Ethical Fair Trade Homeware

We all have an opinion on homeware and the soft furnishings we want in our home, whether they are functional item or as a thing of beauty.  We all approach buying home decor in different ways and that can change over time and with our ever changing lifestyles, environment and tastes.

When I was a child I would spend hours looking through my mum's catalogues planning out my future home. My teen years were manly spent painting my room crazy colours and listening to music, while staring at my treasured light shade I bought in one of my favourite shops.  This shop was a teen dream, containing alternative clothing and accessories downstairs and items that I was too young for upstairs.

It wasn't really until I left home that buying furniture and home furnishings (both functional and pretty) became a regular occurrence. When I first moved to Brighton I was out most weeks buying one thing or another to fill my flat; I must admit that most of it was mediocre rubbish, which was good thing as I moved a lot in those first years so when things got broken or lost in a move it was no big upset.

(1. Leather Journal, 2. Cushion, 3. Bowl, 4. T-Light Holders, 5. Mug, 6. Blanket)

 Now approaching 30 I am more considerate when choosing the items in my home. Is it functional? Will it last? And do I find it aesthetically pleasing? Are now regularly asked questions when purchasing a new item. No longer do I want any old rubbish in my home just because I need/want it, I would rather it not be mass produced, I like things handmade with a sense of where they are from and who made them. I don't want my home to look like everyone else's and I want to be surrounded by things I love. This being so has made expanding our home decor range here at Hippy Clothing this year a really enjoyable experience.

(1. Box, 2. Frame, 3. Elephant, 4. Incense Box, 5. Incense)

We had a little last year but this year it was really fun exploring everyone's Fair Trade handmade ranges, hand picking the bits we loved and thought our customers would love too. The response has been wonderful both in our Brighton shop and on our site, buying home furnishings online is fantastic and simple these days and as you are doing so you can look around and plan where to put the items, from the comfort of your sofa. Unusual decor and house accessories make great gifts and a great way for someone to be reminded of you every time they use that recycled aluminium vase or look at that photo of you both on holiday in the fair trade mango wood photo fame.

(1. Frame, 2. Vase, 3. Box, 4. Necklace)

We have learnt so much about the wonderful techniques people use that have gone unchanged for 100's of years and the ethical, eco friendly materials used:

Mango wood: Mango trees have an extremely long life but eventually stop bearing fruit and are replaced by younger trees. India produces the most mangos in the world which results in a massive industry and in turn makes mango wood one of the most sustainable woods known to man.

Recycled cotton paper: The paper is made from cotton scraps, such as off cuts from the Indian garment Industry. No wood is used in the production of this product which means the local environment is respected.

Recycled aluminium: Uses up to 90% less carbon emissions compared to the production of new aluminium. Each product is hand finished with clear enamel and given its final polish. Made in Northern India by a 100 strong work force, who earn a fair wage and men and women are paid the same for the same job.

The products made from these techniques are stunning and made to such a high standard most people would not believe they are handmade or recycled because these terms can be associated with a rustic or unprofessional finish. These techniques are older than any mass produced ones and they are used with care. It is so nice knowing where and how things are made and that they provide a life for the maker without harming the environment. You won't get that from the high street.