Yours Sustainably…Loving What you Wear, Trust What You Buy.
Launched in August 2011, Yours Sustainably are Lynn & Jessica, a mother and daughter team, based in Kent. They are women on a mission…
to bring sustainable, ethical and fair trade to the customer, whilst at the same time demonstrating it can be desirable, fashionable and exciting.
Bringing ethical and fair-trade to the public can still be a daunting task. Despite the sales of fair-trade clothing products reaching over £700 million a year, having quadrupled in recent years, many still hold the misguided assumption that fair-trade products, clothes in particular, are fusty hippy clothes which will probably lead to some form of skin irritation. Keith Brown covers these frustrations hilariously in his book Buying into Fair Trade, recounting the familiar assumptions of sandals, granola and other misunderstandings associated with fair trade and organic.
Hmm…Sorry, to disappoint the naysayers but this is not only wrong, it is a million miles from the reality of what ethical, eco-friendly and fair trade has to offer. One only has to look at the Yours Sustainably website to see what is possible http://www.yourssustainably.com/
The Yours Sustainably Range…
their products are sourced from all over the world and include ranges for men, women, children, home / living and travel. Sourced and chosen after developing and building relationships with suppliers, Lynn and Jessica have curated a beautiful and tasteful range which provides a platform for desirable, innovative ethical and sustainable products. Each product is showcased and suppliers are linked and profiled to provide an intimate connection. Mindful of producer, supplier and consumer needs, Yours Sustainably throws off the tired stereotype of fair trade goods to provide a range which discerning and sensitive customers will feel comfortable buying.
Liz Cardenas at Yours Sustainably
“We no longer want dust collecting ornaments bought from fair trade stores as a token gesture. We need to show that sustainability can be stylish, innovative, exciting & desirable. Exclusive to Yours Sustainably, the jewellery of Liz Cardenas fits the bill perfectly. She has taken the tagua nut from her native Ecuador & transformed it into versatile sophisticated jewellery. The nut, known as vegetable ivory, is carved by hand & each piece is individual, perfect ‘statement’ jewellery. Both the fashion & the home accessories we have selected have a timeless quality not necessarily following a trend or fashion. As Coco Chanel said ‘fashion fades, only style remains”
Image: Yours Sustainably
Bringing consumer and producer together and making those connections between product and people are the heart of sustainable and ethical consumption. Tracing lineage and connection, stories about people and metaphors for production make for more aware consumers. Price resonates momentarily for consumers, but stories behind products last longer. As Lynn and Jessica say …
“We showcase each supplier, some have a charitable element e.g. Arthouse Meath, some are concerned for our environment e.g. A Short Walk, others work with disadvantaged communities e.g. Maison Bengal”.
Lynn and Jessica want consumers to enjoy their shopping experience, knowing that everything they buy from their site meets criteria of being sustainable, socially responsible, recycled or eco-friendly. By buying these products, consumers are supporting and empowering the people who make them and helping to protect and preserve the environment.
Alpaca Wool Shawl by Samantha Holmes
Lynn, Jessica and their suppliers know the importance of putting something back. Yours Sustainably donate 10% of their monthly profits to charities which focus on sustainable development. Whilst one of their suppliers, Samantha Holmes works closely with various small independent groups in poor communities, mainly in the rural areas surrounding Puno in the south of Peru where unemployment is very high. The groups are principally family businesses and individual home workers. SInce her first contact four years ago, Samantha now works with a network of some five hundred hand knitters, making products such as alpaca shawls. She visits them each year and ensures that they are fairly remunerated and work in good conditions. Each worker normally knits for no more than four to five hours a day.
Making sustainable shopping relevant can be a challenging and daunting task. It can be philosophically difficult, knowing that consumerist consumption has created so many problems. It is difficult to escape the truth, but consumers have desires as well as responsibilities. They must love the product but be put at ease with its background, production and supply. Lynn and Jessica say,
“Our criteria for selecting products begins with desirability, we believe that to bring ‘sustainability into the mainstream it must be stylish, innovative & desirable. Products must also include elements of recycling, upcycling, fair-trade, & being eco-friendly. We also believe in bringing the supplier story to the consumer so they can see the role of ‘positive consumerism’ & the impact it has on disadvantaged marginalized communities”
Leading from the front…
So, how might we cast off this old stereotype of ethical, eco friendly fair trade products and clothing? lead by example like Yours Sustainably…send out the message that fashion and style goes hand in hand with innovation and desirability, as well as attitude and values.
To find out more about Yours Sustainably, their range and their approach visit their website or email them. I am sure Lynn and Jessica would love to hear from you… http://www.yourssustainably.com/ and mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org