People ask me on Instagram so often about Vegan and fair backpacks for the university and school! that I decided to write a blogpost entirely about the different options.
I missed the start of the school and university year, but I think it’s always worth a look for a smart and practical backpack! Today’s recommendations are, in my opinion, suitable for school, university and work! All of them are vegan and as sustainable as possible. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure about just how sustainable the bags from the brand Matt & Nat really are. But from my own experience, I know that they are very durable!
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this blog post and did not receive anything other form of compensation to write this blog post. Some links include affiliate links. YOu can read more about exactly what affiliate links are at the bottom of the post.
Let’s start with my favorite vegan and fair backpacks for university & such. You will find a variety of different designs, materials, prices and sizes. Actually, I think there is something for everyone:
Chanda backpack, Matt & Nat in the color “Fig” (Affiliate Link) – 150 Euro, Inner lining made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Upper material from PU and PVC, I couldn’t find any other info about the upper material.
Autumn fashion is the most fun for me! Especially when it is such a mild autumn like right now. In the last few weeks I have been busy photographing my favorite outfits. Almost all of them are completely ethical fashion and are paired with second-hand treasures. Maybe the looks will inspire you to create your own, new outfit creations, without buying anything new. Otherwise, of course, I also linked all the fair fashion items that I recommend below! Sustainable fashion is fun, looks good and with the motto “quality over quantity” it is often also affordable.
By the way, you don’t need a thousand new items to create many new outfit combinations. For each look, I show you a basic piece that you can mix and match creatively with other garments. In my Capsule Wardrobe series, I have already presented some more important basics for the summer. For winter I could actually write a part 2. Would you be interested?
First of all: You can find my general Ethical Fashion Guide here, my tips on Second Hand Shopping here! And here are a few more Ethical Fashion Guides you might be interested in:
But now for my fair fashion autumn outfits. Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post, I actually don’t even show any PR samples today, everything is bought or was given to me privately. The post includes affiliate links, you can read about what that means at the bottom of the post.
Look 1: Denim Skirt
I always love combining items from different seasons such as this short denim skirt with my warm cozy sweater. And this jacket was the biggest flea market bargain for $ 2.50 !!! I am also wearing my vegan boots by Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, which I have lived in for the past few winters and I highly recommend them!
In summary: Actually, you can find almost the whole look second-hand, I really like buying jackets, sweaters and skirts Second Hand. Here are a few shopping tips for this look:
Look 2: Teddy Bear Coat
Again, look for second hand treasures! Coats are just so much cheaper second-hand and if they have been worn several times and still look great then that says a lot about their quality and longevity! The Teddy bear is super versatile, but here I just pair it with an all-black look so the coat really shines! Another topic: Denim! In general, I find it really hard to shop for sustainable jeans that fit me well, but I finally found a few great pairs at Everlane! I’ve linked more cool brands below:
Shortly before my trip to the US, I was shopping in the new Loveco store in Schöneberg and just let myself be inspired by the choices there! For a long time I wanted a red / pumpkin-colored, autumnal skirt and actually I found one from Lana Organic there! Stripes are always great and since I loved the ribbed longsleeves from Armedangels last year, I also indulged in a striped version. The gray denim jacket was not a must. I actually wanted a slightly oversized denim jacket for several years, but I really only wanted a second-hand version. However, in vintage shops and at flea markets I was not able to find anything, so I bought the jacket new.
I have created different looks with these basics:
Here are the outfit details (all bought myself by the way):
Which look is your favorite? Do you want a similar blog post for Winter Styles? Anyway: Let me know which topics you would like to read soon on heylilahey!
PS: Here are a few variations of the looks shown above:
I always liked all Black Everything, but I like to make it looked more relaxed with an eyecatcher like this red second hand corduroy jacket, you can find a similar corduroy jacket here. Here is my look:
A light, chunky knit sweater goes well with almost all autumn and winter outfits, and I’ll just throw the jumper over any outfit and it’ll turn into a photogenic look!
I even dressed up one day and, once again, the color red was the star of the look. I’m wearing:
100% compostable, Cradle-to-Cradle certified, Made in Green by OekoTex from TENCEL® MICRO, ethically produced from the fiber to the final product in Europe – my head is gonna explode from how much sustainability is packed into the new “I LOVE NATURE” T -Shirt from Swiss company CALIDA.
But what does compostable mean, and is this shirt really made environmentally friendly in every way, and is such an easily compostable garment even sustainable, meaning will it last as long as conventional shirts? I want to get to the bottom of all these questions today.
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by CALIDA. Part of the collaboration is to introduce their new t-shirt. However, I am free to decide how I implement this, what questions I ask and what conclusion I personally come to. But if you read this post until the end, it supports my work and you will learn a lot!
The most sustainable material?
The I LOVE NATURE shirt is made of TENCEL® MICRO, a fiber of natural origin, produced industrially from the raw material wood. The production is very sustainable due to the nearly 100 percent closed loop system. The wood comes from sustainable forestry or plantations and in total 20 times less water is needed than, for example, for cotton production.
The fabric is also super soft and flowy and it has functional properties such as temperature and moisture balancing. It also feels relatively thin for me, but still very high quality. My recommendation: wear a Nude-colored bra underneath.
Where is the shirt made exactly? What do the transport routes look like?
Another advantage of the shirt: the short transport routes within Europe. The fibers come from the Austrian manufacturer Lenzing, the yarn is spun in Bosnia and the yarn is knitted into a fabric in Austria. The T-shirts are then sewn in a factory owned by CALIDA in Hungary and then sent to the CALIDA warehouse in Switzerland. A real Made in Europe T-shirt! And if you want to know more about the production chain, you can scan the QR code provided with the product and transparently trace back to which manufacturing companies were involved in producing the shirt, at which production levels the factories were involved, and in which countries the manufacturing took place.
What does this 100% compostability exactly mean?
CALIDA also states that their new T-shirt is 100 percent compostable. But what does that mean exactly? How long does it take? Is is a very expensive process? Do you need specific machines for this? Does that mean you can easily dispose of the shirt on your own compost in the garden when it is no longer wearable? These were all my first, critical questions. Because if I hear the buzzword “compostable”, I am always a bit sceptical. The word “compostable” does not always mean that it is sustainable. If a lot of energy must be used to dispose of the product then it’s not really the best solution for me.
But CALIDA has done a great job here and does not just use buzzwords: The I LOVE NATURE Shirt is Cradle to Cradle Certified™, a sustainability label from the non-profit organization Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. This institute certifies products that are 100 percent recyclable. So anyone who can no longer wear the shirt can do the following:
Repair: for little problems you can of course quickly fix it yourself. Donate: If the shirt is still intact, but you don’t wear it anymore, you can of course donate it. Composting: If it’s not wearable any more, you can really just put the shirt on the compost pile. After 6-12 months, depending on the weather or season, the shirt, including the thread and labels, will have completely decomposed. Also, you will find all the details about the labels and compostability here!
Photo Credit: CALIDA
Another option if you do not have compost (like me): Bring the shirt to the nearest CALIDA store. Or contact the support and send the T-shirt back for free. The company then ensures that the product is properly recycled. But since it can be composted that easily, that brings us straight to another critical question from me: If it’s so easily compostable, will it last? More in the next part:
Is the shirt durable?
Sustainability has different aspects for me. Where does the fiber come from? How is the yarn produced? Which chemicals are used? What about water consumption? Does the label (if it’s a big company) have any certificates? Where is the shirt sewn together and under what conditions? What happens if the garment is no longer worn? Does it last for a long time? Is the design created to be relatively timeless?
In particular, the last two points came to mind immediately when I read about the 100 percent compostable T-shirt. If it’s so easily compostable, will it last? Fully compostable can sometimes sound like it is a “disposable product”. You know that longevity and good quality are important to me and I always advocate buying less, choosing well and then having something that lasts for a long time. But CALIDA promises that the shirt will last as long as cotton. The company relies on longevity for all CALIDA products. Because, according to CALIDA, “the most sustainable products are the most durable”.
I’ve already washed and worn the shirt several times and can confirm that it is of very good quality, but I can not give a long-term rating yet.
Sustainability throughout the company?
Many big companies come to my door and introduce their sustainable flagship product. I always approach this very carefully. Just because one pair of jeans or a shirt out of thousands of products is sustainable does not mean that the whole company is working in an ecologically friendly way. But with CALIDA it is quite different: CALIDA already makes a lot of things in the right way. Not only is Tencel Micro used in many different products, but also e.g. Tencel bamboo and organic cotton. The Swiss company has long been committed to quality, sustainability and transparency, which I find very important. For example, many of the products have the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® certificate, which allows you to track exactly where and how the piece was produced. The complete children’s collection already has this label. Gradually, more and more products are always added. All materials are at least OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified. Outside its own product lines, CALIDA also provides information on sustainability and tips on its stories page. A company that I love supporting!
Last but not the least: the price
Ok, I think so far, we all agree that CALIDA has really put a lot of emphasis on details and is already doing a lot of good things with this T-shirt. But no matter what information I present to you today, in the end, the price for the purchase plays a big role in deciding whether you will buy it. The shirt costs 44.95, – Euro – Not a price that you may be used to for T-shirts, and definitely not from fast fashion shirts. CALIDA deliberately distances itself from shirts that cost only a few euros. In addition, Tencel is simply more expensive to produce than, for example, organic cotton. However, I understand that this shirt is an investment for most of you.
As always, I do not want to constantly encourage you to buy new Fair Fashion stuff, even if it’s a paid blog post. But if you need new clothes, for example, just a new T-shirt, then I would like to introduce you to, through blog posts like this one, the best alternatives to fast fashion items. And this shirt really convinced me personally!
My conclusion: What is the most sustainable shirt?
Is it a shirt that I buy second hand, but can not really be recycled or composted? Or is it a new shirt, sustainably made, that can be easily recycled?
Overall, in my opinion a mix regarding my own consumption is important. Personally, I try to purchase basics that last a long time and are timeless, and as sustainable as possible: for example T-shirts, jeans, underwear, business fashion and longsleeves. On the one hand, I want to support labels with my money directly when they make such an effort to move in the right direction. On the other hand, I’m not very successful when it comes to second hand basics. But when it comes to special pieces, e.g. lately a velvet kimono, then I prefer to buy second-hand clothes.
What do you think? And what do you say about to the T-shirt and the concept of CALIDA? I am looking forward to your feedback!
Slow Fashion, Eco Fashion, Fair Fashion – all of them are important but in my mind different things. Thanks to my cooperation partner CALIDA, however, today I can combine all three topics in one article:
Slow Fashion: the idea to consume less and more consciously
Eco Fashion: Here the focus is on sustainability and sustainable materials
Fair Fashion: The focus here is on ethically correct, fair and well-paid working conditions
Using the CALIDA I LOVE NATURE t-shirt made of TENCEL® MICRO I want to show you that you can style a garment, here a white shirt, in so many different ways that having a thousand tops in your wardrobe is simply not necessary. The CALIDA shirt is super sustainable and made in Europe. It is made out of TENCEL® MICRO which consumes 20 times less water than cotton, is produced in a closed cycle, and the entire top is 100 percent compostable, including the thread and label.
Today I would like to show you 5 looks with the T-shirt. I personally find such styling articles inspiring, but I also want to prove that a “simple” white T-shirt can be very versatile. I’ve created the looks in a way and also described below, so that you can style them similarly, even without having exactly the same pieces in the closet. Actually, I just combined clothes that I’ve owned for a long time with the shirt. I did not want to create any crazy high fashion outfits that are out of reach but show fashionable street styles.
Look 1: culotte and vest
The culotte trend has even caught on with me! I bought these pants in Vienna and have been living in them ever since! This is the only new thing that I show in this series. They can be super casual, but also really chic style. The easiest way to create a chic look, of course, is with high heels. But I rarely wear them anymore and therefore I prefer simple black sandals. To make the t-shirt look a bit more elegant, I combine it with a long vest (which is actually a sleeveless dress, a sleeveless trench coat would fit even better), dark lips and a chic business bag.
Look 2 blazers and skinny jeans
One of my standard looks: black skinny jeans, a bright top and then, depending on the weather, a jacket. Even better is a gray over-sized checkered blazer, but I wanted to work with only the things that have been hanging in my wardrobe for a long time. Just be creative and adjust the looks depending on what you find in your wardrobe! By the way: I really liked to wear these boots some time ago. Now, after two years in which I did a lot of backpacking and was on the road in the summer where I seldom wore tight shoes, I can barely walk in them, haha. Backpacker problems!
Look 3 Mini Skirt & Red Lips
Another standard look of mine! I have already shown this look several times on the blog and / or on Instagram. I just like the combo of a loose shirt and a tight, black skirt. A patent leather look skirt would be even better in this outfit, but again I wanted to use only “older” clothes from my closet. If you are not into short skirts, I recommend Pencil skirts or a long, black maxi skirt. To upgrade the monochrome look, I recommend bright red lips!!
Look 4 Layering with a summer dress
The summer is coming to an end … unfortunately! I am a real summer child and love summer, sun, sunshine. This is also reflected in my wardrobe, because I have a disproportionate amount of dresses hanging in my closet at home. But I wear these almost all year round, thanks to the layer look! The CALIDA shirt can be worn very well under other things because it is so soft and supple. I recommend a dress with a lower neckline. Here I just made the straps of my black dress a bit longer. The layered look simply looks a bit better this way.
Look 5: Relaxed with a Cropped Hoodie
I have some shorter sweaters. You may wonder how they are supposed to be worn…but I really like cropped hoodies because I can play a lot with layered looks! Here I once again wore the CALIDA shirt underneath, but of course you can also combine any other tops and dresses that you like!
I hope, together with my cooperation partner CALIDA, I was able to present five looks that inspired you a little bit more for slow fashion. If you want to know more about the 100 percent compostable I LOVE NATURE Shirt, then click here.
Which look do you like best? I am looking forward to your feedback!!!
All that glitters is not gold, or better said: diamonds can be deceptive. Behind many precious stones and metals are exploitative and environmentally harmful conditions. In particular for gold mining environmentally harmful substances that pollute the water and the environment are used. Mining the gold for a single gold ring causes nearly 20 tonnes of residue, including toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cyanide. But it’s not only the environment that suffers, but also people: The mining of precious metals and stones is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. In addition to the immediate risks of injury, many workers also struggle with long-term consequences such as lung cancer, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. Small prospectors risk their lives to procure the precious metals, whole indigenous tribes lose their land, which is culturally and spiritually important for them, and are brutally repressed, all violent conflicts are financed with this industry (keyword blood diamonds) and the human rights violations are hard to put into words … (Source: Earth Works – No Dirty Gold ).
What can you do?
I am glad that my engagement ring was not a new diamond but an heirloom. I would prefer to not buy any new jewelry, but only vintage pieces, fair trade jewelry or jewelry made from recycled materials. For many, this is not an option, in this case I think one should pay attention that the materials are at least certified, as well as try to support smaller companies. This is not always easy, but there are now a few certifications that place emphasis on better working conditions and environmental standards. Here are a few tips:
Ask the jeweler where the gold comes from and whether they sell fair trade and conflict-free jewelry. At least that also makes the jewelry retailers more aware, the more such inquiries come, the better!
Fair Trade Germany, for example, lists all jewelers in Germany who sell Fair Trade Certified Gold, here ! And Fair Trade Germany also has a list of goldsmiths using fair trade materials. here !
There are other certifications, such as the non-profit Responsible Jewelery Council ( link ), but according to Humans Right Watch, too few companies adhere to fair trade standards and are able to really trace back the production chain (source and detailed report here ) – so always be critical!
But note: ecologically mined gold is simply more expensive to get and therefore much more expensive to buy, even smaller companies that produce jewelry by hand from recycled materials, of course, can not offer low prices! AND: Smaller companies in particular can not afford the expensive fair trade silver, however if they grow, maybe they will be able to in the future. That’s why I think it’s important to support smaller, fair-fashion companies!
Every little step counts – even if you do not buy anything!
As you can see, the whole topic is highly complex and not easy to solve! It is most important to be aware of the topic and to do some research. Secondly, as with the Who Made My Clothes campaign, it is important to always ask, “Where does my jewelry come from, where do the materials come from,” especially from your favorite brands, even if you do not want to buy a new piece of jewelry right now. Awareness is the most important and the more demand there is, the faster brands will address the issue. But I have noticed that some companies in the jewelry industry, in contrast to the fashion, react a little more irritated to inquiries than when I ask fashion companies about cotton and organic cotton, but this is just my experience! I think it takes a lot of time to find the right materials and the market is highly competitive – just my assessment!
Fair Shopping Tips
As I’ve been researching sustainable jewelry and labels lately, I’ve also put together a list of 30 brands that offer sustainable and fair jewelery. It was important for me to introduce you to companies that are a bit smaller, that have started cool initiatives and / or care about recycled and fair materials. Not all companies are 100% sustainable or fair, but they all take steps in the right direction and already do a lot! It is especially difficult for small companies to always use ethically perfect materials, especially since the fair trade mines are very expensive and require high minimum purchase quantities. I think this is certainly interesting for you as background knowledge! For this reason, recycled materials are important for many smaller companies, as well as a first focus on fair jewelery production and fair working conditions. Let me know which pieces you like the most! A few links are affiliate links (noted next to the link), you can find out more about what that means at the bottom of the post.
1. People Tree: the jewelry by Fair Fashion Label People Tree (Affiliate Link ) is produced Fair Trade through Social Initiatives and under each article you will also find detailed information on production. There is a separate page with information and stories about each initiative! People Tree works with, among others, the Bombolulu Initiative in Kenya, which uses a lot of recycled brass. Here are a few products listed as affiliate links:
2. Sacet – The company currently uses 100% recycled silver. In the future, as the company continues to increase sales, Sacet wants to support smaller silver mines that operate under fair trade principles. Sacet is also honest and admits that they can not implement everything right away, which is why for gemstones they focus on fair working conditions for the refinement of the gemstones (which often happens under bad working conditions as well). The gems are sourced from factories that guarantee fair working conditions, with Sacet planning to make the sourcing process even more transparent in the future. I find such honesty super important! My favorites from Sacet are the wave collection by blogger Sarah Mikaela , I find it so beautiful:
3. Fremdformat: The German company is exemplary when it comes to the supply chain! Fremdformat mainly uses industrial materials, which come from leftover scrap from the metalworking industry. For gold-plated pieces in the collection, recycled gold or silver is used. Precious metals and stones, which are sourced under questionable conditions in the jewelry industry, are completely omitted. AND the designs are just beautiful !!! But check it our for yourself in the webshop ! You can also find Fremdformat jewelry on Loveco (Affiliate Link) and on Glore (Affiliate Link).
4. Taj Amsterdam: I only discovered this label at Fashion Week this year in January and fell in love with it immediately !! The designs are beautiful, have a bit of a boho style and super versatile! And best of all, the company makes fair trade and only uses recycled silver and gold from old jewelery, old silverware (such as forks, knives, spoons, bowls, plates) and chandeliers, as well as artificial gems, so as to not promote blood diamonds. You can find out exactly what artificial gems are on the Taj Amsterdam website! Go to the shop here !
5. Wild Fawn Jewelery – minimalist designs with a little twist is how I would describe the jewelery from Wild Fawn ! All materials are either recycled silver or fair trade gold. All pieces are produced in London. You can find the designs on loveco (affiliate link).
6. Ombre Claire – I discovered this label this year at the Fashion Week in Berlin in the Green Showroom and immediately fell in love! As far as I understand, it’s mostly made from recycled silver and other sustainable materials! The details are so beautiful and the prices really fair for the elaborate production. So check out go to the webshop !
7. Jyoti Fairworks: I have already worked a lot with Jyoti Fairworks in the fashion niche! The company also sells brass fair trade jewelry , which is really beautiful! The materials are 100% recycled brass, and they value sustainability and fair working conditions.
8. SOKO uses mainly recycled brass, super sustainable and fair! It is also produced under fair working conditions in smaller craft shops. Here, SOKO ensures that the majority of the profits really stay on site and that the small businesses can operate sustainably. SOKO helps to counteract the topic of micro-economies and how smaller companies can not sustainably finance themselves. You can find out more about how they do this here on the SOKO website . But because the producers also use horn and bone remains for sustainability reasons, not all products are vegan! Just so you are aware.
9. Studio Jux uses mainly recycled brass and produces fair trade in Nepal. The designs are timeless, beautiful and, in my opinion, affordable! Again, you can find most pieces just at loveco (affiliate link).
10. Edge of Ember: The super chic and fashionable London company Edge of Ember guarantees that the products are produced without child labor, exploitation, in a safe working environment, with fair pay and wherever possible also with sustainable materials. Here is a small but fine selection of really beautiful pieces (affiliate links):
Incidentally, I also wear the Choker from Edge of Ember in a video:
FAIR FASHION SCHMUCK / ETHICAL JEWELRY - Favoriten, New In & Vintage - YouTube
11. A Beautiful Story: There really is a “Beautiful Story” behind the label and I love that the jewelry is made in Nepal! When I visited Nepal, I learned about the craftsmanship in the country, but unfortunately it is increasingly being lost due to low price jewelry. That is why it is important to have fair trade initiatives that support the local population, but also preserve traditional craftsmanship! Here again an affiliate link selection to my favorite pieces:
12. See Me: This label supports women who have been victims of violence and gives them a safe and fair job. Again, affiliate links:
13. Kaligarh: The Fair Trade Label from Nepal is also a very personal favorite of mine, as I have already visited the production sites in Nepal! For the full story about the company and my visit, check it out here! Yes, the products are all a bit more expensive, but they are all super elaborate, which I was able to see first hand. You will find all the info in my linked blog post and in the video. By the way, you can find jewelry from Kaligarh on Etsy (affiliate links):
14. Folkdays brings together various fair trade manufacturers from around the world, including producers of beautiful jewelry. Folkdays strives..