Ethical running/casual shoes…options you’ll love

So…shoes shoes shoes. This has been a bit of a conundrum for me. I have not bought a lot of shoes in my ethical year. The ones I did buy were second-hand. I really struggled with running shoes. Reading Lucy Siegle’s Guardian article, I realised that the shift is slowly but surely happening towards ethical shoes. Even if it’s at a bit of a glacial pace.

One aspect of running shoes that has always annoyed me is that fact that we can pay $220 for a pair of running shoes yet the actual cost to make them (including the labour) is not that high. In the words of local heroes Flight of the Conchords,

“They’re turning kids into slaves, just to make cheaper sneakers
But what’s the real cost? ’Cause the sneakers don’t seem that much cheaper

Why are we still paying so much for sneakers? When you got them made by little slaves kids.
What are your overheads?”

But after a bit of digging around, I have found some good options which happen to be both stylish and fair trade – score!

Ethical shoes featuring Vivobarefoot, Ethletic and Veja

Free sewing patterns from Peppermint – score!

A friend of mine who lives in Australia kindly just gave me some of her magazines to read. Named Peppermint, the magazine’s tagline sums it up,

“Style, Sustainability, Substance. Australia’s first and only eco and ethical fashion magazine.”

Their site is full of wonderful ideas and I’ve only just begun to discover them now. But the one that stands out to me as pure genius is the Sewing school and free pattern section.

They have patterns for capes, tote bags, soft toys and dresses. Haven’t tried one out yet but when I do you can be sure there will be a post about it…can’t wait to make a shift dress.

Check out the patterns and download for free

Check out their fairtrade section 

Peppermint magazine sewing school

How many kids made your clothes? Download the free app and find out

Here’s something that really changes the game. A plug-in that lets you know when you’re viewing a product made using child labour.

If you have ever browsed a site thinking ‘I wonder if these clothes are ethically made?’, worry and wonder no more. Fast Company has recently published an article about it.
Read the Fast Company article

Simply download the app and you’ll see a hand appear where the product would have. Make sure you’re using Chrome or Safari as your browser otherwise it won’t work.

“The aVOID Plug-In is a quick and effective way of protesting against child labour. Avoiding products that are associated with the exploitation of children forces manufacturers to tighten up their control procedures.”
Download the aVOID app 

Below are some screen shots of what happened when I searched on Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Apparel using the sites and

App for ethical fashion

Inspired by the Uniform Project – my tailor-made LBD

Well, it’s been a long time coming for this blog post about my tailor-made LBD. I’ll give you a bit of background…

I first spotted the LBD genius that is the ‘The uniform project‘ back in 2008. Since then, I have wanted the original classic style LBD that she sold on the site. As the dress was always sold out, along with the pattern, I decided to get my own made right here in NZ.


With the help of Toni (the tailor I was recommended), my very own LBD was created. Toni was fantastic and very patient, analysing the dress from the site to create an almost identical replica. I went to her house for several fittings and she was always very professional and fun to work with.


It’s really light and breathable against your skin. The dress also has a lining. It never crinkles much and is easy to hand wash. The dress is reversible (buttons down the back) and has 2 detachable collars – oh and pockets! (I love pockets).  I use stick on velcro to attach the collars which works a treat and means you’re not fussing about with buttons.

I wear it most days as it’s super comfy and pretty much goes with anything. For the $200 it cost to get tailor-made plus the $67 for fabric and buttons, it was well worth it. Big thanks to Toni for all her hard work on this one!

Below are 7 different ways to wear it. Tuesday has the Peter Pan detachable collar. (click to see image larger). Contact Toni at if you’d like a wonderful tailor-made dress of your own.

ps – to the WordPress followers, I have now moved the site onto a .com domain so you’ll need to follow from the new site as I couldn’t move you across. Thanks so much for following!

Little black dress

*All photos by Jules Robertson. Legend.

Made my first skirt thanks to the Fashion Workshop

I’m so pleased my friend asked me if I’d be keen to do a bag making sewing class a few months ago. Because after progressing from that, we decided we were ready for the skirt making ‘not your nana’s sewing class’ at Wellington’s Fashion Workshop.

I was super excited to find a NZ made pattern for my skirt from Papercut Patterns. Really cute packaging and pretty easy to follow. They are based in Nelson, NZ and have a modern take on patterns. Here’s the pattern of the skirt I made.

As I am a total rookie, it was great that our tutor Jenny from the Fashion Workshop was really helpful and patient. Questions like ‘umm how do I thread the machine?’ were allowed. No question was too stupid and the class was nice and small.

I finished the skirt during the once a week (for 3 weeks) 3 hour sessions after work. Using mum’s hardly used dream machine Bernina was a bonus and created a nice smooth finish. I reckon it might need tweaking and taking in a little bit, but I was so excited to get some use out of it that had to wear it to work (pic below – skirt made from 100% wool bought at Global Fabrics Wellington).

I fully recommend this sewing course and I know my friend and I will definitely be getting along to another one.

Check out patterns at Papercut Patterns

Find out about sewing classes at the FashionWorkshop

Wearing my first made skirt

Made in NZ – CAST clothing

Just discovered this brand CAST by Catherine Stonely, made right here in NZ.

CAST is a one man or should I say woman band. She stocks and ships lots of cute dresses, tunics, tops, leggings and accessories. She is based in Fielding but occasionally comes down to Wellington to the Frank Kitts market. Hoping she gets here soon otherwise I feel a road trip is in order…

I love this coat.

CAST website