minimal luxury

5 ethical, sustainable (and comfy) underwear brands

While Instagram has its downsides, it’s given ethical designers an amazing platform to be discovered, just as I have with the brands below. Labels like Susu Intimates and Me Undies are not only ethical, but redefining what it means to be comfortable. The rise of the bralette was life changing for me (as I’m sure it was for many women out there), and I’m so glad there’s more brands are emerging that value comfort over underwire and ridiculous padding. Here’s five of those such brands:

Me Undies

I first heard of Me Undies on the Time Ferris Podcast and then on Rich Roll’s podcast and possibly Joe Rogan’s too (I forget). Either way, this brand seemed to be genuinely loved by the three of them and while I admit I haven’t tried the myself, their popularity is there for a reason — they must really be as comfortable as their claims. Me Undies use a carbon neutral process to create their underwear, converting sustainably harvested beechwood pulp into fibres and capturing nasty excess chemicals in the process.

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Hara the Label

Made in Australia, Hara the Label dye their soft comfy intimates with plants. From earthy oranges, to powder blue — their dreamy range is shipped worldwide, with profits from every purchase being donated to the EJFoundation so they can continue save the world with one of their many projects, from protecting our oceans and calling for the end of toxic pesticides.

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Pansy Co

Crafted with organic cotton in California, Pansy Co create a contemporary yet nostalgic range of underwear that are as comfortable as they are pretty. Milled domestically, their underwear is designed and sewn ethically in California a mere 15-minute drive from the founder’s apartment.

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Nude the Label

Offering basic underwear for every day, Nude the Label craft their intimates with comfort and simplicity at the top of mind. Ethically made in Spain, you’ll find their thoughtfully put-together bralettes and underwear in stone fruit and mulberry hues.

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Susu Intimates

While a lot of ethical brands are doing the opaque cotton thing at the moment, Susu Intimates keep it slightly sexier (but still comfy), with their sheer take on a simple black or white bralette.

 

 

 

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7 of our favourite conscious clothing labels

A single cotton T-shirt takes 2,700 litres to make and just last year, The New Daily found a woman in Bangladesh who was paid 35 cents an hour to manufacture clothes for Target and H&M. Investing in sustainable brands that prioritise fair trade and sustainable practices is a way to stand against low paid workers who sleep on dirt floors, toxic dyes in our clothes and unsustainable practices that tax the environment. 

These seven ethical brands are mindful about their practices and encourage you to purchase less, but purchase better quality items that you'll love and live in for years to come.  

Arthur

Named in recognition of his father who was a practicing Buddhist, Arthur continually produce divine collections of minimalistic clothing, cut from linen and cotton. Suited for every day living, Arthur do a great easy culotte and feminine but casual jumpsuits that you'll never want to take off (I live in mine). 

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Arnhem

Using ocean plastics to create some of their clothes and biodegradable natural materials like Tencel (made from wood pulp), Arnhem ethically audit their factories to make sure their workers are treated fairly. The result is a dreamy range of bright vintage floral prints, throw-on dresses, as well as edgy and classic bohemian threads that'll put you in a floaty and carefree holiday mindset like nothing else. 

The Hemp Temple

The three conscious and creative minds behind The Hemp Temple produce their feminine range of easy wardrobe staples entirely out of hemp. It’s the fastest growing and most sustainable fibre in the world, needing little water to grow and being naturally organic and mould resistant, it's both kind on your skin and the environment.

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Rowie The Label

Yet another incredible label from the crystal shores of Byron Bay; Rowie is synonymous with simplistic on-trend clothing that’s easy to wear and made with top quality fabric. Everything from their silk to their cotton knits feels sturdy and like it’ll last a lifetime in your wardrobe. Rowie posts all their online deliveries in compostable bags and also works closely with Riza the manager of their small factory in Bali, to make sure the workers are always looked after and treated fairly.

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St Agni

With a vision to create simple luxurious pieces that reflect the beauty and freedom of the Australian lifestyle, Byron Bay based label St Agni have done just that. Their stunning range of clean and easy to wear shoes and clothing is all ethically produced in a small factory in Java.

Yoli & Otis

For lovers of linen and creamy palettes, Yoli & Otis ethically design and manufacture the loveliest wardrobe essentials, that will never date. Their earthy range also extends to clothing for bubs and children’s wear. Using natural-dyed fabric, they avoid the 8000 chemicals ordinarily present in most artificially dyed clothing — making it a particularly safe option for little one's to wear. 

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Harly Jae

With the hashtag #slowfashion bannered across their website, Harly Jae are a Vancouver based and produced fashion label. Inspired by vintage pieces that have remained popular for years, Harly Jae delivers their reliable wardrobe staples in ethical packaging.

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10 luxurious plastic free items for your home

The plastic free movement is gaining momentum with so much social sharing of late, particularly this alarming viral video of a British Diver with a go-pro swimming through a sea of plastic. There's endless bloggers and influencers sharing plastic-free tips, from using jars as storage, to DIY-ing everything and while these are great for the environment, they seem to be void of one thing; luxury.

Let's be clear though, our definition of luxury isn't about needless spending and consumerism, quite the opposite. It’s the kind of thing that your grandma enjoyed back in her day when buying clothing so sturdy they could last a lifetime. We're constantly in search of the most tasteful, ethical and eco-friendly items out there. Funnily enough designers can often be eco-friendly by default, as they tend to favour premium and natural materials like wood and aluminium anyway. Combining form and function, a lot of this stuff doubles as artwork. 

Here’s 10 luxury plastic free staples for your home that your grandma would approve of:

 

Organic Cotton Bedsheets

Synthetic fabrics contain micro plastics that leak into the ocean with each washing cycle. Using organic cotton bedsheets means the crop weren't grown with harmful pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that also seep into and poison our waterways and irritate the skin. We love these one's by my organic sleep.

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Ferm living drupe bottle grinder

Freshly grind spices, salt and pepper with these fancy designer kitchen staples that double as little sculptures. They're made from ashwood and come in six different colours so you can colour coordinate your spices. 

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Menu dustpan

As innovative as it is stylish, this little guy has a funnel to easy dispense all that funky dust you sweep up in the house. These one's from menu are pretty lush and they also come in black. 

 

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Double walled stainless water bottle

They're everywhere and they're overpriced, but these one's by The Source Bulk Foods come at a much friendlier price of $29 for their largest size. 

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Wooden brushes for the bathroom

Whether it's a hair brush, comb, or dry body brush, there's probably a wooden alternative that does exactly the same job. There's so many brands out there now selling plastic-free brushes. We love these one's by Meraki or this one by Vegan Organics.

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Cotton muslin produce bags

There's really no reason to use plastic in the supermarket other than pure forgetfulness. Produce bags are cheap, fold into nothing and can be always kept in your car for the next time you're at the grocer. It's a much nicer experience using these instead of plastic and if you forget yours, don't stress, just grab a few paper mushroom bags to store lose leaves or grains in the meantime. 

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Ginko Walnut Cube Alarm Clock

In the age of iPhone alarms, you're probably wondering why this is on here at all. Well, with studies have shown that electromagnetic radiation from your phone isn't all that great, not to mention the temptation of a phone charging near your bedside might keep you up at night — especially with the blue light it emits. Keeping an alarm clock by your bedside removes the excuse of needing an iPhone by your side overnight and we love this stylish one by Ginko.

 

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Ratio Eight Coffee Maker

This sexy pour over coffee maker also comes in a blonde wood trim and is made with aluminium and borosilicate glass which (for coffee enthusiasts) heats water to the ideal extraction temperature. It supposedly produces the kind of pour over your local barista would make for you, all without leaving your place. 

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Ever Eco Rose Gold Straws

Why have silver when you can have rose gold? These one's from Ever Eco come with a straw cleaner so you can sip hygienically, sustainably and in style.  

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Seagrass storage baskets

Using baskets for storage is a no-brainer because they're cheap, durable and they look beautiful in almost any space. They can be used for everything from a laundry basket, bathroom storage, to pot plants. We love these by Dos Hombre.

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7 amazing eco conscious swimwear labels

Ocean lovers and sustainability should go hand in hand. No one wants to go for a salt water dip and find more plastic than fish in the sea, yet is this (sadly) where we’re heading according to recent reports by Project Mainstream. Aside from plastic packaging lost in ‘leakage’ that finds its merry way into the ocean, the nylon and polyester used by most swimming brands are also is petroleum based.

So how can you help? Say no to packaging and buy ethical brands. Here’s 7 beautiful conscious swimwear brands you'll love:

Ambra Maddalenna Collection

Using recycled ocean plastic to create her entire range, the self-titled West Australian/Italian swimwear sweetheart Ambra Maddalena designs the most romantic bikinis and one pieces you could lay eyes on. Think Lolita circa 1950, meets Sophia Lauren in a Dolce and Gabanna campaign. Check out her current Sorrento Moon campaign here.

 

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Amara

Based out of Tulumn, Mexico, Amara believe ethical fashion isn’t optional — it's imperitave. Their simple, luxurious pieces are crafted from regenerated Nylon and designed to mix and match and sometimes reverse to encourage doing less with more. Shop Amara here.

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AllSisters

Queens of Athleisure, AllSisters are about bold statement cuts and a crisp black and white palette. Using high quality recycled textiles that are screened for nasty substances, their sharp, sophisticated collection is a timeless investment to your wardrobe and ideal for fitness junkies. 

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FAE Swimwear

This is a brand for women that aren’t shy about a cheeky cut, because Fae Swimwear aren't shy about it either. Their one pieces are almost exclusively small on the behind, but their separates range offer more coverage on the bottom to pair with flattering tops in classic colour ways.

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Mara Hoffman

A designer of all things from clothing to swimwear, Mara Hoffman offer bold block patterns on classic cuts, amidst more paired-back basics. We particularly love their cute one pieces with bow details, cut-outs and styles to suit all bodies.

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Now Then

For ladies that get excited by subtle details like the addition of light mesh, or a delicate spaghetti strap, Now Then’s minimal range is a perfect mix between fashion and function. Their kini tops can be worn as a bralette and their few sporty nylon pieces are great for adventurous types.

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Und Swim

Elegant and timeless, Und Swim offer a beautiful range of eco-friendly basics that are designed to flatter and fit like a glove. The specialize in a perfect fit for all bodies and swimwear that’s so comfy you might forget you’re wearing them.

 

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Minimalist packing tips (for warm weather)

Reading time: 3 minutes

There's nothing clumsier than a bulging suitcase full of 'just in case' items dragging behind you through the streets of a new town, especially if the streets have cobblestones. What's worse is packing three extra outfits, but forgetting to pack your underwear. 

Packing like a minimalist helps you avoid these crucial errors and sees you gliding through an airport like a well-seasoned traveller with a feather light suitcase, ready for anything.

It's not about compromise or only wearing Kathmandu either. I believe in bringing nice things, but choosing the ones that don't require ironing, or can be dressed up three different ways. Here's my tried and true tips for packing like a minimalist

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The Suitcase:

Ø  For adventure-trips; A backpack is a great option — on wheels is better. I got mine for $280 on sale at Kathmandu. Unlike many backpacks where you jam your clothes haphazardly from the top down, this one unzips from the top for neat packing. Wheels aren’t for everybody, but they’re a good all-rounder if you’re bouncing from European airports to more intrepid third world countries.

For standard airport-to-hotel journey’s; the obvious choice is a small black hardcover Samsonite, which wheels when it’s upright too.

Personal care:

Coconut oil — doubles as moisturiser, makeup remover and cooking oil. Put it in a smaller 100ml jar before you go.

Doctor Bronners 18 in 1 — it’s body wash, kitchen and laundry detergent and more. Need I say more?

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Shampoo bar — Comes in a metal tin which you can bring in carry on. Doubles as soap. Won’t leak in your bag.

Essential oils — Tea tree is a compact antiseptic for small wounds. Lavender has similar properties but doubles as a relaxant when on flights.

Citronella and light long travel pants — Mozzies get you at dusk and dawn even if you’re wearing citronella, so you’ll need pants too. Light pants are a must particularly tropical countries, whether you’re exploring temples or need something comfy for the plane.

For the plane:

Eye patch and earplugs — for the plane and hostels, a good sleep is everything.

Peppermint tea — Compact natural anti-nausea. Calms nerves and digestion. A must when you’re in countries where rice is eaten for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Handy things:

Kindle — a million books in one and when you travel you tend to get a lot of book recommendations and never follow through, but with a kindle, it’s possible!

Turkish towel — packs into nothing and it’s makeshift picnic blanket.

Tote bag — doubles as a laundry bag, flattens to nothing.

Mooji collapsible day bag — perfect if you’re planning on doing low-key hiking or travelling Europe from a base country and only want to bring carry on.  

Fill2Pure waterbottle — The extreme water filter is designed for third world countries so there's no excuse to buy plastic waterbottles! If you know you can get filter water where you're going, I like this one buy The Source Bulk Foods. 

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A Cotton Sarong — it may seem basic and unnecessary, but this magic item comes in handy on nearly every occasion. It provides privacy when tied to a bunk if you’re an intrepid traveler cutting costs on budget accommodation; it protects you from potentially grimy beds, is a great towel, particularly in the tropics. Simply wrap yourself after a shower and walk around semi-naked until you’re try, or can be bothered getting dressed. Other uses include, a picnic blanket, a sleep mask on the plane if you forget one, a scarf if the wind has a bite to it.

Shoes (I tend to stick to three pairs of shoes when travelling):

Burkenstocks —  Flip-flops are for rookies. Burkenstocks can be worn from beach to low-key hike. Affectionately known to me as off-road sandals. They may not always be pretty, but they’re every seasoned travelers favourite shoe.

1 pair of active shoes — for exercise and long days of walking. make sure they’re light and collapsible.

1 pair of flat tan sandals — goes with every item in your suitcase and packs down to nothing, need we say more? I love these ones by James Smith (there are no affiliate links in any of this for those wondering). 

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Packing light for warm weather:

Stick to a simple colour palette e.g. my fave is black, white and an earthy colour of yellow. Throw some denim in there for good measure of course. 

One denim jacket — durable + light 

One thin jumper — mainly for airplane or when in high country and when you put your denim jacket over it and wear a sarong as a scarf, it’ll keep you warm enough in slightly cooler climates.

One puffer jacket — can be rolled into a small bag and takes up no room. Good for exercising/hikes and unexpected drops in temperature. I got mine from UNIQLO.

Thin mostly cotton clothes — it doesn't crease, it's durable and dries quickly if you’re travelling the tropics. I roll all of my cotton clothes in a suitcase and it packs down to nothing. 

Stuff you don’t want to forget:

Your underwear

US bucks — most places have ATM’s these days, but if you end up in a pickle, everyone speaks in US dollars.

Converter — don’t forget your phone charger means nothing in another place, nothing worse than forgetting this fine detail

Additional extras (for those on long intrepid voyages)

Incense (and holder) — this may seem the opposite of minimalist, but I’ve learnt that anything that makes you feel mildly 'at home' on long voyages is gold, especially your accomodation has a musty stank to it.

Simplify your wardrobe, simplify your life: How to cull your wardrobe the right way

A capsule wardrobe can save you time to spend on more important things in life and money to buy experiences instead of unnecessary things. 

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Reading time: 3 minutes

I didn’t expect that removing 90% of my old wardrobe-cull to be so life-changing. Getting dressed is simpler and it's an absolute no-brainer to put outfits together now. The clothes I buy are better quality, I make less dud purchases and I can pack an outfit to change into after yoga in 1-minute flat without stressing. To me, a capsule wardrobe is pure gold. 

I was inspired by something called the 80/20 rule; the idea that you wear 20% of your clothes, 80% of the time.  Here's how I did it:

Step 1 // Remove EVERYTHING from your wardrobe

Dump it all on the floor, then separate into three sections; a no, yes, and a maybe pile. Be brutal with the no pile, put in there anything you haven’t worn in months or years and anything shabby. The trick is to avoid sentimentality or overthinking. It will seem like a waste at first, but this is the most important lesson of the whole exercise; seeing your previous wasteful purchases will stop you from frivolous and unconscious shopping in the future.

Step 2 // Analyse what worked and what didn’t

Get a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, label the first column ‘no pile’ and the second column ‘yes pile.’ Now, write all the commonalities of the no pile, note the brands, cuts and fabrics that tend not to work for you. I learnt that crochet things and colourful patterns never work in the long term. Do the same with the yes pile, what prints and fabrics work, for me it was neutral patterns and colours that last the test of time, as well as fabrics like linen, cotton and denim. The maybe pile can go in a box that, if it in a year’s time is forgotten, can be donated as well.

Step 3 // Figure out what you need

Recent purchase: an all-hemp wardrobe staple

Recent purchase: an all-hemp wardrobe staple

This is the most important part to avoid re-hoarding like a bowerbird. After putting the 20% yes pile back in your wardrobe, you'll probably feel lighter and less overwhelmed already, but there'll be a few blank spots in your wardrobe. Now it's time to figure out what you need to make tiny wardrobe functional. Here's how:

1. Write down your week-to-week lifestyle in percentages, For example, 60% work, 20% exercise, 19% casual bars/gigs, 1% work functions. Now you know what types of clothing you actually need and in what quantity, which means everything will get worn. 

2. Only buy good quality in future. You'll be able to afford to, since you're buying less. Things will last and you'll appreciate and look after what you do have, and you'll know what you actually need to buy if you're every out shopping again (which of course, should be a lot less).