5 reasons why Bristol is perfect for the conscious shopper
Bristol was recently voted the 4th best city in UK to live for vegans and, with our abundance of vegan restaurants and health food stores, it’s not hard to see why. I have lived here for 24 years (aka my whole life) and I’ve seen the rise in numbers of vegetarians and vegans living here; a lot of them seem to be people migrating back from London, probably realising you can live the London lifestyle in Bristol for half the price! However, there has also been a rise in the interest in sustainable living and fashion. There are many reasons why Bristol is such a fabulous place to live if you’re conscious shopper, but here are my top 5… I've included links to all the brand names and organisations so go nuts kids!
1. Sustainable brands
There are so many great sustainable brands that have started up in Bristol and I’m still enjoying the process of discovering them all. My favourite, however, is Antiform, they’re such a great company and while I was interning for them when I was in university, they made me feel so welcome and a real part of the team. They focus on sourcing reclaimed materials from within the UK and making the most of the fabric they have, ensuring minimum textile waste and all of their products are made in England.
Other Bristol-based brands (that’s not easy to say fast!) include Filthy Squirrel, Over Here, Brothers We Stand (men’s ethical fashion) and I’ve also recently discovered Madia & Matilda, who are stocked in Rex concept store in Cabot Circus – check them out!
Movement Boutique Bristol is another great store to check out as they stock loads of different sustainable brands under one roof!
2. Vintage shops
If you love a good old rummage through racks of vintage, then you literally cannot get any better than Bristol. We have Gloucester Road, which has the longest row of independent shops in Europe, and F loads of vintage shops. Park Street is good if you have a bit more cash to flash. Whiteladies road, again a bit pricier. And of course Stokes Croft, home to loads of great sustainable brands and independent clothing stores. A few of my personal favourites are Loot, Fly and Uncle Sam’s – they sell loads of retro American gear and low prices for their designer brands.
3. Kilo sales / clothes swaps
This is such a great one – I really don’t know any city that does it better than us! We have kilo sales where you pay a small entry fee to a big venue and there are massive piles of vintage/used clothing that you can spend hours diving into and you can actually find some absolute gems if you’re prepared to put the time in. Bristol Textile Recyclers host a monthly kilo sale on the 1st Saturday of the month, £1 entry and they get all the best stuff there – but go early because the pro’s know that the early stuff will be gone 30 minutes after they open!
Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair is a regular visitor to our city, bringing with it a festival of all things vintage from the 1920s to the 1980s. I went to the last one, which was at the Old Passenger Shed by Temple Meads, and it was such a great event, I would really recommend it for anyone into vintage clothing and accessories as the range there was like having 20 vintage stores rolled into one!
There are often clothes swaps as well, but you need to keep an eye out for them, as Bristol is notorious for not promoting their events well! The next one I know of is the Style Swap at the Pata Negra on the 23rd November, with talks from Bristol’s key stylists and bloggers.
Bristol is also known for being the happiest city in the UK and I believe it’s mainly down to the people. Bristolian’s are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and they really do care about their hometown and making sure people are looked after and included. There are so many great organisations and charities in Bristol that are doing some real good in the city and the world.
I have been volunteering for Labour Behind the Label, an amazing Bristol-based charity that works to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry. They organise demonstrations, put pressure on brands to create and enforce ethical code of conducts and campaign for the rights of garment workers across the world. Watch this space for more information on this charity and my work with them *insert side-eye emoji*
Bristol Textile Recyclers (BTR) Ltd is another great one to know, founded in 1972 they are a family run business, diverting 20 tonnes of textiles from landfill daily. BTR helps its retail charity partners by purchasing their unsellable donations including clothing and other textiles.
This was news to me but Bristol is actually one of the leaders in textile design and production in the UK. Bristol Textile Quarter offers an online platform, as well as physical studio space, to connect the textile community in Bristol. They house sustainable fashion companies such as Antiform, Dash + Miller and Studio 1A.
Bristol-based print maker Christina Melo creates beautiful patterns using eco fabric that is then hand printed. Christina’s designs are often inspired by Bristol architecture, which anyone will tell you is top-notch architecture.
Bristol has also developed a culture of up-cycling, turning once neglected items into one-of-a-kind pieces. The Bristol Upholstery Collective was recently featured on the BBC show Money For Nothing, and were finalists in the Bristol Life Awards 2017.