Haute not hippie
Shop with a conscience – 5 eco-luxe brands you need in your life right now. No crystals, or itchy fabrics anywhere.
Can something be beautiful and kind the planet? Hell yes. Gone are the days when eco-conscious fashion and homewares have a whiff of lentils and feel rougher than a pair of jute knickers. Today it’s less hippie and more haute. The killer combo of technology and creativity has seen phenomenal shift in attitude from designers and shoppers are feeling the love for the planet too – largely because it looks so good.
But where do you begin? No need to spend hours going down a Google rabbit hole, I’ve discovered 5 eco-friendly, ethical brands with products that look as fab as your conscience will feel in Reading. Field & Hawken – a new homeware and furniture store just outside the town centre – is fully committed to the cause.
Mum of 2, Amy Field, left the corporate world to pursue her love of interiors, and is the brains behind this brilliant business. Here showroom is full of eco-luxe lighting, soft furnishings and tactile furniture with an emphasis on good design. Let’s shop…
We’ve all come to realise that plastic is not so fantastic. A shocking 35 billion plastic bottles find their way into our seas each year and over 90% of all marine birds having plastic deposits in their stomachs. Thanks to Tasha and Barney Green of Devon-based Weaver Green, they’ve created Scandinavian and Asian-inspired throws, rugs, dog beds and bags, made out of single use plastic bottles and repurposed into soft textiles that can be used indoors or outdoors.
The genius bit, is that the entire range is washable and immunes to muddy paw prints, crayons and red wine *hic*, so you have more than half a chance to have a nice home and allow the chaos of family life to continue. The throws are pretty big and priced at a reasonable £45, the dog beds are £150 and the bags are from £45. That’s said, if they practically indestructible, so worth paying.
If you’re in the process of decluttering, or just trying to find a home for everything, then feast your eyes on these beauties – woven baskets created by talented Senegalese Wolof women, using traditional methods and modern design.
Artisanne is the brainchild of Elizabeth de Vise and her sister Emma, who fell in love with the Senegal and bought the baskets – weaved from a local grass, ndiorokh, and long strips of plastic – for their own homes. They work directly with the weavers – no middle men – to ensure they earn a fair and secure income for their products. The baskets are brilliant for hiding toys, washing, general tut that needs to be hidden. But every time you look at your beautiful basket, you’ll know you helped a woman in Senegal live her best life. Field & Hawken stocks wide variety of Ali Baba, laundry and waste paper baskets and bowls from the Artisanne range. Prices start at £30.
Vita Copenhagen have been around for a while and hit the spot on in terms of cool Scandi design, but this brand is committed to delivering on affordability, minimising carbon footprint and biggety bigging up its environmental responsibility, too.
Take this foxy feather EOS lamp. I am in lust. At £99 for the medium size, it’s an investment, but it’s also versatile – add a few accessories and you can use it as a pendant light or table or floor lamp. Made from goose feathers, that would otherwise be burned, Vita Copenhagen clean and repurpose them – diminishing the environmental impact. It’s worth noting that NONE of the goose feathers are derived from live or mistreated geese.
All the lamps are flat-packed in small and stylish black gift boxes to reduce storage and transportation costs, and to make the products more accessible and affordable. Plus Field & Hawken stock the LED bulbs – which are a darn site prettier than the ones you buy at the supermarket.
RAINE & HUMBLE
Launched in 2007 by a group of friends, Raine and Humble is an Aussie brand based in Melbourne. It’s all about lush home accessories, mixing classics with modern innovation while prioritising eco-friendly materials in the design, manufacturing and packaging. Yes all the feel-good eco credentials are brilliant, but seriously can we just take a minute and swoon over the pom pom cushions and the brass handled knives and spoons.
The range is vast. Lots of lovely textiles that you feel won’t date and are brilliantly priced. Field & Hawken, sell the pom pom cushions at £27.50 and the brass palm leaf butter knife and teaspoon are £6 each and the cheese knife is £9. The palm print table runner is £17.50. There are a number of cushions available, tea towels, candles and scented diffusers. Definitely a brand that will add personality to your home.
HAND & CRAFT FURNITURE
Furniture is one of the areas where you can invest in a few heirloom pieces. This did not happen in my family, with grandparents and parents who were more at home in MFI than an antiques shop. but I am a big believer in it… she says, desperately hoping one of my boys will love our old Heals walnut dining table enough to keep it. Field & Hawken stock outdoor furniture made from sustainably-sourced teak and some cracking cupboards and dining tables and benches from Cornish company Rustic House. But I particularly love the one-off coffee table by Hand & Craft Furniture. Made from a piece of beech with industrial hairpin legs, it treads that tricky line of modern rustic. Hard to nail, but on pointe here.
Made by a small family business of furniture makers in Derbyshire, Hand & Craft has over 25 years in furniture craftsmanship and use steels and reclaimed timbers to create quality, unique pieces. Materials are sourced across England with an emphasis on sustainability. So don’t expect to find something similar in Ikea.
Check out the eco-luxe interior loveliness at Field & Hawken, Unit 9, Oxford Road Industrial Estate, Gresham Way, Reading RG30 6AW, or pop over to the online shop.