It’s Fashion Revolution Week and one aspect I love is the Haulternative campaign which promotes secondhand shopping, vintage, mending, renting, DIY – basically avoiding buying new clothes for a more sustainable and conscious wardrobe. 💚
This year I polled my Patrons about what they would like to see as a Haulternative and ended up creating a video about how to naturally dye your clothes!
I dyed an old cotton skirt (which was also originally dyed with coffee) using yellow onion skins, and a silk top from the thrift store with purple cabbage. This is a very simplified and easy version of natural dyeing, but here’s what I did:
Collect and cut raw dye material into pieces
Put in a large pot* and cover with about 2 parts water
Simmer for about 45-60 minutes
Strain out dye material
Add garment to dye water
Let sit 12-24 hours, occasionally stirring
Remove garment and rinse to get rid of dye
Let air dry
*you shouldn’t use equipment you cook with for dyeing
Like I mentioned in the video, protein fibres work best and only dye natural materials. Also if you want the dyes to be even and more colourfast you should properly scour (especially for undyed materials) and mordant the fabric.
Natural dyeing is really fun to experiment with and I love how you can never be totally sure how it will turn out! A few other easily accessible foods you can use for dyeing are:
Avocado pits (light pink)
Red onion skins (orange/red-brown)
Most berries (purple/pink shades)
Some more DIY projects to inspire you to create or transform your wardrobe:
I decided to do the 10×10 Challenge again this spring. It’s such a fun way to do a “mini capsule” and try out some different combinations.
These are the 10 items I chose
Grey cotton jumper
I really wanted to include the yellow skirt in my 10×10 because it’s a “new” piece in my capsule (newly dyed) and I wanted to try out some combinations with it. The piece I was most excited to wear more was the jumpsuit. It was in my winter capsule wardrobe but isn’t the easiest piece to wear in winter since it needs layers, but I’m excited to get more wear from it this spring and summer!
The outfits I wore
This past week was extra busy for me – I had a shoot for an exciting new project, we had an open house to find another tenant to take our apartment, my dad came to visit, and we are going on a trip to Croatia soon so there’s lots to get done before that. It was wonderful to keep the outfits simple and have to think even less about what to wear each day.
I really enjoyed the blue and yellow colour combination with the skirt, and the jumpsuit was exactly what I hoped it would be – an easy garment that’s really comfortable which can be both casual or dressier. I also realized it’s a great piece for biking in because there’s room for movement and even though the legs are quite wide, since they are shorter so you don’t have to worry about them touching the chain/spokes. 🚲
Day 9 ^ was a “fail” for me though. We surprisingly had a really gorgeous weekend with 25°C weather and decided to have a BBQ in the park with some friends. I planned on wearing the wool sweater and skirt that day but this was not going to work for the weather or hanging around in the grass. Unfortunately since it was almost the end of the challenge, my jumpsuit needed to be washed and I was going to wear the tee the following day so I didn’t have any suitable options left from my 10 pieces and just decided on jeans and a top from my regular capsule. Sometimes unexpected things happen. 🤷♀️
I didn’t get as creative this season as I’ve tried to do before and it wasn’t the most successful challenge with the weather changes, but overall I’m really happy I did it again. It not only was it fun to put together and share the looks but I loved following the other #10x10friends on Instagram and seeing everyone’s outfits! It’s always inspiring to see how people mix-up and create looks with their pieces.
Have you tried the 10×10 challenge? Or would you ever try it?
Time for another capsule wardrobe! I’m pretty excited for spring and have brought a few lighter colours into my closet through natural dyeing (which I’ll be doing a video about later). Here are the pieces I have in my spring capsule wardrobe:
My capsule wardrobe is adapted from the Project 333 challenge. Over the course of creating many capsule wardrobes I’ve been fine-tuning them to figure out what works best for me. Last year I decided to no longer include shoes as part of my capsule wardrobe, I feel I have a good core “shoe capsule” and the one thing I occasionally seemed to miss was a certain pair of shoes. This has worked well this last year and I will continue to have a separate shoes from my wardrobe. My “shoe capsule” includes a pair of boots, heeled boots, sneakers, sandals, slip-ons, heels and athletic/running shoes.
I also no longer try to hit a specific number, just build a wardrobe I think would work well. It usually ends up being 30-35 pieces, often on the higher end in the fall/winter and lower in spring/summer.
Bras have been difficult for me – trying to find something that checks my ethical and sustainable criteria, plus looks good, and fits correctly has been a challenge, but then Lara Intimates came along.
I discovered Lara in their crowdfunding stage and loved their mesh styles and mission, but initially assumed they wouldn’t have my size. So I was thrilled when they reached out asking if I wanted to test their “Find My Bra Size” feature and found out they actually do make my size!
Here’s what I love about Lara
They use reclaimed and surplus materials
They source luxury lingerie fabrics from companies who have leftovers or maybe had an issue like the fabric was the wrong colour, these textiles are unused but would just go to the landfill if brands like Lara didn’t exist. Any fabrics they do get in weird colours they have dyed black to match. It’s not just their textiles that are eco-friendly, Lara also used reclaimed and surplus components and hardware when possible and sustainable options for things like their tags and packaging.
They cut and sew consciously
Two often overlooked sustainability issues with fashion is excess stock waste and cutting room waste. Lara makes all their garments to order so they don’t have unused stock and this also allows them to be strategic when cutting out the fabric – mixing and laying pattern pieces like a tetris puzzle to reduce fabric waste.
They have their own studio-factory
Lara’s founders Faith and Cindy wanted to manufacture locally but they they were shocked to find there was only one lingerie factory in Britain and they couldn’t afford to work with them. So what did they do? Set up their own factory in-house! Lara has an all female team and a focus on providing training and a high standard of living for their employees. They even have plans to launch an apprenticeship program to train and provide job opportunities for low-income and vulnerable women teaching them technical design and manufacturing skills.
They have great styles
The typical “eco” bras I’m used to are basically a simple bralettes with elastic and a piece of fabric, but Lara has changed the game with their unique, mesh-panel designs. Their styles not only look really good but the layered mesh also adds extra support where you need it.
They actually fit
Ordering online you never know how the garment is going to fit, so it’s extra daunting ordering something like a bra. Not only was I happy they actually carried my size, but I was also impressed how well both styles fit. I do prefer the Wren bra comfort-wise because I just don’t find a halter as comfortable across the neck, but both are snug and supportive and fit well in the cups without any issues.
Also if their size calculator didn’t work for you, you can return or exchange your bra for free! (Or if you’re in London book a fitting at their studio)
They want women to love their boobs
Lara also has a wonderful body-positive ethos. They shoot on models with different body types and also have women share their stores in The Boob Diaries. I wish I could say that I’m 100% confident in my body but the reality is I had to push myself to take photos and film in just a bra. It’s not only incredibly awkward since I’m not at all a model and don’t know what to do, but I couldn’t help but wonder what people will think and compare myself to all the gorgeous, skinny, tanned women on Instagram. Loving your body is a personal journey, but I also think brands who showcase more than one body type is an important part of helping change how we see ourselves.
Today is International Women’s Day so a perfect time to join me in practicing some self-love and acceptance. 💕
Also it’s a great day to remember that roughly 80% of garment workers are women, so an incredible way to support other women around the world is by supporting women-owned businesses and brands that pay fair wages, care about, and empower the women who work for them!
We recent went on a wonderful trip to Lisbon. This was our first time visiting Portugal and much of what we experienced was from suggestions – thanks to everyone who recommended places!
As we visited in mid-February we only saw a fraction of the visitors that likely visit in high season and were lucky enough to still get sunny weather nearly every day. We spent most of our time wandering the neighbourhoods and cobblestone streets. Although we had sore legs from the many hours of walking each day, we really enjoyed our time there. Here’s a few of our favourite places to see, shop, and eat at if you’re visiting beautiful Lisbon:
What to Do
LXFactory was recommended by many people, and with good reason! It’s a district with old brick buildings and warehouses filled with shops, cafés, restaurants, and artist’s studios. There are even a few sustainable/ethical stores (details below), and a restaurant with mostly vegan food (not our favourite, but nice for a lunch while exploring LXFactory). I recommend planning an afternoon here and meandering slowly from place to place, have some drinks and food, and check out the street art.
Alfama is full of traditional-style buildings with cobbled, narrow streets winding up, down, and through the hills. Speaking of hills, this neighbourhood has plenty of them – definitely come prepared with decent walking shoes when you visit. There was something interesting to experience at any time of day – the sleepy quiet of mornings, laundry draped outside of the windows’ clotheslines, the impressive wall art around nearly every corner, and Fado songs (typical Portuguese music from Alfama) drifting out of nearly every restaurant later in the evenings. Definitely give this neighbourhood a wander if you’re in Lisbon!
As Lisbon is a hilly city, there’s no shortage of viewpoints or Miradouros throughout the hills. Try to visit a few in different neighbourhoods if the weather is clear, as they’ll give you a picturesque view of the city and ocean. We visited any that happened to be nearby or on the way we were heading, and they were all impressive in their own way.
Where to Shop Sustainably in Lisbon
Organii is one of the eco/ethical shops we visited at LXFactory and we were really impressed! It’s full of natural, organic, sustainable, and ethical products ranging from housewares to fashion to children’s toys and clothing. I even found the coat I’ve been looking for! It’s made by a conscious Portuguese company called Näz, their materials are all production surplus and deadstock, and they only use recycled buttons on their garments made from things like paper, cotton, and even coffee grounds. The coat is exactly what I had been searching for and I’m so glad I waited for the right piece. This shop is a must when visiting LXFactory. Organii also has a cosmetics-only shop just down the road from their larger location. They carry different natural brands as well as their own line of soaps and oils, I also picked up their winter body oil which has a lovely spicy/forest-y scent.
There are a few other Organii locations in Lisbon (some cosmetics only or baby products) but if you’re already visiting LXFactory, you’ll get everything they offer in one location. We also saw SkunkFunk (sustainable fashion), and Nae (Portuguese-based vegan shoes) while wandering through LXFactory so definitely check those out while you’re there as well!
Fair Bazaar is a small shop is situated in a gorgeous old building along with other interesting stores, collectively called Embaixada. They also sell Näz (and carry more of the line than Organii), as well as other clothing brands, shoes, accessories, jewellery, and some care products. Everything here is sustainable or ethical and they also sell some cork products, which is a very common material in Portugal. Although it’s important to note that while there’s a lot of cork it seems like most of the cork companies also include leather in their products, which was pretty disappointing to see – although Nae (at LXFactory) has some cork shoes that are completely vegan!
Sapato Verde is a vegan shopper’s dream! They carry a variety of shoes as well as bags, clothing, accessories, home goods, toiletries, and even have a small vegan grocery store and café at the back. They have an interesting selection of eco-friendly products including a candle brand that uses old cooking oil for their candles and flip flops made of cork.
I was most impressed with their selection of footwear including Nae, Natural World, and Original Cork in styles from dress shoes to runners to casual shoes.
This one was an interesting surprise and classically eco-friendly. Garbags takes everyday waste such as coffee bags, tire inner tubes, shampoo containers, and other kinds of packaging waste to create unique pieces including wallets, carrier bags, pouches and notebook covers. They even have a deal where if you bring in some of your waste (something they can use) they’ll give you a discount on their products! They also offer interchangeable covers for their messenger bags, so you can change up your style without buying a totally new bag. Definitely a unique business model and it’s cool to see how they turn waste into functional products.
Where to Eat – Vegan Restaurants in Lisbon
The Food Temple
One of our favourite meals of the trip was at The Food Temple. You’ll find it down some narrow twisting sidewalks, just look for the blue light out front. We recommend making reservations here, as when we arrived (without reservations) there luckily happened to be space for 2 at a shared table, but many who came after us weren’t so fortunate. Their menu changes daily and they have shared tapas and dishes. On the day we went we had a spinach soup, veg chorizo and avocado salad, some kind of interesting potato dish, and a burger with the thinnest curly fries to share which was a pretty good amount for us. They had a variety of local craft beers and interesting desserts such as the lavender-infused raspberry cake they offered on our visit. The staff were super friendly and it was a lovely dinner, but unfortunately I don’t have photos. 🙁
Princesa do Castelo
Princesa do Castelo is a small vegan restaurant/cafe in Alfama that also has a changing daily menu (this seems to be common in Lisbon), we ate here a couple times and weren’t disappointed. They have a few long shared tables plus a couple tables for 2, but again space is limited so reserve a table or arrive before the lunch/dinner rush. The first time we went we each tried one of the 2 mains – a vegetable thupka with ginger lemon tofu, and a chickpea/pumpkin/spinach curry (pictured). We finished with Portuguese custard tarts; although these are common in Lisbon they offer a vegan version.
We were walking around on the one rainy day we had and stopped here for a quick lunch. Sama Sama is a tiny crepe and juice bar with just a bar, so don’t expect a place to sit (though there were a couple of small stools near the door). They serve vegetarian and vegan crepes both savoury and sweet, and the two we had were fantastic! Since it was lunch we had savoury crepes but I wish we had time to also go back and try the sweet ones. This place is especially great if you want to grab a crepe and walk around the neighbourhood or by the ocean.
Overall Lisbon was a lovely city and perfect for travellers like us who like to wander through the streets and neighbourhoods. While it doesn’t have a ton of sustainable shopping, the stores it does have are definitely worth checking out, as well as the delicious restaurants.
What is a sustainable diet? I’ve teamed up with other members of Ethical Writers & Creatives to share what we eat in a typical day and why.
The video above ^ shows what I ate on a day of healthy, home-cooked meals.
My day started as it always does with a cup of tea. Tea is a must-have for me and I drink at least one cup a day.
For breakfast most days I’ll have oats or muesli with fruit. I usually use oat milk but our grocery store was unfortunately out of stock, so this week we had rice milk (I always make sure the milk has added calcium though). This muesli has dried fruits but I added a banana as well.
Later in the morning I’ll have a light snack, and we had some delicious clementines which make a perfect snack.
For lunch I’ll often have leftovers from the night before – I like to cook extras so we have enough for lunch the next day. If there aren’t leftovers, this simple sweet potato and crispy kale dish is something I really enjoy in the winter – it’s warm and comforting plus includes seasonal veggies! It’s also really easy to make and just involves roasting sweet potatoes and making kale chips close to when the potatoes are done. You cut the potatoes open, add hummus and top with the baked kale. The potato and hummus are super creamy and the kale chips adds a great texture.
Later in the afternoon I’ll usually have a snack. This might be some nuts, or hummus with veggies or chips (if I didn’t already have hummus for lunch). Sometimes I want something sweet and will have chocolate or if I’m out with friends we’ll usually go for coffee and cake in the afternoon. On this day I had some homemade “peanut butter bites”. These ones are just peanut butter, puffed amaranth, and maple syrup – you can find tons of different recipes for things like this on Pinterest and they can be a great snack, but I wish I had also added chocolate. 😉
For dinner I usually make a big curry, stew, stir-fry, pasta dish, or “Buddha bowl” like this day. I’ll try to use up what veggies we have around and for this bowl I wanted to use leftover kale (and actually should have made an extra sweet potato for it too). I also added cooked mushrooms to the rice, chopped tomato and red pepper, steamed broccoli, and chickpeas. For a sauce I made a quick sesame sauce based on Minimalist Baker’s tahini dressing.
Finally I’ll often end the day with another cup of tea, I love a peppermint or a herbal blend at night. 🍵
I enjoy cooking but often don’t want to spend too much time, so I try to make more simple, healthy dishes. Usually quick and simple for me means pasta and sauce, packaged foods, or going out, but I’m finding more and more delicious healthy dishes that are also easy to make!
How is my diet sustainable?
I’ve been vegetarian for over 10 years now and follow a mainly plant-based diet which is a big part of sustainable and ethical eating for me. Food was actually where I began my journey (after learning about the cruelty behind factory farming) and made me think more about what I consumed, where it came from, and the greater impact it had.
We are very lucky to have good organic stores in my city (that aren’t crazy expensive) and I buy a lot of our groceries organic, especially produce that uses the most pesticides like the “dirty dozen”. Most people assume I buy organic for health reasons, but I’m actually more concerned about the affects of pesticides on biodiversity and especially how they harm bees, which are so important as pollinators in our food system.
When planning meals I try to incorporate seasonal produce and buy locally-grown when possible. Eating seasonally is not only more sustainable but also more affordable and I enjoy trying new recipes and ways to eat seasonal fruits and veggies.
Some things I’m currently working on are reducing plastic packaging by buying what I can in bulk and I’m also trying to buy fewer pre-made, packaged foods – this not only reduces plastic waste but they’re generally not very healthy, plus a lot of them contain palm oil which I like to avoid due to the deforestation issues caused by palm plantations.
Another important aspect of a sustainable diet to me is food waste and I try to only buy what I know will get used/eaten. Something that I’ve found incredibly helpful is having a small fridge which seems common in Europe but not what I’m used to in North America. With a small fridge you can see everything and remember to use it, plus you can’t over-buy because there isn’t space for it. We almost never have to throw any food out which I’m really happy about.
With any diet changes and shifting to more conscious eating, I think it’s really important to take it in small steps and not worry about being “perfect”. Food is such a huge part of our daily lives and I’ve found focusing on one thing at a time and slowly building on that to be really helpful.
So that’s how I eat, but there are many different approaches to a sustainable diet. See what these other eco bloggers and content creators eat:
Last week I went to Berlin Fashion Week to check out the Ethical Fashion Show and Green Showroom, as well as sustainable brands at the Premium and Seek fairs. I also went to Frankfurt for Innatex, another sustainable trade fair. These shows were for brands to sell their A/W 18/19 collections to stores and also included lectures and press/blogger events.
It was wonderful to see so many conscious brands, EFSB/Green Showroom had 170 labels, Premium and Seek both had green sections and Innatex had about 300 brands!
My goal for the week was to find some new brands and especially some that have a strong design focus. It’s no problem finding sustainable basics and I’ve shared a lot of staple brands, but it’s harder to find more fashion-forward styles. I was excited to find some brands with beautiful designs but a lot of them didn’t allow filming or photos. So here’s some of the new brands I found that I didn’t or couldn’t share in the video but will be keeping an eye on:
Reset Priority (currently swimwear/lingerie but they’re also launching a clothing line)
also I showed them a little, but I’m definitely going to be following August
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to film the fashion show, but here’s the official video from Ethical Fashion Show Berlin:
Biggest takeaways that I learned/noticed at the trade shows
Some common trends for fall/winter are:
70’s styles and prints
red is going strong, lots of bright and darker/faded shades
monochromatic looks were popular
corduroy has made a comeback
still a lot of minimalist knits
While brands might try some more creative designs, the basics and classics are what sell.
Price point is a huge struggle for brands – trying to keep prices down without compromising ethics and sustainability, and also explaining to consumers why the products cost more.
Organic cotton is by far the most used material (which isn’t the most sustainable).
Although there is material innovation happening and it’s exciting to see more recycled/upcycled materials and brands!
A truly vegan brand has to also have a sustainable focus, so many vegan products and materials are still harmful to animals and very damaging to the planet.
More conscious brands have “design first” marketing which is wonderful to see, because it doesn’t matter how eco/ethical you are if people don’t like the styles.
On the other hand though, a lot also need to step-up their branding, images, and information, they have great products and stories but aren’t showcasing and communicating it well online.
There is a lot of potential with wool, especially alpaca, which not only is an amazing fibre for clothing but can be farmed sustainably and (I believe) ethically as well.
Finally, this industry is built on passion, there are so many small labels who want to make a difference, tons of bloggers who use their moments of spare time to try and spread the message, and people who are trying to make changes for a better future. Even though there are always going to be things that can improve I came away feeling incredibly inspired, hopeful, and so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.
and speaking of bloggers…
Some of the lovely women I met creating conscious content:
One of the highlights was the Fashion Changers pre-peek event where you could try on clothes from the brands, and they had stylists, makeup artists, and photographers. I should have stayed longer to do some more photos, but here’s an outfit with a jumper from Lanius and pants by Maria Seifert.
Overall it was a great experience and I’m so glad I went. I have a pile of business cards to go through so I can keep track of the brands I liked and need to research/hopefully will share more from. I also feel so inspired and excited about this conscious fashion movement, the change is slow, but it’s happening and will keep growing!
Fashion brands in the video (in order of appearance):
(note that the pieces shown in the video are for FW 18/19 though so likely aren’t currently available)
My capsule wardrobe is adapted from the Project 333 challenge. Over the course of creating my many capsule wardrobes I’ve been fine-tuning them to figure out what works best for me. In the spring I decided to no longer include shoes as part of my capsule wardrobe, because I feel I have a good core “shoe capsule” and the one thing I often seemed to miss was some pair of shoes that I hadn’t included.
I also find that I need more pieces in the fall and winter and fewer in the spring and summer, so I don’t try to hit a specific number, I just build a wardrobe I think would work well, and it usually ends up being 30-35 pieces.
Reducing meat and animal products is a great way to be more sustainable during the holidays. These are 7 plant based food ideas which are both delicious and festive:
A steaming glass of spicy mulled wine is perfect on a cold day. I’ve tried quite a few different ways of making it and Jamie Oliver’s method is definitely the best- creating a syrup first makes it so much more flavorful. Although his recipe is quite sweet, so I’d recommend adding less sugar if you don’t like a very sweet mulled wine.
Ginger Molasses Cookies
My favourite treat for the holidays are chewy ginger cookies. I unfortunately don’t have a recipe to share since I don’t usually measure things, but if you search “ginger molasses cookies” there are lots of different recipes. An easy sub for cookies is to replace 1 egg with a flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp water).
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
This is great salad for any fall/winter dinners. The colours are lovely together and I really like the combination of flavours and textures. You can find the recipe here (although I usually like to add more seeds and cranberries, and use less oil).
Crispy Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another great holiday food. I usually just make them roasted with some lemon, but this year we tried out Minimalist Baker’s recipe. They’re delicious but VERY garlic-y so adjust if you’re not huge garlic fans. I also really enjoyed them with the Sriracha aioli dipping sauce, it would make a great appetizer.
“Cheesy” Chive Biscuits
Biscuits are also nice to have especially if you have gravy with your meal. Hot for Food has a nice savory biscuit recipe that I tried out and they turned out really good, although I’d recommend using a metal circular cutter if you have one (instead of cutting like I did) to get the nice fluffy edges.
The colour of these baked rosemary beet chips is perfect for the holidays. They’re a great snack, but making them can be a little tricky- it’s very important to cut them evenly and keep an eye on them while baking because they can burn easily.
Pastry-Wrapped Lentil Loaf
For the main dish I really recommend this lentil loaf from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. I’ve made this for a few different dinners and it not only looks really impressive but it’s hearty, nutty and a great sub for a meat main. I think it’s best served with an onion or mushroom gravy.