Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shopping The Eco-Friendly/Cruelty-Free Way – Buy Recycled, Repurposed or Reclaimed!

If you haven’t been living under a rock over the last few years, chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about going “green”. It’s hard to ignore the message that we need to be more aware of how we are impacting the environment when it comes to what we buy and what we consume. The good news is most people are starting to accept the need to pay closer attention, especially when it comes to food, recycling and limiting our garbage output. But sometimes a girl just needs some retail therapy (i.e. shopping for clothing, accessories and make-up after a stressful day of work) and how does that fit into the picture? To me, going “green” means not only being conscious of my carbon footprint, but also being careful that no animals have been harmed in the making of what I buy. I have to admit, it is not an easy task to shop with both these values in mind, and I when I first started out on this quest, it was a little overwhelming. In fact, being frustrated with my limited options (especially when it came to shoes and handbags) was what led me to co-found my own cruelty-free and eco-friendly boutique, Compassion Couture. But my mission was not in vain because I get to share what I’ve learned over the years when trying to avoid compromising my values, while still enjoying my passion for shopping. Here are some of my top tips when buying eco-friendly and cruelty free:

By now, we all know we should be recycling and buying recycled or recyclable products as much as possible. But we don’t often think of this in the context of apparel and instead, for most people, this probably conjures up images of recycled paper towels, toilet paper and newspaper. But these days there is no reason to stop there! There are plenty of brands out there that are using repurposed and recycled materials to make shoes, handbags and jewelry. I love that companies are focusing on being creative with garbage and you’d be surprised how beautiful trash can be! Check out these amazing platforms by Hearts of Darkness which have a suede upper made from recycled plastic:

Or what about repurposing plastic bags and weaving them into a fabric? sheilaOdessey’s line of handbags and clutches is made from a fabric woven together from strips of discarded plastic bags. These clutches pictured are made from used plastic dry cleaner bags and black bags from a local deli:

Of course, this tip wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that Hovey Lee jewelry is one of my favorite brands for gifts not only because their pieces are absolutely stunning but also because of the emphasis they place on sustainability and human rights! Their materials are sourced from fair-trade suppliers and each piece is made from recycled and renewed metals! One of my top picks is the Zipper Bracelet, which is made from a reclaimed brass chain. I’m currently in love with this rocker-chic chunky bracelet!

I hope these tips help you in making some eco-friendly and cruelty-free purchases next time you are out at the store. And remember, there is no way that we can live on this earth without impacting it, but we can respect it by making better choices. Happy shopping!

Compassion Couture

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