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Consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about the origins of the products in their wardrobe, and fake fur, cruelty-free fabrics and pleather are fast becoming the go-to materials for those wanting to enjoy the latest fashion with a clean conscience. And everyone from high-street retailers such as Topshop and French Connection to high end designers like Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney are meeting consumer demand for animal-free fashion.

Animal welfare organisation PETA is recognising the best cruelty-free contributions to the fashion world with a new awards - the first ever PETA-approved Vegan Fashion Awards.

The awards mark the launch of PETA's new logo, which designers and retailers can use to identify vegan clothes and accessories that they sell online or in stores.

Check out the 2013 winners below - more information can be found here.

Eco-friendly cycle wear from new label VELECO

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We're great fans of cycling here at Hippyshopper; not only is cycling a great way to get around the London traffic (beware of motorists and pedestrians mind!), it keeps us fit!

Most of the time we'll just wear our normal clothes but sometimes that just doesn't seem right. What if we could have some ethically made garments made especially for our bike rides - that doesn't necessarily involve extremely tight fitting and unflattering lycra?

Well Jamie and John, the guys behind VELECO have just the answer! With what they claim to be the world's first fairtrade and eco-friendly cycle wear company (if anyone beg to differ, let us know in the comments below), they hope to change cycle wear across the world by making it more ethical.

Using natural, organic and recycled materials wherever possible, a 15% fairtrade premium is paid on every garment made, which is pushed back into health and welfare projects for VELECO's workers and their families in Pakistan.

The current collection consists of cycling jackets, t-shirts and hoodies as well as a selection of accessories including cycling caps, cotton bags, recycled tyre and tube belts as well as green oil. Plans are in motion to launch more technical wear in 2013, which will include shorts, trousers, more jackets and bags for urban cyclists and commuters!

Take a look at the collection below.

We love our Macs, iPhones and iPads and wouldn't really want to live without them - even if Apple has decided to pull out of green-tech programme EPAT. But our eco minds are always on the look-out to find accessories to our Apple gadgets that are made with sustainability in mind, and not with badly produced plastic things shipped from far, far away. As we await the official announcement of the iPhone 5, here are some of our favourite Apple accessories we've come across lately - and a novel idea of how to upcycle an old iMac...

It's a hot summer day and we will forgive you for thinking more about ice creams and froyos than chocolate. But if you, like us, are a bit chocolate obsessed, we thought you'd might be interested in which bars and truffles out there can help you satisfy that sweet tooth in a more sustainable way through fairtrade.

What is fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Read more about it on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

Five eco-friendly Father's Day gifts

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Whether your dad is an eco-friendly urbanite, a tech devotee or an outdoors kind of guy, there is plenty of choice out there of what to get him this Father's Day to show him how much you appreciate him.

However there are now so many great sustainable and ethical things available, so it isn't always so easy deciding on exactly what he might like - or even knowing if he's already has it!

To help ease your search we've compiled a gallery of five eco gifts we hope will be to his taste.

We love the environment and we think nothing is better than to come across fashion brands that do the same. No doubt we live in a throwaway society of which many fashion labels are guilty of fuelling hungry consumerism in people where we end up looking for the next trend or piece of clothing as soon as we've got one. But then there are brands like Lost Property of London.

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The brainchild of Katy Bell, Lost Property of London takes abandoned fabrics and lovingly transforms them into fashionable yet very practical upcycled bags. No surprise that green fashion queen Livia Firth is a fan!

The bags are created using as many eco design principles as possible, making each item from recycled materials and by hand. We're definitely sold and will be putting this on our birthday wish list! Check out the gallery below to see more of these exquisite bags.

Prices start from £120 and are available online from www.lostpropertyoflondon.com.

With this year's Mother's Day just ten days away, we've put together a little gift list for the style concious mum.

So why not show your mum (or wife) that she's truly valued by helping her update her spring wardrobe with these fantastic eco-friendly finds - and the best thing you can buy them all online!

Erin_OConnor_Bags_To_Save_A_Life.jpgMost women dream of owning a designer handbag, but seeing as most of them cost the equivalent of a month's rent it usually stays just a dream. However, what if I said buying said bag also means that you'd be doing something for a charitable cause...

British fashion model Erin O'Connor is leading the celebrity support of Save the Children's Christmas 'Bag to Save a Life' appeal when it launches tomorrow, Friday 25th November 2011. Erin is joined by other well-known names such as Sienna Miller, Tilda Swinton, Florence Welch, Gemma Arterton, Georgia May Jagger, Annie Lennox and the UK's Prime Minister's wife and Save the Children Ambassador, Samantha Cameron to raise funds for the charity's lifesaving work in the poorest countries.

If you fancy snapping up a bag by the likes of Christian Louboutin, Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Prada and many more - donated or designed by the lovely celeb ladies previously mentioned - make sure you join in on the online auction from tomorrow on www.savethechildren.org.uk/bagtosave.

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Claire Danes' Jimmy Choo

Samantha Cameron has donated her Jimmy Choo bag, Sienna Miller a Miu Miu, Tilda Swinton has donated a bag from Chanel AND a bag from Victor & Rolf, while Gemma Arterton has donated a leather patent Prada bag.

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Samantha Cameron's Jimmy Choo

Save the Children ambassador Samantha Cameron said: "I am delighted to donate one of my handbags to Save the Children's Bag to Save a Life auction. It a great cause and the proceeds will help provide more health workers around the world who in turn will stop the needless deaths of children. Please get involved and do your bit to help save a child's life."

Tilda Swinton said: "Bid high! Bid so much higher than you think you will or can! Think of a dicey number and double it. And then double that. No fancy bag can ever carry what your generosity will mean to the children it will help to live. Make this beautiful object truly valuable by investing real money in real life - and carry the evidence with pride. Don't count the cost. Think of it as paying something back for all there is to be grateful for in your days."

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Chanel donated by Tilda Swinton

If you want to take part in the auction, the starting price will be at around a quarter of the bags' recommended retail price. You can also donate any unwanted bags you might have laying around at any of the Save the Children stores around the UK to be included into the auction.

The online auction will be live from Friday 25th November to Sunday 4th December 2011.

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My, my what a pretty Miu Miu - donated by Sienna Miller

ECO CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: 5 gifts for him

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There are plenty of eco-friendly presents available for the men in your life. But if bamboo socks aren't just what you're after - although they're probably very comfy - check out our five top choices for ethical presents to put under the tree this Christmas.

Eco fashion focus: Lu Flux

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I love the playfulness and British eccentricity of Lu Flux's designs. A myriad of colours and a couple of pineapples, the A Lu Ha Spring Summer 2012 collection has definitely been inspired by the island of Hawaii (the name gives it away really...)

Lu Flux debuted at London Fashion Week as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout's 'Ones to Watch' show in 2009, and has after exhibiting under the Estethica initiative at Somerset House for two seasons been awarded the Innovation Award which celebrates her inventive and exciting designs in the world of sustainable fashion.

Check out the Lu Flux website for stockists details.

Green graffiti - It's all in the mossage

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We've previously written about 'reverse graffiti' and 'living billboards', and we're familiar with 'guerilla gardening' and 'knit graffiti' but have you heard of moss graffiti? The latest in street art projects aiming to enrich derelict urban spaces is cleverly named Mossenger and is the brainchild of London-based artist Anna Garforth.

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Anna's project uses biodegradable ingredients to attach moss letters to walls to spell out poems. How wonderful isn't that? The poem you can see on these pictures are by Eleanor Stevens and will be featured in four parts - each sentence is to be displayed somewhere in London.

Have you spotted any other green street art projects where you live?
If you see Anna's work when you're out and about in London tweet us @Hippyshopper as we'd love to see more!

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(via Environmental Graffiti)

With predictions of Arctic winter conditions looming, Britons will not be happy with the news that energy costs won't get slashed just yet - and may continue to increase in the future.

Prices are set to continue to rise because of the rising cost of gas on the international market, and now Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted the Government need to work "harder and faster" to bring down energy bills ahead of a summit being held at Downing Street today, Monday 17th October 2011, to discuss the hostile energy market in Britain.

Following the latest Ofgem report, David Cameron has in a joint article with Energy Secretary Chris Huhne on moneysavingexpert.com outlined what the Government are looking to do: "Energy bills have increased by more than £100 for most people since this summer (the cost of gas and electricity has risen by up to 18% in the past few weeks). These price rises couldn't come at a worse time for consumers who are already feeling the pinch from rising petrol prices and the cost of the weekly shop."

Regulator Ofgem published plans last Friday in which it said suppliers will be forced to have no-frills tariffs - one standing charge plus a unit charge for energy used - to make it easier for consumers to figure out which supplier is best for them. But unfortunately this won't be put into motion until 2012 and while big energy providers like British Gas and Npower expected to pledge not to raise prices again this year, it can't be avoided that people will see their bills increase this winter.

But there are some things you can do to cut your energy bills, here are four tips:

Five tips to have a green Halloween

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Don't you dare to dust away those cobwebs - Halloween is almost here! At the end of the month it's time for trick-or-treating, scary costumes and sweets, lots and lots of sweets. A big business in America, this 'holiday' is catching on over here in England too but unfortunately can be one of the most wasteful times of the year. Just thinking about all those individually wrapped sweeties that get given out and the plastic decorations bought at the local pound shop only to be thrown out afterwards makes us feel bad. That said, we're not saying you shouldn't enjoy the festivities, so here are some tricks to have a greener Halloween.

Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm-480.jpgGrimsby Docks, Sunday morning 7.15am. The smell of fish wafts up from the bay as a middle aged man takes his Staffie for a walk past a load of broken-up, fly-tipped bedroom furniture. The dog takes a wee on a broken coil from the mattress of a discarded double bed. Nice.

It may not be everyone's idea of a good time, but I'm surprisingly excited despite the inauspicous surroundings. Thanks to British Gas, I'm about to visit one of Europe's largest offshore windfarms, situated about 35 miles down the coast in the usually very windy North Sea. Luckily, today the water is as calm as a millpond, so I can sit back and enjoy the journey in the state of the art catamaran decked out with all the latest gadgets - including, cleverly, seats that move to compensate the feeling of motion sickness.

Technicians from British Gas' base in Grimsby take this journey out to the wind farm everyday (except in really terrible weather conditions), but today I'm out here with a film crew shooting extras for Channel 4's eco-series, Three Hungry Boys.

Three Hungry Boys-480.jpg Now in its second series (due to air later this year), the programme sees three hirsute fellas travelling around Devon and Cornwall meeting various communities and getting involved in different eco-causes, powered only by an electric milk float called Daisy. Tim, the leader of The Hungry Boys, is very nice, but he doesn't half look like The Green Wing's sexy doctor played by Julian Rhind-Tutt (I phone my wife, she's very excited and asks for lots of pictures).

Seriously impressive

While we all like the idea of renewable energy, the truth is that many people complain about the environmental impact of wind turbines on land (not really sure why as they definitely more beautiful than electricity pylons). Putting them at sea therefore seems like a great idea, not only because it lessens their environmental impact, thereby reducing protests from complaining NIMBYs, but also because it makes good use of the North Sea's high winds - and believe me it does get windy here.

There is also, inherently, something a lot more exciting about visiting a wind farm rather than say an oil rig or power station - maybe because it feels like you are looking into the future rather than back at the past. I think Mick Turner, Centrica's Head of Renewables, Operations and Maintenance sums it up best: "We are all learning so fast about renewable energy, it's a bit like being involved in North Sea oil exploration in the 1970s."

Bags of energy

While naysayers constantly talk about wind power's inability to produce enough electricity to meet our needs, the truth is that it is becoming more important. "Realistically wind power is only part of the solution to our energy needs - we do need to look at other sources like nuclear," admits Mick. "But last week when we had quite a lot of wind it was enough to provide 10 per cent of our total electricity."

Comprising 54 wind turbines (don't let Mick hearing you call them 'windmills'), the Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm is one of the biggest in Europe, producing 800 Mega Watts of electricity - enough to power 130,000 homes. They are also seriously impressive. Pulling up to the wind farm, you are quite simply overwhelmed by their size and unbelievable grace - like the modern day equivalent of the Pyramids, as Tim from The Hungry Boys succinctly puts it .

Measuring the size of a football pitch in diameter, the blades are near silent despite moving around at speeds of up to 180Km/h. And to be honest, how can anyone complain about their presence this far out to sea (except perhaps the engineers who have to come out here when it's blowing a gale).

For British Gas customers, there's also the opportunity to assuage your environmental guilt at using fossil fuels by signing up to to its Energyshare tariff. Basically under this tariff all the energy that you use is matched by electricity produced by British renewable sources - at the moment 100 per cent comes from the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm.

Anyone signing up to the tariff before February 2011 will have the opportunity to win Solar panels worth £9,999 as well as receiving a free gift to help save on bills and carbon emissions (take your pick from an electricity monitor, a standby saver, water widget and eco-kettle and a set of radiator panels).

Seems like a no-brainer to me, although rather shockingly only 2 per cent of us have so far signed up to a 'green tariff' so there's a long way to go before we all get our electricity from wind farms like this one off the coast of Lincolnshire.

You can see the Three Hungry Boys in action on Channel 4's website.

TOMORROW WE TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE SIGNED UP TO THE ENERGYSHARE FUND - A GREEN INITIATIVE BETWEEN FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, RIVER COTTAGE AND BRITISH GAS

Gothic lace and Nordic autumn with Minna

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I've recently become obsessed with lace; especially black lace. And with autumn bringing with her promises of cold evenings and glamorous events (one can but hope!), I am on the hunt for beautiful and durable, yet sustainable pieces that I can fill my wardrobe with.

The dark romantic feel of the Minna autumn/winter 2011 collection is perfect for the long wintery months ahead. Consisting of a series of pieces in hard wearing fabrics such as wool jersey mixed with reindeer leather and silk that have been hand dyed to create a vintage feel.

This is true Eco Luxe with each piece hand embellished and made from sustainable, organic, recycled and locally produced textiles.

My favourites are Marileen (£322), Pauline (£342) and Tilly (£311).

Browse the collection below or go to minna.co.uk.

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