Posts Tagged ‘uk’

There are plenty of reasons to opt for natural, organic fibers. Not only are they better for human health, but they are less harmful to the environment. In addition to using less pesticides and chemical fertilizers, the material itself is able to break down safely after being washed or discarded. Synthetics, on the other hand, persist and accumulate long after they enter our landfills and ecosystems.

A report published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology traced “microplastic” marine pollution from 18 beaches across the globe, and found that every one of the samples was contaminated. When looking at the total amount of plastic pollution, nearly 80% was made up from smaller bits of plastic, much of it coming from polyester, acrylic, and nylon fibers. The data also showed that the highest concentrations of contamination was close to large urban centers. An experiment conducted by co-author of the report, Dr. Mark Browne from UCSB and colleague Prof Richard Thompson from The University of Plymouth in the UK found that washing machines extracted an average of 1,900 fibers per garment every washing cycle.

Microplastic is a major concern to the health of marine animals, who can ingest the compounds, accumulate in their cells, and make its way through the food chain. Smaller than 1mm, they move through the environment quickly and could potentially be harmful to humans. Clothing fibers are just one of many sources of these contaminants, with other major contributors including disintegrating trash, cleaning agents, cosmetics, and raw plastic pellets used to make everyday objects. While most of us are aware that it is important to recycle and ensure that our garbage does not make its way into the oceans, we must also know be conscious of what we wear and how we launder our garments. Just another good reason to go natural when purchasing apparel!



Bamboo has been used for centuries to build homes, fashion tools, and create textiles.  Now, in the modern era, bamboo is getting a high-tech makeover, protecting our smartphones and looking good in the process.

ADzero: Bamboo lovers, get ready for ADzero, the world’s first bamboo smartphone, created by UK design student Kieron-Scott Woodhouse.  The body of the device is made from four-year-old organic bamboo, and has been treated to make the exterior extra-durable.  Mores sustainable and less energy intensive to produce than steel or plastic, bamboo is an excellent choice to protect the Android phone.  Bigger than the iPhone 4S but weighing less than half as much, the ADzero recently received a very warm welcome at London Design Week where fans were happy to hear that the prototype will be available for purchase by the end of 2012.

Twig Case Co.: For iPhone users, Twig Case Co. offers some stunning laser-etched bamboo and FSC Certified paper cases.  Made in Minnesota, the cases are more durable than wood, and range in style from sleek and modern to intricately carved.  As an added bonus, each case is shipped from their home base in reusable and compostable packaging.

Grove: Handmade in Portland, Grove creates iPhone and iPad cases for Apple aficionados. Laser engraved, the cases showcase the natural beauty of bamboo.  Individual pieces of the sturdy grass are bound together with water-based resins under pressure to provide strength and support for the phone. Each order is hand oiled and sanded, lending a feel of artisan craftsmanship.  Grove also features customized engraving, and pre-orders can be made through their website.



Fashion is a strange and fickle animal.   Styles come and go, value and craftsmanship vary across brands, and artistic taste travels alongside industry and business.  Major names and style houses tend to dominate the landscape and many cases reach across global markets.  In the shoe industry, sweatshop work conditions, social and environmental exploitation, and outsourcing of labor have become the accepted practice of footwear giants such as Nike and Adidas. Thankfully, there are alternatives for those who want to stand up to the culture of rampant consumerism and still sport a quality pair of kicks.

Blackspot Shoes from Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters lets you have some pride in your stride.  Created by the popular magazine, the brand is open-source and can be used by anyone, free of charge and copyright laws.  The shoes themselves are made of hemp, vegan leather, recycled tires, and produced in fair-trade factories.  Blackspot come in either a classic sneaker or boot design, created by John Fluevog and hand-painted with a large spot.  They are compliant with vegan standards and are monitored by Robin Webb of Vegetarian Shoes in the UK. Each pair is part of limited or small runs, ensuring quality and integrity.

Currently, all Blackspot shoes are fabricated in Addah, Pakistan by Talon Sports where workers receive an eight hour day with fair pay, overtime, vacation, breaks for lunch and prayer, sick leave, and opportunities to advance within the company.  Talon is governed by an elected body that offers micro loans and medical services.  Fifteen percent of the price of Blackspot shoes go to a fund dedicated to improving the living conditions of the workers and their families.

Blackpots are available online, or at a number of independent retailers worldwide in order to bypass industry conglomerates and foster a network of grassroots businesses committed to sustainability.