Green Fashion

    Green H&M

    H&M’s long awaited Conscious Collection arrives in its stores today. It is a step in the right direction, and we thought we would select some of our favourite pieces from the collection.

    Before we do, we should pause for thought. H&M might be accused of tokenism, but at least they are acknowledging a serious issue with a solution. Consider the possibility that one day all their clothing might be ‘sustainable’ . They have already demonstrated it is a realistic option. The collection contains pieces made from organic cotton and recycled polyester.

    H&M are a ubiquitous on our high streets and seem to have weathered the economic storm. Instead of fighting a powerful corporation, perhaps we should try to encourage them to make all their clothing sustainable. They can be considered exemplary as they are setting the bar for other high street fashion houses with loose morals to follow their lead. 

    Part of their investment in sustainability is the addition of clothes recycle bins inside their shops, where customers can take their unwanted clothes. According to H&M, up to 95% of the clothes that are thrown away could be recycled, which is why they have made it easy for their customers to recycle clothes.

    What will happen to the clothes?

    1. They might be re-worn as second hand goods

    2. Turned into refuse such as cleaning cloths

    3. Turned into energy when the above options are not available

    4. Turned into textile fibres or insulation for the auto industry

    It seems a long time coming, as these practices have been alive and well-utilised in countries less wasteful that ours, for centuries. The finite resources of our planet have become so vulnerable we are forced to reassess every aspect of our lives that have been normalised, particularly since the 1960’s.

    In time, we will hopefully become a society, where recycled materials are the norm and bins for recycled clothing can have a place in all clothing shops.

    h&MThe root of the problem  however, lies in the fact that our clothes are shoddily made and cheap in he firs place. Because our economy relies on a culture of concurrently buying and disposing, we are constantly seeking out the latest trends, made affordable by exploitative working practises overseas. This is a long-term problem hat H&M have confronted. The economic formula of the global North will need to be completely overhauled to accommodate a sustainable and fair world.

    In the meantime, here are our top picks:


    We love these little shorts. They are made from 98% organic cotton and cost just £12.99!

    Lining is made from 100% polyester £19.99

    These wicked trousers are also made from 100% recycled polyester, very summery, very lovely, £24.99.

    Green Homes and Interiors

    Green Living -Homes

    I decided I was on this crazy recycled searching mission and kept googling recycled interiors , recycled gardens (such is the world we live in, nearly everything is a few clicks and then a scroll away). And so when I arbitrarily typed ‘recycled housing’ I was amazed at what Google returned and at what my eyes beheld.  I instantly decided: ‘this has to become a post’ for the sheer brilliance, imagination and scope. It certainly is something that those of us who are inclined towards creating,  can ponder, mull and visualise our own recycled home-  it’s all possible-we just need to muster enough determination and vigour; put our aspirations to paper and source the right materials to fashion a wonderful recycled home of our own.

    First, before the pictorial begins, I will refer you to this web-site, it is completely brilliant and Dan Philips proves that eco-living can be a viable, economical and a community centered venture even in capitalist driven USA.

    Above, Dan Philips, founder of Phoenix Commotion.

    Source: NY Times online


    Storybook house…and you can see why. It is straight out of a fairytale. This is a Dan Philips creation, as mentioned above.

    Mr. Phillips said: 80 percent of the materials are salvaged from other construction projects, hauled out of trash heaps or just picked up from the side of the road.

    Source:  Phoenix Commotion

    I am not quite sure how economical this would be, however, it is still making use of something that could essentially be strewn to the side of an old airport or taken to the scrap heap-instead it has become a firmly grounded home. The web-site, noted below, has 15 recycled and bizarre examples of homes- please have a look.


    Image of the Nautilus Earthship.

    Earthship: I wish we had a better picture- one day I shall visit Taos in New Mexico and see all the Earthship houses. These are made from recycled building materials and are part of a large community. This house is powered by solar energy. The picture was taken in 1996.


    I managed to source another picture of the Earthship community, here it is- and might I just add, it is simply perfect and complements its surroundings unlike most homes:

    What’s an Earthship? It’s an ultra-sustainable home built from recycled tires, aluminum cans and bottles packed with dirt, then plastered over with natural mud. 



    Earthships are living green buildings, constructed using earth, waste car tyres and other recycled materials. They use the planets natural systems to provide utilities – using the sun’s energy, wind and rain to provide heat, power and water.

    Fife Visitors Centre


    Earthship Brighton


    And yet more…the Earth ship community in New Mexico- I love this one also as it looks so cosy. (Click here)

    I have since stumbled upon this web-site, it is a campaign to build the first Earthship in London. The picture below goes someway to explain the science behind the Earthships formula.

    Cross-section of an Earthship

    You can see from the diagram the various purposes of the Earthship. Rain-harvesting might be common, but indoor vegetables and fruit, like a green house effect, is excellent. The tires are used for thermal mass, and the house is submerged into mud to conserve energy.

    Temperature regulation using thermal mass and passive solar design


    Hobbit Hole/middle Earth Earthship!

    A Hobbits house- In new Zealand, you can live like a little Hobbit, in their grand hole for a night or two in the Woodlyn National Park. The experience could inspire you to create your own Hobbitses hole-  I know if I found the perfect spot I would definitely create a semi submerged home with a round door. The heat that would normally escape a conventional house would be retained. Your Hobbit house could have a grass roof and solar panels too.


    lattenstrasse undergound house 1

    lattenstrasse undergound house 3


    Made from concrete and earth, these houses are naturally insulated from rain, low temperatures, wind and natural abrasion, which saves a lot of resources. The dwellings have been designed in a manner that all vital areas get adequate daylight despite the houses having a green roof. To ensure just that the areas which need most sunlight have been situated toward the south whereas the nighttime areas have been placed toward the north.

    This Swiss estate is sincerely beautiful and it is a twist on the old Hobbit hole house. This was designed by Vetsch Arkitectur. The houses are covered in grass and located in the Swiss highlands therefore excellent for heat storage in the cold winters as well as cold in the summer.  The houses follow a typical earth house construction, ie, made from all recycled materials and the little community encircle a small lake. I am intrigiued to find out how long this little cluster of houses took to build and how much the project cost. I would like to create my own similar project here in London! Please click the link below for more information on their construction and the benefits of creating such a house.


    We really have only just begun. The human imagination knows no bounds and this is clear in peoples passion and resolution to employ as much as 80% recycled materials in the houses they build.

    Infiniski, is a Spanish company offer a modern and minimalist take for recycled housing. They look like this:

    Source: (image taken from)

    The examples, they will grow, however in the mean time, I have to go!

    Recycled houses that function as eco-houses are brilliant. Most of the time, if you find a house that has been built from recycled materials then it is likely that it will have an ecological energy system. We have found more examples of recycled, upcycled and eco homes, here they are.

    I guess this is upcycled: containers for cargo becoming homes/office space or artists studios are now somewhat familiar in urban centers. London is home to ‘Container City‘ a

    The eponymous Container City is actually just one of their projects, which the web-site claim is the most famous of their creations. 80% of the building is made from recycled materials and the first phases of the ‘City’ took just 3 months.

    Container living might appear more complementary to the geometry of the city but container spaces  have expanded their portfolio to the rural areas where they look surprisingly at home (see below).

    Containers have been converted in to artists studios, living space, offices, cafes, community centers  hotels as well as extensions on existing buildings, such as Faraday School (see below).







    Green Homes and Interiors

    Recycled garden


    I like the idea of reusing tins you can get special paint for metal from eco-paint stores and it can be weather proof too.


    Wellies as colorful plant pots


    Recycled plastic bottle green house/shed- wawzers- we love, and it is such as good use of plastic bottles.


    Tyred of conventional pots…try this as an alternative to a rockery!


    An inspiring garden scene-Neals Yard Covent Gardens in London



    This can utilised indoor and outdoor and will look amazing!




    Before you throw away your old door, why not consider this in your garden- it will act like trellis and you can put some lovely pots of flowers there?




    Clarence House Garden Party


    These are available to buy from etsy



    Source: all 7 from,






    Green Homes and Interiors

    Eco house inspiration

    roof turbine

    Source: Green Factory

    Dreaming of an eco-home, here are some links to inspire you.

    Green Factory

    World Business Saving the Earth

    Superhomes (Awesome)

    Eco Hab

    Take heed because above are accounts of real people who have created sustainable houses joining the Superhouses groups of low-carbon houses. Your eco-housing dreams can be realised by those who own the skills, the knowledge and the enthusiasm to work with you to make all our eco-dreams come true. Here is to a low-carbon future.

    What do the environment agency say?

    Flood alleviation: Green roofs

    Climate change will lead to an increase in rainfall and more intense rain storms, leading to more frequent flooding, including from surface water. Green roofs are one way that we can help stem this problem.

    Green roofs are an important example of the kind of technology that can help us adapt to climate change.
    These roofs are partly or completely covered in plants, grown in a mixture of soil and recycled construction waste such as crushed bricks. This is laid on top of high-tech waterproof membranes. In addition to cooling and insulating buildings, depending on the outside temperature, green roofs also provide important habitats for biodiversity and cut the speed at which rain water runs off buildings. Green roofs are being used in several high-profile development sites including Greenwich Peninsula and Barking Riverside.
    Green roofs are not a modern innovation but with advances in waterproofing technologies they have become an important element of sustainable construction in the last decade.
    What we are doing and why

    Because the Environment Agency has to be regularly consulted on planning decisions, we can play a big part in promoting green roofs. We have produced information for developers and local authorities about their benefits, installation and upkeep and we can also offer advice and guidance on the technology involved.

    In the Thames region, around 14 hectares of green roof space has already been installed and much more is planned, with our staff influencing developers on proposals to include green roofs at several high profile sites.

    Planning for the regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula, which will provide homes for 25,000 people as well as offices and leisure facilities, aspires to 100 per cent green roof coverage, with a minimum of 40 per cent coverage for all individual sites.

    With around 2,500 hectares of existing flat roof space in London there is considerable opportunity to adapt our urban environment to a wetter and warmer climate by replacing these hard surfaces with living roof spaces.
    We are pursuing this long term objective by working with a wide range of partners in both the public and private sectors – from universities to planning authorities and businesses.

    ‘Installing living roofs in our existing urban environment will not only help us adapt to a changing climate,’ says Marc Deeley, from the Thames Gateway Sustainable Development Team. ‘It will also create a new urban landscape that can be enjoyed by people through direct access or as an alternative view from the office window. Some living roofs can even be designed to provide us with food, so the potential for city regions to develop and implement these technologies could create thousands of sustainable jobs at the same time.’


    The green roofs of the City of London, London

    Source: (Getty Images/Arup/GLA via LIVING ROOFS)

    What do livingroofs say:

    The Future
    The development of a unique London green roof policy has been driven by a number of specific factors. Urban ecologists and their issues certainly provided the initial impetus for policy activities and innovations. The climate change agenda and how a large city like adapts has certainly galvanized the need for a policy. What is needed in the future is a greater understanding and improved planning tools to ensure that good green roofs are installed to meet the cross cutting benefits that a city like London requires. It would be hoped that the Environment Agency Toolkit sets a precedent that at regional level [GLA] and a local [LBs] green roof policies and conditions can be refined to ensure the quality of green roof implementation. There is still unfortunately a tendency on designers, whether they be architects or landscape designers, to seek out mechanistic product based solutions.

    The increased uptake in London is having an effect beyond the capital, in particular in the Greater London Watershed – in particularly the area known as the Thames Gateway. This area includes much of East London and stretches along the Thames estuary into Kent and Essex. Already there are a number of huge developments, which are under pressure to include green roofs as mitigation and compensation for ecological reasons.

    However there will be a need to constantly refine policy to meet the changing climate and needs of London. Green roofs are certainly no longer a fad but are an ever-growing market and an integral response to impending climate challenges. The hope is that policy makers and regulators ensure that the roofs that are installed are of the quality needed to meet the capitals diverse and evolving agendas.

    Green Earth

    Lesson’s from the Lorax

    Today we went to see the The Lorax, a film based on the book of the same name, by Dr Seuss. It is a charming allegorical tale set in an artificial world where the absence of trees has made air is a commodity.

    The catalyst of events is triggered by twelve-year-old Ted, who tries to win the affections of Audrey. Ted pays an impromptu visit to Audrey’s house; while there Audrey shows him her painting of ‘real’ trees, trees that Ted’s eyes have not beheld. The discovery leads Ted on a journey to meet the Once-Ler who is responsible for the death of the Truffula tree forest. The Once-Ler represents the corporate world and its disregard for the environment.

    Ted visits the Once-Ler with a snail, a nail and 15 cents. The Once-Ler tells Ted about the Truffula-trees and the forests contented residents. The Once-Ler explains how he had discovered the species of tree and began making Thneeds (versatile wool)  on a mass-scale. He quickly found wealth, but the impact of his wealth was the demise of the forest.  The forest transformed from a colourful paradise to an inhospitable barren land, with the water becoming black and the residents forced to leave.

    truffula tree

    The parallels are clear between the Once-Ler who capitalised on his ‘Thneed’s’ he claimed “everybody needs.”  This acts as an expose of the modern consumerist age that revels in material desires, at the cost of the environment. Familiar marketing jargon is echoed in the Once-Ler’s punchy pitch.

    Overall, it is a cautionary tale that relates the evils of our contemporary business exploits. An American  citizen, Dr.Seuss was saddened by the damage caused to the environment by the corporate world, and felt that these organisations did not do enough to protect or repair the habitat they damage on their path to the free-market.

    Everyone should watch this film. It is clever and perhaps even more appropriate today than when it was first published in 1972.

    Green Fashion

    Oxfam back in fashion with Vintage collection

    Oxfam have launched an online vintage collection to their clothing section. The collection , which includes pieces from four decades of fashion -the 1950’s to the 1980’s- contains a wide selection of pieces from scarves, to day wear, to going-out clothes.

    Oxfam already offers a fantastic choice for online shoppers and is a  strong contender for consumers seeking an ethical shopping option. This newest addition is a welcome change and will surely increase their clientèle to include those who love vintage attire.

    Fact file: 

    • Oxfam was founded in 1942
    • The organisation recognised the need to protect civilians during WW2
    • Raised money for victims of famine during and after WW2
    • 1948 the first shop opened in Oxford on 17 Broad Street
    • 1949- Oxfam goes global

    Source: Oxfam 2013

    Check out their site now where you will discover a lot of Beth Brett: knitted skirts and jumpers with extravagant flower detail; excellent if you are experiencing your own 80’s fashion revival.

    Hot pick and perfect for the chilly spell we are experiencingHand knitted green jumper - Size: M


    Vintage 1970's Size S Blue patterned top


    BNWT Vintage 1980's Beth Brett Size M Lilac floral knitted jacket