When you say to people 'who is in your wardrobe?' they might think about the designers or brands you have hidden away in their closet but with the arrival of Fashion Revolution week it is time for a different perspective and to ask ‘Who Made my Clothes?’ Which tailor or artisan created this piece of art work that you are wearing? Were they paid fairly? Were they old enough to be working? Were they working in safe conditions? We ask some Ethical Fashion pioneers their favourite ethical piece and explore the lives of the people who made them.
Owner of What Daisy Did - ethical and sustainable slow fashion accessories brand
Favourite Ethical item in my wardrobe - People Tree Equality t shirt
Why? - What’s not to love? Fairtrade - check! Organic - check! Great fit - check! Cool slogan - check!
Owner and Designer at Lost Shapes - organic and ethically produced clothing
Favourite ethical item in my wardrobe - I wear Lost Shapes sweatshirts and jeans most days, but also have a nice collection of People Tree dresses - I think the favourite is the Zandra Rhodes star print fitted dress from a couple of years ago.
Why? It's covered in red and blue stars so it has a really fun, bright comic-book feel. I wear it when I want to make an effort and wear a dress but feel fun rather than frumpy and respectable! It's tight fitting but surprisingly flattering on a curvy body. And I love to be comfy, so organic cotton is always my preference.
Owner of ethical.market the online marketplace
Pick your favourite ethical fashion piece from your wardrobe
Ooh… I’m finding it really hard to narrow down to one item. It’s got to be a mix of my t-shirts that I wear every day and a dress that I wear to practically every special occasion.
Why are they your favourites?
I love the practicality of my tshirts, I can wear them to work every day and throw a tailored blazer over the top for meetings. I design my own tees, my favourite is the Be Brave and Be Kind design, I have worn that to a lot of marches over the last couple of years too! But I also have a second hand dress I love, I make sure I wear it to every special occasion, from weddings and christenings to special birthdays or nights out, I just accessorise it with different items to make it a little different on the day. In the photo I’m wearing a fascinator by a talented maker from Greenwich Market. My t-shirts are all printed onto Continental Clothing Earth Positive base garments so they’re also all organic cotton. My dress was second hand and is by David Meister.
Co-Founder of ethical fashion brand Little Lotus Boutique and Founder of Ethical Hour
Favourite ethical item in my wardrobe - My favourite item is my black organic cotton t-shirt from Innerstand London.
Why? it’s so versatile I can wear it to work or dress it up with some jewellery and a skirt and head out at the weekend in it. And because it’s organic cotton it’s super soft and comfy too!
Ethical Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger at www.theecoedit.co.uk
Pick your favourite ethical fashion piece from your wardrobe(please include a pic of you wearing it)
My favourite ethical piece.. Its difficult to choose! Can I do an item of clothing and an accessory? Clothing wise, possibly this summer dress from People Tree, accessory wise - this tassle and chain bag from Stella McCartney. It is faux suede, made with recycled fibres, and the lining is 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Why is it your favourite?
You can’t go wrong with a white summer dress, and I love the broderie anglaise detailing on this one. It was also a wardrobe staple on a magical holiday we went on last year, so it will always remind me of those wonderful days we spent exploring Le Cap Feret in France.
The bag is a definite favourite because of the innovation and originality of the materials, plus I love the style, you can never have too many tassels and chains!
Teen Ethical Fashion Blogger on www.eleanorclaudie.com
Pick your favourite ethical fashion piece from your wardrobe
My wardrobe is brimming with brightly coloured t-shirts that I can style with almost anything but my favourite ethical fashion piece has to be my second hand coat from Depop, I wear it so much!
Why is it your favourite?
The memories that the coat carries are so precious and I think it's that's why it's my favourite piece in my wardrobe. With a limited number of clothes, it's hard not to become attached to them but it's the ones that evoke good memories are that I will wear for a long time - there's a real sentimental element.
Who is it by? It's by Next however I found it on Depop.
Owner of ethical fashion brand Where does it come from? Traceable fairtrade clothes and accessories for the whole family.
Pick your favourite ethical fashion piece from your wardrobe (please include a pic of you wearing it)
My most worn item of clothing is a plain, black bamboo top
Why is it your favourite? I wear it with jeans or when wanting to look smarter under a jacket. It's really soft and comfortable. Being black it can be a bit dull so I tend to liven it up with one of our Where Does It Come From? Scarves - black goes with everything and is so versatile!
Who is it by? BAM clothing.
So apart from the fact that its a total coincidence that so many of us picked People Tree its no coincidence at all when you consider they are one of the pioneers of the slow fashion industry with completely transparent supply chains, fair trade and organic.
Most of their clothes are made by Assisi Garments, a social business in South India that transforms the lives of deaf, mute and economically disadvantaged women by providing training and employment in a safe environment as well as reinvesting profits into various community projects including a cancer hospital.
Innerstand London and Bam Clothing are both great brands for basics as Sian and Jo have pointed out and both practise fair trade with regards to the treatment of their workers from the Bam site we found this quote "
As people we have the power to make these amazing brands the norm and the ugliness of fast fashion the past! Its time to open your wardrobe doors, look at the labels and start asking who made it!
As you may or may not know we previously worked in collaboration with the Woodland Trust Carbon Scheme in an effort to offset our carbon footprint and while this is definitely a worthwhile cause we have decided this year to use the money to support a different cause.
With Stand for Trees you can purchase a certificate equating to the prevention of 1 tonne of carbon reaching our atmosphere, depending on which certificate you pick depends on where your money goes and there are a few different projects, each as worthy as the next making it very hard to choose! But all of the projects have a universal goal, to protect the worlds forest and the wildlife and communities that inhabit them. They do this in various ways including supporting local communities and working in partnership with conservationists and other non profit organisations in the area.
Stand for Trees is unique in its model in that anyone can help to stand up for trees by purchasing as a little or as many certificates they like at $10 each it is an easy step to take. Sharing your certificate and purchase on social media and encouraging others to do the same only increases the good you are doing! It is a great idea in that anyone at anytime can take action, pledge their support and Stand for Trees!
For more information head to their website https://standfortrees.org
Sustainability is a big part of our professional and personal lives, and we hope that by sharing some of our sustainable home improvements we will inspire you to not only live a greener life, but also save yourself some money and support your local community projects.
Construction time: 25 hours
Tools: Electric plane, electric screwdriver, electric sander & jigsaw
Cost: £50 (£40 for fabric and £10 for delivery of pallets)
Money saved: £550
Our home is an end of terrace victorian house built to squeeze in next to an existing 16th century cottage. As a result the house has no square corners which makes it very difficult to optimise space. We wanted a large sofa, but could only fit a flatpacked sofa through the hallway.
I decided that rather than spending £600+ on a planned obselesence Ikea job that wouldn't be a prefect fit, or spending £1000+ on a custom built sofa to fit the size, it would be better to just build one!
I found a not for profit social enterprise called Northampton Wood Recycling who offer training and volunteering opportunties to those who are finding it hard to enter employment. Especially the long term unemployed or those with learning difficulties. They offer a commercial waste collection service for a reasonable price and then give away the materials to recycling projects such as this one. We paid a £10 delivery charge for the 18 pallets required for the sofa.
I designed the sofa to fit a very awkward space and so needed foam blocks cut to a very specific size. I contacted our local foam company who quoted £180. I brainstormed different alternatives such as baby matresses since they shouldn't be resold for safety reasons. In the end I visited my local second hand shop who gave me two king sizes memory foam mattresses for free. The shop was unable to sell them due to a law that prevents the sale of mattresses without fire labels, but there is no law preventing them from giving them away! I measured them up and cut them with a bread knife.
I have lots of fabric laying around so only purchased some offcut upholstery fabric for the underside of the cushions. We have a fabric shop in Northampton called The Millshop that sells upholstery fabric offcuts from as little as £1 per sq mtr.
Construction time: 40 hours
Tools: Electric plane, electric screwdriver, electric sander & jigsaw, cement mixer, trowl, bucket
Money saved: £100 in waste disposal + £100s compared to having a custom shed built.
Again, the pallets came from Northampton Wood Recycling who charged just £10 for delivery.
The roof is made from military surplus reinforced rubberised PVC tarpaulin, that I purchased from the same place that we get the materials for the Wayfarer Collection from (can also be found at most Army Surplus stores for about £50). The Victorian bricks were recycled from an outside toilet that was in the sheds place. The cladding was donated to me by a landscaper who had surplus wood from a job. The only raw materials I purchased was sand, ballast and cement to lay the bricks and foundation.
The real aim of this project was to renovate the garden whilst disposing of as little as possible. It would have meant moving nearly two tonne of bricks and rubble through our home. All unnecessary rubble was used in the foundation and the bricks were recycled into the base of the shed.
I already have lots of screws, but I'v found out screws can be picked up very cheaply at car boot sales.
Construction time: 4 hours
Tools: chainsaw, electric sander, sewing machine, hammer.
cost: £3 for upholster pins and chainsaw fuel!
The log was collected from a tree that had fallen, and carved with a chainsaw sanded and waxed with beeswax. The foam on top came from the same source as the sofa and leather was cut from old sofas that were left on the side of the road. Other great sources of recycled leather inlude old leather jackets or offcuts from factories.
To Celebrate Small Business Saturday today here is a special Christmas Gift Guide featuring fellow Small Biz 100 folk!
Because the Carnival Collection is made from recycled offcut leather every bag is a unique set of colours. This means that there are hundreds of colour combinations to choose from!
That is where the colour request form comes in....
Ever wondered the process we go through when you send us a Colour Request form for The Carnival Collection?
We go behind the scenes to show you what happens.
1- The Colour Request is received at our office.
2. We go through the bags in stock and pick out six bags of various colours, taking into account any specifications that have been made on the form eg bright colours, no pinks.
3. We take a photo of the front and back of the chosen bags to send to you.
4. The bags then go on a separate shelf with a note with your name on while we wait for you to choose your preferred bag.
We get lots of these requests each day and it can be very time consuming but we feel this is the best way to be able to let you, our customers choose their very own unique What Daisy Did bag!
If we don't hear back from you within 48 hours you will receive a reminder email from us that you have requested colours, we don't mean to bug you but the shelves fill up very quickly and we need to keep on top of the requests to make things run smoothly here at What Daisy Did HQ!
For our Wayfarer Collection, we teamed up with The Northampton Hope Centre to pilot a scheme offering employment to homeless and vulnerable people. In May we took on our first candidate, Angela, who is receiving background support from a liaison officer funded by The Lottery Fund. Six months down the line, we want to share our experiences and hopefully encourage other businesses to follow suit.
We live in a time of individualism and capitalism, a combined ideology that is encouraged by the media and political establishments in the name of financial pursuit. As a result of our financial drive and community detachment we often tend to value each other by financial success rather than emotional, creative and practical worth. I hope to break down the misconception that poverty and addiction are a direct result of individual failure.
Angela talks openly about most of the experiences that led to her becoming homeless. Her stories are full of emotions ranging from tears of sadness to fits of laughter. One thing that is clear to me is that for the most part, she has been a victim of circumstance which escalated from an uncontrollable tragedy in her life into addiction and incarceration.
I believe in the Rat Park theory of addiction which demonstrates that addiction is controlled by your emotional and physical environment and not by the drug itself, as demonstrated by the rats in 'Rat Park' and the tiny fraction of people to have ever become addicted to opiates in hospitals. After all nobody wants to be an addict! We fail to treat addiction as an illness due to our war on drugs. We live in a system that criminalizes people that need help and creates a public perception that the addicts are to blame for their circumstances. I cant't speak for everyone but If the worst imaginable turn of events happened in my life I think the pain would be too consuming for me to cope with it in a healthy way.
After her incarceration, Angela found it very difficult to find work and tells me she received no support to help her transition back into society. People often re-offend because they don't receive any support to resolve an existing emotional problem or to find work so that they can lead a normal life.
Our media make it harder by demonising addicts, convicts and poor people, when what they need most is support. They often highlight the drain on taxes that welfare claimants create, whilst at the same time marginalising them and reducing their chances of progression.
Inevitably Angela's past has lasting effects on her, and as an employer we have adapted to meet her needs which has been an invaluable learning curve for ourselves and our team. She is a kind compassionate person and a dedicated member of staff. She is currently working part time until she is comfortable enough to increase her hours. Her income is now less than when she was on benefits but she loves the pride she gets from her work. Angela is an example of the great things that come from a small opportunity and a little support.
The creative juices have been flowing in the studio lately. Here is what we have been up to.
There is a boat sail manufacturer over the road from our studio, and on a whim we went and visited them to see what they do with their waste. It turns out that they waste quite a bit of materials and so we took a variety of materials back with us. They told us that each boat uses 3 different materials on their sails, and so we had a nice variety of textures, colours, and thicknesses to experiment with. The materials are very durable and waterproof making it perfect for bag making. The only annoyance is the rustling sound the thinner materials make. This material is made specifically to make a noise so that the sailor can tell how much wind they have. Amazing right!? We made these camera strap prototypes for a client, which was a great way of testing the materials on our sewing machines. Depending on the availability of the material we hope to make a limited collection of colourful bags and purses, with some colourful zips incorporated.
We recently teamed up with Bala Sport, a fairtrade football manufacturer and official partners of the Homeless World Cup. Bala Sport were interested in the way we have been tackling homelessness through our unique recruitment process and asked us if we could do anything with the promotional banners left over from this years tournament. We came up with this simple sport bag design that's spacious enough to carry a football and sports kit. All proceeds will go to The Homeless World Cup; a unique, pioneering social movement which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their lives. The bags retail at £24.99 and are available to pre order directly from Bala Sport.
We have previously worked with Festival Republic making draw string bags out of tents discarded at Reading, Leeds and Latitude Festival. They recently contacted us to see if we would be up for the challenge of designing a 6ft lamp to stand 16ft tall at music festival entrances. This was the prototype we came up with. We have used polyester from discarded tents which glows when illuminated. We spaced each strip so as to create the effect of diffraction around the lamps. The circular parts of the lamp are also recycled 26" bicycle wheels.
With becoming a parent comes a whole new set of responsibilities (and sleepless nights.) It also means thinking about the environmental impact of parenthood, all those dirty nappies and clothes that become too small thrown away.
First of all I bought a load of Tots Bots Bamboozle stretch cloth nappies second hand online, I wasn't sure how I would get on with these so I didn't want to spend a lot. I also got some of the flushable silk liners which means that if you get on with them you are sending 0 waste to landfill. Once I started using them though I didn't get on with them, they were bulky, Matilda didn't seem to like them and they were no good for when you were leaving the house as you would have to carry a bag of wet nappies around with you so I ended up giving up on them. I think with persistence and perseverance though they could be right for some people. Since I will not be using them I will be donating them via www.thenappylady.co.uk to someone that wants to use them that is on a low income. The Nappy Lady also gives great advice on choosing the right kind of cloth nappy for you.
(Left totsbots bamboozle stretch and peenut wraps. Right Naty nappies and nappy bags.)
Although I wasn't going to be using cloth nappies I still wanted to find an alternative to the standard supermarket plastic nappy. This led to me discovering www.Naty.com a Swedish based company that uses natural and renewable materials to make their nappies. (The full list of which you can find here) Their wipes and nappy bags are 100% biodegradable and compostable and there's even 100% compostable sanitary pads for mum, baby lotions and oils made from natural materials and organic cotton childrens clothes. At the same price as all the other nappy brands it is a great alternative to the leading brands!
All her clothes at the moment have either been presents from friends and family, hand me downs from her cousin and our friends with babies or bought by me second hand in charity shops and online from Ebay and Depop. I see no need to buy her new clothes at the moment as she is growing out of things so quickly. Once she has grown out of her clothes there is a charity called Baby Basics who provide "much needed essentials and equipment to mothers and families who are unable to provide these items for themselves; particularly those from displaced people groups and those seeking asylum."
When it comes to toys she only has what people have bought her as presents so far but when shes a bit older fellow BAFTS (british association of fairtrade shops and suppliers) member www.lankakade.co.uk sell super cute traditional style wooden toys made by family enterprises in Sri Lanka.
The bag that we use for a nappy bag is our 'Hey Jude Holdall', with multiple pockets its the perfect size for all the essentials, it will fit, 10 x nappies, a roll of nappy bags, packet of baby wipes, muslin square, 2 x bibs, spare outfit and babygrow, comforter and a couple of toys, umbrella, suncream, bottle and bottle of ready made milk.
As part of our Carnival Collection the Hey Jude Holdall is made from factory offcut leather making each one unique in finish and colour. These offcut bags have less impact on the environment, reduce waste and help create work in the developing world. They are created by over 60 skilled families that lost their jobs when the leather shoe trade moved to China. They are not made using child or forced labour, all staff are paid fairly and given flexible working hours.
These bags are durable and use a timeless design in protest against our disposable fashion industry.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or send us an email!
'What Daisy Did' are teaming up with some of the UK's biggest event organisers to help turn trash into treasure!
For years we (Co-owners of 'What Daisy Did' Daisy and Ozric), have worked in all aspects of event sustainability before setting out to create our fashion label. We are revisiting our roots and combining event sustainability with functional fashion to try to help combat the disposable mentality that so many demonstrate during events.
We collected 80 tents from Reading festival last year to create 300 drawstring bags which will be sold on the merchandise stands at this years Reading, Leeds and Latitude festival. 80 tents was just the tip of the iceberg, in 2014 Reading Festival saw 596 tonnes of waste go to landfill with camping equipment such as tents making up a large portion of this.
There is a huge misconception that tents left at festivals are collected by charities. Whilst this is true, they only have the resources to take a small fraction of the tens of thousands that are left. Whilst we will be recycling tents, this in its self does not solve the problem, and through the sale of the bags we hope to educate people of the damaging effects festival waste is having on our planet. Each bag will have a label engaging them in the issues surrounding abandoned tents.
Its a sad fact that the world is getting more and more disposable. You can now find tents that are actually marketed as 'one use' or disposable! In previous years tents would be made well, looked after well and last a lifetime. Prices and quality of tents have plummeted to the point where charities aren't so willing to collect any of them as most of them are damaged.
We want this concept to grow!
We want to make ponchos and yoga mats from tents, tote bags from camping chairs and wallets from broken wellies. We could even make festival bunting and flags!
If you organise an event and want us to get involved then please contact us at email@example.com.
UK MADE . 90% RECYCLED MATERIALS . CREATING EMPLOYMENT FOR THE HOMELESS
MILITARY GRADE MATERIALS
'What Daisy Did' have been hibernating for the last few months, working on our new collection of bags.
We have achieved our ambition of creating our most durable bags yet, whilst still maintaining our values of sustainability and high ethical standards.
We introduce to you the first of ten designs. We are calling this the Brooklyn backpack, and each bag will be named after Cities of the world.
These bags are made from over 99% locally sourced materials with approximately 95% being recycled.
We have found a huge ongoing local supply of broken military canvas tents that come from the Ministry of Defense. Some of these tents are large enough to land small planes in! The canvas is very thick and durable, In fact much of it has already survived 30 years, and we expect it to survive another 30! Even the straps, webbing features and plastic hardware are surplus military grade materials. The creation of these bags have a very small carbon footprint.
The only new materials on this bag are the zips and the thread. We have sourced our zips locally from a factory in Leicester, which is the last remaining zip factory in the UK, with the next nearest being in Poland. We spent an afternoon looking around the factory and made this short video of our zips being made.
Strength has been our main priority with this collection and every design detail reflects this. We aren't using seams in areas of heavy strain. Large compartments are double lined and every seam edge is sealed. We are using the strongest available thread (normally used for heavy duty leather work). In fact we are so confident of their strength that we are offering a 3 year guarantee with every bag.
We have been working with a lady called Angela who has retired from a 45 year long career as machinist and clicker (cutting materials). Angela started her career as a dress maker at the age of 15 and has since worked on making shoes, leather jackets and other garments. For the last 20 years Angela has made bags in her spare time as a hobby, she contacted us to see if we could challenger her with the task of making some of our designs. Angela has a very technical mind when it comes to design and has helped us find the perfect balance between strength, functionality and simplicity.
We have also employed our first UK based machinist called Dawn. Dawn has an extensive career history having worked on sewing machines for 49 years. She has a portfolio of work which covers everything from dresses to underwear. For the last 20 years Dawn has taught fashion at the university of Northampton. For 10 years Dawn has worked as a sample maker which has given her the ability to work with incredible precision.
We recently teamed up with The Northampton Hope Center, a local homeless charity. Together we are piloting a scheme to offer employment to vulnerable and homeless people. A new Lottery funded project will allow for a liaison officer to support the candidates transition into the role. Angela and Chris are our first two employees and will be given the opportunity to learn from Dawn and gain invaluable skills and experience that they can carry with them throughout the rest of their life. As our business grows we will continue to work with the hope centre to find new employees.
We believe this scheme will be a huge success and hope to set an example to other employers. We will be writing future blogs on the progress of this scheme. A portion of each sale will be donated to the Hope centre. More about my thoughts on homelessness can be read here.
Angela cutting patterns (left), Dawn sewing the bags together (centre), Chris cutting up the tents (right).
Northampton is famed for its history of manufacturing (predominantly shoes), and much of Northampton is built upon the industrial revolution. For decades now we have seen a decline in production as we have shifted towards industries such as distribution and finance. We are lucky enough to work with two people that still hold the incredible skills that Northampton no longer practices, and we hope that they can be revived. We want to get Northampton creating and exporting again!
Angela (left) and Dawn (right) working out technical details on our first prototypes.
Our Brooklyn Backpack is expected to go on sale in the next couple of weeks with a new design being launched each month for ten months.
RRP for this design will be approximately £89, if you are interested in purchasing, stocking or reviewing any of our new products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Ozric Vondervelden,
Co-owner of 'What Daisy Did'.