5 British Ethical and Eco-Friendly Retailers and Brands Where Everyday Is Earth Day
BY JENNIFER HAKIM
Yes, it’s Earth Day. And while this should be a day of celebration for us earthians, this is also a time to face some hard truths. The 2022 IPCC report is clear: the planet is set to reach the 1.5ºC level within the next two decades, and only the most drastic cuts in carbon emissions will help prevent an environmental disaster. Alarming facts like these could make one feel discouraged, especially when one does not work for Big Oil, but there is still a long list of ‘small things’ we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact. Starting with choosing retailers who give back, help us reduce waste, fight off fast consumerism and carefully choose the materials and ingredients they choose for their products.
We’ve compiled a list of responsible retailers and brands you can choose from in the UK - businesses that support communities and respect the Earth everyday, letting you shop ethically and sustainably for most of your needs - from fashion to beauty, homeware, gifts and everything in between.
1) Yard + Parish
Yard + Parish is the portal to the most innovative, melanin-focused, independent brands of the African and Caribbean Diaspora. The site is branded as the UK's discovery platform for eco-luxe Black-owned brands, where customers can find sustainable handmade gifts, style hacks for melanin, and home decor, inspired by the modern island girl to champion a natural, conscious and colourful lifestyle. Founded by London-based Toronto natives Samantha Newell and Alesha Bailey after struggling to find well-made, affordable products that suited their hair, skin and style, Yard + Parish launched in July 2019 as an online collective of affordable luxury brands. The company motto “Discover the Diaspora” signifies an overarching mission to encourage global exploration and investment into Black-owned businesses in the UK and beyond. As a fashion forward brand, Yard + Parish is considerate of the environment, and only features brands that use non-toxic ingredients and sustainable materials. For more information about Yard + Parish, please visit www.yardandparish.com
eTHikel is the environmentally conscious online retail destination on a mission to provide customers with all the options they need to pursue an eco-friendly life. The British platform was founded by ex fintech lawyer and mum of two Amerjit Briah in January 2021, and aims at helping experienced and non-experienced eco-conscious buyers reduce their impact on the environment - with choices ranging from beauty, health and wellbeing, to clothing, accessories, and home. eTHikel only sources products from carefully vetted suppliers, with a collection of more than 2,000 products on site, directly sold and delivered by over 90 sellers. All products must fall under at least one of eTHikel’s ethics categories, such as Carbon Reduced, Non Animal Tested, Organic, Plastic Free, Vegan, and many more. eTHikel is also committed to data security, following the company’s pillars of honesty, trust, respect and transparency. For more information about eTHikel, please visit www.ethikel.com
3) Le Weekend
Le Weekend is an exclusive concept store dedicated to slow living, founded by artist, blogger, crafter, podcast host, TV presenter and chef Nicolette Lafonseca. Based in West Yorkshire, UK, Le Weekend offers a mindfully curated collection of beautiful products that were responsibly and ethically sourced to enhance people’s weekends - inspired by Lafonseca’s time living in Paris, France. Le Weekend offers a collection of books, gifts, greeting cards & stationery, vintage finds, prints, craft kits, and more original artwork by Lafonseca. The line includes Giclée prints, handmade wall hangings, eco knitting kits and original paintings all printed on recycled cards - inspired by the founder’s values as a queer, mixed race Indian woman, mother and activist, and true to her ethos to create and source heirloom products, reduce waste, encourage others to reuse and repurpose, and combat cultural appropriation. Le Weekend endeavours to be accountable for all of the elements of being a retail brand, with strong brand values: Waste Reduction, People Before Profits, Environmentally Aware, and Inclusivity. For more information about Le Weekend, please visit https://www.le-weekend.co.uk/
With 20 to 40% of beauty products ending up as waste (depending on their category) according to Vogue Business, and skincare routine trends getting longer by the day, UK waste-free skincare brand Scintilla offers a more eco-friendly alternative that only requires few products and small quantities. Scintilla is a brand of natural, sustainable and ethical home and beauty products that only uses ingredients and materials from trusted suppliers. Founded by Rebecca Dallimore, the brand is committed to sustainable and ethical sourcing and practices in everything, from ingredients to product packaging and delivery. Scintilla offers a range of face cleansers, serums, face creams, balms and more, made from natural resources, nature-identical ingredients and upcycled materials - from natural essential oils and seed butters to other plant-based, raw ingredients. 10% of profits go to charities SEED Madagascar and Mind. For more information about Scintilla, please visit www.wearescintilla.com
5) Gundi Studios
Gundi Studios is a slow fashion brand founded by Natasha Sumant in 2017 to celebrate South Asian women in the motherland, diaspora and beyond. Gundi clothing is designed to outlast fashion trends and combat fast fashion, and is made to last by a small and dedicated team of artisans, embroiderers and tailors based in India. Gundi Studios keeps ancient craft and its surrounding community alive with streetwear-inspired styles that are embroidered using the aari, zari, and cut dana techniques traditionally used on sarees and burkas. The brand produces a limited number of styles in small batches to build long standing relationships with suppliers, ensuring fair wages and reducing waste. The current line includes bomber jackets, slip dresses, t-shirts, knit tops, hoodie dresses, and more. For its new collection, Gundi Studios is said to be experimenting with upcycled knitwear, a process called ‘dumpster diving’ by founder, art director and fashion designer Sumant in a recent Vogue India feature. For more information about Gundi Studios, please visit www.gundistudios.com