It's all about making informed shopping decisions that can change the lives of others
Have you ever considered changing your shopping habits and buying more ethically?See our handpicked guides to Newcastle
Sponsored by Red Energy, working hard for hard working Aussies.Whilst good in theory, the practicalities around working out which brands are ethical requires time that most of us don't have. This is where Keira Spencer steps in.
How did the name melu come about?
"The actual translation for the word melu, which is an Indian word, means ‘good’, but in a much deeper way. It’s more like having a complete well-being and where people have the freedom to flourish."
Bon label t-shirt, Girlfriend Collective leggings, read about Keira's leggings here and here
Would you say it’s realistic to buy ethically all of the time?
"It is possible and that’s what started this, it seemed so impossible in the beginning, don’t get me wrong it is hard I don’t want it to sound like it’s easy, but that’s where melu movement can help. I wanted to make it easy and to show people that it is attainable and doable.
"I'm taking the hard part out of it, the research, time and effort but melu movement is also about switching the mindset to that you’re investing instead of just buying buying buying.
"It is more expensive, because it’s often the labour which companies want to cut costs on, which is the sad thing but when you buy a handmade, quality
garment it’s going to last much longer."
How did the melu movement begin?
"I just wanted to start buying ethically, but when I realised how hard it was and how much time, effort and research I was putting into finding ethical brands I kind of just thought that I could start writing about it and help make it as easy as possible for other people.
"My husband and I went to India and it was a real eye-opener, some of the stories I heard and saw were really heart breaking and the fact that there is
such a strong connection between the slave trade and human trafficking was also a big motivator. We’re so far removed from the production process that
we just don’t think about the people who are making the clothes or products."
The very artsy Tsuno natural sanitary products.
"After starting the website I also became an ethical detective for Good On You which is an ethical brand App. They do about two or three tiers of
research, that volunteers like me do on their behalf. Once we know what a brand's policies are or certifications they might have, Good On You then
verifies the research and rates the brand from either ‘We Avoid’ to ‘Great’.
The t-shirt I am wearing is
This is very much a love project, how have people responded to what you’re doing so far?
"One of melu movement's key things is community and helping one another along in whatever way we can to spread the word of buying ethically.
"For me, I feel like it’s one of those drop in the ocean things, but if just one other person starts thinking about buying ethically because of what I am doing, that’s a really beautiful thing."
Where would you like to see melu movement go?
"I actually don’t really know where it’s going I kind of just started it, but I love how receptive and supportive people are of what I am doing. It’s been really encouraging, people actually care.
"Ideally, I’d like to start pulling samples in and featuring brands, but finding the balance between encouraging slow fashion and highlighting brands is
difficult, I don’t want to be putting in people’s heads that they need to buy what they don’t need. It’s more about giving people the information but
still trying to encourage mindfulness in shopping.
"Orsola De Castro, the founder of Fashion Revolution Australia said it really well, ‘demand quality, not just in the products you buy, but in the lives of the people who made it'."
Aside from looking at your website, what else can you recommend to make buying ethically
"One of the bits of advice for those who are wanting to shop more ethically is buying locally, small makers who have more capacity to really invest in the process."
Which ethical brands that you’re loving at the moment?
"Vintage Style Me, which is the dress I am wearing, is a tiny boutique
in the UK and they hand make everything to order and source all the fabrics locally. It took about two to three weeks to get this as they don’t start
making the garments until the order comes in, that way they know that someone is committed to buying it, rather than just making it and leaving it
on the shelf to be bought. It all helps to reduce the waste.
"Lenko is a Melbourne based brand. The designer, Dana Lenko, makes these quirky animal sweaters and only makes a limited number of each design, so they're just as much art as they are an ethical piece. This is her first plant design and they really are an affordable price for what they are.
"Etiko are Australian pioneer's of organic, eco-friendly and fairtrade clothing and footwear.
I literally live in these babes - photocredit @threestrandcord
"Milk & Thistle is Australian designed and made by Danielle Atkinson, known for its signature digital and screen prints of scenes, people and objects that Danielle loves. The style of garments are easy fitting, modern but really wearable.
"Elizabeth Suzann is a beautiful American brand, there’s just a team
of ten who hand make all the garments. Cutting and sewing in their Nashville design studio the brand uses only the highest quality, natural fibre cloth.
Abbey Rich coat, Elizabeth Suzann skirt + top - photo credit @threestrandcord
"The Nude Label is an ethical basics underwear brand that’s made locally
in a family’s factory in Valencia, Spain. Making briefs, bras and body suits they are really comfy and reasonably priced."
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