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5 Easy and Effective Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Doing your part for the planet doesn’t need to cost extra time or money. In fact, switching to greener habits can even save you money. Here are 5 super easy but effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Find out why sustainable living is basically just another way of saying “smart living”.

Potted plants

Plants not only provide aesthetic appeal but also improve the air quality in your home. One of the amazing things about house plants is that studies by the EHP and NASA have found that they are actually more effective and cheaper than HEPA filters found on some vacuum cleaners and ventilation systems at filtering out toxins such as volatile organic compounds in the air.

These compounds are released by things like synthetic materials, paints and new furniture, evaporating at room temperature and carrying potential short and long term health effects.

Growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill is a perfect way to both clean the air in your home and save money. Parsley, sage, basil and thyme are known to hold up better indoors and in more humid areas.

Clean with green products

Cleaning product companies have fooled the average consumer into believing that we need to use an array of harsh, toxic chemicals to keep our homes clean, and that we need to purchase separate cleaning products for every surface.

Many of the chemicals found in these conventional products are often hazardous in that they are carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens or endocrine disruptors.

As a conscious consumer, you might want to be cautious of just what exactly is masked beneath the pretty packaging and sweet scent of your favourite air fresheners. Many of these products contain phtalates for example, which are known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems.

As well as being harmful to the environment, chlorine bleach, a cleaning staple in most homes is highly corrosive and absorbed easily by the skin and stays in the air for a long time, getting into your lungs and remaining on surfaces long after they’ve been cleaned. Hydrogen-peroxide is an eco-friendly alternative that will get you similar results. Other safe ingredients you can use to clean around the house include vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda.

There are also a variety of green products on the market, such as Ecover and L’Arbre Vert for laundry and Frosche for cleaning. These are effective, pleasant smelling and often come in recycled packaging.

Sustainable Materials

There are a number of ways to lower your carbon footprint when choosing the most important materials for the surfaces of your home. Floors for example, look for FSC wood which is responsibly sourced. Or for an even more eco-friendly, there is bamboo, a highly renewable plant that lends an elegant appeal and similar effect to hardwood.

Cork is harvested without harming the tree and provides a soft, cushiony floor with good insulation and antibacterial properties. Of course, all flooring materials have their individual drawbacks so it’s worth it do your research and make an educated decision as to what is right for you.

For countertops, green options include recycled glass and the very on-trend concrete option. When choosing paints for walls, doors or furniture, look for labels with low VOC levels, for a product that is healthier for the planet and for your family. Finally, choose natural over synthetic textiles where possible. A lot of what goes into creating an eco-friendly living space is essentially going “back to basics” and an important part of this is natural textiles.

Textiles play such an essential role in providing the comfort of being at home, whether in the form of window treatments, upholstery, bedding or accessories like cushions and throws, so essential in fact, that they are often overlooked. Linen is a relatively ecologically sound fibre and lends a timeless rustic appeal. Organic cotton is often softer than conventional cotton and free from the residual pesticides and herbicides. Rugs made from jute add texture and warmth if you don’t want he microfibres from synthetic rugs lingering in the air.

Use Appliances Wisely

There are a number of small changes you can make today in your home to lower both your environmental impact and energy costs.

When using your washing machine, bear in mind the adage ‘unless it’s dirty, wash at 30’. Modern detergents often don’t require higher temperatures than 20 or 30 degrees Celsius to be effective. Meanwhile, as much as 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes towards just heating the water.

While tumble dryers can be handy for things like towels and sheets, especially in the winter months, try to hang dry when possible. If you have a garden or balcony, make use of it. Sunlight is also an excellent germ-killer.

Plug out “phantom energy sucking” appliances when you’re not using them and when your older incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

Zero Waste

Zero waste is a niche but growing movement where people who care about their impact on the environment take steps to make their lifestyle as un-wasteful as possible. This especially applies to disposable plastic items like cups, straws and cutlery that are intended for one use, to be discarded and end up in landfill or oceans where they don’t break down, taking up space and harming living things. For example, a lot of food is packaged in non-recyclable plastics, especially processed foods.

While recycling is definitely important, it isn’t always a long term solution as you may have thought, as plastics can be recycled only a certain numbers of times as it degrades each time. Eventually this material will end up as waste.

To reduce your waste, you can try to buy more whole foods, bring your own bags for produce, compost your food waste and buy in bulk. Added benefits to this can include saving money and your waistline. You don’t have to fit all your year’s trash in a jar to take a few leaves out of the zero waste book and make small but effective changes.

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Tips for a Planning a Beautiful Eco-Friendly Wedding

Weddings can be wasteful but they don’t have to be! Here are some tips to make your big day greener, more ethical and beautiful, in all kinds of ways.


Cut down on fossil fuel emissions by holding your reception and ceremony in the same venue if you can. Destination weddings for the sake of it means a high carbon footprint from guests traveling long distances, especially if flying is involved.

Live local, think global

Using food, drink and flowers that are local and seasonal will ensure that the lower amount of transport to get them there means as low a carbon footprint as possible. Check which flowers are in season at the time of your wedding and if possible, choose fair trade and organic.

Conscious Clothing

When it comes to the bride’s dress, and the bridesmaids dresses, buying something to be worn only once isn’t exactly the greenest option. Some alternatives to this include borrowing a dress from a friend or family member, buying vintage or second hand, or buying a dress that you can wear again. For bridesmaids, you can designate one particular color, or even shades of a color and let the bridesmaids choose a dress that they really love and won’t want to toss afterwards. If you can purchase dresses, shoes and accessories from ethical and sustainable clothing brands or small businesses, even better.

Wedding Favors

There are two ways you can go when it comes to eco-friendly wedding favors. One is to give your guests favors that are reusable and actually useful, or edible – think jams, chocolates or coffee beans rather than, say, pretty much anything with your names engraved or laser cut onto it. On the other hand, many a couple have gone to the trouble of handing out wedding favors to find that a large portion of the guests have simply forgotten to take with them. In lieu of favors, you could place notes saying that you have made a donation in their name to one of your favorite charities, or just skip them altogether. Honestly, most guests won’t even notice!


Send out your invitations on eco-friendly papers such as 100% post-consumer or seed paper. You can even skip the paper invitation, which is usually tossed in the trash right after the RSVP and send out beautiful digital invitations.

Reusables vs Disposables

Choose reusables rather than disposable plates, cups and cutlery if you can. It’s best if you can borrow or rent these from the venue rather than buying them. If you really need to use disposables, then opt for ones made of compostable material like corn-based plastic or sugar cane.


Ditch the glitter confetti – this stuff wreaks havoc on the natural environment. Instead, have your guests throw dried flower petals provided in recycled paper cones.

Fair Trade Jewellery

Finishing off your bridal look with accessories can be the icing on the cake, but have you ever wondered where the gold and diamonds actually come from? Choosing jewellery that is fair trade ensures safe working environments and fair wages for the makers and will help you feel beautiful inside and out. If you have family heirlooms that can be borrowed or resized, that’s a great option too. So is recycled jewellery.


Eating a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth. Serving an entirely vegan menu at your wedding might initially raise some eyebrows, but for those who like a challenge, this can be a wonderful opportunity to introduce people to how delicious vegan food can be. Vegan Nutritionista has a great guide to serving vegan food at a wedding with lots of ideas. Almost anything can be veganized, and that means every ethnicity of food too, whether it’s Asian, Italian or Mexican, the choices are endless! Try to go for seasonal and local ingredients where possible.

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4 Ethical and Vegan Shoe Brands for Spring

With the ever-quickening pace of fashion giving way to a throwaway culture, shoes have become more and more disposable over the years. This wasteful way consumer culture sends an average of three pairs of shoes per person to landfill each year, not to mention the resources and energy that goes into making them, and the toxic chemicals used in their production that finds its way into the natural environment. The leather industry, rather than a by-product of leather as many are led to believe, is a brutal industry motivated by profit where cows are routinely abused. Last but not least, the demand for cheaper products in bigger quantities has cultivated an exploitative industry with vulnerable workers producing goods in poor or even dangerous working conditions for little pay.

Not all fashion is created equal however, and these dedicated vegan shoe brands prove that lust-worthy and well-designed vegan shoes are a very real option today. Gone are the days of cheap plastic faux leather shoes that don’t let your feet breathe. Now, with exciting sustainable materials made from pineapple leaves, mushrooms, kombucha and wine making a splash in the fashion scene, and more companies opting for an ethical production model, it’s easier than every for fashion lovers to shop guilt-free. Here are our top picks for vegan shoe brands to step into spring with.

Bourgeois Boheme

London-based brand Bourgeois Boheme produces sleek handcrafted artisan footwear for men and women, all animal free, eco-friendly and produced in ethical factories in Portugal. Think hard-wearing classic styles and materials like cork, pineapple leaf fibre, seeds and would-be waste materials.

Beyond Skin

PETA approved brand Beyond Skin handcrafts their shoes from vegan and eco-friendly materials including a faux suede microfiber made in Italy from 100% recycled PET plastics. For those looking for shoes that are vegan but don’t look it, this fashion mag favourite offers a delectable selection of chic styles. Mens range coming soon.


Po-Zu boasts a solvent-free production process amongst a spectacular array of eco and ethical credentials, and their shoes are pretty slick too. Named after the Japanese word for pause, the London-based brand’s shoes are designed for wearers with busy lifestyles. For comfortable and well-made sustainable, ethical and vegan shoes for women, men and kids, the bar doesn’t get much higher, AND they have a range of Star Wars inspired shoes in partnership with Disney.


Italian sports-luxe brand SQUARe027 is 100% vegan, choosing not to use leather, feathers, wool or silk in their products. Their vision stems from the fact that the dying and tanning industries are some of the most polluting in the world, and their eco-friendly production process involves the use of vegan microfiber, recycled materials and wood in unisex styles and bright colours.


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How to Introduce Lagom to Your Home and Lifestyle in 2018

In the worlds of interior design and lifestyle, 2018 is set to be the year of lagom.

To sum it up, this expressly Swedish philosophy is embodied by the phrase ‘not too much, not too little, just enough’ and can be described as a lifestyle that encourages balance and mindfulness in everything that you do.

One thing you should know is that lagom is not a new concept and should not be confused with a passing trend. For Swedes, it is simply a way of life, an attitude embedded in the Swedish psyche.

As for the rest of the world, we can all learn a thing or two from the lagom approach to life.

Finding perfection in imperfection.

Not getting too hung up on the little things and missing the big picture.

Centering your priorities and putting things into perspective. Practicing a cleaner, more sustainable lifestyle.

Listening to the little voice inside that knows where to draw the line to keep yourself in balance.

As many Swedes will testify, lagom can have its drawbacks – for example, not reaching your fullest potential or being afraid of pursuing something you want with intensity. So there is something to be said for not being ‘too lagom’, or in other words, just lagom enough. Lagom lagom, if you will.

Lagom can be applied to almost anything, as a long-term way to achieve a sustainable balanced, healthy and happy life.

A few ways to introduce more lagom to your everyday: 

  • Know when to put away social media – take a break from having your face in a screen all day to do something where you can be more mindful and focused. Have a face to face conversation over a cup of tea, go for a walk outside in nature or read a book. Make time to fit some meditation into your schedule. Even five minutes a week is better than nothing. Slow down, and breathe.
  • Reduce any wasteful habits you might have. Stop wasting food by buying too much and letting it rot in your fridge. Keep leftovers to eat the following day. Repair broken clothing instead of throwing it away.
  • Instead of aiming for perfection in the things that you plan, accept that nothing is ever perfect, and lower your expectations so that you can enjoy life more.
  • Set aside time to be thankful and spend time with loved ones.

How can lagom be applied to interior design?

Lagom has a special resonance with interior decoration.

Think: an uncluttered, minimalistic living space with just the right amount of cosiness. After all, uncluttered spaces do wonders to ease the hectic mind, and in today’s world, with our busy lifestyles, lagom can be a useful mantra to keep to hand.

Here are a few ways to apply lagom in your home:

  • Opt for quality over quantity in the things that you buy. Where possible, buy things to last for many years, not just to use once or twice and throw away. Instead of plastic, opt for beautiful steel, glass, ceramic, wood or bamboo and choose quality craftsmanship where you can.
  • Instead of elaborate bouquets, adorn your home with simple but beautiful findings from your back garden, or bare twigs in a vase.
  • Accessorize subtly and with eco-friendly items and materials – organic cotton or linen pillows and blankets, thrift store or vintage finds, green plants and a few candles to add coziness with a low footprint.
  • You can also embrace upcycling to breathe new life into old pieces of furniture or discarded items. A splash of paint and a little TLC can do wonders to transform what might have gone to waste into something to proudly display in your home.
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WAMP | Budapest’s Monthly Indie Design Market

These days, the discerning shopper often looks for a direct connection with the maker behind unique handmade goods, crafted with love and care. We asked managing director Zsófia Vári to talk to us a bit about WAMP, Budapest’s cool monthly design market which has helped boost the careers of many young talents in the design scene, and what it has to offer.

From its early days as a small local market, WAMP has grown over the last decade to become an internationally recognised and respected platform for designers. Can you describe the market for those who aren’t familiar?

WAMP was founded in 2006 and it is now the biggest and the most well-known design fair in Hungary. The main objective of WAMP has always been to support Hungarian fashion and design as well as to enhance visual culture while promoting Hungarian design products. It intends to initiate dialogue between the designers, the public and the commercial sector. By now more than 1000 designers are connected to WAMP: fashion designers, jewellers, leather artists, ceramists, artists of fine arts and other creative fields present their work at our fair. We had more international collaborations throughout these years, we presented Hungarian designers in Helsinki and Bratislava, and collaborated with designers from the neighbouring countries. Since 2014 WAMP has been regularly organising fairs in Vienna too, where designers from the whole Middle-European region present their work.

Tell us everything we should know about the upcoming markets, in Budapest and elsewhere.

Our biggest events of the year are yet to come. We have just been over a fair at Design Week Budapest, and now we are busily preparing for our season closing market in Vienna at 7th October. After that we will have four more fairs this year including our Christmas events, where more than 300 designers will be present. We also have something big for the design fans in the UK, as at 18 November we are going to take part at the event ReThink Hungary in London, organised by the Hungarian Cultural Centre, where among others, 30 highly talented Hungarian designers will introduce their brands.

What are some of the ways in which you assist your designers?

WAMP offers a marketing and sales platform for talented designers both in Hungary and abroad. We intensely promote their labels and help them to find their audience which is very important especially for starting brands and designers. With the help of Visegrad Fund we organised more international events, where designers from Poland Czech Republic, Slovakia could introduce their brands in Hungary and in Vienna. We have also organized workshops where designers could acquire marketing and sales skills necessary for their brand management. Beyond that we collaborate with schools and design universities such as Moholy- Nagy University of Art and Design and provide their students opportunity to get real firsthand experience of selling their products at our fair.

Many of your exhibitors offer products that are recycled, organic or ethical. Why do you think this niche is becoming such a big part of the design scene in Budapest?

As urban lifestyle grows, the need for slowing down has become just as equally important. It is a global trend now that becomes more and more significant in Hungary as well. We have now more alternatives to fast fashion, and consumers have become a lot more conscious regarding their lifestyle and consumption. For them it is important that the clothes they wear and the items they use are not only stylish but are produced in ethical and fair conditions and with more environmental friendly techniques. This global trend has also become relevant in Hungary however it still has a long way to go. Fair fashion is obviously more expensive than fast fashion, so not that many people can afford it yet.

What kind of collaborations with other design initiatives do you see happening in the future?

Our next big project will be with the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London at 18 November, where 30 talented Hungarian designers will present their work. For the next year we intend to develop more international collaborations both in Vienna, and further abroad.

Republished with permission from FM

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Fruit Over Flesh: Could Pineapple Be the New Leather?


Stella McCartney once said, “using leather to make a handbag is cruel. But it’s also not modern, you’re not pushing innovation.” When it comes to polluting textile industries with deeply concerning ethical issues surrounding their production, leather is definitely up there. Made from cow skin, it is an ancient craft that’ been around for centuries. But if there’s every been a time for suitable modern day sustainable alternatives to leather to enter the fashion market, this is it. Recent years have seen an upsurge in production of alternatives to leather and non-leather items such as shes and bags are no longer synonymous with inferior quality.

Piñatex, whose name comes from the Spanish word “piña” meaning pineapple, and tex, as in textiles, is a new leather alternative made from the discarded leaves of pineapples.It competes with the traditional material in durability, look and feel and is starting to be picked up by fashion brands and Etsy retailers.

In 2015 Piñatex received the PETA Innovation Award, the first time a raw material has won it, and the organisation has also certified it as a ‘Vegan Fashion Label’. It also won a place among the finalists of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in the same year and won the 2016 UK Arts Foundation prize of £10,000 for material innovation.

Currently, new sustainable materials such as Piñatex are at a higher price point than conventional alternatives, especially when coupled with ethical production where workers are paid fairly. As a result, these products are not yet accessible for all consumers. The relatively high price by comparison for these items reflects the true cost of operating a sustainable business, where all the boxes of ecological and ethical considerations are checked. However, there is hope for larger distribution with big name brands in the future and continued use will bring the cost down in time.


Hailing from Spain and a post graduate of textiles at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Hijosa worked for years in the leather industry. This allowed her to be acutely aware of the ecological damage caused by the tanning process. “At the back of my head I was always looking for an alternative to leather,” she says. Fortunately, Hijosa was able to utilise her knowledge and experience to develop an alternative textile that is flexible, breathable, lightweight, strong and can be sewn, dyed and printed on.

The natural material is inspired by native traditional textiles called ‘barong tarong’ worn during ceremonies and special occasions in the Philippines and the pineapples used in its production are grown there. Hijosa’s breakthrough was when she discovered she could make a similar non-woven fabric from the long pineapple fibres through an industrial process. The fibres are cut up, layered and bonded together in a similar way to felt making. Varying thicknesses of the fabric can be produced, depending on its end use.

What makes Piñatex a sustainable textile?

  1. Reduced waste: pineapple leaves are a byproduct of the pineapple industry, fruit harvest, they do not need additional land, water or fertilisers to grow, resulting in a low environmental impact compared to other textile crops. “Globally, you’ve got about 25 million tonnes of pineapple waste a year which is either burnt or left to rot, so there is a lot of potential,” says Hijosa. An estimated 40,000 tonnes of this pineapple waste is generated globally each year. It is also available to purchase on a roll, avoiding the wastage caused by irregularly shaped leather hides.
  2. Economical factors: The process creates a biomass as a byproduct. This can be converted into fertiliser, meaning more income for the farmers.
  3. Animal friendly: No animals are raised (or killed) for the production of this leather alternative. Animal agriculture is a huge drain on natural resources.
  4. The material weighs less than a comparable amount of leather
  5. It’s biodegradable

As sustainable alternatives to toxic textiles enter the market, it’s vital that we focus on investing developments for new and alternative materials like Pinatex, as they offer promising solutions to the destructive effects of the fashion industry.


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The Future of Fashion: Ocean Plastic as a Sustainable Textile


The fashion industry is a dirty business, fast fashion being the second most polluting industry in the world – an issue of global concern which has gained a lot of awareness in recent years and helped cause a shift in consumer desires with regard to sustainability. Increasing numbers of both consumers and businesses accept that dramatic changes are needed to attempt to alleviate the damage caused by conventional practices in the production and consumption of fashion. The fashion world is also one of the fastest moving in terms of detecting and embodying changing trends. Many large and small fashion brands are working in light of new scientific developments to try and right some of the wrong by adopting new and innovative sustainable textile production techniques.  One important way to achieve this is by manufacturing clothing from more responsible materials.

Stella McCartney, a leader in the area of innovative and forward thinking eco-friendly fashion, has recently announced a partnership with environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans and shortly after this announced that they will be rolling out their Autumn 2017 Falabella GO handbag collection made from ECONYL yarn. Created by Italian manufacturer Aquafil, the ECONYL® Regeneration System harnesses plastic waste in landfills and oceans in the forms of abandoned fishing nets and other discarded nylon for regeneration. After processing in a plant in Ljubljana, the resulting recycled nylon fibre boasts the same quality and performance as conventional nylon. This material can also be recycled further an infinite number of times without any degradation as a result.

Plastic in the ocean is an emergency that we all urgently need to address. The oceans and their fauna are essentially drowning in plastic debris from our wasteful consumption of disposable products and packaging along with mismanaged disposal of plastic waste. Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic rubbish ends up in the sea. According to Ocean Conservancy, plastics are threatening at least 600 different wildlife species. Animals such as fish, turtles, seals, dolphins and birds are consuming and being killed by plastic bags, discarded fishing nets and general plastic debris. Additionally, most of the plastic consumed by fish is made up of very small particles called microfibres, and humans who eat seafood are in turn consuming the plastic along with the harmful chemicals present. The effects of this on human health are thought to range from cancers and birth defects to immune system problems and childhood developmental issues. reports that over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. Man-made fibress, or synthetics as they are commonly known (actually “synthetic” is a term that can also include natural fabrics that are produced in a chemical process) include polyester and nylon, and have been around for well over a century and have transformed the fashion industry. Advantages of MMF include their wrinkle free properties, durability and fast drying. These materials are made from petroleum, a carbon intensive finite resource, and do not decompose in the environment once discarded. The process of making man made fibres is also more energy intensive than natural materials (although, on the other hand, it requires much less water and no pesticides).

While recycling is an example of doing “less bad”, we as consumers need to be aware of the impacts of the choices we are making and try to do better than this. For example, try to use fewer plastic items in the first place, especially single use plastic. Avoid buying things that are destined to be thrown away after very little use, including fashion items. In short, buy better and buy less.

Another thing to consider is how the washing of MMF clothing contributes to the build up of plastic microfibres in the ocean. For this reason it is best to restrict man-made materials in your wardrobe to durable items that do not require much washing, such as rainwear, accessories and some sports wear and aim to buy pieces that are high quality and made to last – not to be discarded after a few wears. Instead of buying polyester made from virgin petroleum, choose recycled polyester or buy second hand. Patagonia is a great example of a brand who creates high quality performance clothing from recycled plastics, and also takes back and recycles, repairs or repurposes your old Patagonia products for you.

Meanwhile, small and large fashion brands across the board should take not from the example set by Stella McCartney and other brands taking similar steps, and recognise that if they wish to use man-made fibres, they can and should opt for recycled materials, and know that, through good design they can help to mitigate the plastic crisis we have in our hands, all without having to compromise on quality or performance.




Man-Made Fibers Continue To Grow


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Scandi Meets Sustainable: A Look at 10 Brands from Finland’s Design Scene

Finland boasts a thriving contemporary design scene and there’s a wealth of high quality, innovative and sustainable Scandinavian design to be found in its many dedicated design shops dotted around cities like Helsinki and Tampere, many of whose products are made in Finland.

A number of young, sustainable brands offer up contemporary fashion and interior items.  Meanwhile, some of the best established brands in Finnish textile design, Marimekko and Finlayson offer quintessential quirky and colourful prints.


AW 16 clothing at Marimekko

Finland has been shifting steadily towards sustainable purchasing in recent years while second-hand shops and flea markets are ever popular.

Here are 10 Finnish fashion and lifestyle brands to get acquainted with Finland’s design scene.

earrings by Poola Kataryna made from Finnish birch plywood


linen top by Poola Kataryna


 Ferm Living organic cotton tea towels at Designboulevard


Samuji dress made from Cupro, a cellulose fibre made from recovered cotton waste


Cityleija dress from Tauko made from recycled material


 Höö bunny ear hat to keep the young’uns warm and stylish


Papu children’s jacket, 100% certified organic cotton, designed and made in Finland


Nouki jacquard woven dress and printed leggings


Saana Ja Olli – this award winning design couple from Turku produces gorgeous and subtle everyday hemp textiles



Pure Waste  displays of clothing at Costo, made entirely from recycled material. The infographic on the wall explains that using recycled cotton saves 11,000 liters of water per kilogram.



hemp, organic cotton and recycled cotton jeans

Lahti based transparent company Nurmi Clothing has has developed the first denim made solely of pre-consumer waste, certain to become a fabric of the future. Here you can find an article on their website that explains just why a 59 euro t-shirt is too cheap to actually return a profit. Sad but true.






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7 Top Tips for Scandinavian Inspired Decor


When it comes to great interiors and top notch design, there’s a thing or two we could all learn from the Nordic countries. A love of design is part and parcel with the cultures of countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, where good design is everyday, practical and accessible by all, rather than reserved for an elitist few. The great news is that a Scandi style set-up in your home is affordable on virtually any budget. Think simple, clean and cheerful.

  1. Neutrals

Far from boring, a pared back palette of neutral colours such as whites, greys and beige can be refreshingly minimalistic and create a calm and serene space. Use a blank backdrop to accentuate other pieces in your home such as furniture and artwork to their best advantage.

2. Light wood

For an authentic Scandinavian look, choose lighter coloured wood flooring. This helps to brighten up those long dark winters common to this part of the world and lend a fresh and airy feel. Rustic white paint treatments on wood furniture are also very typical.

3. Bold and bright patterns

The other, more vibrant side of Scandinavian design is colourful and bold patterns, exemplified by iconic Finnish design house Marimekko, whose graphic print designs often feature nature inspired motifs. For a low commitment way to inject some cheerful and bright pattern to your home, use throw cushions or bedding which can be changed out easily. For a more reserved approach, you could try using more traditional, naive fabrics such as gingham.

4. Bringing the outside in

An close relationship with nature underpins this interior style and design philosophy and plays a strong role in the lifestyles of Nordic people. Perhaps it’s part of the reason why Nordic nations are shown to be among the happiest in the world. Regular interaction with nature is shown to increase physical and mental health and well-being and bringing some of the outdoors in is a great way to make your home healthier and more harmonious. Use green plants, dried branches or wreaths and even photographs of nature framed in rustic wood frames.

5. Let the light in

Soften the winter blues by eschewing heavy curtains in favour of lighter, minimal and sheer fabrics around windows. Place mirrors on opposite walls to bounce light around and keep windowsills clear of much ornamentation or clutter. Instead of one overhead light source in a room, opt for several smaller lamps and use candles in the evening for cosiness and warmth.

6. Out of sight, out of mind

Storage is a very important way of keeping your home serene and calm. Try to keep as much “stuff” concealed behind doors and in drawers as possible, save for those items which you truly want on display. Built-in furniture further helps to create a sleek and stylish appearance.

7. Pieces that last a lifetime

Finally, Nordic folk often opt to purchase furniture pieces based on their quality of craftsmanship and longevity. Think carefully before you buy and consider whether you might like to pass that dining room table down to your children someday, and so forth.