kat himmel | curious thing
history through portraiture

how glad are your rags?

i thought i was doing the right thing...until a friend whose opinions i revere challenged me about my penchant for (read: addiction to) trawling eBay in search of preloved fashion treasure. what is ethical fashion? is it buying something that's had a previous life - sartorial reincarnation, if you will - or is it supporting organic, fair-trade clothing merchants? until people tree sells their own pre-worn clothing, i don't have an answer.

whether you’re basking in the triumph of your first Veganuary or you’re an inveterate plant eater, you’ve probably got the diet down. ah, but there’s so much more to hot ethics & veganism than what you put into your body. i mean, my giddy aunt - what are you wearing!? if it’s that brash cashmere number gifted to you five birthdays ago, have a little think about its origins.

listen, now...calm down. i’m here to help. really. i shan’t lecture you. my MO’s to show you that, whatever your personal style, there are clothes out there for you no matter your priorities. fashion’s come on in leaps and bounds since haight-ashbury. you needn't adorn yourself head-to-toe in hemp. but, if that’s the way you choose to live your life, you'll get no judgment from me. so long as you’re not hurting anyone, do as you please. if your clothing is cruel, though, here’s some food for thought.

i know it’s a lot to take on board, but fashion can be ruthless - to animals, to the planet and to those who produce the garments. if you’re an ethically-minded individual, you may feel overwhelmed. don’t sweat it. we’ll have you covered in no time. and you won’t be covered in a single stitch of sweatshop gear. have a gander at the possibilities.

1. upscale upcycling

keeping it quirky? you’ve found your spiritual home. this shop has something for all & sundry.

the reformation

..takes sustainability to new heights - and everyone wins! this LA-based house of eco haute couture designs and manufactures everything it sells. they’re committed to their 65/15/20 model. that’s to say that their creations are based upon 65% ecological fabrics, 15% deadstock (discontinued fabrics otherwise destined for landfill) and 20% repurposed vintage.

that said, watch out for the odd leather jacket or skirt. vintage can be outdated in more ways than one. mercifully, they don’t design with fur.


comfy, conscientious & with that all-important clin d'oeil toward the past, couch provides every accessory you could ever desire. from guitar straps to passport wallets, your valuables can nestle cosily in a fortress comprised of 1972 goodyear truck vinyl. this is recycling at its tres chich-est. the aesthete at couch is second t0 none - & no-one in the queue at the supermarket will whip out the same coin purse.

get your own! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/couchguitarstraps

each item is handcrafted at couch HQ in LA. nice folk, reasonably priced & with an ethical drive that can't be matched. keep 'em in business. get over there. yes, you. go on.

2. bringing up baby

now, i'm not a reproducer...but i know that, until recently, finding an alternative to organic swaddling was about as easy (and enjoyable) as giving yourself a lobotomy. for those of you who are parents, I bring glad tidings of Mini Rodinis.

the shop name is reminiscent of something you’d find on a plate of finger foods. apt, that. their clothes are delectable and adorable with a generous garnish of conscience. the only drawback of note is that you’ll be dreading your child’s twelfth birthday. Mini Rodinis makes clothes for kids up to age 11. enjoy the cuteness while you can! 

3. just the basics, ma'am

you, there! yes, you in your effortless uniform of jeans and battered white tee. you’re not interested in fashion, are you? well, fair enough - and fair trade, too. top up your classic wardrobe from a number of sources.

Recycle a Tee

...is crazy innovative and committed to the environment. you, your significant other and any young’uns you know can wear a Recycle a Tee top for as long as you want. when you’re done, return it and get 25% off a new one.


it’s a PACT, but not with the devil. this angelic US-based company grows its 100% organic cotton in India. that’s also where most of their women’s, men’s and children’s clothing is manufactured. saves costs and minimises pollution from transport. the people who work for PACT don’t lose out, either. they have rights and get generous wages. plus, those smaller sizes? they’re not made by small people. (no, not midgets. it's a reference to child labour, you heartless prick.)

4. bags of potential 

two words: Matt & Nat. this company is a pioneer and deserves a stand-alone mention. since 1995, Matt & Nat have been designing and selling sustainable, vegan accessories. here's the place to kit out your iPad and grab something for that spontaneous weekend away. 

built to last, the classic lines offered here will stand the test of time.

5. wear it and swear it

if t-shirts were protest songs, Herbivore clothing would be the woody guthrie of veganism. a success right off the mark of their inception in 2002, they’re now renowned across the globe for their compassion, wit and wisdom. when it comes to breaking down barriers and delivering complex messages through pithy one-liners, Herbivore sets the benchmark.

their designs are ever-evolving. don’t need another t-shirt? well, resist this: there’s plenty more on offer at Herbivore. they’ve got books, stationery, kitchen gadgets, belts, scarves and gloves. it’s a veritable oleson's vegan mercantile on the..pacific northwest? well, you know what i mean. go. browse. buy - and wear your heart on your sleeve (wrist, waist, chest, etc.)

so, voila! you can ethically indulge your vanity - even if you’re just keeping to society’s rules regarding public nudity! remember, you can also find previously-loved clothes from ethical brands on etsy, vinted & eBay. don't forget your charity shops! increase your feel-good factor: swap or donate stuff you no longer wear. now, don’t you feel positively virtuous?