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Life & Style

Fashion, Life & Style

Your Ethical Style – Mel Wiggins

mel wiggins

mel wiggins

It’s been a little while since my last Your Ethical Style post, so I’m delighted to bring it back this month with Mel Wiggins from the eponymously titled blog Mel Wiggins.

Mel lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and young son, Levi, and I’ve followed along with her crafty makes, interior design skills, thoughts on parenthood and stunning outfits for several years now.  I am 100% sure you will also love her blog and was delighted when Mel wanted to take part in my Your Ethical Style series!

Take it away Mel!

Hi Mel, readers might know you from your blog but can you share three facts about you that they might not already know?  
Fun fact numero uno: I have a weird phobia of a certain bumpy circular texture. I can’t describe it, but if I see it I feel a bit sick and shaky.  It’s making me a bit nauseous even writing about it!  (it’s got a name: trypophobia – please google it with serious caution!)

Fun fact number two: I have known my fella Dave since I was a wee girl.  We grew up living in the street beside each other.  I moved to Canada and we didn’t see each other for about 15 years and then got together and were married within 9 months!

Fun fact number three: I am obsessed with the Food Network and could happily watch even the cheesiest (pun intended) cooking shows all the live-long day.

blue Tartan Dress

You’re one stylish lady Mel.  Can you share where your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing are?
There is nothing that makes me more content than a good rummage through a charity shop.  I get a real thrill out of the searching.  Some people hate it but I thrive on not knowing what I’m going to come across next and how smug I’m going to feel going home with something really different and beautiful for a good price.  This would be my go-to way to buy ethically unless I’m looking for something specific – then it’s eBay or ASOS Marketplace or People Tree* if I’m able to spend a little more.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
I reckon the last ethical item I bought was a really fun navy blouse with little white triangles all over it.  It was missing a few buttons when I saw it in a thrift shop but I saw past that knowing I could easily sew a few on – it has a scalloped collar & cuffs, how could I not?!

Is there anything ethical that you are lusting over at the moment? 
I have a couple of eBay search alerts on for embroidered Mexican-style dresses/tunics for the summer and I’m also after light kimono-type jackets that I can throw on over a tee for the Spring.

ethical fashion

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
For me it’s less about the love of shopping and more about learning to be stylish with less.  More and more these days I’m willing to pay a little more for better quality and assurance of ethics than just buying loads of second hand for the sake of it (I love Everlane for great looking basics and their ethos & practice is really sound).  I ask myself a lot of questions before I buy (new or second-hand) but mainly my thought process is: a) do I REALLY need it? and b) will it stand the test of time?

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
I do find it difficult to not get swept up with the trends.  I love looking good and having a fun personal style but sometimes it’s hard to be patient and wait for that great item to slip onto the rails at your local chazza shop or to ping into your inbox on an eBay alert!  The whims usually do pass; I just need to avoid shopping centres (which is easy these days because shopping centres are the pit of hell if you have small children)!

vintage dress

Where do you get your style inspiration from?
So many places!  The usual online sources like blogs and pinterest are definitely a big deal in terms of inspiring fashion but I tend to get a colour combination fascination in my head and want to try it out with my clothes.  Right now I am loving more neutral palettes: soft corals, navy, emerald green and mustard (always mustard)!  When I see a great colour combo in any form I always think about how it could transfer into an outfit well.

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
Oooh.  That’s a toughie.  It’s a toss up.  I got an unbelievable Italian tailored dress at a second-hand shop in Rome.  I’m pretty sure it’s Sanderson floral fabric and feels so rich and well put together (big pants needed to squeeze in!).  The other would be a big comfy navy cable knit J.Crew jumper I found at a thrift store in Canada – normally it would cost about £100 and is so timelessly classic.

 Sanderson Dress

The Sanderson dress

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
If a bright Mexican dress or smock top turned up in one of my local thrift shops I would not be annoyed!

Could you tell us your top three style tricks/DIYs?
Sure!

1) If you love it but it’s too big – buy it anyway.  I’ve had so much success buying charity shop/vintage dresses that are 2 or 3 sizes too big for me that I’ve had altered to fit perfectly.  Spending the money on good tailoring is totally worth it to have a dress that no one else has that you love to bits.

2) Less is more. Maybe it’s the mum in me, but lately my uniform has been a good solid neutral-coloured tee and a great fitting pair of jeans (usually M&S) teamed up with a fun necklace or a vintage headscarf.

3) Know what looks good on your shape (fit, colour, necklines etc).  I have spent a lot of time and money wearing things that I love but just don’t flatter me.  The sooner you know that, the better you’ll feel and easier it will be to shop!

T Shirt Head Scarf

Thanks for taking part Mel!  You can visit Mel’s blog, and find her on Twitter, and Instagram.  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, Life & Style

7 Ethical Swimwear Brands for Women

ethical swimwear

ethical swimwear

This post contains affiliate links, denoted by *

Looking for ethical swimwear?  Me too, my friend, me too!

I last bought a swimsuit six years ago: since then my body shape has changed a bit (or maybe my swimsuit has just shrunk…!) and now I’m on the hunt for some ethical swimwear.  A reader also recently asked me to help her find some affordable ethical swimwear too, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and write a blog post about it!

There are quite a few ethical swimwear or UK made swimwear companies out there.  Here are eight brands to look out for:

7 Ethical Swimwear Brands

Ruby Moon

Ruby Moon are probably the cheapest of the ethical swimwear brands.  Their swimwear runs at about £45 with free worldwide shipping, and 100% of their profits are donated in the form of micro loans to women entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Kiss Me Deadly

kiss me deadly swimwear

Kiss Me Deadly sell the most beautiful vintage and retro inspired swimwear.  Whilst the swimwear is made in factories in many countries, Kiss Me Deadly say that for factories operating outside of the EU they make sure they have an ethics certificate.

Kiniki

Kiniki swimwear has been made in the UK for over forty years.  Their Staffordshire factory handles everything from the initial concept, sourcing, design and production, making it a truly ethical business.  You can even get 10% off your first order by signing up to their mailing list.

To Dive For

ethical swimwear brands

To Dive For sell luxury swimwear and designer dive wear, which are all designed and made in the UK.  As a special treat you can get 15% off your first order with code HELLOTDF.

State of Mind Active UK

State of Mind Active UK make ethical swimwear in sizes 14 – 28.  It’s pretty rare in the ethical fashion marketplace to see plus sizes offered, so kudos to them for this.

Samantha Sage

Samantha Sage swimsuits are all made in England, with a focus on “easy beach glamour” rather than sporty swimming.

Halcyon Blue

Halcyon Blue sell, shall we say, a more exotic Brazilian style of beachwear.  Think micro bikinis and thongs.  If this is your thing then you are in luck because Halcyon Blue make all of their swimwear in their factory in the very tropical West Sussex, and all components are sourced within the EU so that they can ensure the ethical standards of their swimwear.

The cost issue

Most of the ethical swimwear I found from the ethical retailers tends to retail at £70 and upwards, which is completely understandable because of the fabrics involved and the labour and skill involved.  If your budget allows it then I’d recommend looking at the offerings from these retailers.

If your swimwear budget doesn’t quite stretch that far then I’ve had a look at some of the offerings from the high street.  Marks and Spencer and Fat Face all quite score fairly highly in terms of ethics (more on that later), so I’ve concentrated on them:

Ethical Swimwear On the High Street

Fat Face

womens ethical swimwear

Pineapple Punch Swimsuit (£35) / Stripe Swimsuit (£35) / Wilderness Swimsuit (£35)

In case you’re wondering about Fat Face’s ethical credentials, they’re actually the only high street retailer to score highly on the Good Shopping Guide to fashion retailers.

 Marks and Spencer

ethical swimwear uk

Halterneck Swimsuit (£35) / Ruched Swimsuit (£29.50) / Spotty Swimsuit

According to the Good Shopping Guide, Marks & Spencer don’t rank that highly, but then they were named most ethical fashion retailer on the high street by Ethical Consumer.  Confused?  I am, and this is why, as I mentioned in my last blog post, we desperately need more transparency and accountability in the fashion industry, and less greenwash.  I do think Marks & Spencer are making good progress in some areas of their business with regards to the environment and ethics so I do continue to support them, and encourage them to make better progress in other areas of their business that they are behind in.

Have you found any other ethical swimwear makers out there?  Do share in the comments below.

ps: if you plan on enjoying some sun then here’s a post on eco-friendly sunscreen that you might find useful!