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How Ethical Manufacturing Can Raise The Living Standards Of Local Communities

As the fashion industry continues to grow, it looks to less-developed countries to help it meet its manufacturing needs. While this move has driven much needed revenue to developing nations, it has also created a murky environment for ethical business practice . Even companies that are actively working to eliminate unfair work practices such as sweatshops from their supply chains, it can be a battle.. Here are a few ways in which companies can practise ethical manufacturing, while also raising the living standards of local communities as their economy grows.

What Is Ethical Manufacturing?

Ethical consumerism is all about consumers choosing to buy goods that are sourced ethically, distributed ethically and made ethically. When enough people choose to shop in a way that reflects these ethics, then companies can begin to change their practices. These changes can help people in the communities that manufacture goods earn a fair wage that supports them and ensure they are working in a safe, ethical manufacturing environment, rather than degrading, dirty or even dangerous conditions.

You’ve probably heard of sweatshops – they are the result of what happens when the principles of ethical consumerism aren’t followed. These places exploit workers, even employing children in hazardous jobs. They have authoritative overseers that enforce long hours and working conditions that can be damaging to workers health both physically and psychologically.

Unfortunately, the entire global fashion industry worldwide contributes to the problem of sweatshops – from manufacturers looking to maximise profits to consumers wanting to ‘stay trendy’ on a budget. Consumers demand goods at lower prices, and when they do that, companies begin to look outside their own countries for suppliers. Often, these suppliers are in countries such as Bangladesh, where workers may be paid as little as 19 pence per hour (far below the country’s livable wage) for their toil.

The Fashion Industry Can Help

It is possible for the fashion industry to become a force for change in the world, helping local economies to grow. Of course, this needs to be accomplished in the right way if it’s going to help workers across the world live happier and healthier lives.

ethical manufacturing

Image by Artificial Photography on Unsplash: To make a difference in the world, understand the importance of ethical manufacturing, then take steps to make it happen!

The first thing those in the fashion industry (and consumers!) need to do is think about where their clothes are made. Companies can make sure that the people manufacturing their clothes have fair working conditions and are paid a living wage, and ensure they do not condone child labour practices. The importance of ethical manufacturing makes it vital for everyone to ask these questions, but especially for those in the fashion industry before they ever agree to produce a product with a factory or manufacturer. 

Existing brands must take a hard look at the current production processes used. Any factory or manufacturer should be more than happy to answer questions about ethical practices. If they’re not, it’s a red flag. The same goes for consumers. If a brand can’t answer your questions about ethical production, then you simply have to assume they’re not living up to your ethical standards. 

What Consumers Can Do

Say you’re browsing women’s waterproof parka coats or looking for that perfect navy bomber jacket. How can you ensure your search culminates in you buying ethically sourced clothing? It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Ask the following questions:

  • Who made your clothes?
  • Where were the clothes made?
  • What are the conditions in the places they’re made?

Beyond those first few questions, you can dig a little deeper by contacting a company directly and asking them what their specific standards are when it comes to the wages of workers as well as the health and working conditions of the factories the clothing is manufactured in. Many companies are transparent in how they create and source their products, and some even have social impact reports that have all the information you need.

You can also choose smaller clothing companies that know their garment workers; the same goes for local clothing manufacturers. They likely know the people who produce their garments by their first names. Plus, when you support small businesses that follow ethical practices, you are also supporting your local community – and it really doesn’t get much more uplifting than that! You may pay a bit more for your clothing, but consider that paying for peace of mind in knowing a child was not put to work to stitch your favourite jacket.

Protected Species: Our Ethics

At Protected Species, we care about the impact our business has on local communities. That’s why we ensure that the fabric mills we use have excellent community programs that ensure workers are valued, safe, supported and highly trained. We also support after-school programs and programs at local hospitals in the communities that help us bring our garments to you.

ethical manufacturing

Image by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash: You can make a difference in the fashion world by shopping at places that practise only ethical manufacturing.

Look to the Future

With a nudge in the right direction, the fashion industry can start to support a fairer working environment and a living wage for workers all over the world. It can help fragile, developing communities to rise up by ensuring that skilled work opportunities are available for everyone. And if done right, it can also ensure that instead of being exploited, a workforce is cared for and educated. So, do your part to make sure you’re buying ethically sourced products, and take companies to task if they don’t follow these standards.

Featured image by ludi on Pixabay


8 Family-Friendly Winter Break Activities In The Netherlands

It might be cold outside (and wet, and windy), but instead of curling up under a cosy blanket and binge-watching your favourite show, you may want to consider throwing on your waterproof winter parka to explore something new. In the Netherlands, there are all types of exciting and magical outdoor activities you can do with your family (and a few indoor ones, too). Here are some great family-friendly winter break activities in the Netherlands, you should put on your family’s holiday bucket list.

Explore the Deventer Dickensfestijn

Once a year, The Dutch city of Deventer transforms into a quaint English city from the pages of a Charles Dickens novel. Bergkwartier lines its historic streets with Christmas decorations and actors in period clothing to give you an immersive and unforgettable experience right from A Christmas Carol. Make sure to dress for the weather with your favourite Protected Species parka and grab a little hot mulled wine to help keep you toasty.

Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is a very Dutch activity, right up there with bike riding. It’s also the perfect activity for family-friendly holidays in the Netherlands! Ice skating can be found just about everywhere in the Netherlands in winter. From the famous canals that crisscross the streets of Amsterdam (when the weather allows), to the Rijksmuseum, to a rink in Rotterdam, you have your pick of interesting, beautiful and magical places to create some holiday memories on ice. 

Explore Christmas Markets

You can find Christmas markets all across Europe during the holiday season, and the Netherlands is no exception. In Groningen, you can find the WinterWelVaart, a holiday market with a maritime theme that sells food, gluwein and handicrafts. In Dordrecht, you can find one of the largest Christmas markets in all of the Netherlands – a great way to experience all that Dutch culture has to offer. As you traverse the cosy cobblestone streets of Dordrecht (which isn’t a city well-known to many foreigners), you can admire the lights and decorations all over the city and experience the holiday season as the Dutch do. If it gets too cold, there are a variety of stores and cafes to take shelter in and explore. 

If you don’t find yourself in Groningen or Dordrecht over your holiday break, don’t worry. While their holiday markets are not as well-known as those in other countries such as Germany, many other cities and towns across the Netherlands have Christmas markets where you can stroll around to visit various stalls selling goods, drink hot chocolate or mulled wine, and simply enjoy the ambience. 

Go to Haarlem

The Netherlands is famous for its many museums, but one you may not know about is the Teylers Museum just outside of Amsterdam in Haarlem. This museum was founded in 1784 and has a variety of interesting exhibits that range from wonderful to weird and will hold your family spellbound. You’ll find everything from fossils and old coins to valuable books and ancient scientific instruments. Also, as one of the oldest museums in all of the Netherlands, it has an authentic 18th-century interior that should fascinate your inner historian. It’s the perfect day trip if you’re staying in or around Amsterdam.

Netherlands christmas markets
Image by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash: Christmas markets are some of the best family-friendly winter break activities in the Netherlands!

The Amsterdam Light Festival

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an event that takes place every year in December and January, and it’s one of the most popular winter holiday ideas in the Netherlands. It features artists from all over the world who create themed artworks using light that is then displayed across the city. To explore the festival, you can take a boat tour or simply grab a map that shows you a walking route through the streets. You can take a bike as well, if you want to go full Dutch!

This festival allows you to see Amsterdam in a different light, but make sure to dress warm and bring your waterproof parka in order to prepare for cold temperatures and rain – common weather in Amsterdam this time of the year. 

Visit the Efteling

If you love amusement parks, then don’t miss the Efteling with its rides, shows, and attractions. In the winter, the park offers special attractions such as bonfires and winter treats. There are fairy lights and dances with the Fire Prince and Snow Princess that will delight your children. It’s a great way to add a little thrill to your holiday.

See Gouda by Candlelight

The Gouda Bij Kaarslicht takes place each December. During this time, the medieval town of Gouda, a quick train ride away from Amsterdam, is lit up by candles to celebrate the Christmas season. The town extinguishes all artificial lights and illuminates the town square with over 1,500 candles. It’s a beautiful scene that no one in your family is soon to forget. You can also take advantage of a traditional Christmas market and tree-lighting ceremonies while you’re there.

christmas tree
Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash: Family-friendly holidays in the Netherlands are easy to find!

Visit the Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival

One of the biggest Dutch winter events, the Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival attracts over 100,000 people each year to Zwolle’s large ice hall called de IJsselhallen. The festival uses over 275,000 kilos of snow and ice to create magical ice sculptures themed around world-famous stories. You can view sculptures based on the tales of The Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet and Alice in Wonderland.

There are so many winter holiday ideas in the Netherlands that are fun for the whole family. We hope you’ll get out and try some of them this holiday season!

Featured image by Sandra Herrero on Unsplash


6 Beautiful National Trust Destinations Perfect For The Winter Break

The UK has miles of woodlands, coastline and hillsides waiting for you to explore – even in winter. These naturally beautiful places are more than the perfect destination for your winter break; they’re also the places that have helped to shape a nation. So get up, get out, and explore the natural wonders of the UK with these amazingly beautiful National Trust destinations. 

Eskdale and Duddon Valley

Eskdale is located in the Lake District and is the only place in England you can see the mountains look as if they’re going to fall into the sea. You can find all types of landscapes here, from volcanic uplands to tidal estuaries at Ravenglass.

Humans have been exploring Eckdale for literally centuries, as evidenced by the standing stones that trace all the way back to the Bronze Age. You can also see burial sites on Bootle Fell and Eskdale Moor and the remnants of Roman forts on the coast at Ravensglass. Some of these Roman remains are parts of the larger Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, so as you can imagine, there’s a lot to see. (Tip: Whenever you’re visiting National Trust destinations for winter wanders, it’s a good idea to take a waterproof parka, since you never know when a shower might take you by surprise!)

Cuckmere Valley

Cuckmere Valley has a little something for everyone. Take a lovely stroll along the river at Seaford Head nature reserve, which is beautiful any time of the year. You can also take a walk in the countryside that includes views of secluded farmland. You can visit Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters where the sea and the South Downs meet; famous author Virginia Woolf’s country retreat Monk’s House; or Alfriston Clergy House, which was the very first building saved by the National Trust.

During the holidays you’ll find all kinds of seasonal activities here, too, making Cuckmere one of the best National Trust destination ideas for winter break. There are Christmas wreath-making classes, an indoor Christmas fair and a Festive Family Fun weekend with activities and crafts the entire family can enjoy.

sheep
Image by Ambitious Creative on Unsplash: There are so many beautiful National Trust destinations. Which ones will you visit this winter?

Giant’s Causeway

You can walk in the footsteps of giants in Northern Ireland at the Giant’s Causeway. This National Trust destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site has many must-see sights for you to explore. There’s the Grand Causeway, with the three rock outcrops that famously make up the Giant’s Causeway. You also have the unique opportunity to see Northern Ireland from the Giant’s Causeway Clifftop Experience, a five-mile guided hike with unfettered views of gorgeous coastline. 

The Giant’s Boot is another can’t-miss feature of the Giant’s Causeway, accessible by a small path that takes you right along the sea. Or you can see the Wishing Chair, a natural throne formed by rock columns. 

Lundy

If you’ve explored all the National Trust’s top winter gardens and you’re ready for a little more adventure this winter, then it’s time to head to Lundy, an island sanctuary for wildlife as well as people. This island has dramatic scenery with a dazzling array of wildlife that can take days to fully explore. To get to Lundy in the winter, you must first take an exciting helicopter ride. Once you land, you can explore walking paths that take you to see puffins and other seabirds. There are also places to fish and climb if you’re really feeling adventurous. Lundy is great for adults or for families, as there are many activities to do with children on the island, such as an education centre and family activity packs to help you explore together.

Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort

If you love history, then a visit to Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort is for you. Found within Northumberland National Park, the area’s beautiful landscapes also hold the secrets of the ancient Roman Empire with structures that still stand after thousands of years. You can also explore Housesteads Fort to catch a glimpse into what Roman military life was like (ancient water closets included!). Don’t miss this amazing bit of history that is lurking right in your own backyard – or close enough to it!

Hadrian’s Wall
Image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash: Hadrian’s Wall should be on your list of National Trust destinations for winter – just remember to bundle up in a waterproof winter parka!

Sutton Hoo

If you love spending time outdoors in the winter and want to inject a little archaeology into your explorations, then Sutton Hoo is well worth a visit. In 1939 a ship was found buried in the sandy soil here. Upon further exploration, the ship was revealed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal burial chamber full of riches and history that would transform the understanding of early England. 

Sutton Hoo is also home to Anglo-Saxon burial mounds that have helped experts understand more about Britain’s ancient ancestors. You can walk among these mounds that are thought to be the burial grounds of a royal dynasty from the seventh century.

No matter where your winter adventures takes you, Protected Species is ready to keep you warm and dry along the way. We are proud of these beautiful National Trust destinations and hope you’ll take the time to explore some this winter as you stay active in the outdoors!

Featured image by Patrick Metzdorf on Unsplash


The History of Black Friday Sales (And Why We Don’t Hold Them)

It’s hard to mark the beginning of the holiday season without first acknowledging Black Friday. This day is the name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (although Black Friday has become more of a worldwide phenomenon as of late). You probably associate the term with crazy crowds of people willing to mow each other down to get the latest in electronics or the hottest Christmas toy. But what is the history of Black Friday? And could it actually be causing more harm than we realise?

What is the history of Black Friday?

The earliest record of the term ‘Black Friday’ being applied to the day after Thanksgiving and shopping seems to be from 1961 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many people noticed that this day was marked annually with heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic as people rushed out to start their holiday shopping. So, where does the term Black Friday come from? It’s believed that retailers started using the term specifically because this date marked when they would start making a profit – going from being ‘in the red’ to being ‘in the black.’ The name became even more popular when the history of Black Friday sales showed that it was the busiest shopping day of the entire year (since 2005). 

For the past several decades, Black Friday has been dominated by massive sales, which now often span the entire weekend after Thanksgiving in the US. Some stores have even begun staying open on Thanksgiving Day itself to prolong the sale period even more. Many places have also extended their trading in order to remain open for 24 hours! During these sales, huge discounts are usually offered, as well as some special giveaways and freebies. Because of these impressive deals, the hysteria surrounding Black Friday has only grown over the years. 

In fact, people often become crazed and don’t think twice about pushing or trampling down others in order to get the deals or items they want. There have actually been reports of violence on Black Friday; since 2006, there have been at least 12 deaths and 117 injuries throughout the US. Prospective shoppers even tend to sleep outside stores all night, so that they’ll be the first in line to snag the good deals. In the UK, these practices are following the US pattern, with increasing reports involving shoppers and the police as fights break out over purchasing in a frenzied manner.

Black Friday is a huge spending boon to the retail industry. In fact, last year’s estimates show that nearly $59.6 billion was spent during the Black Friday weekend in the US, and a reported 1.49 billion spent with online UK retailers alone. So, it would definitely seem that Black Friday is not a phenomenon that will be going away any time soon.

black friday sales

Image by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels: Shoppers go crazy for huge discounts on Black Friday.

What are the problems with Black Friday?

Even though people can’t seem to stop themselves from shopping on Black Friday, there are actually many problems with the concept. Because retailers are so eager to make money, they end up advertising their products using Black Friday simply as a marketing ploy. This means that a lot of people end up rushing out to stores and buying things they don’t actually need. Items they don’t need quickly become items that get thrown out, which leads to a hugely negative impact on the environment. All that waste ends up hurting us – all around the globe – including the people who don’t shop on Black Friday. 

Besides the environmental aspect, there’s also a negative psychological effect that occurs with Black Friday shoppers. Because of the intense need to find good deals or to win free stuff, people basically become aggressive and hostile towards their fellow shoppers and/or store employees. Consumers have become obsessed with endless overspending, and with this greed comes needless debt. Retailers have found that people are buying even more every year.

In the US, instead of getting into the holiday spirit by spreading goodwill and cheer, consumers are more focused on camping out all night on Thanksgiving to snag the best deals (and they don’t mind if they have to trample on someone to get it, or if their purchases turn out to be items they don’t really need). And that’s the problem with fast fashion and other retail industries. Although products might be more convenient or cheaper to buy, the true cost of them is much more serious. More damage to our global environment with increased pollution means that Black Friday could actually be causing more harm than good. 

christmas presents

Image by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels: Stick to thoughtful gifts that will last a lifetime instead of Black Friday fast fashion products.

Why doesn’t Protected Species hold Black Friday sales?

We here at Protected Species believe that having less is actually the most liberating thing you can do. We think that products should be meant to last a lifetime and they should be necessary to own, have multi-functional use, and as such, work really hard. 

We are shoppers ourselves and we do genuinely understand that Black Friday may offer the opportunity for cash savings which we all could do with especially on the run up to Christmas. However, are we really getting a bargain?  Black Friday is an opportunity to exploit and many retailers, especially in the clothing arena, are now in the game of manufacturing product for “sale” periods. Lighter weight fabrics, lower quality yarns, cheaper factory processes are just some of the cynical ways the clothing industry uses this time of year to gain profits – are you really getting that 20% off? Genuine sales are better for our company so we can focus on bringing you well-made products developed through sustainable, eco-friendly practices. We’d rather our brand consist of items that will help support your lifestyle instead of items that are purchased simply because they’re cheap and on sale during Black Friday weekend.

Protected species from time to time do offer sales which we will continue to do this at certain periods of the year. These are genuine sales of current lines, and where possible, we offer these to our existing Protected Species community.

Some people might look at the history of Black Friday and note that the trend has done a lot to help the worldwide economy. However, there’s a darker side to Black Friday, too – one that consists of retail employees having to work ridiculous hours, products being made from cheap labour in inhumane conditions to target that “sale” price, and severe damage being done to our environment because of the production and eventual waste from these products. 

A recent survey showed that over 53% of people regretted at least one item they had bought in the Black Friday sale. We do all feel good about bagging a bargain but So maybe it’s time we all think twice before supporting this holiday, and instead try to hold up companies that are working to produce sustainable products that won’t hurt our environment, and that we can treasure long after the holiday season has ended.

Shop our range of women’s waterproof coats, made to last a lifetime.

Featured image by Bruce Mars on Pexels


What Is Oeko-Tex And Why Is It Important For Ethical Consumerism?

Trying to nail down an exact definition of ethical consumerism is a bit like trying to catch a butterfly – it keeps on getting away from you at the last minute. It seems that everyone has an opinion when it comes to the question, ‘Exactly what is ethical consumerism?’ 

The phrase began to be bandied about back in the 1950s, when what became known as ‘fair trade’ initiatives started up in North America. Subsequently, inspired by the so-called ‘hippy’ movement of the ’60s, people were motivated to think more about themselves as individual consumers in their own right. With the realisation that we could influence the sellers’ market simply by making the choice to buy one product over another, more and more people – perhaps unwittingly – contributed to the formation and growth of the ethical consumption model. 

The first Alternative Trading Organisation (ATO) was formed in Holland in the 1960s. It was called ‘SOS Wereldhandel’ – the latter translates as ‘world trade’, and the SOS stands for Support Underdeveloped Regions. 

So, to try and encapsulate a worthy definition of ethical consumerism, it’s probably best summed up here by developmenteducation.ie: ‘recognising the power that YOU have, as a consumer of goods and services, in influencing business to be more sustainable, ethical and accountable’. 

climate activism

Image by Ben White on Unsplash: When it comes to ethical consumerism, the world is in your hands.

What is Oeko-Tex?

Oeko-Tex has its headquarters in Zurich and was founded in 1992 in response to consumer concerns about harmful matter in textile products. Founding members consisted of the German Hohenstein Institute and the Austrian Textile Research Institute. Oeko-Tex is a registered trademark and is also the shortened name for the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology (Oeko-Tex certainly rolls off the tongue a little easier!).

The Association has grown exponentially, and now includes 18 research institutes across Europe and Japan and contact offices in more than 70 countries around the world. In a nutshell, what Oeko-Tex does is certify that textiles and fabrics are free from harmful chemicals and therefore safe for human consumption. If you buy something that has an Oeko-Tex label, you can rest assured that your product does not contain harmful levels of more than 100 substances that are known to be potentially damaging to human health. The Association issues several different labels; the main one is known as Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex. One label is specifically for leather products, and some labels even attest to socially and environmentally safe conditions during the production process. 

A couple of facts worth noting: over 10,000 manufacturers in nearly 100 countries currently participate in the Oeko-Tex Association certification procedure and, to date, the Association has issued more than 160,000 Standard 100 certificates for textile products. According to the Oeko-Tex website, updates are made on an annual basis in order to accommodate the latest scientific discoveries. It’s good to see so many positive steps being taken to help preserve our planet and to help the consumer make better choices.

Image by Bru-nO on Pixabay: What is Oeko-Tex? Put simply, it’s a body that certifies textiles and fabrics are free from harmful chemicals.

Oeko-Tex and Ethical Consumerism

As the Oeko-Tex website says: ‘Since 1992, our portfolio of independent certifications and product labels has enabled companies along the textile chain and all consumers to make responsible decisions in favour of products that are harmless to health, environmentally friendly and manufactured in a fair way.’ 

Food labelling began back in the 70s, and it’s becoming ever-more transparent and informative. In most cases, we can now choose what we eat, where it comes from, exactly what it contains and how it’s made/packaged. The same is true for clothing. With the introduction of more and more clear labelling, we are informed about exactly what we are buying and the process the garment has gone through prior to being available for purchase in a store or online. 

In other words, we can exercise ethical consumerism by choosing to purchase only from brands that use ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. Of course, this is dictated by the market somewhat, as the right goods have to be available for us to choose and informative labelling has to be in place. This is why the Oeko-Tex trademark and others like it are so important in order for us to make sound choices.

Protected Species and Oeko-Tex

Here at Protected Species, we’re proud to say that each piece in our waterproof women’s coats and jackets ranges is Oeko-Tex certified. Textile products can only receive the Oeko-Tex labelling if all components of the garment meet the necessary criteria – in other words: threads, linings, zips, buttons and other accessories are all included. The fabric mill where our products are made, in addition to being Oeko-Tex standard, is also Blue Sign certified. Blue Sign certification means that they provide a safe and sustainable environment for all their employees. Our mill uses eco-energy, eco-materials and eco-engineering. They declare their carbon footprint and have all the testing in place to ensure that they don’t use or release any harmful substances into the environment. 

When you buy from Protected Species, you will not only be making a good ethical choice –  you’ll also be acquiring a stylish, flattering and multi-functional waterproof raincoat that will stand the test of time. If you’re looking for a women’s waterproof coat but are unsure which one to go for, check out our blog on how to choose a women’s waterproof jacket.

Hopefully this article has gone some way in answering the question ‘What is Oeko-Tex and why is it important for ethical consumerism?’, and you now feel a little more empowered when making those all-important buying decisions in future.

Featured image by Free-Photos on Pixabay


How Greta Thunberg’s Climate Activism Could Shape the Fashion Industry

Who would ever have suspected that a teenager would become the face of one of the most important issues facing our society today? Perhaps in order to fight climate change, we all need a young voice to shake us from our complacency. It is younger generations, after all, who will be stuck dealing with the consequences of the choices we’ve made that have damaged our planet. One brave 16-year-old girl decided there was no more time to waste with world leaders debating whether to take any steps towards battling global warming. Greta Thunberg, a girl who has no qualms about speaking the truth (even in front of powerful world leaders), has stepped forward to be the voice of reason we should all be listening to.

greta climate activism

Thunberg’s activism has inspired many climate change strikes around the globe.

Greta Thunberg: The Most Powerful Voice in Climate Activism

Thunberg was born in Sweden in 2003, but did not wait long to get started using her voice to bring awareness to the issue of climate change. In August 2018, she started a school strike for the climate right outside Swedish Parliament. These protests then inspired over 100,000 children around the globe to lead strikes of their own through a burgeoning force called Fridays for Future. As people realised what an eloquent and moving speaker she was, Thunberg was invited to speak at climate rallies in Stockholm, Helsinki, Brussels and London. She also spoke at the United Nations COP24 in Poland, where she addressed the Secretary-General in a speech shared by millions. She even led the largest climate strike in history, which consisted of more than four million people across 161 countries. 

But perhaps her most famous moment thus far has been her appearance at the UN Climate Action Summit that took place in New York in September. Her impassioned speech shamed global leaders for not taking action while entire ecosystems are collapsing and people are dying because of climate change. Her fiery sermon went viral, and Thunberg was instantly classified as a worldwide inspirational warrior. Thunberg has advocated for huge changes to be made to carbon emissions programs around the world, citing that carbon emissions need to be significantly decreased if there’s any chance at reducing the damage these emissions have caused to our planet. Plus, Thunberg practises what she preaches by refusing to travel by plane. She has also brought attention to the massive dangers of global warming and the dire issues that come along with an overpopulated planet.

The Fashion Industry: Part of the Global Warming Problem?

The fashion industry has begun to take note of the climate change movement in recent years. Overall, despite small steps being made towards more eco-friendly practices by select companies, a great deal more change needs to be made. One of the most harmful aspects of the fashion industry is what’s called ‘fast fashion’. It got its name by providing consumers with cheap, trendy clothing that takes trends from the catwalk and brings them right to the customer at breakneck speed. Some examples of this practice are global brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21. Due to an increased rate of production, the clothing that comes from these retailers is often of poor quality. Plus, in order to keep costs low, these items are frequently made in sweatshops under dangerous, dehumanising conditions.

The true environmental damage done by the fashion industry is only starting to come to the surface. Many of these fast fashion brands cause lots of pollution because of their use of toxic chemicals; dyes and synthetic fabrics can seep into water supplies in foreign countries where the clothes are produced, as well as at home where the clothing is washed. In the US, more than 11 million tonnes of clothing are thrown away every year, leaving garments full of lead, pesticides, and other chemicals to release toxic chemicals into the air. Basically, fast fashion’s carbon footprint is horrendous overall.

Of course, the industry gets away with these things because the market is still supporting these companies. So, where should the public be investing their money? Our best bet is to support companies that are open about their environmental impact and are willing to take significant steps to improve their carbon footprint. It turns out that fashion can go hand-in-hand with sustainability if we become more conscious of the brands we’re buying from and only give our money to companies that can promise they’re being green corporate citizens.

sustainable fashion

Try to steer clear of fast fashion brands and focus on green, sustainable companies instead.

Climate Activism and the Fashion Industry

If we want to enact real, long-lasting change in the fashion industry, we’ll need to borrow some of Thunberg’s passion. Her willingness to accept some hardships (no flying, vegan diet, etc.) means that we should all be capable of making changes to our lifestyles in order to ensure we’re not causing further irreparable harm to the planet. This calls for an attitude shift from buying what’s fastest and easiest to buying what’s best for society and our earth as a whole. 

So, where do we want to see fashion go? Far away from cheap jeans that fall apart after one wash or trendy items that we’ll only wear for one season and then ignore in our closet. We should all be pushing for fashion that’s high-quality; your items should be something you can buy for life (such as a womens waterproof parka that can work with the rest of your wardrobe for years to come). Our clothing should be timeless and versatile, with a minimalist style, that allows us to always feel fashionable while doing a lot more with a lot less.

Wondering how Greta Thunberg’s climate activism could shape the fashion industry? Her passion for saving the planet can help remind all of us (from fashion designers and fashion companies to everyday consumers) that we’re all responsible for the health of our planet. Any steps we can take – even if they’re a bit more expensive or not as convenient – can make a difference in slowing down the effects of climate change. And hopefully, teenagers in the future can focus on just being kids instead of worrying about convincing powerful adults to take responsibility and necessary action to save our planet.


5 Autumnal Fashion Trends To Keep You Dry And Looking Stylish

Whether you’re a ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ or not (women of a certain age will no doubt remember The Kinks’ somewhat unusually-titled song from back in the day…), it’s hard not to notice the regular changing fashion trends. Each season of the year brings a flurry of new styles, new patterns, new colours. While we prefer to focus more on timeless styles and cuts than seasonally in/out attire, we will admit to taking a sneaky peak at the current trends and colours for outfit inspiration. In fact, it’s often difficult NOT to follow trends when buying new clothes, as certain shops and boutiques will only offer selections of that season’s colour and style. Have you ever tried seeking out a blue jumper when the season’s colours are pistachio green and pastel purple? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack!

What Are The Current Autumn Fashion Trends?

This year’s autumn collections included a little something for everyone; whether you’re into powerplay pantsuits or ultra-femme florals, there’s an autumnal style and colour palette to match every sartorial taste. 

2019’s autumn was big on colour, so long as you stick to just the one. Monochrome ensembles are an easy way to style a minimalist look while still appearing put together and fashion forward. The added bonus of this trend is that it makes it much easier to style, as matching cuts and cloth matter less when you’re working from a shared colour palette. We love this trend, as it lends itself to longevity and won’t necessarily require additional purchases – we all lean towards buying our favourite colour, so the likelihood is they’ll already be enough in your wardrobe to pull together an all [insert colour preference here] look.

Head-to-toe leather is making a splash and if you opt for a vegan leather alternative then it’s likely you’ll be shower-proof to boot! We were also happy to see a continuation of fashion designed not only for the female gaze but for female comfort and utility, too. Iconic pantsuits made with sumptuously drapey fabrics, bigger shoulders and wider legs, cinched at the waist with a thick belt to accentuate the female form ruled the runways this year. With deep pockets and lines similar to loungewear, these designs were clearly made for comfort and confidence. Match your pantsuit with a Protected Species Commuter or Mac to finish this office-ready style. 

Moody florals with Victorian silhouettes, tailored boiler suits, and sneaks of plaid (an autumn fashion trend as reliable as the seasons, especially handy if made in the traditional wool – a durable fabric that’s highly absorbent, heat-retaining and, if properly looked after, can withstand an unexpected downpour or two) also made a showing. 

Trends aside, as autumn invariably means lots of cold and damp weather (we do get blessed with the odd bright, crisp day, of course) it’s usually wise to be prepared with some waterproof clothing for when the weather changes as quickly as we know it can. So, let’s take a look at some autumnal fashion staples that will keep you dry and looking stylish year in, year out:

A Waterproof and Windproof Parka

Our waterproof parka is completely breathable and comes with a reassuring two-year waterproof guarantee. It features internal drawcord adjusters at the waist and hem, security zipped pockets, and an adjustable and concealable hood. It’s lightweight, so allows for layering underneath to keep you warm and dry. As with all our products, it’s designed to stand the test of time and is manufactured in our eco-friendly fabric mill. 

grey waterproof parka

A women’s grey parka coat is an ideal wardrobe staple for autumn’s unpredictable weather.

Waterproof Mac

Our Waterproof Mac is anything but basic! It’s styled like a trench coat with deep pockets, a belt and a hem drawcord to help it hang beautifully. It has a good-size hood that’s removable as well as elegantly curved heat-welded storm flaps.

Bomber Jacket

If you want something that’s a little more casual but that will still keep you dry then take a look at our Waterproof Bomber Jacket. It’s a wonderfully contemporary and relaxed style that is fully waterproof and breathable. It features an elegantly shaped, dropped-back hem with a drawcord adjuster. How many jackets have you owned where the hood won’t stay up when you’re battling the elements – or, if it does stay up, only covers half of your hair? Our Rain Bomber features a new, improved fully adjustable hood, which gives you an even better fit and therefore more protection from the wind and rain.

waterproof bomber jacket

You won’t go far wrong with a women’s khaki bomber jacket as one of your autumn essentials this year.

Waterproof Winter Parka

If you’re looking for a smart waterproof women’s coat, but need something with a bit more guaranteed warmth, our new waterproof winter parka could certainly fit the bill. Just as stylish as our regular parka, this winter version is slightly longer and is lined throughout the body, sleeves and pockets with a low weight, high warmth fleece which won’t bobble. The design retains our signature fluid silhouette that allows you to be both stylish and warm (two elements that don’t necessarily always go together)!

These are just a few of our waterproof jackets, all of which will keep you dry and looking dapper this autumn and winter. If you want a few more ideas, check out our suggestions for five iconic outerwear pieces to keep in your wardrobe.

Bring it on, autumn…we’re ready for you!


6 Innovative Products to Make Travelling Easier

For someone focused on using sustainable and eco-friendly products, it can sometimes feel challenging to uphold these standards when you’re travelling. Maintaining a minimalist lifestyle can feel difficult when you’re touring a new city or hiking up a mountain trail. Fortunately, more companies are producing innovative products for female travellers that allow them to be green while still simplifying their lives. Here’s a look at some of the best travel essentials for women on the market today.

  1. Vespula Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to optimise efficiency when packing, so that after arriving in a new destination your luggage is neatly packed away and ordered into handy sections, rather than erupting into a confusing mess – no need to dig, just look for the right label and you’re there. The Packing Cubes from Vespula are pretty inexpensive at £10.99 each, so you can stock up on as many as you need to store everything from your clothes to your toiletries. As each one works as a compression bag, you can pack your items more tightly, allowing for a lot more space in your suitcase (or a smaller suitcase – hello, no checked baggage!). The best part is that these cubes are sustainable, as they’re manufactured from high-quality polyester fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. They’re also shipped in eco-friendly cardboard box packaging, so you can feel good about every element of the purchase. 

Solar Chargers: Products to Make Travelling Easier

Solar chargers can free you from having to find an outlet while you’re out exploring.

  1. Freeloader Solar Supercharger

If you’re heading on an adventure that might limit your access to outlets, an eco-friendly solar supercharger could be your new best friend. The solar supercharger from Freeloader is easily in the running as one of the must-have products to make travelling easier. This adaptable, portable solar charger can charge a full range of electronics (including your smartphone, tablet, camera, etc.). It works in all daylight conditions (i.e. even with heavy cloud) and at a wide range of temperatures, so you can have easy access to power no matter where your journey takes you. Plus, with a reasonable price tag of £49.99, you can nab this charger without breaking the bank (or requiring you to load up on even more gadgets). And if you’re trying to be more green, this charger allows you to rely on clean solar power instead of electricity. Never worry about finding an outlet on your travels again – just stash your supercharger in your bag and get on with your trip.

  1. Protected Species Parka

As Billy Connelly once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.” This is a phrase we took to heart when creating our versatile parka. It’s no longer necessary to fear destinations with inclement weather, just make sure to pack your Protected Species Parka – one of the best womens waterproof jackets for travel – and you’ll be good to go for any adventure life throws at you. Our parka will completely protect you from rain and wind with its breathable fabric and adjustable hood while remaining sleek and fashionable, meaning that you don’t have to hide your style underneath a heavy coat. We also pride ourselves on providing products that stand the test of time (that’s why each parka comes with a two-year waterproof guarantee). Not only can this parka work in a variety of travel settings (from hiking in the woods to touring museums in the city), it’s also made from sustainable products. We offer several other versatile styles that lend themselves well to travel, including the Rain Bomber and the Waterproof City Walker. Whichever one you pick will make you feel fashion-forward and like a traveller who’s ready for anything – even a rainstorm in the Sumatran jungle!

  1. Matador FlatPak Toiletry Bottles

Any smart traveller knows that packing liquids is much easier when you have your own containers. However, this can sometimes backfire, leaving you with an unholy mess on your hands if your plastic bottles open during transit – there is NOTHING worse than getting to your destination only to discover that your sun cream has leaked all over your everything. Matador has come up with a solution that’s both easy to use and eco-friendly. The FlatPak Toiletry Bottles are designed for minimalist travel since they’re five times lighter and more than three times more compact than traditional silicone travel bottles. Their sustainability comes from using welded Cordura fabric, which is manufactured with recycled and renewable components, minimal waste, and reduced energy consumption. They’re also three ounces, which is TSA-approved for carry-on travel and are waterproof. Plus, the snap loop ensures that all of your liquids and gels will be secure. The bottles can even end up allowing you to pack more because the bottle will conform to however much liquid you have inside, meaning that there’s no wasted space in your luggage. Never leave your extra toiletries at home again – pack all the toothpaste, shampoo, and body wash you need in these handy little travel packs!

the perfect backpack for travelling

Finding the perfect backpack can make travelling a breeze.

  1. KoveredUK Waxed Canvas Leather Backpack

As an itinerant, ethically conscious traveller, not just any backpack will do – you’ll want something innovative, sustainable and stylish that can withstand the test of time and a variety of rough and tumble adventures. One option is KoveredUK’s Wax Canvas Leather Backpack that’s available on Etsy. This handmade product is made from 100% reclaimed leather, making it a great choice for the sustainably-focused shopper. It also has natural wax protection and durable, double-lined cotton fabric, which means it can withstand a fair bit of beating. Plus, the several interior pockets and a roll-top fasten system make it perfect for on-the-go activities. One of our favourite elements is its timeless vintage style that imbues beauty while remaining multifunctional and supremely practical.

  1. Scrubba Wash Bag

Tired of searching for somewhere to do your laundry while you’re on holiday? It can be such a pain to take time out for this task, especially if you’re camping or staying at a place without laundry facilities. No need to worry anymore – the Scrubba Wash Bag (available for £46) is basically the world’s smallest washing machine. The pocket-sized bag (weighing less than 142g) allows you to wash your clothes no matter where you are in the world by using its internal flexible washboard. In just six easy steps, you can achieve a machine-quality wash. Internal ‘nobules’ work to effectively clean your clothes and the transparent window lets you monitor washing and water levels while you do your laundry. The bag even doubles as a dry-bag when you’re done with washing. The Scrubba Wash Bag saves both money and water as a more wallet- and eco-friendly laundry option.

The whole point of travelling is to get a break from the stress of your day-to-day life. That’s why you need innovative products that will make your trips easier. Whether you pack your waterproof parka or a solar charger for your phone, your travel products should simplify your life while still letting you live sustainably. Check out the items listed above for some ideas on how to become the most prepared traveller possible.


The 8 Best Trends from New York and London Fashion Weeks

The fall season has begun, but as usual, the fashion world is already onto the next big thing. The past month has seen a flurry of fashion shows from all over the world focusing on trends for spring 2020. Want to make sure you’re staying on top of all the latest fashions? Here are the eight best trends from New York and London Fashion Weeks.

  1. Hats

Accessories are always a great way to freshen up your look without having to buy a tonne of new clothes. Hats were definitely the hot accessory at New York Fashion Week 2019, but they also appeared in shows all around Europe, including in shows from designers such as Fendi, Chanel, Prada and Celine. The actual styles differed greatly – everything from fishing caps to sun hats, with special standouts like the bucket hats at Christian Dior and the fun twist on a cowboy hat from Marc Jacobs. London also upped its hat game with designs from Rejina Pyo, Erdem and Emilia Wickstead. Not sure if you can pull off some of those more adventurous hats? Stick to more subdued styles that will still allow you to upgrade your outfit.

  1. Vests

Want to look a little more professional at the office? You don’t have to stick with the same old boring suits. Instead, consider adding a little more chicness to your outfit with a vest. There were a variety of styles of vests presented at Fashion Week, including an oversized option from Tibi and a more tailored fit from Dion Lee in the New York shows. Other designers offered their own spin on this office/formal wear with styles from Saint Laurent, Anna Sui, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy.

neutral blazer

White or neutral blazers are a great update to your spring work wardrobe.

  1. White or neutral blazers

To lighten up your wardrobe after a blah winter, designers have come up with a style that works for both the office and weekend brunch. Proenza Schouler’s oversized 80s-style white- and tan-coloured blazers create a sleek but still ultra-fresh look. New York Fashion Week 2019 also featured Barragan’s white blazers, which he paired with white pants for a full-on monochromatic vibe. Whether you’re brave enough to dress all in white or just want a fun take on a spring classic, white or neutral-coloured blazers can easily help to refresh your wardrobe.

  1. Monochrome

Speaking of monochromatic looks, this aesthetic swept London Fashion Week 2019. With inspiration from the gorgeous suits by Burberry and Victoria Beckham, you can easily coordinate your outfit to look polished and put-together with a monochromatic suit. American designers also caught onto this trend, judging by the looks from Sies Marjan, Brandon Maxwell and Pyer Moss. You always have the option of sticking to a minimalist vibe with this trend, so don’t hesitate to dress exclusively in one shade for a fully cohesive look.

  1. Trench coats

The 70s-era trench coat is back in fashion! There was a gorgeous silk with floral laser cuts version from Oscar de la Renta, as well as a more traditional khaki option from Michael Kors. If you want to try out a similar piece, our army-green bomber jacket women’s has the same utilitarian vibe without sacrificing style. Longline coats were also the rage in New York shows from Tory Burch, Max Mara and Jil Sander. To obtain this full-coverage look, check out our longer women’s waterproof macs. They’ll keep you protected from the elements while still looking fashionable.

flowy dresses

Dresses made from flowy fabrics make for a sweet, feminine look that’s perfect for spring.

  1. Flowy dresses

The onset of warmer weather means spring dresses should be front and centre in your wardrobe. Don’t worry if you’re not into form-fitting options – London Fashion Week 2019 saw plenty of designers featuring long, flowy dresses (think heavenly chiffon), including Roland Mouret, Bora Asku and Valentino. Stateside, designers from Rodarte skipped a runway show for an ad campaign featuring celebrities wearing their newest designs of gorgeous dresses – including (you guessed it) several long, flowy pieces.

  1. Purple anything

If last year was all about millennial pink, this year the hot shade is purple. Rodarte featured designs with lots of purple overtones, and Tom Ford also elected to add in some royal colours, ranging from a deep purple to a soft lilac. Other designers, such as Balenciaga and Jacquemus, showcased head-to-toe purple looks, along with dashes of purple showing up in Christian Siriano and Michael Kors’ shows. Even if you tend to stick to dark or neutral palettes, adding in some purple can bring a touch of sophistication and fun to any outfit.

  1. Sustainability

Although there were plenty of aesthetic trends to follow from this year’s Fashion Week, perhaps the biggest overall trend throughout the industry was the drive for more sustainable fashion. It started this September with Gabriela Hearst’s first-ever carbon-neutral fashion show (in which she used upcycled prints from previous collections). Then, the very same day, the British Fashion Council announced its Institute of Positive Fashion, a coalition designed to set more acceptable standards for green businesses. From there the trend continued, with the Gucci show being carbon-neutral and the brand taking it a step further by pledging to offset all of its carbon emissions from its operations and supply chain. Stella McCartney even handed out notices during her show that let attendees know about her brand’s achievements in using recycled nylon, sustainable viscose and biodegradable shoe soles. London Fashion Week 2019 also showcased a number of sustainable brands (known for both eco-friendly practices and styles), including Vin+Omi, AV, DB Berdan, Riley Studio, Riona Treacy, Hanna Fiedler and Unaji.

Even though you might be excited to try out looks inspired by the best trends from New York and London Fashion Weeks, you don’t need to buy into the notion that you must toss out all of your clothes and start over with a brand-new wardrobe. Many of these trends might be found in items you already own – and recycling your clothes to fit with the times is the best thing you can do to be sustainable. It’s always a good idea to focus on buying designs that will stand the test of time: ageless, minimalist pieces you can cherish for a lifetime should always be any true fashion maven’s goal. So, feel free to spice up your wardrobe with these trends, while keeping in mind that classic pieces (like that trench coat or flowy dress) will likely always remain in style.


There’s A Growing Appetite For ‘Buy For Life’ Garments…Here’s Why

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you can’t fail to be aware of the increasing momentum for stronger climate action. Two spokespeople in particular, at polar opposite ends of their respective lifespans, are doing their best to make sure we all understand exactly where the world is headed. Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, in their own distinctive ways, are spearheading campaigns for change. There are several ways in which we as individuals, companies and corporations of all shapes and sizes can make important adjustments that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste in order to slow down global warming. One such way is through the clothes we choose to buy and wear. Back when disposable income wasn’t really a thing most people had in spades, clothes had to last because you simply couldn’t afford to keep replacing them. Then came higher salaries, constant changing fashion, more choice and a hefty dose of ‘I want therefore I will have’ attitude. Buy for life garments became a thing of the past in favour of whatever happened to be the latest trend. Fortunately, with our growing awareness of how everything we consume impacts our environment, changes are afoot.

buy for life garments equal less landfill

Buy for life garments equals less landfill.

It’s a sad fact that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Firstly, in the way that garments are made and, secondly, in the way in which they’re discarded. One example of the former is the huge amount of water required to grow cotton. The equivalent of about four years of drinking water for an average person is needed for the production of just one cotton T-shirt. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Add to that the fact that cotton crops are sprayed with chemicals, electricity (probably from a coal or diesel generator) is needed to power the garment-making factories, and that the clothing is then transported by road, rail or air to stores around the world and one can only imagine the cost to the environment from just the cotton industry alone. In terms of the discarding of old clothes, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is either burned or ends up as landfill every SECOND and less than 1% of clothing is currently recycled into new clothes.

These are the sort of facts that are gradually filtering through to our psyche and making us generally more aware of what we purchase and how often. There is still a long way to go but the process has definitely begun, as we embrace changes that will have a positive effect on our environment and therefore our children’s and grandchildren’s future. We can’t do it without the fashion industry being on board too though, so what is a buy for life garment exactly? Simply put, it’s as the name implies: a long-lasting product that you only need to buy once in a lifetime. Of course, this isn’t always going to be possible but it’s an ideal to aim for. If it’s not feasible to buy something for life then durable garments are at least better than changing your wardrobe every few months. Certain clothing items are more suited to a one-off purchase, such as a buy for life ladies waterproof jacket. Get the right one and you shouldn’t ever need to replace it. 

At Protected Species, we have created a range of waterproof, windproof and fully breathable lightweight raincoats and jackets that are not only stylish, sophisticated and ethically manufactured but are made to last a lifetime. We are passionate about guiding our customers away from fast fashion and a throwaway culture and offering them instead versatile and flattering ladies jackets that are manufactured to stand the test of time. The Rain Bomber is just one example of our range of womens waterproof coats with hoods. Another factor about today’s buy for life garments that we feel is important is that they should be able to travel well. We all go on a lot more jaunts these days and it’s important that our clothes arrive pretty much ready to wear rather than sporting a heap of creases. On that subject, the capsule wardrobe – first introduced in 1985 by Donna Karan – is making something of a resurgence, as it works in perfect tandem with our increased desire for owning garments for life while also encouraging us to buy the ones that will work well together, meaning that you don’t need to buy as many.

buy for life garments

What does buy for life mean?

We’re far from being alone in promoting ethically-manufactured and environmentally-friendly garments. Several top designers have been channelling this concept for some time, showing us the way forward when it comes to buy for life garments. Vivienne Westward and Stella McCartney are two top names who are trying to minimise the impact on the environment in the manufacture of their designs. In 2010, Ellen MacArthur, a retired English yachtswoman, set up an eponymous environmental advocacy foundation with a mission to establish a circular economy. Laura Balmond, who leads the Jeans Redesign project (one of the many fashion brands and manufacturers who are working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) states that, “Make Fashion Circular has three core ambitions – to ensure that all the inputs into the system are safe; that clothes are kept in use for as long as possible, and that at the end of their use, used clothes can be turned into new ones.”

It’s comforting to see so many companies with the same sound principals emerging, and to know that there is a growing appetite amongst the buying public for their products. We feel that this ethos will only continue to gain traction along with the collective desire for us all to do our bit for the planet.


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