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People Tree Review: Fairtrade, Ethical Clothing

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With the global demand for fast fashion and cheap labour, the result has meant that over 35 million people have been trapped in the clutches of modern slavery. Simply put, our greed and lust for the latest and greatest fashions have led to the demise and suffering of many. So, when People Tree contacted me to ask if I’d like to review some of their range I couldn’t be happier.

People Tree hasn’t tried to stick to one particular style, there are so many pieces available to wear as either a statement piece or to mix and match with your existing wardrobe.

People Tree was founded by Safia Minney, a British born entrepreneur, author, and spokesperson and campaigner for Fair Trade and ethical fashion. In 1990, Minney moved to Tokyo, Japan with her husband and it was there that she realised the Japanese people knew very little about sustainable living. This prompted Minney to launch Global Village in 1991, a voluntary group focussing on all aspects of sustainable living. This quickly became the foundation for her own fashion label and shortly after People Tree was born. To find out more about People Tree’s history, click here.

The gorgeously versatile and comfy Oliana Jumpsuit.

The gorgeously versatile and comfy Oliana Jumpsuit.

I do everything I can to stay ethical when it comes to fashion – my used clothes go to charity, any new purchases I try to make through Depop, and when I get a bit bored of my t-shirts I customise them a little by maybe turning into a crop top, tassel tee, or vest top. But when it comes to making brand new purchases I can be a little clueless, there are a few brands I trust but it’s so minimal. People Tree are the first clothing company to have received the World Fair Trade Organisation product mark. The WTO believe in respecting both the environment and workers meaning no discrimination, no child labour, no forced labour and most importantly fair payment, good working conditions, and supplying opportunities for disadvantaged workers. I think that just carrying this mark instils faith in the buyer from the start which is fantastic, and for clueless people like me, it means I truly don’t have to worry where my clothing has come from.

Because People Tree are super generous they have also supplied my readers with the discount code ‘GOTSA10’ for 10% off – so get shopping! (Please note: offer ends July 31st, 2018 and excludes underwear and footwear – sorry!)

The Review

Being in my mid-30s with 3 kids and having a sudden ethical mid-life crisis it has proved tough to readjust my wardrobe accordingly. Most days I live in the same sports leggings that I’ve owned for over 2 years now, and they have holes in them, yes really. All of my t-shirts I have cut into crop tops to help transition to summer, and since I turned 30 I’ve been more focused on comfort than fashion. This means I usually gravitate toward the urban activewear side of things because I can kind of still be a little bit on trend. I mean, after all, I spend most days working out, cleaning, cooking, and running around after my boisterous kids. So, when I want to look ‘nice’ it’s a little bit of a struggle, to say the least. I’ll admit, when People Tree first contacted me I was nervous that I wouldn’t find anything suitable that I could incorporate into my daily wardrobe or that I’d find it both fashionable or comfy enough. But, once I scrolled through their site I found that there are so many options for people with different tastes. People Tree hasn’t tried to stick to one particular style, there are so many pieces available to wear as either a statement piece or to mix and match with your existing wardrobe. If I had to categorise I’d just say the range is pretty much smart casual.

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The beautiful Rahima Top in Tibetan Red.

Another thing that worried me was that I have a pretty unusual figure; I’m 5’8″ with a 36″ bust, 28″ waist, 40.5″ hip, 34″ inside leg, and my shoulders are much broader than the average woman. I also have a muscular frame that’s leaner at the top and chunkier at the bottom and I can’t ever find tailored trousers that fit so I have to go for the items that have some stretch to them. On my top half, I tend to find that I can’t find anything to accentuate my waist and I end up looking bulkier than I would like to. For these reasons I opted for the size 12 in both of the items that I reviewed – on the site their size guide states that for a size 12 the measurements are as follows; bust 37″, waist 29.5″, and hips 40″. I pretty much sit right in the middle of their size 10 and 12, other than my hips of course.

Before I get to the individual reviews you’ll find the following certifications attached to all Tree People garments, I and also listed this below for each item reviewed, and I thought it would be best to briefly summarise what all of these certifications mean:

  • Organic Cotton: Protects farmers, their families, and the environment by using sustainable farming to ensure the wellbeing of the farmer.
  • World Fair Trade Organization: Campaigning for Trade Justice through 10 standards on Fair Trade. People Tree works to these standards (I mentioned this in more detail above).
  • Soil Association Organic Textile Standard: Means that the product meets the organic standards all the way from the field through to manufacture and storage.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into my awesome review…

Rahima Top in Tibetan Red, £29.00

The Rahima Top is a classic vest with a gorgeously elegant, twisted neckline. I was first drawn to this top due to its deep burgundy hue which I think compliments my pale olive skin so well. It’s made from 100% organic cotton making it soft enough to go bra free in (no chafing) and super breathable for those sweltering summer months. The soft, loose fabric means you can be as active as you like in it – I’ve done yoga a few times now and it’s been a dream to wear. The twisted neckline makes it such a versatile top – you can go smart or casual and team it with anything from denim, joggers, leggings, skirts and even some floaty palazzo pants. I own a pair of awkward length plissé pants and when I tie this up to crop it a little it looks stunning, this even works well with a pair of baggy joggers believe it or not!

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100% organic super soft cotton makes this vest a dream to wear…

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull this top off due to my ridiculously muscular shoulders and saggy post 3 baby boobs, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think the halter affect that the twisted neckline gave managed to also make my waist appear slimmer, even though there was quite a bit of excess fabric. When untucked from my trousers the top sat around my hips and gave a much flowier and relaxed fit but with the style of trouser, I was wearing for these photos I preferred the tucked look as I felt a little slimmer. This was also my first time ever being bra free in a piece of clothing, I normally wouldn’t have the confidence but I felt secure and I don’t think I looked too droopy, I’m only a B cup though so if you’re larger chested you may not feel as comfortable! I kind of wish I owned this top when I was breastfeeding Anya because it would have been quite easy to pull up.

Materials: 100% Organic Cotton

Certifications: Organic Cotton, World Fair Trade Organization, Soil Association.

How it’s made: Made by Assisi. Assisi Garments is a social enterprise in India. The skilled artisans at Assisi Garments transform Fairtrade and organic cotton fibre into beautiful garments.

Care instructions: Wash on a low spin with mild detergent and with similar colours. Do not soak. Reshape while damp. Line dry in the shade. Iron inside out on medium heat.

Available in sizes; 8-16 you can purchase directly from People Tree. (Also available in White.) Don’t forget to enter ‘GOTSA10’ at the checkout for 10% off! (Please note: offer ends July 31st, 2018 and excludes underwear and footwear – sorry!)

Oliana Jumpsuit in Black, £85.00

People Tree’s ‘Oliana’ jumpsuit is a best-seller and I can totally see why. The jumpsuit is cut from the softest organic cotton and has an elasticated waist that draws in the loose, draped top to create a more defined shape around the hips. I decided to go bra free in this so that you could see the jumpsuit in full effect but usually, I wear a really pretty lace bralette from Free People underneath, however,  it’s black and sort of detracts from the outline of the jumpsuit. I think a pop of colour underneath would have looked amazing.

This is hands down the comfiest outfit in my wardrobe now, you literally just walk into it and you’re ready to go! It does have a little, concealed button at the chest to keep it nicely crossed over but I found that it didn’t like to stay done up on me, plus because I’m so tall and broad-shouldered that I found that the jumpsuit didn’t sit right unless unbuttoned. This definitely wouldn’t be a problem on a more petite frame. I did find though that if I pulled the jumpsuit up a bit and then draped the shoulders a little it looked perfect. It also looked beautiful with the shoulders pulled down for that signature Bardot neckline. Because my legs are so long it sat a little above ankle length toward my shins but it didn’t look weird at all. The People Tree site states that the size 12 is 142cm long and if you look at their photos it did sit slightly above how it did for their model on me.

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The most lightweight jumpsuit I have ever worn!

The fabric is really stretchy and lightweight so you don’t feel confined and can move freely, it doesn’t feel too hot or too cold, rather just right. It dresses up well with trainers and a faux leather jacket for a more casual feel but also looks fab teamed up with a necklace on its own for a more elegant and simple look like I’ve worn for the photos. Personally, I think that all of those qualities are what makes a fantastic item of clothing.

I did have mixed feelings about the Oliana Jumpsuit at first because I kind of wished that the waist cinched in a little tighter so I didn’t feel as frumpy, but it certainly has grown on me since I learned how to just wear it my way.  My waist is closer to a size 10 rather than a 12 but I know I wouldn’t be able to size down because my hips and legs would be too tight, so I’m definitely going to invest in a little belt to tie around the waist just to accentuate it a little, and also to pull the neckline down and make it deeper. I wouldn’t say that this is a problem with the clothing itself but more just because my body is so disproportionate. Overall I’m really happy with the Oliana and will continue to wear it for as long as is humanly possible!

Materials: 98% Organic Cotton 2% Elastane

Certifications: Organic Cotton, World Fair Trade Organization, Soil Association.

How it’s made: Made by Assisi. Assisi Garments is a social enterprise in India. The skilled artisans at Assisi Garments transform Fairtrade and organic cotton fibre into beautiful garments.

Care instructions: Wash on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent and a slow spin. Separate colours.

Available in sizes; 8-16 you can purchase directly from People Tree. Don’t forget to enter ‘GOTSA10’ at the checkout for 10% off! (Please note: offer ends July 31st, 2018 and excludes underwear and footwear – sorry!)

Double Bangle in Brass, £14.00

This simple, handmade double bangle which is available in brass, copper and silver, and boy is it a stunner! I found that this accessorised perfectly with both items sent to me by People Tree and it helped to give a little hippy, Bohemian chic to my outfits. I’ve been wearing it non-stop since I received it and it’s so comfortable. I don’t usually like bangles, I find that they can just move around too much or the ones that are quite secure result in digging grooves into my arms or making my sensitive skin itch. It’s super lightweight and easy to pop on too, you can gently squeeze the bangle into place so that it doesn’t slide around too much. Unfortunately, since it’s taken me forever to finish my review it’s no longer listed on the site but they do stock the beautiful Bethany Single Brass Bangle for just £8.00 and the Sophie Brass Bangle for £10.00. All bangles are also available in silver and you can layer them up too.

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This brass double bangle is both modern yet elegant.

The jewellery available on People Tree is so much cheaper than I thought it would be and it’s all Fair Trade and handmade. There are some beautiful necklaces and rings available and even though I’m not big on jewellery I’ll definitely be buying some soon. I think I’m drawn to the sheer simplicity of the materials used and the designs – they’re both modern yet elegant and again so versatile you can wear them with anything and make them your own. They also all come in little beautiful jewellery bags to keep them protected from dust.

Materials: 100% Copper

Certifications: World Fair Trade Organization.

How it’s made: Made by Bombolulu. Bombolulu is a fair trade social business in Kenya that creates beautiful handmade jewellery. Bombolulu provides opportunities for people who have physical disabilities.

Care instructions: Do not wash. Clean with a soft dry cloth. Avoid contact with perfume and other body care products. Please store in box or jewellery bag away from dust and direct sunlight.

Available to purchase directly from People Tree. Don’t forget to enter ‘GOTSA10’ at the checkout for 10% off! (Please note: offer ends July 31st, 2018 and excludes underwear and footwear – sorry!)

The Verdict

Overall I have been so pleasantly surprised by People Tree; their ethics, their history, their high-quality materials, and simplistic, modern, and elegant designs. It’s actually so hard to fault anything that they do. I know upon first glance some of their items may seem quite highly priced and not so affordable, I did think that myself when I looked at the Oliana Jumpsuit price tag, but it isn’t likely that once you buy it you’d end up with much wear and tear after regular use. For me that’s key. I don’t want to purchase a £30 jumpsuit only to have to bin it after a few months wear because its stitching is unravelling or the material is so flimsy it has torn.

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Me believing I’m some sort of model… That jumpsuit though!

There is a really extensive range of products available, of which some of the more simple items like underwear, activewear, leggings, and tees are pretty affordably priced making organic, Fair Trade and ethical clothing available to most people. The higher priced items have more detail to them and make them both suitable for going out in or just for wearing casually so I think that the pricing is more than fair. There’s also free delivery and returns for all UK orders and international delivery costs a rather cheap £5 for all orders over £70. People Tree currently ship to all countries within the European Union, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For those of you that are London based – People Tree run regular sample sales with up to 70% off so you can really blag a bargain, to find out more just click here.

I’m certainly going to look to buy from People Tree in the future and I’m so happy that they have been my first ethical clothing experience. To everyone over at the PR office for People Tree – thank you so much for setting things up, but most importantly for your patience with me getting my review up!

If you’d like to stay up to date with what People Tree have in store next then follow their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts for more amazing ethical fashion updates! 

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    23rd May 2018 at 1:07 am

    Thanks for sharing I’m really keen to buy some of this clothing now. Absolutely loveee the pictures by the way

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      23rd May 2018 at 11:55 am

      Awww thank you Emily! It took me like 500 shots and 2 days to finally get something semi decent I am so in love with their clothing! I want to get some leggings and their underwear because it looks so cosy!

  • Reply
    RecipestoNourish
    18th June 2018 at 8:36 pm

    That jumpsuit!!! Holy cow it’s stunning! I prefer deep v-necks because, well … small bust for me and deep v-necks look so much better for that situation. But my goodness this one would look gorgeous on anyone. It’s so pretty! I’m all about ethic fashion too, thanks for sharing about this. Beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Jean
    20th June 2018 at 2:08 am

    OMG hottie alert!! You are looking incredible in these and I especially love the v neck. Thanks for sharing a great brand!

  • Reply
    Kari
    21st June 2018 at 5:17 pm

    You look absolutely incredible in this brand! I’ve never heard of them before, so thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to check them out because I especially love the red top!

  • Reply
    ChihYu
    24th June 2018 at 3:39 am

    It’s totally gorgeous. Love all the outfits here !

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks so much Chih Yu! I think you’d look amazing in the jumpsuit!

  • Reply
    thecastawaykitchen
    24th June 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Stunning!! Love the outfits, love what the brand stands for… and dayummm mama you look so good!

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Haha this is like the best comment ever! Thank you so much <3 I really love what People Tree stand for – such a wonderful brand x

  • Reply
    taeshabutler
    25th June 2018 at 4:18 am

    Ethical fashion is something that is near and dear to my heart. So I LOVED this post! Plus, these pieces are adorable. Can’t wait to order some for myself!

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Aww thank you so much Taesha. I’m really new to ethical fashion so I was mega impressed. Hope you snagged yourself some gorgeous clothes <3

  • Reply
    STACEY CRAWFORD
    25th June 2018 at 4:24 am

    You look smoking hot in those outfits! That black jumpsuit! What a wonderful and ethical fashion brand.

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:08 pm

      Pahaha! I don’t know about smoking hot but I did kind of feel it in that jumpsuit, thank you :)! I love their stuff so much and it’s great that they’re an ethical brand too.

  • Reply
    Oh Snap! Let's Eat! (@ohsnapletseat)
    25th June 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Super cute! I will need to check out these outfits!

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:02 pm

      You’d suit so many of their clothes! Thanks for stopping by lovely <3

  • Reply
    Darryl
    25th June 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Great photos but more importantly a great post on fashion we can feel less guilty about at affordable prices – thanks for sharing!

    • greensofthestoneage
      Reply
      greensofthestoneage
      17th July 2018 at 5:01 pm

      Aww thank you Darryl! I agree it’s so good to not feel guilty about something you buy and even better when it’s not too pricey! They do men’s clothes as well!

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