Equa Blog - News, Views and Ethical Styling...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Under The Mistletoe

The social calendar is filling up with all sorts of festive fun, but what to wear? Here are a few of our favourite pieces that are sure to turn heads:

Scoop Back Party Dress by Annie Greenabelle. This is the perfect little party dress!
It is both cute and sexy whilst also being stylish and sophisticated. It is aimed at the more girly girls out there as it is one of the most feminine pieces we have at the moment. The best thing about this dress, in my opinion, is that it will take you right through winter (think thick tights and a thin polar neck under it) to those long summer nights (think little heels and a cute shrugg)! It is easy and versatile so go for it girls and snap it up now before it's too late!!

Pleated Pencil Dress by Outsider. This dress is super chic and perfect for a more formal event. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn and I can see it being worn to Ascot or an equally smart occasion. The lovely thing about this dress is the detailing, there are fishtailesque inserts in the sleeve seams and at the bottom of the skirt. The wide round neck is very flattering as it gives just a glimpse of the decolletage without giving too much away, making this dress one of our most elegant lines.

Molly Dress by Annie Greenabelle. Another one by Annie Greenabelle, but they are just so darn pretty! This is a great piece as it is another extremely versatile style, it can be worn in a girly way, with pale tights, flat shoes and a blazer. Or it can be worn in quite a 'rock chic' way, with black or coloured tights, killer heels and a leather biker jacket with some fierce jewellery! Whichever way you wear it the understated sparkley frill around the neck will keep it nice and feminine!

Offset Hoop Earrings by Just Trade. These earrings will put the finishing touch to any outfit, and are the epitome of understated style and match perfectly with our bag below! They are hand made in Lima, Peru by a women's co-operative called the Zoe project which ensures the women are being treated well and fairly. It also ensures that they are earning enough money to live on and educate their children. So, not only are you buying  beautiful earrings, you are also doing a good thing and supporting women to support themselves and their families!!

Santogold Bag by Matt & Nat. This bag is fantastic because you have the option of two different removable straps, one of which is a chic brass chain. For parties you can remove the straps all together and use it as a clutch. Another fantastically versatile piece found at Equa!!
Derby Heels by Beyond Skin.These shoes are some of my favorites of the season. They have a fun/sexy feel to them with their bright red colour and black heel and sole. One of the best things about them, in my opinion, is they are not too high(approx 3.5 inches)and therefore not too hard to walk in!! The heel is nice and solid and doesn't end in a pinhead point, thus making it easier to balance after one too many at the Christmas party!!
Rosie x

Friday, 17 December 2010

Staff Christmas Wish List - Eva

The two items I most covet in the shop this yuletide are again the Ila candles (I obviously wan't a good enough girl last year as this is my second year of begging Father Christmas for them!) and new for this year the Annie Greenabelle Long sleeve body con dress.
The candles are just gorgeous in their vibrantly coloured glass cases and their scents are mesmerising. The dress is so soft, versatile and effortlessly sexy which given the amount of parties in the calendar makes it a xmas staple!  Come on St Nick, I've been far better behaved this year, I promise....

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Staff Christmas Wish List - Marta

Alchemist wrap leather belt - the leather is soft and supple and the colour is beautiful chocolate brown. It is a very versatile piece, and is excellent for cinching at the waist after one too many mince pies.

is very subtle and the small tin packaging is adorable. The candles are soy wax based and are made locally in De Beauvoir Town. My favorite scent of all is the orange, grapefruit & clove that will make a perfect stocking gift.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Staff Christmas Wish List - Amy

Matt & Natt Omo wallet. This gorgeous wallet comes in turquoise or brown, but my favourite is the vivid turquoise blue. The wallet zips open revealing lots of space for cards and a separate zip compartment for change. Matt & Natt is a vegan brand, so no leather has been used to make this product. This wallet comes beautifully packaged in a foil embossed box ready to be wrapped and put under the tree.

Pants For Poverty Organic ruched knickers - 2 pack. These cute pants come in a two pack and are conveniently christmas coloured ready to be put straight into the stocking. The gathered seam up the back is a gorgeous detail and flattering on too!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Staff Christmas Wish List - Rosie

Next up....Rosie!

My ultimate Christmas gift pick has to be the Terra Plana Dionysia heels. They are beautiful, well made, sexy and versatile. They can be worn with skirts and dresses as well as trousers and are the perfect item to take you from day to evening! One of the features of these shoes is the memo-foam sole that keeps your feet super comfortable all day long. For me, that is priceless, especially for high heels.
As my second Christmas gift pick I have to choose the Wish Sugar Scrub from our body care range. It contains only the best organic and environmentally friendly ingredients and smells good enough eat! Having tried it myself it does a beautiful job of softening and polishing the skin, leaving you feeling silky soft and smelling divine ready to face any challenge that the day may bring

WARNING: After use you really will smell good enough to eat!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Staff Christmas Wish List - Ruth

This week the Equa staff will reveal what they have on they have on this year's Christmas Wish List. To start we have the wonderful Ruth:

My first Xmas gift pick is an Envirosax. They’re are so brilliant, you’ll never need to use a disposable plastic bag again! These bags fold up into a tiny roll which is perfect for keeping in your handbag at all times, making you ready for any unexpected purchases. They come in a great range of colours and designs and make the ideal gift for anyone who shops!

Another great Xmas gift, Silver Crochet Earrings by Just Trade. Hand Made by a women’s co-operative in Peru, these earrings are so pretty. They are available in 3 sizes and there is also a matching pendant or necklace. These earrings will add a touch of sparkle for Christmas and throughout the new year.

Friday, 10 December 2010


From Saturday 11th to Thursday 23rd December:

Monday               10.00 am – 6.30 pm

Tuesday              10.00 am – 6.30 pm

Wednesday         10.00 am – 6.30 pm

Thursday             10.00 am – 7.00 pm

Friday                  10.00 am– 6.30 pm

Saturday             10.00 am - 7.00 pm

Sunday                12.00 pm - 6.00 pm

Fri 24th                 10.00am – 4.00pm

25th, 26th & 27th CLOSED

Tuesday 28th         12.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Wednesday 29th    11.00 am – 6.00 pm

Thursday 30th       11.00 am – 6.00 pm

Friday 31st            11.00 am – 4.00 pm

1st January CLOSED

Sunday 2nd Jan     12.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Monday 3rd Jan   CLOSED

Then back to our usual opening hours...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Soya Wax Candles

As the evenings lengthen and winter draws in my mind turns to simple home comforts to brighten my mood. A scented candle is the perfect home accessory to get you in the cosy Christmas mood,  and they also make lovely gifts.

At Equa we stock a beautiful range of ethical yet luxurious aromatherapy candles by Timothy Han. What makes these candles different is the philosophy behind the Timothy Han brand, which is centred around the concept of “Sustainable Luxury”.

“We do not believe it necessary to sacrifice luxury in order to live responsibly” Timothy Han

The 3 points of difference between these candles and the vast majority if candles you can find on the high street:

- 100% natural and organic pure essential oils

- Organic soy wax free of pesticides

- Unbleached cotton wick

Essential oils

Most scented candles are made from artificial scents which can be overpowering and have a very synthetic smell.  In contrast the Timothy Han candles have a delicate and subtle natural scent that lingers. They use only the highest quality pure essential oils.

An essential oil is the concentrated essence of aromatic plants such as flowers, herbs, fruit, wood etc.. They have been a precious commodity dating back to ancient Egypt.

Extraction of essential oils requires a long and precise distillation process. It can take vast quantities of the raw material to produce a small quantity of essential oil. For example to produce 4 teaspoons of rose oil it can take over 225 pounds of rose petals. The cost of essential oils varies greatly due to the cost and quantity of raw material needed.

Soy Wax

The vast majority of scented candles available are made from petroleum based wax, most commonly paraffin. Even if they are advertised as `natural’ they commonly are a blend vegetable wax and paraffin so be sure to check the ingredients.

Paraffin wax is a heavy hydrocarbon derived from crude oil. Paraffin is known to give off harmful fumes linked to asthma and cancer. Many years of use can be harmful to your health and your home. Paraffin, being made from fossil fuels, is also a limited resource.

The Timothy Han collection is made with 100% organic soy wax. This is an all natural product that is renewable and biodegradable.

Not only does soy wax have better ethical credentials but it burns more slowly than paraffin candles and does not emit black soot.Soy wax is easy to wash out of fabric and does not leave an oily residue like paraffin wax does.

Timothy Han Candles come in two sizes; 190g which comes in a reusable glass and the smaller 57g candle in a tin. The spicy orange and clove blend beautifully evokes memories of Christmas past.

To View Equa's full range of candles click Here >>

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Winter Warmers

Brrr, it's so cold here in London, definitely time for those winter woolies! Here are a few of the best ethical knitwear pieces to keep you cosy this winter: 

This Fair Isle Dress by People Tree is so lovely and chunky whilst also being  really pretty. With short sleeves it's great combined with a black long sleeve jersey dress, tights and knee high boots.  

Add a splash of cable knit colour with the Hanro Pom Pom Scarf by Komodo. So long and soft to keep you really cosy. 

The beautiful Camu Coat by Komodo is fully lined with soft cotton jersey, adding an extra layer of warmth for wearing both, inside as a cardigan or out and about as a coat.

So soft and chunky, the Clara Cardigan by People Tree is another great one for the layered look. It's fantastic belted over a long sleeve dress or with jeans and a winter coat. The lovely chunky collar means there's no need for a scarf! 

And finally....don't forgot your feet. Keep them toasty in a pair of PoZu Slippers, the ultimate eco footwear.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas Windows!

The Christmas window display is one of the most fun to design. Visually you can be really extravagant and everyone enjoys getting involved with making the props. This year I wanted something elegant and I was inspired by one of my favourite fairy tales, The Snow Queen. I wanted to create the impression of a petrified forest encroaching on the Snow Queen's ice palace.

We made as many of the props as we could oursleves. The branches were collected from piles of prunings in a local park and painted white then frosted with glitter. The hanging snowflakes were made from recycled plastic bags, layers of which were laminated together using an iron, and then cut out into shapes. These were then embellished using sequins and beads left over from other projects. The piles of presents are wrapped up Terra Plana shoe boxes.

Featured items in the window include:

Komodo Penelop Dress

Article 23 Paula Jumper

Komodo Locus Trousers

Plus plenty of Christmas gift ideas.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Designer Interview - Mirabelle Jewellery

This month we are interviewing Veronique Henry the designer behind fashion jewellery label, Mirabelle. The daughter of a Parisian silversmith, Veronique's appreciation for the richness of colours and opulence found throughout Asia is reflected in her collections. Mirabelle jewellery is made by producers in Indonesia who receive a minimum set price for their goods, with financial and technical support, and safe, healthy working conditions. 

Mirabelle is a new label for us at Equa and we are delighted to introduce it to you..

In a nutshell what was your initial motivation to become a designer of fair trade jewellery?
It fell onto my lap.............it was an obvious thing to do..........I was travelling and bringing back exciting items, jewellery was so easy to bring and so enticing! It was the obvious thing to bring back as all girls like jewellery, and my self first of course! So what a way to treat myself..... I thought ...if they do not like it i will keep it for myself..............Luckily I do not have many items like this.!

What does ethical fashion mean to you?
For me it means you work within ethical principles and you treat others like you would be treated, it means you respect people and always put this first.

What challenges do you face as an ethical designer?
The recognition of being ethical without having to join costly and complicated organisations.

What are the inspirations behind your latest collection?
Greek, Romans, ancient medieval and Victorian........ all mixed and revisited.

What advice would you give anyone looking to make their wardrobe more ethical?
If you buy it cheap, just look where it is made and do some research..... There's nothing wrong with buying cheap if really they are fair-trade..... other wise there is a big risk it is exploitation.

Who are your Style Icons?
....Coco Chanel, Jane Birkin,

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe and where did it come from?
A cashmere scarf , sooooo warm. It is a Burburry, but I wear it all the time in winter........
Oh and a Miu Miu bag which I treasure............ I am a bit of a bag addict........few pieces of jewellery and that little black dress........it is not a label, but it does the job!

As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
Travel, travel and travel. And I did just that.

Tell us something you are really excited about…
My next collection......keys, coins, trinkets......! watch out.

Tell us something that really gets on your nerves….
people who copy me, so annoying! But I take it as a compliment now.

What's next for your label?
Growing, and designing more collections !

Thank you Veronique!
To view more Mirabelle at Equa Click Here >>

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Staff Pick Of The Season - Thalia

Adele Skirt by People Tree
I bought this skirt about a month ago and it has quickly established itself as a firm favourite in my wardrobe. The colour makes me happy! I love the high waist and the way it nips in to contrast with the tulip shape made by the pockets. I tuck a t-shirt into it for daytime but with a dressy black vintage blouse it's also been great for evening.

Starfish Dress by Rianne De Witte
I'm a sucker for little black dresses! The lyocell jersey in this one drapes beautifully and feels wonderfully luxurious. This dress is fantastic because it is fitted at the sides but the panel of pleating down the center is very flattering so I can eat a big dinner without feeling self conscious!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Staff Pick Of The Season - Amy

My first pick of the season would have to be the People Tree Audrey Dress. It is a grey shift dress made of a textured woven organic cotton with cute tuck sleeves. It’s perfect for winter worn over a long sleeved thermal top teamed with warm tights and boots. And if you are looking for a more fitted look it also looks great cinched in at the waist with a tie belt.
My second pick is the Annie Greenabelle Split Back Dress. It is the perfect mixture of cute and sophisticated. The classic shape reminds me of gorgeous 1960s shift dresses. Formal enough to wear to work but also lots of fun to party in. I will be wearing it with black tights and ankle boots teamed with a cosy cardigan.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Staff Pick Of The Season - Rosie

My primary pick of this season is the Article 23 Betty Tunic. It is a simple black top that can easily take you from day to work to evening. Paired with jeans and boots for a 'Day look' or tucked into a pencil skirt with heels for a 'work look'. For an evening ensemble you could tuck it into some super skinny high waisted trousers with killer heels. In my opinion it is one of the most versatile pieces of the season.

My second pick of the season is another Article 23 piece the Paula Jumper. As soon as I laid eyes on it I fell in love! It is the 'must have' winter cosy jumper, with it's super soft wool and creamy beige colour I would be as snug as a bug in a rug all winter long. It's length means ones posterior would be kept out of the cold while the chunky roll neck means you have no need for a scarf, and this for me is the ultimate winter warmer!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Staff Pick Of The Season - Ruth

We have such great knitwear this season. The Bibico Long Knit Vest is one of my favourites, for adding an extra layer of warmth and it looks great belted over a short winter dress!

The Komodo Halina Tunic is perfect for adding some extra sparkle to the party season! I love it with tights and heels for an evening out or with jeans at the weekend.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Staff Pick Of The Season - Marta

This week each of the girls from the Equa boutique will be picking out their favourite pieces of ethical fashion from the Autumn Winter 2010 collection.
First up we have the lovely Marta:
My ultimate pick of this season has to be Cecilia Hammarborg Ezerin Trench Coat. It is extremely luxurious and well tailored. With its perfect fit it is most definitely a statement piece and wardrobe staple for any "girl about town"!

My very favorite dress this season is Annie Greenabelle's organic cotton Molly Dress. Whilst being very comfortable and easy to wear, it is quite feminine and elegant. The plunging neckline decorated with a cute sparkling frill gives this dress a nice evening feel.

Monday, 8 November 2010

How to wear it! The Marcy Pod Dress

As the weather gets colder it's so easy to end up with a wardrobe full of dull sludgy greys or black and more black. The Marcy Pod Dress by People Tree gives a welcome pop of colour. It's made from a beautiful handwoven fabric in deep fig with a geometric pattern in burnt orange and magenta. It is produced by People Tree in conjunction with artisans from the group Folk Bangladesh who work to bring employment opportunities, design and technical support to disadvantaged people living in remote areas of Bangladesh. Hand weaving fabric is estimated to save 1 ton of C02 emissions per year per hand loom.
Here we have teamed this dress with the following items:
Double Hoop Earrings by Just Trade
Brass Bangle by Just Trade
Dionysia lace up heels by Terra Plana
Footless Tights by G=9.8
Adore Vegan Handbag by Matt & Nat

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Perfect Ethical Work Dress

Some fabulous new pieces from Komodo arrived in the boutique this week. We think the Pepi Dress is the ideal work dress. It is sharply tailored but the red top stitching is a quirky detail that will take you beyond boring board room fashion. It is made from a mix of hemp, organic cotton and wool fabric with a textured weave which gives it a touch of heritage chic. It makes a perfect team with Terra Plana's Juniper Heels, with the deep red mesh echoing the red stitching.

Other great ethical workwear items at Equa include:

Blazer with Belt by Outsider
Miles Vegan Satchel by Matt & Nat
To view more from Equa's new collections click here >>

Monday, 18 October 2010

Designer Interview - Aura Que

For this month's designer interview I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Laura Queening from the gorgeous fair trade accessories label Aura Que. 

In a previous post I mentioned just how much I love these bags with their hand knitted banana yarn panels..

Image: Aura Que AW10 collection, Large Zip Handbag
 In a nutshell what was your initial motivation for becoming involved in ethical fashion?

During my final year at Cordwainers at London College of Fashion, I wanted to work with small producer groups in a more personal and ethical way. So I sourced fair trade producers in Nepal, a place that I loved after my gap year teaching English in a rural village there.

After I graduated in 2007, I was involved in the LCF Shared Talent Fair Trade Project in Johannesburg, South Africa and designed a collection of recycled leather handbags for the Oxfam Boutique. Then I decided that I wanted to create my own brand with my links in Nepal, launching AURA QUE for Autumn/Winter 2008.

What does ethical fashion mean to you?

For me, it means that considerations are made during the design and production process, to work with producers that are treated fairly, enabling them to support their families and also to source materials that are more sustainable where possible. In developing countries like Nepal, fair employment helps people to help themselves.

With AURA QUE, it is not possible at the moment to get a perfectly ethical supply chain, but every material and manufacturer is carefully considered with regards to ethics, design and cost. The social fair trade aspect is of primary concern to me – working directly with all my producers, and using handmade local materials and production that create more employment opportunities.

What challenges do you face as an ethical label?

I am working with some fantastic Nepalese people and producer groups and as with most labels, it is a constant challenge to meet production deadlines and maintain quality control. When working on new designs, it is a joint effort between myself and the sample makers Kumar and Arjun, working out the best way to make the product with the factory’s technical equipment and skills.

What are the inspirations behind this season's collection?

The new A/W Collection incorporates the signature AURA QUE look combining leather with textured handknitted panels, with inspiration from various pieces of formal menswear and details drawn from leather braces, high collars and jackets. I also wanted to get a very asymmetric but practical look this season with many of the bags having versatile handles and straps.

Image: Aura Que AW10 Collection, Bucket Handbag

What advice would you give anyone looking to make their wardrobe more ethical?

There is a lot out there now! Not only with some great new independent designer labels, but also ethical collections on the high street. It is also about caring for your clothing and accessories so they last longer, as well as investing long term in quality products.

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe and where did it come from?

When I was travelling through Spain and Morocco in 2001, I bought a bleached denim jacket which I still wear nine years later, though it’s acquired a few rips on the elbows along the way…

As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?

Aah I could never decide, I think I went from wanting to be an air hostess, to a doctor, bio chemist, architect and then handbag designer…I’m glad I am doing what I am doing now!

Tell us something you are really excited about...

I am really excited to be going back to Nepal soon, to work on my new A/W 2011 collection – I spend about 4 or 5 months of the year out there - I love it!

What's next for your label?

AURA QUE is gaining momentum with the leather/knit bags and accessories – and we are looking to create a classic leather range, and eventually launch a unisex range – all a work in progress!

Thank you Laura!

To view Equa's collection of Aura Que bags click here >>

Monday, 4 October 2010

Autumn Windows

It's migration time and Equa's Autumn windows are full of fluttering origami birds. We have got some fabulous prints in for this season so we scanned  the fabrics and printed the patterns onto our origami paper. 

Here are the pieces featured in this month's window: 

Nancy Drape Dress by People Tree

Luna Dress by Komodo

 Radia Tunic by Article 23