Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Clothing

Kind Clothing

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Clothing, Kind Companies | 7 comments

Do your little bit of good where you are, it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

I am a bit of a bandit for wearing the same clothes year in and year out. I faithfully don the same dresses, cossies etc year after year, some of which I bought over a decade ago (kind of mortifying when I think about it !) only to discard them when they become threadbare. I am not overly confident with my fashion choices and can get paralysed by indecision in clothes shops so I kind of stick with what I like for a long, long time.

The time has come to take the plunge and buy a few new clothes. I am keen to buy from a company who is going to do something good and kind with my patronage. Here they are, my chosen few garments for 2014 – here’s hoping they are long lasting !

1. This top from Ecolosophy : Made by disadvantaged women in India and Nepal.

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This gorgeous on line Australian shop is chock a block full of desirable things – all of which give back in some capacity (environmentally, by employing under privileged workers etc). Now is a good time to snap something up too as you have the chance to win a eco friendly product packed hamper when you checkout.

2. These pyjama pants (or should I say my “lurking around the house” attire) from Punjammies. This lovely company assists women in India to escape from sex slavery by teaching them new skills and a way to make a living. Each pair of punjammies is named after one of the women who work in the sewing centres. There are many, beautifully coloured ones to pick from but I like “Kalyani”.

Kalyani Full with border

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 3. This limited addition Hello Kitty t-shirt from the wonderful, amazing Animals Asia. A christmas pressie for my 9 year old niece with proceeds going to help the bears.

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4. These ballet flats from Toms. Thanks to  Toms “one for one” policy, my purchase will mean that a pair of shoes is donated to a child in need (they do other lovely things too such as providing clean water for a person in need for a week when you buy a bag of their coffee).

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As for who I WON’T be buying from…….the Just Group in Australia (which includes Dotti, Portmans, Jay Jays, Just Jeans and Jacqui-E) are off my list. Despite a swag of big names (including Myer, David Jones, Collette Dinnigan, Big W) advising that they will no longer be selling garments containing angora wool, the Just Group is continuing to do so despite being faced with the evidence of the horrendously cruel way which is it produced.

It takes a tiny bit more work fishing out these “giving back” companies than just wandering into the likes of Myer but it feels good to know that your purchase is helping another person or animal in need. If you know of any other similar companies, please let me know so that I can add them to the list when my next shopping “spree” comes calling !

 

 

 

 

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Say NO to duck/goose down products

Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Clothing | 7 comments

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

 


Now that winter is just around the corner and our thoughts turn to warming jackets, doonas, puffy vests, sleeping bags, pillows and the like, please avoid buying products containing duck/goose Down. Until recent years, I didn’t give down products much thought and equated them with luxury and warmth. No longer !

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I have discovered that down feathers are collected from birds by one of two means – most commonly as a by product of intensively farmed meat and fois gras birds or, horrifyingly, from live birds where they can be “live plucked” up to 6 times per year before being slaughtered at a young age. It goes without saying that this obviously involves an enormous amount of pain and terror for the birds. They are forcibly held down as their feathers are ripped from their bodies which often tears their flesh, only to be crudely stitched up again without anesthetic. Both methods are derived from cruel practices with the former, by product option being yet another way of supporting the vile intensive farming industry or, worse still, the fois gras producers.

China, Poland and Hungary are the biggest producers of duck and goose down. People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) estimates that 50% of down comes from live plucked birds, yet the Feather and Down industries in China and Europe provide figures of approximately 3 %. I would imagine that the figure lies somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, there is little transparency in tracing where the feathers have come from. (In 2009, a Swedish Doco estimated that in Hungary 50-80% of down products came from live plucked birds. IKEA independently reviewed this figure and found it to be accurate and, impressively, cancelled their order of products.)

Avoiding down products does not mean going chilly, quite the contrary as there are so many alternative warm insulation fillings such as PrimaLoft available.

 

 For Doonas

Doonas and pillows containing synthetic fillings are widely available but, next time I am in the market for a new doona, I will be going to :

Bamboo Village. Bamboo is sustainable and, surprisingly, warm (I invested in some bamboo thermals last year for winter in New Zealand and stayed cosy).

For Puffy Jackets

All the big, outdoorsy companies (Katmandu, Patagonia, North Face etc) have a plethora of down free options.

This one, from Patagonia may be a bit dramatic for our mild Sydney winter (and perhaps a tad shiny for my taste).  However, not only is it down free BUT it is filled with recycled soda bottles and second hand fabrics so is very environmentally kind. I am also impressed by the transparency and honesty shown by Patagonia towards their down products which they talk about in a refreshingly unbiased manner here.

If you don’t wish to go down free, at the very least, purchase your garment from one of the suppliers who claim to avoid feathers from live plucked birds. These companies include IKEA, Katmandu, Patagonia and Marks and Spencer.

Whilst researching this topic, I got a tad side tracked and ended up stalking overseas companies who make gorgeous, warm coats free from any animal products and, maybe I am stating the bleeding obvious BUT the overseas winter stuff is all on sale for us Australians at this time of year. I prefer to buy Australian when possible but our Northern Hemisphere friends really do know how to do the cold weather thing better. Take a look !

* Voutecouture Vaute3_large: A US Company. Their coats (see pink one to the left) and clothes in general are beautiful and cruelty free.

* Irie Organics : A UK Company who specialise in Hemp based coats and clothes which has a dowdy ring to it (“Hemp”) but some of the jackets are lovely so don’t let the Hemp word put you off ! They donate to Sea Shephard too from the sale of some of their products.

As an interesting aside, the only real cruelty free feather product which exists is EiderDown. If your pockets are lined with gold, it is something you could consider (US$1975 (!!) for an EiderDown pillow is the going rate). The feathers are left behind in the nests of the Eider Ducks in Iceland each Spring and pain stakingly gathered to make some outrageously comfortable doona or pillow for some lucky, rich person.

 

 

 Further Interesting articles / videos

Cruelty Beneath the Covers : Go Down-Free with Alicia Silverstone

Can Down be Ethical or Green

Down and Feathers

A Vegan Friendly Winter Parker

A Guide to Insulated Winter Jackets that are not made with Duck Down

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