everything that we buy has an ethical footprint.  Instead of letting it overwhelm me, I start with one area and research, research, research, and then I make one small change at a time.  Even if you only make 3-4 small changes a year, over a decade you will make a huge impact.  If I look at the whole picture, it gets daunting, so I just take it one step at a time.

Tortoise and Lady Grey Blog

Summer made this scarf and dyed it using turmeric!

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

Pinterest is a favourite of mine.  I look at the style inspiration of any fashion blogger (I prefer real people to models and fashion magazines), and then I translate that style to sustainable fashion by following great sustainable fashion blogs and searching the sustainable fashion labels for items that suit my style aesthetic.

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
When I was breastfeeding my son I really began to miss wearing dresses, so I went down to my favourite charity store and looked for a dress that had buttons down the front.  I decided that if I found, and it fit me, then I would treat myself to it no matter the price.  I was lucky enough to find a cute black and white polka dot dress from the 70s, with a pleated skirt and buttons down the front, and it fit me perfectly!  It was so nice to have a dress to wear again!

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
This isn’t really about fashion, but my husband and I like to visit the recycle centre at the rubbish dump.  We searched for a year for a new chest of drawers that we could do up for our bedroom, but nothing was suitable.  We eventually bought something new, but we would have loved to find the perfect chest of drawers at the recycle centre.  Once upon time everything that was made was good quality and made to last, so you could find quality thrifted furniture to do up and renew.  Unfortunately our economy is so filled with throwaway items that this is no longer easy. But I remain hopeful, and we still keep looking. Beautiful thrifted furniture would always be my ultimate thrifted find.

Finally, Summer, can you share three ethical style tips with us:
1.  I work out which silhouettes/style flatter my body shape and I stick to them. I  steer away from fashion fads, and stick to styles that I look good in, so I will still look good in them even when the fashions change.
2.  I recently discovered that aloe vera gel is a great styling product for naturally curly hair.  It means I can ditch the chemical styling products, save money and still have frizz free curls.
3. Changing the buttons on an item, such as a blazer or cardigan, is a fantastic simple DIY that can really take an ordinary piece of clothing and make it unique and striking. I have some great tips for this in my simple button revamp post.  This is a great way to revamp thrifted finds!

Thanks for taking part Summer!  You can follow Summer’s blog here and find her on Twitter or Facebook.  New to Moral Fibres?  You can also check out the other Your Ethical Style posts!

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via moralfibres@gmail.com to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

Fashion August 11, 2014 posted by

Your Ethical Style: Franca from Oranges & Apples

Your Ethical Style: Franca from Oranges & Apples

You guys really enjoyed the last ethical style post from Ceri, so I’m really pleased to follow it up today with Franca from the blog Oranges and Apples, who is sharing her ethical style with us.

At Oranges and Apples Edinburgh based Franca shares her colourful and eclectic style with readers, as well as crafty endeavours; thoughts on fashion, society and parenthood; and more.  If you live in or near Edinburgh then you’ll love her guide to Edinburgh vintage and charity shops – it’s a veritable gold mine of useful information!

ethical style blog

Franca made this skirt and cowl,  and her jumper came  from a charity shop

Franca, Oranges & Apples is a firm favourite of mine, but can you share with Moral Fibres readers and I three facts about you that they might not know:
1. I’m a German person but I’ve never lived in Germany (I grew up in Luxembourg).  I went to a European school where I had some lessons in English and French.  My accent is essentially unplaceable!
2. I really really like tea. I drink litres of it every day and try to stick to mostly herbal, but my favourites are earl grey and Darjeeling.
3. I’m a bit of a homebody but I love city trips.  We like to stay in an apartment and spend our time mostly wandering around and having coffee and food and sort of pretending we live there.  We went to Copenhagen in June and it was awesome!

Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
I used to be a big charity shopper, so if you’d have asked me a couple of years ago that’s what I would have said.  But since then, possibly brought on by becoming a parent, I’m not really into the quantity over quality thing any more.  And while you can find quality stuff in charity shops, most of it is pretty worn out and a lot of it is fast fashion cast offs and I am making a serious effort to achieve a smaller wardrobe where everything is in good condition.  It’s a work in progress!

Anyway, to actually answer the question I mainly look to online shops like People Tree, Braintree Clothing, and my new discovery, Earth Kind Originals!

ethical style uk

Franca made this beautiful dress

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
I’m not sure as it’s been a while: I think it was a secondhand Cos dress off of eBay.  Or a Superdry shirt in a charity shop, I’m not sure which!

Is there anything ethical or second hand that you are lusting over at the moment?
I’m planning on buying this slouchy cardigan from Earth Kind Originals at some point soon.

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
It depends on what kind of shopping I guess!  For charity shopping my tip is to build up a good understanding of what your size is and what will fit then ignore the labels in the clothes.  I own everything from a size 8 to a 16.  Also to look at the fabric and finishing and not be blinded by labels.

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
It’s a lot better than it used to be, but I still struggle to find brightly coloured neutrals from ethical shops: a lot of the stuff tends to be ‘natural’ colours.

ethical fashion blog

Vintage dress, shoes with naturally tanned and dyed leather

Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Mainly style and sewing blogs, and people I see out and about.  I don’t particularly follow fashion trends and I rarely buy magazines.

What is your best second hand or ethical find ever?
I have a lovely really well made 1950s day dress I bought in a local vintage shop for £40 years ago.  That kind of quality is difficult to find nowadays!

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
I would love to find a cotton 1950s dress with sleeves!

Finally, Franca, can you share three ethical style tips with us:
1. Layer!  You get a lot more interest out of the same clothes if you combine them together in various ways ways.

2. Learn to do basic clothes alterations like taking up hems to make second hand or vintage clothes like you want them.  Alternatively make friends with your tailor: it’s cheaper than you might think!

3. Accessorise!  I love scarves and brooches in particular, and they’re easy to find in charity and vintage shops.  I could wear plain black clothes for the rest of my life and still have something interesting to wear.

 thrifted style blog

Franca made this blouse; the vintage skirt is from a charity shop

You can follow Franca’s blog here and find her on Twitter or Facebook.

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via moralfibres@gmail.com to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

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