Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Have a Hoppy Eco Easter!

Before I hop off to South America for a few weeks - I wanted to share these ethical Easter awesomes with you!

Easter Peasant Dress by SoulRole - This organic cotton dress for little ladies is beyond adorable!
Easter Chocolate from Edgar's Mission -This deliciously kind Bonvita chocolate is dairy and gluten-free, as well as being certified organic and fairtrade! But even tastier is helping out the cute critters at Edgar's Mission :D
Plum Apricot Bunny Balm from Crazy Rumors - A portion of the proceeds from this scrumptious 100% vegan lip balm goes toward the Leaping Bunny Program, which advocates for cruelty-free products
Fig Fennel & Almond Dark Chocolate from Theo - Not only yummy for your tummy, this flavoursome chocolate is good for the soul too!
Vintage 1970s Easter Wrapping Paper from Grandmother's Attic -This vintage paper is just darling! You can wrap up gifts with it or get creative
Newborn Oatmeal Bunny Hat by The Yarn Owl's Nest - Do you have a bub at home or have friends with a newborn? I think it's time this baby got its bunny on with this hand-knitted vegan cuteness
Cottontail Rabbit Meets Butterfly Skirt by NYhop - This wondrous one-of-a-kind upcycled skirt makes me smile big time!
Organic French Champagne Truffle Easter Egg by Booja Booja - Talk about decadent! This is the egg for vegan lovers of luxury, presented in a hand-painted case
Easter Treats Candy Soap from AJ Sweet Soap - I only have one gripe with these delightful soaps...you can't eat them! Give someone's hands a treat with these vegan beauties
Ceramic Easter Eggs by Kylie Johnson - These unique decorations have been hand-printed using vintage buttons to create a distinctive look
Chocolate Gingerbread Easter Bunny by Gingerbread Folk - This cheeky egg-free bunny comes in its own biodegradable package

You can also check out Planet Ark's Top 10 Tips for keeping your Easter celebrations green.  

Wishing you all a lovely holiday!
KB x 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Starfish Project is Restoring Hope & Crafting Beautiful Jewellery

Once you choose hope, anything's possible
~ Christopher Reeve

In certain circumstances fashion has been viewed as a vehicle for female dis-empowerment - but at the Starfish Project it's being used as a mechanism for restoring dignity and hope in exploited women. I'm so pleased to be able to share with you my interview with Emily O'Connor who is the Communications Officer at Starfish Project.

Q. What first sparked the idea for the Starfish Project? 

Starfish Project was sparked by a compelling desire to see women freed from exploitation. Started in 2006 by a group of individuals who witnessed the heartbreaking reality of women trapped in sexual exploitation in their community, Starfish Project’s vision is to see every woman valued. Not only did we want to help women leave their old lives behind but we also wanted to empower them to pursue a life of hope and to give them the tools to achieve their potential. That is why we decided to open a jewelry business. 

Not only do we offer the women housing in our women’s shelter and a range of holistic care services, we also offer them alternative employment which provides them with stable and fair wages at a job that honors their dignity and recognizes their value.

Q. Your tagline is “Restoring Hope to Exploited Women in Asia”. Can you tell us how the Starfish Project has impacted on the daily lives of women in this region? 

When women first come to us they often will not even make eye contact or speak. But after time, as they begin to know that they are safe and loved, they are transformed into women who are full of confidence, who hold their heads up high, who are not afraid to laugh and cry, and who share their thoughts and feelings. 

No longer are they trapped in a life where day after day they are exploited and abused. The services, resources, and opportunities Starfish offers them empowers them to live a life of hope and independence.

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of the Starfish Project in 10 words or less?

Bold, versatile, ethnic-inspired with a piece for everyone

Q. How does the Starfish Project ensure that it is an environmentally friendly and socially responsible company? 

As an ethically based project, we seek to have good, honest business and organizational practices that provide long-term viable employment and empowering opportunities for women. We do everything in our power to make sure our materials come from trustworthy and respectable suppliers. We guarantee our employees fair and competitive wages. 

Even though being socially conscious presents many logistical and financial difficulties, we seek to uphold the value of ethical business in all the work we do. In addition, we are dedicated to working with other projects and organizations help build the effectiveness of the entire social enterprise and NGO sector. 

We actively pursue accountability and transparency in all of our decisions and actions. Starfish Project seeks to be a model to its employees, customers and the community in ethical and sustainable practices.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

We are inspired by all our follow ethical designers. One of our favourites is Urban Offering (since we only make jewelry, we highly recommend them to our male supporters. We love their custom men’s suits and blazers!). 

Some of our other favourites are Lusso Bags, Adorned in Grace, 31 Bits, and Freeset. We love all of the creativity, inspiration and originality found in the world of socially conscious design.

Q. Do you think there’s been an increase in socially responsible fashion retailers or does it still feel like swimming against the tide?

I have definitely observed an increase in awareness and moral support of socially responsible fashion retailers. Businesses and individuals are becoming more and more conscious of where their products come from, how they are being made, and who’s making them. 

At the same time, there is often a disconnect between the good intentions of the retail world and its customers and their actual actions when it comes to the products they sell and the products they buy. With the economy being what it is at the moment, we are often met with people hesitant to commit to being socially responsible in their fashion choices. 

I would not say we are necessarily swimming against the tide, but perhaps we are swimming in a bit of a riptide. It is, however, wonderful to see a definite increase in the amount of projects and business dedicated to ethical fashion. 

Q. Have you got a favourite item in store right now? 

My favourite item in the store right now is hands down the Turquoise “10 Strands of Hope” Necklace! I want to wear it every day! I love that since each strand is made by a different woman, one necklace involves 10 transformed lives. It is such a beautiful reminder of the power of unity and hope. Plus, it is just a gorgeous necklace! I love boldness of the color and design! 

Q. How can people get involved? 

There are many ways people can get involved! People can:

  • Purchase and wear our jewelry! The profits from the jewelry sales go back into the Project to provide for the women’s salaries, housing, healthcare, vocational training, and counseling;  
  • Become a Starfish Representative; 
  • Host a jewelry party to share the vision and mission of Starfish;  
  • Intern with us! We are in great need of human resources and are accepting applications for passionate and qualified individuals who want to join the Starfish team;
  •  Spread the word! Simply sharing about Starfish with your friends, family, co-workers or the person in line in front of you at the grocery store helps build awareness and spread the message of hope; and
  • Visit our website! You can learn more about what we do, who we are, see our products, and read more about how to get involved!

Q. What does the future hold for the Starfish Project? 

That is an exciting question! Right now the future holds opening our second branch. In this next year Starfish will be launching its second fully-functional branch in another part of Asia which will allow us to reach and empower even more women. We hope this is just the beginning of expanding into other regions and communities. We hope to increase our sales so that our capacity to employ more women also increases. There are, of course, always challenges in our line of work but we believe the future of Starfish Project is one of hope! 

You can connect with Starfish Project via Facebook, Twitter and their Blog!


Friday, 15 March 2013

I Totes Love These Cruelty-Free Bags!

When it comes to ethical bags of all shapes and sizes I'm completely smitten! Here's my homage to the ever versatile and roomy tote - from the casual and funky to the super chic :D
Soft Mini Saddle Bag by MisscoGirl - I adore the POW factor of this lipstick red vegan bag! So luscious!
Cat Singing in the Rain Tote by Laurie Grove -This 100% organic cotton tote combines two of my favourite things...eco materials and CATS!
Comic Tote by Make Love Not Trash - Love this super fun pop art bag with a seriously green message!
Turquoise Eden Bag by Melie Bianco -This bag is just so easy on the eye! Made from 100% vegan materials it's a brilliant way to add some colour to your ensemble
Habari Bag from Johari - This stunning lion print was designed by Georgia McKenna of Graeme High School as part of Johari's 2012 Seedlings Design Competition. In Kenya habari means 'hello' and I would dearly like to welcome this bag into my wardrobe!
Royal Wedding Organic Tote by Blueblood - This super cute bag pays tribute to the 2011 royal wedding extravaganza...with puppies! Part of the profits go toward helping animal welfare charities :D
Green Apple Tote by Apple & Bee - How fresh is this delicious design? Made from organic cotton...yummo!
Sailcloth Jenny Tote by Reefer - This unique bag has been lovingly crafted from an upcycled boat sail and retains its original detailing
Persian Tortoise Tote Bag by Things That Sing - As soon as I laid eyes on this bags I was hooked by the utterly charming tortoise print which has inspired and adapted from a 15th century Persian tile! Made from organic and fairly grown cotton
The Original Tote Bag by Elvis & Kresse - I am such a big fan of these red hot bags made from genuine recycled fire fighter's hose and reclaimed parachute silk! It's astounding how something so practical can become such a beautiful accessory
Burlap Market Tote by Urban Style Stitches - The fabric lining in this fabulous and sturdy burlap bag is delightful!
Eva Shark Reversible Tote by Bungalow360 - Have you been following the historic CITES vote to protect sharks? I have! This vegan bag is a great way to celebrate the awesomeness that is sharks :D
Coco Mini Tote by Couture Planet - Made from 100% post consumer newspaper this fashionista bag is uber chic upcycling at its best!
Bianca Straw Tote by KAYU - This distinctive design evokes images of cruise ship and portholes! Perfect for a fashionable day at the beach this handwoven bag was meticulously crafted under fair conditions by artisans in Cambodia
Falabella Shaggy Deer Fold Over Tote by Stella McCartney - I have to tell you...I LOVE this colour! Very much. I also love that this vegan tote can be transformed into a handbag giving you TWO styles to choose from :-)
Brown Butterfly Tote by MicroVentures - I heart flutter-byes and I'm also pretty sweet on the fact that this cute bag was created in Malawi by female artisans using repurposed materials
Silvia Tote in Beige by Ruj - This distinctive, almost tribalistic tote is 100% vegan and has plenty of room for all your eco-market finds!
Organic Cotton Bag by The Lost Travel TShirt Company - This completely trendy tote features a black and white photo of the Place Jemaa el Fna - a square and market place in Marrakesh's old city - and was made under Fair Wear Foundation certified conditions
French Milk Bag by L'aiR de Rien - Here's an adorable option for anyone looking for a quirky tote with solid eco credentials, it's been handmade using recycled milk containers
Jute Tote Bag from Ethical Gifts - This striking bag has been handwoven using traditional techniques by artisans in Bangladesh under fair trade conditions. The earthy colours have been combined to beautiful effect
Recycled Sari Bag by Action Bag - If you're an aficionado of  pattern and colour you're in for a treat with this range of recycled cotton sari bags! Handmade in Bangladesh each one is unique
Corduroy Tote Bag by Bliss Joy Bull - This upcycled cotton corduroy tan tote will blend seamlessly with your outfit while retaining some cheeky colour in the beautiful lining. Made using a zero waste design pattern, meaning that no scraps were left behind!
Bellani Tote by Bottletop -This extremely attractive bag has incredibly been constructed using recycled aluminum ring pulls! Even more awesome is that the Bottletop Foundation is working to empower young people in developing countries
Hawaiian Estate Tote by BeenBags - This bag just looks so funky, especially if you're a coffee fanatic like I am! I love that these previously hard working bags now have a 2nd life as luxury eco-fashion items :D
Refuse to Sink Anchor Tote by Kind Label - I am head over heels for this sentiment! This vibrant bag has been hand-printed using environmentally friendly inks and a portion of the proceeds go toward The Adventure Project's mission to end extreme poverty
The Admiral Tote by Hearts - I believe I would pretty much tote this tote (ha ha) about with me everywhere! The contrasting shades of burnt orange and succulent olive are splendid bag buddies. Handmade by artisans in Narsapur India under fair conditions with part of the profits going back into the local community including healthcare and education projects