Autumn is definitely here! Down in Queenstown the leaves are turning rust orange ready to fall from the trees, and the mornings are colder and darker. But with the afternoons still warm, layers and accessories are essential. It being New Zealand, the four seasons in one day phenomena is not limited to the central South Island.
If, like me, you’ve been scrounging around for your cool-weather warmers, and are less than impressed, it may be time to inject something new into your collection.
As much as I love fashion, I try to keep my consumption limited, and choose labels that have great sustainable and ethical credentials. Often instead of buying an entire new wardrobe each season, I invest in a few new accessories, giving me options to dress an outfit up or down, layer for extra warmth and just embrace the whole Autumn thing!
Here are my top 7 sustainable Autumn accessory picks
A scarf never goes out of fashion.
Why? Because of its versatility. A scarf can be pulled in on colder days or draped loosely as it warms up. ReCreate have a lovely handwoven scarf, made from 100% natural handwoven cotton and dyed with organic, plant-based dye. Not only is this a classic style, but it’s ethically created in Cambodia under excellent working conditions, providing fair employment and life-changing training opportunities. Nice one!
Rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon… I need a hat!
Perhaps you’re still rocking your summer trilby, but if you want to get intrepid and go for a long walk or a tramp, you’ll need something a bit more suitable. Autumn is a great time for hiking our beautiful country, so invest in a beanie, like this unisex Oasis beanie from Ice Breaker, made from merino wool.
Something to carry it all in.
That’s the thing about Autumn. It can be crisp and fresh one minute, warm and balmy the next. You’ll need to carry layers! Duffle & Co, a young Kiwi brand, have a beautiful collection of B-Corp Certified, fairly-paid, hand-crafted duffle and tote bags, backpacks, satchels, sleeves and handbags. They also support KiwiHarvest to help feed families in need and Million Metres, who plant trees to restore our waterways. That’s pretty special, I reckon. The Arbuckle backpack looks big enough!
You’ll need something to hold up the trousers you dug out of the cupboard. This braided leather one from WE-AR caught my eye because it’s the kind of belt you might wear even when the fit of yours is perfect.
To best savour the last few remaining warm autumnal afternoons of impromptu afternoon beach walks, al fresco tapas and drinks in the courtyard get some stylish eco eye wear. For men, Proof Eyewear from Mandatory has a great collection of polarised lenses. They are hand-made from sustainably sourced wood, recycled aluminium cans and cotton acetate.
I find that in summer, I accessorise less because I wear less. Somehow hoop earrings, beads, chunky bracelets just fit Autumn and layered outfits better. Channel your inner-boho and check out the Trade Aid store collection. I like this Green tassel necklace handcrafted by artisans working with TARA (Trade Alternative Reform Action) Projects in India offering employment to the economically marginalised.
Doug. What is Doug?
I stumbled upon this versatile little doo-da at Tummah Ethical Trade store. It’s a cloud-shaped, upcycled soft spongy motif on a cloth band that can be tied as a bracelet, a hair tie, or even a great wee badge. It’s by No Nasties, a 100% organic, 100% fair trade fashion brand based in Goa, India. I love this because it’s not just about fashion - Doug the Cloud is the mascot for an awesome non-profit project providing additional income to cotton farming women of India who make them. Tummah (and No Nasties) have some fantastic other clothes and accessories. Go and take a look.