Chartreuse shop feature: People Tree

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We typically don’t associate words like ‘sustainability’ and ‘fair trade’ with ‘fashionable’. True, with increasing concerns like climate change, there has been quite a bit of corporate greenwashing, making ‘eco-friendly’ a catch word. But apart from the stereotypical tree-hugging hippie style, it’s hard to picture what sustainable and fair trade fashion actually looks like.

Enter clothing label People Tree and its line of garments that are made with respect for both its manufacturers and the environment. People Tree takes its fair trade designation seriously, not just by paying fair prices to the producers who make their garments, but also by supporting local charities for a better quality of life. An example: its partnership with a group called Bombolulu Workshops that  empowers the physically disabled in Kenya. By building and maintaining lasting relationships with the communities that create their garments, People Tree is transforming the business side of the fashion industry.

But if you thought that was enough to set them apart, People Tree is also committed to reducing its ecological footprint. By producing hand-made clothes, they are making use of human energy rather than electricity. By supporting organic cotton growers, they are decreasing the amount of chemicals that get absorbed by the earth. And, by recycling most of their outputs, they are reducing the amount of trash that ends up in landfills.

There should be more clothing companies doing what People Tree is doing. But don’t take my word for it- check them out for yourself! Here’s to hoping that the UK-based outfitter makes its way to Vancouver soon, or better yet, that more clothing labels take the same direction!


Oh happy at home: DIY Terrariums

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I love fresh-cut flowers as much as the next girl. But I also find it depressing to know that many flowers travel a long (and fossil-fuel burning!) distance only to wither and die in our apartment a week later. Hence, in an effort to breathe sustainable life into our home this spring, I have been exploring terrariums.
Terrariums are self-contained growing environments for plants. They are ideal for the home because they can be as big or as small as your space allows for, and they require little sunlight or maintenance once established. As most of you know that we recently downsized to a place with no backyard, terrariums are the perfect way to get our gardener fix, in miniature format!

Here are the results of our little terrarium-building experiment:

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1. Find a container. Clear glass is usually most suitable as it allows better sunlight access, but you can also use plastic- recycled pop bottles with the tops cut off make perfect terrarium containers!

2. Make sure your terrarium has a decent drainage system. Pots from gardening stores often have built-in drip trays, but if you’re working with glass, place stones/pebbles at the bottom of your jar so that your plants aren’t sitting in water. Stacking the stones about 1 inch should do.

3. Add plants and fill in with soil. You can select any number of plants for your terrarium, but try to find ones that need approximately the same amount of sunlight and water. Or, try to keep plants that need less water on a higher gradient so that the water drains to the ‘needier’ plants.

4. Follow plant care instructions written on the tags for your plants. Enjoy!

A full instructional on terrarium building can be found at the following the website:

Are you thinking about starting your own indoor garden, or have you already done so? If so, I would love to see your pictures and find out how it’s making your life a little greener- and happier. 🙂 Share away!

Oh happy trend feature: The Maxi Skirt

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My style inspiration so far this summer is the maxi skirt! The maxi skirt is the perfect staple for this time of year, when the days can reach a sweltering heat but the evenings bring a cool breeze. I particularly love it in a floral pattern, which, paired with its flowing shape, creates a romantic appeal.


What I love most about the maxi is that it’s easy to thrift or make by hand if you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious or more creative.  Like many trends, the maxi is retro and can be sourced out second-hand. Check out this pretty one I found at my local SPCA thrift store (for a whopping $3!):


Some things to keep in mind when thirft-shopping a maxi: it doesn’t have to be off-the-rack-perfect! If the pattern shows potential, you can always make little edits to create a unique and tailored piece for yourself. Consider replacing the buttons, giving the trim a little lace detail, or re-hemming the skirt into a trendier hi-lo style. I find that the more I personalize an item to fit my own style and figure, the more I love wearing it.


If hunting for a maxi in just the right pattern at a thrift shop is not your thing, you can also make your own quite easily. I found this tutorial with simple cut-and-sew instructions that models a maxi off of another skirt already in your closet. I am looking for fabrics to try this out, let me know if you decide to try it!

Fashion that doesn’t cost the earth- Greenpeace and the Toxic Threads campaign

I would say that I have a strong interest in personal style. I like beautiful patterns, sumptuous fabrics, and finding that perfect ‘fit’. Often, I will also sacrifice comfort for style (much to the chagrin of my husband- he still doesn’t know why I have a closet full of shoes and yet not one pair is comfortable for a hike!). But, since the recent high-profile collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh that had been housing several Canadian retail brands, I have come to question some of the ethical consequences of my buying decisions.

Standards in garment production are not only a concern for the people making our clothes, but also for the environment. Greenpeace recently launched a campaign called Toxic Threads, which calls big brands such as Calvin Klein, Zara and the Gap into account for the hazardous chemicals they use in producing their clothing. Once these clothing items reach the end of their life cycle (which is surprisingly a very fast process), they undoubtedly end up in landfills and leach toxins into the ground and the surrounding environment. Greenpeace is calling for such companies to change their practices and to seek safer alternatives.

I really like the article below that describes what Greenpeace is doing. It fits my vision for a fashionable lifestyle with a conscience. I, too, believe that my fashion choices shouldn’t literally ‘cost the earth’.

What are your thoughts on this campaign?