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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 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!

Fashion July 28, 2014 posted by

Your Ethical Style: Ceri Heathcote

Your Ethical Style: Ceri Heathcote

As it’s the start of a new week, I thought what better time to introduce a brand new ethical style series on Moral Fibres, called Your Ethical Style.  The plan for Your Ethical Style is to feature people from all walks of life who have an interest in ethical clothing.

I’m not really interested in designers and fashion shows: I’ve always been interested in what real people are wearing.  Seeing what real people wear has always been more relatable to me than seeing what some model is wearing.  So for Your Ethical Style I’m going to be interviewing people about their ethical style.  I’ve got a few interviews lined up and the best thing so far is everyone’s very different styles and takes on ethical fashion.  I do hope you’ll enjoy and get a lot out of this series!

First to be featured in Your Ethical Style is Ceri Heathcote, from the blog Style Eyes.  On Style Eyes Ceri blogs about her daily ethical outfits and ethical fashion finds, and often shares ethical fashion resources that she’s come across.

ethical style


Jacket – Nancy Dee / Dress – SkunkFunk / Bag – Gusti Leather / Boots – Dream in Green

So, Ceri, Moral Fibres readers might be aware of your great blog, Style Eyes, but can you share with readers three facts about you that they might not know:
1. I love scuba diving on coral reefs.  I once spent 2 months in Belize on a project to map the biodiversity of the reef.
2. I started my blog whilst I was bored on maternity leave after the birth of my second daughter: she was a very sleepy baby.
3. I snore a lot (apparently)

You’ve got a great interest in ethical fashion: where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
I am just setting up a store on my blog with all my favourite brands so that is my best place to shop for ethical clothing!  In terms of actual brands/shops, I love SkunkFunk, People Tree and Braintree Clothing.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
I am trying hard to stick to my motto ‘buy less, live more’ but I did treat myself to 2 necklaces by EA Burns for Made in the sale at ASOS Greenroom.  Made is an ethical brand that creates  beautiful handmade jewellery in their African workshop.  Made teaches new skills and provides sustainable opportunities for its Kenyan employees.

ethical style uk

Hat – Pachacuti / Tunic - Kuyichi

Is there any particular ethical item that you are lusting over at the moment?
I love Pachacuti hats.  They are the perfect way to keep the sun off my face during the summer.

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
If you are shopping on a budget, check out Oxfam Fashion online.  They have an amazing selection of designer, high street and vintage brands.  It is also really easy to find what you want with the option to search by clothes type, size, colour, brand etc.  Not only are you saving clothes from landfill and reducing your fashion footprint but you are also supporting a very worthwhile charity.

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
There are lots of amazing ethical brands out there, but they are not always as easy to find as conventional brands because they tend to have smaller marketing budgets.  It is definitely worth your while spending time to seek them out though as you find some real gems.

Ceri Heathcote

Hat – Pachacuti / Scarf – Vintage / Jeggings – Oxfam / Top – really old / Ankle Boots – Dream in Green

Where do you get your ethical style inspiration from?
I tend to get inspiration from lots of different places.  I sometimes see things that I like on other blogs or love the way outfits have been put together.  I also love checking out what other people are wearing on the street or on streetstyle blogs.  I love bright and colourful clothes and these can be inspired by all sorts of things from paintings and art, to nature and architecture.  My mum is also a big influence as she is quite short like me but always wears flattering and lovely clothes.

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
A vintage handmade silk dress with beautiful and colourful floral print.

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
The most perfect leather jacket.

ethical style blog

Dress – Earth Kind Originals / Shoes – Tom’s / Scarf – Ceri’s DIY

Finally, Ceri, can you share 3 ethical style tips?
1.  Sew brightly coloured pom pom trim onto a second hand scarf with a fabulous print for an eclectic accessory.
2.  Shorten a vintage dressing gown to make a kimono jacket.
3.  If your clothes don’t fit quite right, alter them for the perfect fit.  If your skirt is a little to long or full, that can easily be changed.  A small alteration can make a big difference.

Thanks for taking part Ceri!  You can follow Ceri’s blog here, visit her shop, 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!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

Fashion July 23, 2014 posted by

Ethical Pyjamas and Nightwear

Ethical Pyjamas and Nightwear

So you’ve got an ethical wardrobe, complete with ethical socks and even ethical underwear, but what about your sleepwear?  Pyjamas are one of those things I’d rather buy new than secondhand, so I thought I’d look into what ethical pyjamas are out there for women.

The ethical nightwear market is quite small, so you are quite limited for choice I’m afraid, but I did come across some good finds.  Here are all of the lovely ethical pyjamas that I came across:

 ethical nightdress

From clockwise:

Stripe Pocket T-shirt (available in grey or pink) from People Tree £12.60 (was £18)

Butterfly Chemise from Saumarez – £10 (was £25)

Organic Cotton Pyjama Bottoms (£25) and Pyjama Top (£18) from Noctu.  Noctu are a new online store for men, women and kids, addressing the gap in the sleepwear market.  They kindly sent me a set of these to try out (forgive me for not wanting to appear on the blog in my pyjamas!).  Made of 100% GOTS certified cotton they are really soft and comfortable and wash really well.  I practically live in mine!

Spotty Pyjama Bottoms from People Tree - £18.20 (was £26)

ethical pjs

Top trousers: Teatime With Terry Pyjama Bottoms (£14.99)

Bottom trousers: Organic Cotton PJs from Liv – £11.50 (was £23)

Sallie Vest from People Tree £15.40 (was £22)

Pink Tie Pyjamas from Saumarez – £10 (was £25).

 

As there’s not a massive amount of choice out there when it comes to ethical pyjamas, I thought I’d turn to the high street too.  The Good Shopping Guide have recently released a handy ethical guide to the high st.  Fat Face and New Look came out tops for ethical shopping on the High Street so I thought I’d look at their sleepwear offerings:

ethical pyjamas

Fat Face have such a lovely range of sleepwear at the moment.  The Border Floral Trousers (£32) are my favourite, but these Freesia Tapered Pyjama Trousers (£28) are also very pretty, as are these Lavender Sleep Shorts (£20).

ethical pyjamas uk

I also adore this Fat Face nightshirt (£32).  New Look also have a good range right now at really good prices.  I like these check pyjama bottoms (£9.99) and this contrast sleeve pyjama top (£6).

 

Main image from Fat Face

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