ethical

Good Stuff 04. / Best

When I stumbled upon Best on Instagram, I was instantly captivated by the beautiful imagery and graphics. But what drew me in even more was the brand’s focus on emphasising the fact that a woman doesn’t need jewellery to be more beautiful – she already has everything she needs.  This stuck with me – so many brands nowadays profit off our insecurities and to see a brand go against that notion is so refreshing. Founded by Rebecca Scher, Best has a range of understated, elegant earrings and rings that are simple enough for everyday wear, yet still feel luxurious. The range consists of pieces of varying shape and size, so everyone’s preferences are catered for. Here’s what Rebecca had to say about the brand.

What inspired you to start the brand?

There are two main reasons why I started Best. The first reason stems from a more personal story of growing up and trying to “fit in”. The person I wanted to be was different from the person I thought the world needed me to be – a phenomenon not unfamiliar to many of us! I ended up judging myself, what I was doing, where I was going, what I was wearing – all together exacerbating the self-conscious woman inside of me. Upon leaving high school, I then went on a mission to practice more self-love and felt immense power in being able to take my mask off, be vulnerable and say “this is me”.

The second reason stems from trying to understand why we put up these “masks” in the first place. There is an interesting social reality that we face in the world today. It has never been easier to show ourselves to the world. Yet at the same time, because we have so many platforms and opportunities to show ourselves, we choose to “curate” ourselves into these unrealistic images of what it means to be human. And for far too long, brands have told us stories about how we’re not good enough. This leads to a lack of self-love and unnecessary comparisons with the world around us.

I created Best with the vision to change the role of brands in our society and to step up socially and change the narrative of what it means to truly “show” yourself. I want to see a world where women can feel comfortable sharing an image of their face post an acne breakout or sharing the moment where they felt unhappy or perhaps in their assessment, not beautiful. By sharing, we can work toward influencing the way women feel about themselves, for the better.

What three words would you use to describe Best?

Authentic, inclusive and encouraging 

What are your hopes for the future of your brand and business?

I want to be able to create a global community of women who come together, support each other and celebrate all that makes us feel our Best.

Find Best online here, here and here. Here’s to another female-owned business doing pretty amazing things.

Nabeela x

A Fashion Revolution

This week marks 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. Over 1000 people were killed, making it one of the biggest garment factory disasters in history. Most of the victims were young girls – a fact that breaks my heart, still. Truth is, no one should die for fashion.

Much has been done since the accident. But if we want brands to become more transparent, we need to press for progress and keep actively asking brands the difficult questions. As consumers, we deserve to know where our clothes come from and who makes them.

This week, I’ll be posting on Instagram to do my part, and ask brands I frequent #whomademyclothes?

Join me?

Nabeela x

Well Woven / CarryAnn

Anyone who’s done research into the fashion industry will know that it’s pretty easy to uncover the atrocities of fast fashion if only one looks in the right places. Exploitation, unethical labour and wastage are major issues that are associated with the fashion industry, to name a few.

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I was simply delighted to discover CarryAnn recently, a local brand that aims to empower communities, follow sustainable business practice and provide a quality product.

The bags are woven from indigenous grasses using traditional techniques, and are then supplied to CarryAnn. They are then embellished to make them more current, whilst still maintaining their authenticity and quality.

“One of the business goals of the CarryAnn is to help keep this traditional skill alive and valued.” 

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“For us, in our business, meeting the weavers who make our bags, knowing who they are, and knowing a little bit about their lives as well as what a difference this work makes to their lives, makes it all worth while. This is not just manufacturing, it’s community support.” – Inge and Jenny, from CarryAnn

So next time you think that you can’t contribute to a more sustainable, ethical fashion industry, think again. You don’t have to spend thousands. Remember, your money is your vote, and businesses like CarryAnn remind us of that.

Nabeela x

Photography: Imán Cassiem | Aesthete’s Perception

Art Direction: Nabeela Parkar | Miss Artsy-Crafty

GIVEAWAY

We’re giving someone an opportunity to own a CarryAnn bag too…

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment below with your favourite thing about supporting local business
  2. Follow CarryAnn and Miss Artsy-Crafty on Instagram
  3. Like the giveaway post
  4. Tag 2 friends in the comments on Instagram (you all need to be following both accounts for your entry to be valid)

Open to South African residents only | Closes on Friday, 30th March 2018

On Building A Kinder Closet

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Over the past year or two, as I’ve continued to do reading and learning about living more mindfully, simply and sustainably, one of the topics I came across was the important and ongoing conversation around fast fashion and the out-of-control mass consumerism that is closely associated with the fashion industry. It left me feeling helpless, confused, and guilty amongst other things. With a bout of extreme guilt about what I was wearing and buying,  it felt like a problem that was too big and out of my hands.

However, after doing more research, I slowly developed small actions I can take to eventually achieve my goal of only buying clothes from ethical sources (and preferably, local ones too). I’ve been slowly implementing them as I add new things to my wardrobe. Its a slow journey, and you need to practice a little patience. Do the research, save some money, purge your closet and you’ll be on the right track.

Some things to think about…

  • Your money is your vote. By choosing to buy ethical, sustainable clothing (or anything) you are supporting the ethical product scene.
  • Knowledge is power. The more research you do, the more strongly you will feel about the cause, and the more informed your decisions will be.

Here are the small steps I’ve been taking…

Be aware. Knowing that there’s an issue is a good place to start. It’ll make the process worthwhile and important to you.

Start small. Its unrealistic for many of us to switch to an all-ethical, all-local wardrobe in the space of a season. In reality, many top fast fashion brands don’t have  ethical business practices. However, there are some that just top it all when it comes to unethical business practice. After doing some reading and watching the news, I made a list of repeat-offenders that I no longer shop at. Baby steps.

Buy less. Choose well. These words by Vivienne Westwood are my motto when it comes to curating a wardrobe. The best thing you can do is choose quality over quantity. Choose the pieces that have been made to last.

I’ve started seeing that fast fashion chains and ethical brands’ pricing can be pretty on par nowadays. If you can get it locally and ethically for roughly the same price, then do it.

Have a list. Going into a sale where everything is 70% off, it can be pretty easy to walk out with bags full of clothing that’ll ultimately end up shoved in the back of your closet. I do an audit of my wardrobe every season and make a concise list of what I need. I have also started using Pinterest and making reference boards of items I need in styles I love. That way, when you go into the sale, you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t just toss it. Getting into a mindset of valuing our clothes and looking after them so that they last is key. Just because you wore it in all your Instagrams last season doesn’t mean it needs to get the boot.

Another tip I’d give is to stick to natural fibres as much as possible. They’re better for the environment, they wash well and your skin will thank you. I generally find that my clothing pieces made from natural fibres last longer too.

Here are some of my favourite South African clothing and accessory labels that produce quality, locally made pieces.

Selfi

Jane Sews

Famke

Bamboo Revolution

Like I said before, knowledge is power. Some of my favourite places to learn more about ethical fashion:

Fashion Revolution

Tolly Dolly Posh

Nabeela x

 

What’s The Origin? / Ethical Fashion

I walk into a mall. I spot a sale on at one of my favourite stores. I rush in, my heart racing at the thought of a new shiny garment in my hands. My hands frantically rush through the sale racks. Is there nothing in my size? Its only R100! I have to take something home! Ah, finally! I spot a grey tee-shirt in a size XS. That’s something I’ll wear, right? I have another three or so at home, so I know I wear things like this. I rush to the checkout point. Stick my debit card in the machine and pay for my purchase. I get a shiny new carrier to add to my collection at home. Brrt. Brrt. The verification of purchase has come through from my bank. I get home and fling the fourth grey tee-shirt in a size XS into my wardrobe that is so full that I can’t even get to the stuff at the bottom. But, it’s okay, right? I feel good. Well, I felt good. The euphoria lasted all of ten seconds. Instant gratification. It’s worth it right? 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It certainly sounds familiar to me. However, that’s not me anymore.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing more and more research into fast fashion and the implications thereof. A disclaimer before I start: I certainly don’t sport a wardrobe comprised only of ethical brands. There’s more to an ethical closet than just that.

The fashion industry has grown exponentially in my lifetime alone. There are constantly new retail stores popping up with brightly-coloured signage, luring you in, trying to get you to spend your money and in return, you’ll get another piece of low-quality clothing that you don’t need or want.

But there’s more to the clothes you wear than just the shiny, polished rack they hang on in the store before you buy it. There’s a lot more. Have you ever thought about where they come from? The hands that touched the cloth you wear on your skin? The hands that slaved away to sew up the garments that hang on the rails of high-end stores? Are those hands happy? Do those people earn enough to live? Workers in sweatshops of some of the most highly coveted brands in the world are slaving away daily, with minimal breaks, if any, to produce the clothing we purchase, without giving it second thought. To give an example, since 2010, 8000 workers in an H&M sweatshop have collapsed from malnutrition, and the heat inside the factories, to name a few.* Most of these workers were earning less than minimum wage.

Due to the meteoric growth of the fashion industry, major brands can’t keep up with demand, without compromising on quality and ethics. Now, if you’re anything like me, the whole situation makes me feel terribly guilty, very helpless, and a bit stuck. What do I wear? Ethical brands can cost a small fortune (understandably so; they pay their workers decently), and being a teenager, with an unstable body shape, I’m constantly outgrowing clothes, and can’t be spending too much.

We end up having to buy fast fashion for lack of anything else. Understanding that there is a backstory to the clothes you wear is a good place to start. Educate yourself. Do research to see which brands have the most healthy factories and pay their employees above minimum wage and shop there instead. First prize would be to shop ethical brands, but that can be costly, and is unattainable for many. Be practical, and be educated.

One way I try to be more conscious is by doing a price comparison before I buy an item of clothing. I check how much it costs at a fast fashion retail store, and how much it costs at a local, ethical brand. If the latter is the same, or less (sometimes it is!), I choose to buy the ethical brand.

By educating yourself about fast fashion and the industry, you can make smarter choices, and end up with a little more peace of mind. There are some great resources that have amazing articles and resources. One of them is Fashion Revolution, an incredible organization that is changing the way we see fashion.

Its a process and a journey. It takes time, and it takes reading and learning. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re curious about the working conditions of the employees of a factory making the clothes you wear, ask! I tweet brands all the time!

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere, is paying.” – Lucy Siegle 

Nabeela x

{*Source: The Sun } 

Wear Local / Amanda Laird Cherry

Hello

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading and following my blog for a little while, I love well-made, local products that are of high quality. The abundance of these products in the last little while makes me even prouder to be a South African. Luckily for me, and every other local lover, there are multiple brands and businesses making beautiful, clever and inspiring creations all around  in South Africa.

One of my favourite local clothing brands is Durban-based Amanda Laird Cherry.

I first discovered the brand when my mom and aunts all bought the classic long maxi dresses for a family wedding. It was when I was a bit younger and before I was so conscious of local design , but the brand caught my eye nonetheless. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to fit into a dress like that! (So you can imagine my excitement when I finally got my own dress in a beautiful plum colour for a family wedding this summer!)

Amanda is the designer behind the brand. She has received numerous awards in the South African fashion industry and holds a high name. This year, the brand turns 20!

Amanda Laird Cherry produces apparel that echo a perfect balance between elegance, simplicity and comfort. There are a variety of clothing, leather shoes and accessories under the brand.

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These leather mary-janes have become my go-to shoes. They are comfortable and elegant, yet simple and well-made. 

She also co-founded The Space, one of my favourite places to shop local clothing and design!

You can find the SS16 range at The Space.

Support local and shop small, especially this festive season!

Nabeela x

 

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