The Edit – Jennifer Stevens, Editor of Irish Country Magazine

Being a sustainable consumer is no easy task. So we’ve enlisted the help of some of the Fashion Industry’s most respected Editors and stylists to tell us about their most coveted items and why they’re standing the test of time in their wardrobes.
We’re thrilled to have the Editor of Irish Country Magazine Jen Stevens join us to tell us what one of Ireland’s most well regarded editor’s has in her coveted wardrobe. Jen tells us about her Texas love affair and why kids should be taught how to sew a button.

1)A Louis Vuitton Neverfull

“I got a Louis Vuitton Neverfull for a Christmas/Anniversary/Birthday present in December 2015. I had been thinking about buying one for ages and had been into the boutique in Brown Thomas to visit them way too many times. I was very close to making the purchase but decided to wait for my usual Christmas Brown Thomas voucher from my parents to put towards it. My husband knows how long it takes me to make the decision to buy myself something expensive (funny I would by a new fridge/freezer in a heartbeat but would him and haw over a bag for a year) so he was safe in the knowledge that he’d be able to get it for me before I bought one. It was €975 which is a lot for a bag but I have it 21 months now and have used it almost every day. It’s my go to work bag and even if I only used it two thirds of the time that still brings it down to a cost per wear of €2 which is really good.
I have a couple of more expensive handbag which go on rotation. I love them all, they all have a story and it means that I am never tempted to buy cheaper more throwaway ones.”

2) A Joanne Hynes sweatshirt

Immediately after Joanne Hynes show in the foodhall of Dunnes Stores St Stephen’s Green last year I ran up the escalator to buy everything! I loved it all but I settled on a black sweatshirt with perspex embellishment and a blue trumpet sleeved dress. I wore the sweatshirt all winter and it got complimented almost every time. I love Irish design and I think it’s really important to support the industry here. I really appreciate everything Dunnes is doing by supporting indigenous talent and I make it a first port of call when I’m buying gifts. As well as Joanne there’s LennonCourtney, Carolyn Donnelly, Paul Costelloe, Helen James, Francis Brennan and Paul Galvin which is an amazing spread of Irish talent. I’ll be wearing my Joanne Hynes sweatshirt this winter along with whatever other purchase I buy from her next collection!

3) Allen’s Boots

“I have a love affair with Texas, it’s an amazing state. I’ve been there twice now and each time I’ve gone to Allen’s Boots in Austin and bought myself a pair of ankle high cowboy boots. They’re about $300 a pair but I had my first ones for three years and only replaced them on my second visit this year. They are amazing leather, handcrafted, absolutely beautiful and a real cowboy helps you pick them out – what more could you want!”

4) Sonia Rykiel sunglasses

“I like to buy a really good pair of shades and stick to them. I got this year’s beautiful Sonia Rykiel pair in TK Maxx back in March and was delighted with myself for my forward planning. They’re a classic pair and I’ll wear them for the next few summers. I don’t believe in getting new ones each and every year and the thoughts of multiple pairs just seems like a waste of time – once a pair is in my bag, I’d never remember to swap them each day! I’m more of a buy one really good thing and hang on to it til you break it person!”

5) Theory jumpsuit

“I got a beautiful black Theory jumpsuit in an outlet mall in Washington DC in 2011. I’ve worn it to weddings, to work events, on nights out – anywhere that I’ve wanted to look put together and sort of classy. It’s beautifully made, usually always fits and is very classic. I’ve hemmed it and restitched belt loops – it’s six years old and while the quality is great, things are going to come undone from time to time. My mum was a seamstress and while I’m not talented enough to make my own clothes, I happily mend things, darn things and sew buttons onto things I love. It’s so important to be able to do that, it really upsets me when people through things out because of a missing button. Every boy and girl should be taught how to replace a button in primary school!”
Design by Katie Gilligan

Spotlight on organic cotton

Organic cotton and regular cotton, what’s the difference? Well, it’s pretty big it turns out. At Stiall we’re dedicated to providing you with all the essential information – so here’s what you need to know 

 

Organic cotton uses less water than regular cotton

This means that by buying organic you’re helping the environment. Growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility are a big part of the organic movement, ensuring soil fertility.

 

Organic cotton doesn’t use pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or Genetically Modified Organisms. 

Unlike regular cotton, organic cotton is free of harmful toxins. It has been estimated that 25% of the worlds insecticides are used for conventionally grown cotton – more than any other crop in the world. 

 

Conventionally grown cotton is damaging to to farmers and garment factory workers

Pesticides used for non organic cotton have poisoned farmers and meant factory workers breath in harmful fumes during manufacturing. Recent studies by the World Health Organisation show that “up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries”. In the Untied States, a huge cotton producer more than  “10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals.”

 

Non organic cottons can have harmful affects in our day to day lives too

Chemical residues can be trapped in non-organic cottons. These can cause irritated skins, rashes, headaches and dizziness.

 

Organic cotton production is safer and less harmful

The organic cotton crop is protected with natural materials to ward off insects, a much better method than pesticides considering 1/3 of a pound of chemical insecticides are used to grow enough cotton for just one t-shirt.

 

Organic cotton is better for comfort 

The threads of organic cotton have not been broke down or damaged the way conventional cotton is. It therefore generally lasts longer and is praised for being softer and more comfortable. 

 

So, there you have it. Organic cotton has a pretty impressive list of benefits. Will go go organic in the future?

12 Sustainable Fashion Instagram Accounts To Follow

Think sustainability focused Instagram accounts can’t be as slick your regular ones? Think again. Check out Our 12 favourite.

 

Fashion Hound, @fayedelanty

Faye De Lanty is best known for her video blogging and positive approach to all things ethical fashion. Her approach is that second hand never means second best. Follow this Instagram account  as Faye proves sustainable style is far from frumpy.

Rêve En Vert, @revenvert

This online boutique focuses on luxury sustainable fashion and respecting people and the planet. Not only do they host a huge range of designers on their site, but their insta game is strong. Follow this account for lust worthy pieces in your feed on the daily.

Grown, @grown_clothing

Created by an Irish trio of Firemen, Grown is a perfect example of how you can support the planet and wear some slick t-shirts while you’re at it. Follow this account for the most curated feed you’ll find, honest, it’s divine.

The Helm Society, @thehelm_society

The Helm Society works to build awareness and promote choice in the fashion industry. They’re working to being back the beauty in fashion, based on the quote “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness”– Mahatma Gandhi. Follow for some feel good factors about fashion and some shocking facts too. 

 

Eco Warrior Princess, @ecowarriorprincess

One of the earliest adopters of an ethical fashion approach, Eco Warrior Princess is on a mission to redefine what it means to live a sustainable yet stylish lifestyle. Follow this account to discover some brands off the radar and some beautiful imagery too.

Sustainability in Style, @sustainabilityinstyle

If you’re looking for a more scientific approach to being sustainable, this is for you. Follow the account for some gorgeous imagery, facts and figures and some inspirational quotes for good measure.

Fashion Revolution, @fash_rev

The official account for the global movement calling for a fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry. It’s growing in popularity across nations so follow this account to be on the pulse of sustainable fashion.

Eco-Age, @ecoage

With Livia Firth as it’s CEO you’re in for a treat from this account. The agency helps businesses grow with sustainable solutions. Follow this account if you’re interested in the business side of being more sustainable.

Water Thru Skin, @waterthruskin

Travel, fashion and lifestyle, this account covers a whole bunch of areas where we can be more sustainable. Follow for some serious holiday envy and of course, great content.

Style Me Sustainable, @stylemesustainable

If you’re after an ethical and sustainable focused fashion and beauty blog, Style Me Sustainable is for you. Follow for an to to date account of the brands that are making a difference.

Aideen Wicker, @ecocult

This account is from the co-founder of Ethical Writers, and it’s filled with tonnes of information. Follow for an up to date account of things ethical and stylish from NY and beyond.

Greta Eagan, @gretaeagan

she;s the author of Wear No Evil a regular contributor to Fashion Me Green. Follow this account to see how a sustainability enthusiast based in London keeps stylish and sustainable.

 

The Edit – Vicki Notaro, Editor of STELLAR

Being a sustainable consumer is no easy task. So we’ve enlisted the help of some of the Fashion Industry’s most respected Editors and stylists to tell us about their most coveted items and why they’re standing the test of time in their wardrobes. 

First up, Vicki Notaro, Editor of STELLAR magazine. Before joining STELLAR in 2017 you’ll have seenVicki’s name across a huge range of titles including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Sunday Business Post, Glamour and Buzzfeed. From photoshoots to client meetings no two days are the same – Today, she tells Stiall what cuts the mustard through the eyes of in the demanding wardrobe of an editor. 

 

1) A staple bag

“I bought my Tom Ford Alix Hobo bag to celebrate becoming the editor of STELLAR back in January, and it is one of my most prized possessions. I’m much more of a bag than a shoe gal as I have awkward feet, and I wanted a bag that would do me every day rather than one I only took out for special occasions. It needed to be big, and I love the simplicity of black leather with gold accents, so this was the bag for me. I mind it a lot, keep it moisturised, and I hope that I’ll have it for a very long time.”
 
Tom Ford, see here
 

2) A leather jacket

“Another black and gold leather gem is my calf’s leather jacket from ZARA. I’ve had it for five years, it gets better with age and I adore the studded lapels. I wear it everywhere. The only pain in the bum with it is that it’s difficult to get leather dry cleaned in Dublin – if anyone has any tips, I’d be delighted to hear them!”
 
 

3) The perfect jeans

“I got a pair of POCO By Pippa All Stars in Black a few months back and I love them. They’re good quality denim meaning they fit well, and they don’t shrink when you wash them (is there anything worse than trying to put on a clean pair of jeans only to find they’re two sizes smaller?!). I think with jeans, it’s worth spending a little more to get that better fit and quality.”
 
POCO, see here
 

4) A statement mini bag

“I’m sensing a black theme here, but let’s go with it, My husband bought me a Gucci Marmont Matelasse mini bag in – you guessed it! – black and gold for a wedding present, and I nearly died when he gave it to me. So now I have my fab day bag and my perfect evening/city break bag, and it means I’m just not bothered buying trendy cheap ones. It goes across my body so it’s safe as houses, and it goes with absolutely everything. Obsessed.”
 
 
Gucci, see here

 

5) A cashmere jumper

“I bought a hot pink cashmere jumper on ASOS last year, and I know I’ll keep it for many winters to come. It’s so soft, so warm and so pretty (oh, and it looks great with black and gold, haha!). I’d be far more likely now to spring for a birra luxury cashmere when buying nice jumpers, but let’s keep it real, there’ll be many far cheaper and more disposable ones in my wardrobe as well. It’s a learning curve for me and my wallet.”
Stiall loves this cashmere style from Lucy Nagle
Holding design, Katie Gilligan

Does 88% of our clothing come from Haiti?

The speed at which fashion is produced sped up significantly in the industrial revolution, seeing a fall in the price of clothing and a rise in the rate of manufacturing. The 1900’s to the 1950’s led to a great increase in the number of the garment factories which itself came with it’s own challenges and tragedies. In 1911 the infamous Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of New York occurred, killing 146 workers many of whom were immigrants.

 

Following the boom of the fashion industry in the 1960’s, textile mills began opening across the developing world to accommodate the demands of fast fashion chains and keep their costs low with outsourced cheaper labor Nowadays, more than 60% of the world’s clothing is made in developing countries.

“Asia is the major clothing exporter today, producing more than 32 percent of the world’s supply. China is the leading world producer and supplier of clothing, providing nearly 13 percent of the world’s exports.” (EcoWatch, 2016).

However, as labor costs increase in China and workers persist for higher wages, companies look to other areas for production.

“Companies have responded by moving production into places where wages are even lower, like Bangladesh” (Zarroli, 2013). Other countries including India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Turkey are now amongst the most popular locations for fast fashion clothing and accessories brands.

A study carried out by the International Labor Organization uncovered that the majority of the exports detailed below were directly for or linked to the garment industry:

Country %
Haiti 88
Bangladesh 79
Lesotho 58
Cambodia 52
Sri Lanka 43
Honduras 38
El Salvador 36
Maurirtius 31
Madagascar 20
Tunisia 18
Pakistan 17
Morocco 15
Jordan 13
Vietnam 12
Turkey 10

In 2015, the International Labor Office published research in regard to the working conditions of garment workers across India. The document highlighted the working conditions, employment status and perceptions. Areas they honed in on identify some of the challenges these workers face 

– One in 5 work 7 days a week

– Over a quarter work more than 8 hours on a regular basis

– Overtime is regular and often involuntary

– Two-thirds of the workers said they cannot afford to refuse the extra work, yet sometimes it was unpaid.

Penalties for not doing overtime or meeting production targets were a regular occurrence.

Verbal abuse and threats were more prevalent than physical beatings and abuse, but also present.

– Most say they were not entitled to annual leave, and fear if they did take it that they would lose their jobs.

Sexual violence and harassment is reported by one in 10, in which one in 5 are women.

It was also founded that India accounts for 3.7% of the global market share for apparels. Holding the 6th position worldwide in 2013 and generating $40 Billion (2013/2014) in their value of garment and textile exports. In 2014, Asia accounted for 59.5% ($601.1 Billion) of the global markets exports of garments, textiles and footwear . The textile and clothing industries account for portions of the countries exports were:

Bangladesh, 85.9%

India, 11%

Pakistan, 9%

Vietnam, 15%

Cambodia, 80%

War on Want (an organization working in partnership with progressive movements and organizations for global justice) found that from 1990 to present, thousands of workers have been injured and wounded in 50 major factory fires across Bangladesh, with 400 workers having lost their lives. The collapse of the Rana Plaza made international news and so, consumers became more aware of where they fast fashion was originating from. 

So, what can we do?

It’s time to ask our favourite brands some questions. There’s a person behind each and every item we buy and they have Human Rights – Rights that according to these reports are often not met.

Join the movement of Who Made My Clothes. This movement encourages consumers to ask brands who made their clothing. The campaign encourages transparency and insists fashion shouldn’t come at the cost of people or the planet. Check out Fashion Revolution to see how you can get involved. 

5 Eco-Friendly fabrics you need to know about

 

It takes 2700 litres of water to produce the cotton needed to make just ONE cotton t-shirt.

 

If you’re on the hunt for a new item and want to make a better fabric choice, we’ve got 5 for you to choose from.

 

TencelBecoming more common due to it’s likeness with cotton, Tencel uses less water and land than cotton production (5 times less land), It also focuses on minimum waste and low emissions in production. The fabric is made from eucalyptus tress and doesn’t require pesticides or irrigation. It’s celebrated for being breathable and less prone to wrinkling, compared to cotton.


Organic cotton: Is proven to conserve biodiversity improving the quality of land while preventing water contamination. Organic cotton doesn’t use chemical fertilisers, pesticides or insecticides. Unfortunately, Only 1% of the world’s cotton is organic.

 

Eco-fi: Produced in the Untied States, Eco-Fi is made form 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles. It has an ability to blend with other fabrics, and is versatile enough to be used in any textile production. Eco-fi is praised for it’s capability of keeping 3 billion plastic PET bottles out of landfill every year. 12 bottles equates to one pound of fibre. Although it comes with it’s own set of problems, Eco-fi ensures a certain amount of plastic is responsibly reused after it’s original purpose.

 

IngeoA fabric discovered by Cargill DowIngeo, made by extracting the starch sugars from corn. Once processed it makes it possible to be spun into a yarn and then woven into fabric. This synthetic is made from renewable raw materials in it’s entirety, and does not require the usage of oil. The fibre is praised for being low maintenance and moisture wicking.

 

S.Café: In Taiwan, a company named Singtex have developed a patented process where they recycle coffee grounds into yarn. The fabrics made are praised for being sustainable, durable and even resistant to odours and UV rays. The process removes the phenols, esters and oils and leaves the fabric having no odour. It’s been particularly successful in sportswear as it has deodorising properties.

 

What are your favourite fabrics that are more environmentally conscious?