Style & Then Some

Start 2013 on the right foot: Sophie’s ethical fashion round up

Vanessa Paradis for H&M Conscious

It’s only one month in, but boy oh boy does 2013 look like it’s going to be a great year for sustainable fashion.

Not only has H&M been working hard on their eco credentials with a range of organic cotton (they are one of the biggest buyers of organic cottons in the industry, in fact), they are also set to launch a new range of recycled clothing with Vanessa Paradis as the muse of the collection. To mark the launch, H&M will encourage shoppers to bring in a maximum of two bags of old clothes to hand in for recycling instore, in exchange for an H&M voucher. As any of you who have read Lucy Siegle’s fantastic book, ‘To Die For’, this is a massive step in the right direction. A retail giant reusing fabric and reducing the amount of clothes that end up in landfill? Well, Tesco did it in a collaboration with Orsola de Castro a few years ago, but actively promoting recycling and engaging customers in the activity is a new and incredibly refreshing take on the issue.

I recently made a free account with the new sustainable fashion website, Modavanti, who prove that you don’t have to look (or smell) slightly quirky to belong to the world of ethical fashion anymore. This is the place to come to discover top new stylish eco-brands.

Sseko Designs ethical handbag

My favourite ethical fashion find recently has to be the lovely brand, Sseko Designs, who make beautiful sandals that you can tie any way you want – you can even buy different ribbons for the sandals, so that you have several different pairs of shoes in one. The principle behind them is something like the one behind TOM’S:

Sseko \say-ko\ Designs was created to help some of the brightest, most committed young women in Uganda continue their education. The Ugandan school system is designed with a nine month gap between secondary school and university. These nine months are intended to allow time for students to earn money for tuition before continuing on to university. However, in an impoverished and male dominated society, many of these young women struggle to find fair work during this time.

Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war.

Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country’s educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.”

Sseko Designs ethical sandals

(Except I think they’re way prettier than TOM’S. But shhh, don’t tell anyone!) I am also rather in love with their beautiful leather tote bags, and have put one on my wishlist for this year.

Oh, and according to the good people at Hidden Costs, it turns out that American Apparel are a lot more ethical than I thought they were – very good to know.

Finally, a little gem to leave you with – Measure Up have created a useful resource to compare the ethical rating of different high street companies, to help you make better consumer decisions, faster. Check it out!


About Sophie Caldecott

Writer | Founder of

One comment on “Start 2013 on the right foot: Sophie’s ethical fashion round up

  1. Pingback: Did you know H&M are giving away £5 vouchers in exchange for your old clothes? |

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