The past year has been tough, and I would say, particularly tough on mums who have been combining the pressure of homeschooling, holding down jobs while working from home – and keeping a fairly ‘normal’ family life going in these strange times. No wonder so many mothers around the globe feel exhausted and pretty much worn out. Mother’s Day is happening soon (Sunday the 14th of March in the UK, in many other European countries and the US it falls on Sunday the 9th of May), so let’s make all mothers feel a little extra appreciated. It’s not all about gift-buying, and I will most likely be treated to some wonderful home-made crafts and wet kisses by my own children which I adore all the same. But if you have outgrown making clay necklaces, or you feel mum just deserves it, then here’s my ‘feel-gorgeous’ suggestion, which I am sure any mother would love to receive.
A Silk Kimono for Mother’s Day
Whether you’re buying a gift for a young new mum, who is so tired that she has forgotten how beautiful she really is, or for an older mum, who still wants to feel glam, gorgeous and sexy, you can’t go wrong with a silk kimono. It is such a luxurious feeling to slip on a silk kimono in the morning (or, hey, why not wear it on a night out, with a belt and some high heels!), it makes you instantly feel good. A mood buster for sure and a perfect gift for mother’s day. Check out the ones from KimonoDragonLimited or Weartheworldlabel.
If you prefer wearing cotton over silk, then have a look at the cotton kimonos on Etsy. Like silk, cotton feels cool and breathes, but it has a very different feel to it of course.
Cosy kimonos for cooler climates
Silk and cotton kimonos are fine for warmer countries or in summer, but if you or your mum prefers a bathrobe or kimono to be cosy and comforting, then perhaps have a look at those that will keep you warm in the morning. This one, for example, a vintage kimono from the 1950s, in the most gorgeous colours. I know I would love wearing this one for the rest of my life.
You can’t go wrong with an indigo blue kimono. This reversible one is hand-quilted Gaudri patchwork cotton. Check them out on AkkaCreation.
The clothes shops were shut the past few months while were all in the pandemic lockdown, and it was nearly impossible to buy even a pair of socks. Although my growing children ran out of clothes to wear after week 8, I myself enjoyed rediscovering old items I still had hidden in my wardrobe. I even upcycled and ‘reconstructed’ some old pieces. Now the shops are slowly opening up again, have you changed your shopping habits? Are you more conscious now in how you consume? Are you choosing sustainable fashion over fast fashion?
Retail therapy and the fast fashion trap
I am no saint. I will start by admitting that I bought a cheap summer top in a local boutique in my neighbourhood last week. Made in China. Nothing eco-friendly about that. Yep, guilty. But I supported a little local shop during the lockdown… At least I didn’t queue outside Primark before throwing twenty items in my basket without even trying them on, just because they were cheap. I know very well how tempting this is when you need a bit of retail-therapy. And when you are on a small budget and you need to dress your kids, you simply have no choice – I do not judge anyone for that. But a lot of people just buy for the sake of buying, because they are bored and they want something new every month. Fast fashion items often don’t hold their shape after washing them even once. Or you may regret buying something when you’re back home. But who is taking back a 3€ t-shirt? You’d pay more on the parking fee.
Let’s make sustainable fashion mainstream
A top costs little more than a take-way coffee these days. A pair of jeans less than a tenner in some stores. No surprise that fast fashion is so popular. Did you know that even in 2014, six years ago, because of this, people bought 60% more garments than they did in 2000? That Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. Worse even, 85% of all textiles or £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year. Even charity shops are becoming overwhelmed by the amount of cheap clothing and have to refuse a lot of donations. This cannot continue. We have to stop and change our behaviour.
For more reasons than one I am leaning towards buying quality over quantity and supporting sustainable and ethical fashion brands. Clothes that still look good after wearing them dozens of times and are made of natural materials that are nice for skin and planet. But are they not super expensive? Well, some are, but luckily, as it is becoming more mainstream, there are more and more options out there that don’t cost the earth – excuse the pun. Here are some sustainable brands and stores to check out when you next need something.
Eco-friendly Stores to check out:
El Naturalista, vegan shoes that are biodegradable
You know what I dislike about cheap shoes these days? That many contain plastic, or are even made from plastic instead of leather, and you just know they will end up in landfill forever eventually. I was very pleased to recently discover the sandals by El Naturalista, which are not only amazingly comfortable to wear but are also completely biodegradable! How is that for a feel-good factor. I ordered them online, which is always a bit tricky with shoes, but they fitted perfectly. If you are vegan, this brand is especially interesting as the ‘leather’ is fake, but looks and feels natural. They are a bit pricey when you buy them from the site itself, but google them and you may find the brand in other stores for a lot less.
Many of the fashion pieces by cool online concept store Wearth London are made ethically in the UK, a number of which are handmade to order. The company helps to reduce waste, whilst also bringing British makers back into the fashion industry. They stock some very beautiful designer pieces, from bags to clothing to accessories, toiletries and even furniture.
Earth Wardrobe: sustainable fashion without the hefty price tag
Earth Wardrobe specialises in nice, every day basics such as tees, sweat shirts, men’s hoodies and kids wear, made from fabrics that are organic and sustainable, often made from recycled materials. When you first arrive on the homepage of Earth Wardrobe however, you notice the low prices. This immediately made me wonder how they can produce their clothes at such low cost. Well, they are quite open about it on their ‘Where is it from‘ page and the short answer is: Bangladesh. A country whose economy depends heavily on the textile industry. Their mission is to provide high quality organic clothing essentials at a price everyone can afford and explain that “In order to fulfill our mission (…), we must continue to use traditional supply chains.”. They claim they only use companies who have had their facilities certified by an appropriate authority such as WRAP or SEDEX and have a Modern Slavery Disclosure to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015.
The ‘Greenable‘ collection of the family concept store Smallable includes some highly covetable pieces for both women and children / babies. I have to admit, not the cheapest in the range, but the pieces just ooze quality and beautiful design, both the clothes, accessories and home decor products. And when something lasts, it is worth it.
Planet Warrior use plastic waste, eco-rubber and more to produce gorgeous looking active wear such as yoga leggings, bras and even yoga mats. It’s a small UK based company run by two sisters who love the beach, oceans and yoga and decided to combine this passion to combat the plastic problem. One outfit apparently uses 50 recycled plastic bottles collected from the ocean. Not only do they recycle bottles, their packaging is alse eco-friendly using tissue paper and biodegradable stickers and packing tape.
Ethical Superstore: fairtrade and sustainable fashion
Ethical superstore is an online shop that not only sells groceries, cleaning products, homeware and gift items, but it also has a great clothing department, including shoes and accessories. Worth a look. They stock fair-trade fashion, organic cotton and eco-friendly hemp from brands like People Tree, Komodo, Marzipants & Thought Clothing. A great one-stop shop for all your eco products.
H & M Conscious: sustainable fashion in the high street
Eco-friendly clothing doesn’t have to mean spending a huge amount, nor does it mean wearing purple and looking like a hippy. High-street store H&M recently was in the news for raking highest in the 2020 fashion transparency index. Transparency is key to developing a cleaner, greener fashion industry, so consumers can make better choices. The annual report, now in its fifth year, ranks the amount of information companies disclose about social and environmental policies, processes and effects within their operations and supply chains.
Disclaimer: some of these links are affiliate links, which means you would support this blog as well as the sustainable brands, if you choose to buy from them, at no extra cost. They usually pay people like me a small percentage of the final price, as a thank you for helping them spread the word. So it would be awesome if you did, as I write my blog posts for free. As always, I only promote brands I like and (would) use myself.Nina x