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Tag: ethical fashion

Fashion Friday


Good news for good fashion! Brand new app Good On You launched this week, and is a shiny new app which rates fashion brands on their “impact on people, the planet and animals”. The results are all easy to read and, most importantly, easy to access when you’re out shopping. It also groups all brands with a Good or Great rating in the same place (so if you’re wanting some new kicks for example, you can easily see which brands to go for), and there are even some discounts and specials to be had. Huzzah!!


The app also enables you to hassle get in contact with brands that could be doing better. Australia and New Zealand are the first countries to get the app, with more international releases planned for the near future. It’s available for Apple and android, so get to it!




This week is Fashion Revolution Week; which commemorates the 24th of April 2013 when  1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fashion Revolution Week and their #whomademyclothes? campaign is setting out to “change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories” by insisting on greater transparency within the fashion industry and asking brands to reveal where their clothing is made and by who. There are different ways you can help contribute to this, and following is a selection of our latest and greatest books on ethical fashion. Read on and conquer!

Syndetics book coverMagnifeco : your head-to-toe guide to ethical fashion and non-toxic beauty / Kate Black.
“In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh–the worst garment industry accident in recorded history–the phrase “fashion disaster” acquired a new and much more sinister meaning. Commentators suggested that the tragedy was completely predictable in a sector with a shocking track record of rampant environmental damage, use of toxic chemicals, and chronic human rights abuse. Now the industry is undergoing a shift, and many of us are questioning our buying habits. The rise of socially and environmentally responsible retailers like Patagonia and The Body Shop has led to dramatic changes in the eco and ethical fashion landscape. Magnifeco is the Fast Food Nation of the fashion world–your guide to making a difference too.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA teen guide to eco-fashion / Liz Gogerly.
“This series features stylish books that give school-age readers realistic and practical advice on how they can live an eco-conscious life, right now. That action can be taken by themselves, with their family, or as part of a school or community group.” (Syndetics summary)



Syndetics book coverWear no evil : how to change the world with your wardrobe / Greta Eagan.
“Have you ever wondered, “How can I inherently do good while looking good?” Wear No Evil has the answer, and is the timely handbook for navigating both fashion and ethics. Featuring the Integrity Index (a simplified way of identifying the ethics behind any piece of fashion) and an easy to use rating system, you’ll learn to shop anywhere while building your personal style and supporting your values- all without sacrifice. Part 1 presents the hard-hitting facts on why the fashion industry and our shopping habits need a reboot. Part 2 moves you into a closet-cleansing exercise to assess your current wardrobe for eco-friendliness and how to shop green. Part 3 showcases eco-fashion makeovers and a directory of natural beauty recommendations for face, body, hair, nails, and makeup. Wear No Evil gives new meaning–and the best answers–to an age-old question: “What should I wear today?”” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOverdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion / Elizabeth L. Cline.
“Fast fashion and disposable clothing have become our new norms. Elizabeth Cline argues that this rapid cycle of consumption isn’t just erasing our sense of style and causing massive harm to the environment and human rights-it’s also bad for our souls. Cline looks at the impact here and abroad of America’s drastic increase in inexpensive clothing imports, visiting cheap-chic factories in Bangladesh and China and exploring the problems caused by all those castoffs we donate to the Salvation Army. She also shows how consumers can vote with their dollars to grow the sustainable clothing industry, reign in the conventional apparel market, and wear their clothes with pride.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

This Old Thing???


I have a new viewing addiction, just in time for winter watching marathons. Yuss!! I recently got hooked on Dawn O’Porter’s This Old Thing; a show which flaunts the best of vintage fashion by inspiring young fashionistas to shop in vintage stores rather than on the high street. There’s a fair bit of DIY involved too, as some truly unusual ill-fitting vintage pieces are re-shaped and turned into fashion gems. I’ve been watching it in real time on the actual TV. So old school! (Sunday mornings on Choice TV at 10 or 11 ish if you want to tune in). I love it because it’s basically a show about shopping – swoon.

And, as luck would have it, we also have the book:

Syndetics book coverThis old thing / Dawn O’Porter.
“Give your wardrobe a thoroughly modern vintage makeover with Dawn O’Porter and her team of style experts! Tying-in to her new prime-time six-part Channel 4 show of the same name, journalist Dawn O’Porter is a woman on a mission: to ignite Britain’s passion for vintage fashion! We’re a nation obsessed with cheap, disposable clothing – but Dawn and her team of vintage style experts are here to show you why hunting for one-of-a-kind fashion gems is more exciting, better value for money, and a lot more fun. Are you fed up of the same old high street shops? Are you bored of your wardrobe? Do you fear arriving at a party and seeing someone wearing the same thing as you? Yes? Then it sounds like you’re in need of a modern vintage makeover! THIS OLD THING is here to show you that vintage shopping doesn’t have to mean rummaging through old cardigans at a car boot sale – instead, let Dawn introduce you to a world of beautiful and unique fashion treasures, and show you how to create a glamorous personal style that is all your own. Packed full of insider vintage fashion know-how, THIS OLD THING will take you through the history behind your fashion favourites (including the classic Little Black Dress) advise you on how to find gorgeous vintage jewels of your own, and show you how a few simple tricks can turn an old item of clothing into a fabulous prized possession. Whether you’re a vintage virgin or a retro clothing addict, THIS OLD THING is an indispensable style handbook offering even more of the vintage hints, history and how-tos shared by Dawn in the new Channel 4 series.” (Syndetics summary)

NZ Eco Fashion Week

Image used with permission from Denise at NZ Eco Fashion Week

Have you heard of it? I hadn’t either tbh, but this year’s NZ Eco Fashion Week is happening in June in Lower Hutt, and is set to go OFF!

Having started out in 2013, Eco Fashion Week has grown in popularity and has attracted attention from around the globe.

The event focuses on bringing “ethical products to the forefront of fashion” and has a full four-day schedule with two runway shows, styling events, and exclusive movie screening and pop-up shops. Local designers include Dane Dagger,  Recreate and Heke Design, who ethically manufacture their pieces on Waiheke Island.

The full line up of designers and events is expected to be announced in early May, so stay tuned!

Here we have a new eco fashion book to keep you going in the meantime…

Syndetics book coverA teen guide to eco-fashion / Liz Gogerly.
This book is loaded with sweet tips to help you go green, whether you want to go all out or start small. Most importantly, it also has lots of ideas for making your wardrobe a little more eco friendly!

Go Gucci!

I have exciting news for ya’ll! Luxe Italian brand Gucci has made a strong move towards ethical fashion, creating a handbag range using only legally-produced leather from the Brazilian Amazon. This is the world’s first collection of zero deforestation handbags, and they were debuted for the very first time just two days ago at Paris Fashion Week. Woo to the hoo! Their new range will feature three styles and is strictly made with responsibly-sourced leather from cattle ranches that guarantee no deforestation. You can see the sweet new goods (plus read more about them) here

Good for Gucci, I say! As you know, I love a brand with heart and an ethical conscience, and I think this is an epic move for such a massive luxury brand. Full respect!

Diana Zanetto, Gucci’s executive vice president and chief merchandising and licensing officer, says: “We know that consumers are changing. Consumers are not satisfied only with beautiful products – they want to know where the products come from and how they are made.”

Word up! Each bag from the new range will feature a GCC brand mark, and will also come with a ‘passport’, which documents the origin of the bag and also informs the buyer about exactly where the bag’s materials were sourced from. At the mo, Gucci is sourcing the leather from five cattle ranches which are certified by the National Wildlife Federation and Rainforest Alliance, and is seeking to increase this number.

While I don’t have the… resources to rush out and buy one, I do think this is a big move towards eithical and sustainable style, especially considering the epic scale of Gucci. Here’s hoping it’s a the start of many beautiful (and ethical) things.

Syndetics book coverGucci : the making of / [editorial coordination by Gucci].
“An unprecedented publication showcasing Gucci as never before, including thought-provoking essays, commentaries, and authoritative anecdotes along with previously unpublished contemporary and archival photographs. Published in conjunction with the opening of the new Gucci Museum in Florence, Gucci is the ultimate celebration of the world-renowned fashion house. Gucci: The Making Of is a dynamic record of a much-coveted brand that will be a must this season for anyone with a love of fashion and an interest in contemporary culture.This gorgeous book designed by Arnell offers an in-depth look into Gucci’s origins, identity, influence, and innovation, including fabrication methods and appropriation of signature materials, past and present, and its influence among high society and Hollywood. The book is a heartfelt and personalized tribute to the heritage and influence of this iconic, multifaceted brand.” – adapted from Amazon.com

Syndetics book coverGucci by Gucci : 85 years of Gucci / creative direction by Douglas Lloyd ; texts by Sarah Mower ; editorial coordination by Gucci.
“From paparazzi photographs to full page spreads in Vogue, this aptly lavish pictorial history chronicles Gucci’s evolution since its 1921 inception in Florence, Italy. The range of shots and locations tells the story of Gucci’s ubiquitous place in popular culture, without the aid of captions or credits (both relegated to the end of the book). Aside from a lengthy introduction recapping Gucci history, the collection allows the images to speak for themselves. The mix of old and new Hollywood celebrities shows Gucci spanning time, from Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minelli and Clark Gable to Brad Pitt, Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna. Taking out the distraction of celebrity, the vibrant Gucci ad campaigns focus on the decadence of the many shoes, handbags and jewelry lines. After 400 pages, the show of luxury and opulence may overwhelm the uninitiated, but for fashion students and enthusiasts, this is a volume worth studying. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.” – adapted from Books in Print.

Also!! I’m attending an exciting fashion event this weekend, which I can’t wait to share with you next week. STAY TUNED.


I have a… treat for you this week. My utterly fashionable and very well-read workmate, Emily, did what I wouldn’t couldn’t – she read this book:

Syndetics book coverOverdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion / Elizabeth L. Cline.

She’s kindly written a wee spiel about it for us, so read on and conquer!

Confession: I’m addicted to cheap fashion. Despite an otherwise strident sense of social justice, I’ve tended to block off the part of me that worries about where my clothes are coming from in favour of snapping up bargains.

It was with a sense of trepidation that I picked up Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed, nervous that my worst fears would come true. Cline explores the dangers of the way that we shop, exploring the phenomenon of fast fashion, dwindling quality of construction, conditions for garment workers and the afterlife of our charity shop donations. Conversations about cheap fashion are hard, often coming across as preachy and striking fear into the heart of those, like me, who relish the fun and creativity that comes with clothes. Overdressed isn’t going to make you feel good. At first. But Cline manages to turn a dour subject into something of a manifesto for the ethical fashion enthusiast, acknowledging the fun that comes with dressing well even as she addresses the problems with our taste for ever-cheaper goods.

Image courtesy of Carrie Harwood.

There are too many scary trends highlighted in the book to recount in detail but the most striking point for me was the huge slump in quality in modern clothing. Amazingly, a bargain basement woman’s outfit at the turn of the twentieth century was around US$200. In today’s money, a huge investment! Well into the 1960s and 1970s clothing prices for the everyday outfit strike the modern reader as staggeringly expensive. Modern clothing has ditched the sharp tailoring and quality fabrics that make the outfits of Mad Men so covetable in favour of simple, synthetic pieces with pretty shoddy sewing. It’s not just the planet, workers and retailers who are getting a rough deal from modern fashion, it’s the fashionistas themselves. Future generations will begrudge us the gorgeous quality vintage that we can snap up now when we leave behind a legacy of raggedy, polyester clothes.

The good news is that Cline’s recipe for becoming a more ethical shopper doesn’t involve the dire commandment to build capsule wardrobes stocked with crisp white bamboo shirts and tailored pants. Here are some tips that I picked up and (hopefully!) want to put into practice:

• The most important point! Get a feel for quality. Next time you’re shopping take the time to feel fabrics, check out buttons and seams and read labels. I had a neurotic trip to the mall after reading Overdressed in which I madly felt up clothes all over the place, it really helped to curb those impulsive spends on cheap, throwaway items. Set your own benchmark and don’t settle for the barely sewn on buttons and seriously flammable looking polyesters.

• Work out roughly how much you spend on fashion each year and figure out how you could make the same amount of money go further on items from quality retailers and secondhand or vintage buys. Stores like Savemart offer secondhand gems without the pricetag.

LOVE this! Truly a second-hand gem.






Image courtesy of Carrie Harwood.

• Shop what’s already in your wardrobe and have fun experimenting with outfits and unusual combinations. Organising your wardrobe into shirts, skirts, dresses etc will help reduce the “I’ve got nothing to wear” panic that causes constant shopping trips.

• Think carefully about charity shop donations as they receive a lot of broken and flimsy donations that are no good for anyone. Repair any flaws in the garment, try it out in different combinations with your other clothes or offer to your friends before donating.

• Learn how to sew! Girls in the past would alter most of their clothes to get that perfect fit whereas now we tend to accept clothes the way they come. Our library is full of guides for the absolute beginner. Learning how to repair and alter your wardrobe is a huge asset and Overdressed already has me lusting after my own sewing machine. If you’re not into DIY sewing look out for alteration services.


 Get your stitch on!






Image courtesy of Mandy Ferrugia.

The moral of the story: something needs to change pretty soon but ethical fashion doesn’t have to be uninspiring. Face your fears and give it a read.