Seven ways to accessorise your autumn sustainably

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

1. Recreate Scarf

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!

2. Ice Breaker Hat

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.

3. Duffle & Co Bag

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!

4. WE-AR Belt

A belt.

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.

5. Proof Eyewear from Mandatory Sunglasses


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.

6. Trade Aid Necklace


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.

7. Doug the Cloud

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.

New World Island Bay is reducing and reusing

Minimising packing and waste is the issue most Conscious Consumers care about, so it's great to see businesses taking the lead to reduce waste, just like Amanda Elliot from New World Island Bay.


New World Island Bay have introduced reusable produce bags to cut down on the amount of plastic that gets thrown away and work towards a more environmentally-friendly supermarket. These colourful bags are perfect to put your fresh fruit and vegetables in, and a great replacement for a single-use plastic bag.
They are embracing sustainability in plenty of other ways as well; they only stock cage free eggs, recycle 90% of their waste and have switched to LED lighting across the store. They are also part of wider New World initiatives, including banning microbeads from all of their products and switching to 100% recyclable meat trays.


“We want to work with our customers to reduce the number of plastic bags we use as much as possible. Many Island Bay customers are amazing with the use of re-usable shopping bags and we saw this as an opportunity to encourage customers to start bringing reusable bags for individual products as well.”

– Amanda Elliot, Owner Operator at Island Bay New World

Amanda Elliot

We need to do better New Zealand!


A new report has labelled New Zealand the most wasteful developed nation in the world, with over 30% more waste per capita than the United States, and more than double the waste per capita of the United Kingdom. We produce on average 3.7kgs of waste per person per day, and take home about 700 million supermarket bags a year, enough to cover the Auckland CBD 29 times. 

There are heaps of ways we can each make a difference and reduce the waste we create - and using reusable bags at supermarkets is a great start! Together, with the support of businesses wanting to make positive change, we can do this. Come on NZ! 


Waste Report

duffle&co bags a winner


Duffle&co is one of the first brands in New Zealand to start using pineapple leather. This innovative material is completely vegan, durable and is made from pineapple leaves, which would otherwise be wasted after harvest. It also creates a secondary source of income for pineapple farmers in developing countries who otherwise rely on seasonal work.

As they develop, duffle&co are actively looking for more sustainable materials to use when creating products. Pineapple leather stood out not only for its sustainability factor, but for the positive impact it has on local communities. They're not stopping here though - they are currently looking to reintroduce hemp, bamboo and recycled materials into their product range, alongside pineapple leather and organic cotton



"We love it because of its sustainable nature and the fact that it supports local communites around the world, which is a huge driver for our brand."

- Freya Lewis, Operations Manager, duffle&co

What is Pineapple Leather?


Pineapple leather is made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, which is a by-product of the pineapple industry. The raw material does not require any additional resources to grow and is free from pesticides and chemicals, meaning it does not harm people or the planet in the production process. Its strong and lightweight nature makes it a versatile material that can be used for furnishings, bags, shoes and other products. 


New World Thorndon is leading the charge⚡


When we caught up with Ash Drake, Services Store Manager at New World Thorndon, he was busy shining the wheels on the new store delivery van. Ash and the online shopping team are deservedly proud of this Nissan e-NV200 van – it’s 100% electric.

Since they started using the van in July, New World Thorndon has already saved 1,600 kg of CO2e*. The van is one of 28 around New Zealand, purchased by Foodstuffs (New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square supermarkets) to help reduce their carbon footprint.
(*Source: FlipTheFleet)

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Our van is so much fun to drive. It’s super efficient, smooth on the road, and really reliable. We’re driving over 130km on one charge – more than enough for our daily catering and online shopping deliveries. We get lots of comments from our customers – they often want to stop and chat about the van, or even take a drive! 
— Ashley Drake

Electric Vehicles — why they are awesome!

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Emissions from vehicles make up a whopping 20% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions. Electric vehicles are a great way to reduce these emissions. We are very lucky that most of our electricity is generated from renewable energy sources like wind and water, which means using EVs reduces your emissions by 80%!

We reckon electric vehicles are also pretty fun to drive, as they make very little noise, have amazing acceleration, and are really cheap to run. No wonder they are taking off!

Raise a glass for the workers 🍻

Raise a glass for the workers 🍻

Rogue & Vagabond got accredited for the Living Wage late last year after manager Calum advocated for it. Their staff are now all paid at least the minimum, and they brought the cleaners in-house as their commercial cleaner didn’t pay Living Wage.

Tom, a staff member who started after the Living Wage was introduced, is experiencing it for the first time. The extra cash definitely makes a difference, and he’s pretty happy to be part of a business that’s setting the standard.

Welcoming Cranfields to the Conscious Consumers Community

Welcoming Cranfields to the Conscious Consumers Community

Conscious Consumers love what Cranfields stands for, a family owned business in the heart of Wellington city, and one of our newest members of our business community! A mother-daughter team, daughter Nicola now leads a small group of long-serving staff to bring beautiful New Zealand-made and small-scale international producers to Wellingtonians, in their exquisite store just off Lambton Quay. We talked with Nicola about what it is that drives her vision for the store, and their philosophy.