Ethical clothing: Lucy and Yak review

I’ve been a big fan of Lucy and Yak for a while now and I have actually talked about their dungarees that I got discounted on their Depop in a previous blog post (any samples/ items with a slight fault go on their Depop; it’s definitely a great place for some bargains). In fact, after doing some digging on their website I actually found out that Lucy and Yak started their company on Depop first before they got their website!

Winnie the Pooh

For those who aren’t familiar with the brand, Lucy and Yak describe themselves as an ethical company, which to them means that their employees and manufacturers receive a fair, living wage. The company is also working towards being sustainable and have started off with their packaging. When you receive their dungarees they come in a super stylish material bag, which is actually all recycled material and their mailing bags are 100% biodegradable. They kindly link to the website they buy their mailing bags from on their website (which, I’ve just linked to) and from what I can see these bags should be able to decompose in industrial compost deposits (i.e. if you live in a UK and have a compost/ garden waste bin from my knowledge of this subject they should be able to go in that bin). They are hoping to be 100% plastic free in the future.

Lucy and Yak clothing is made in North India and on their website they highlight how their tailors are paid four times the state’s minimum wage. The living wage for India according to the not for profit Labour Behind the Label is 18,727 rupees a month (this figure is from 2015 however so it might be slightly out of date).

The link Lucy and Yak provide to map their employees wages against is in line with the current rate for the minimum wage in Rajasthan, India. I couldn’t find a living wage specifically for Rajasthan, however, I did find a chart that showed that minimum wage in 2018 was 4,162 rupees a month but the living wage varied from 7,170 rupees for a single adult to up to 19,700 rupees for a large family.

For an unskilled worker in the garment industry in which the minimum wage is 5,538 rupees a month their Lucy and Yak wage would then be 22,152 rupees. Lucy and Yak emphasise on their website however that their workers are highly skilled so I would assume they are earning more than this.

The figure I gave though is the absolute minimum their workers could earn and is more than the living wage for the country according to all the statistics I could find.

The company also stress on their website that in their tailor, Ismail’s factory, some of the tailors ‘live comfortably working part-time”. They also highlight how they were able to help build a brand new factory that is more spacious, clean and with air conditioning.

I am aware at this point that this post probably sounds sponsored but I can assure you it is not. I just really love the time and effort that goes into this company, especially in their pages on their website (it’s refreshing for these pages to actually be helpful and transparent) and I know personally I will be buying for them again in the future. I honestly went a lot more in detail about what actually goes on behind a brand in this post than I ever have done and I was pleased with what I found (hopefully I will have this same result with brands I review in the future).

However, without further ado let’s discuss what I got. I’ve wanted this coat for a while and initially couldn’t decide whether to pick it up in pink or brown, but after deciding via Instagram poll, I decided to go with the rose pink. This coat was £60, which is cheaper  price than I have seen from other ethical companies on average and I have seen similar coats priced at that amount in for example Topshop. Places like Primark and New Look however are likely to be a fair bit cheaper.

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What really sold me on this jacket apart from my desire to be a pink fluffy sheep is that it is made out of 100% recycled bottles. I don’t know about you but to me that was such a cool concept; the idea that you could wear a jacket made out of bottles.

Environmentally, there are advantages and disadvantages of using recycled polyester, which Lucy and Yak detail on their blog. Essentially it allows items like plastic bottles to be reused and repurposed, however, it doesn’t stop the problem of what happens to the item in the end. Also, every time you wash an item made of polyester it sheds microfibres that make their way into the ocean. This reason is why Lucy and Yak thought outwear would be a better use for this material, as generally coats needs to be washed less often. They also highlight a company that sell a bag which catches the microfibres released in the wash. It doesn’t solve the problem of what to do with the fibres afterwards but it is definitely a potentially helpful solution (I for one will definitely look into buying one when I need to wash the coat).

The jacket itself is super cosy; it has no lining which means it’s more of a lighter jacket than a full on winter coat but that also makes it feel like a blanket. It came in a beautiful fabric bag, which I’m obsessed with. I also love how it’s pink to match the coat!

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The rose pink of the coat is absolutely perfect and stunning in person. Overall, this is definitely a great autumn jacket and I think layered with other light jackets or cardigans underneath would work for the cold as well. It fits oversized so that means you can definitely fit a cardigan or light denim jacket under there. However, it’s not too oversized if you get what I mean.

Sizing wise I would say this coat fits true to size for an oversized (but not too oversized fit). If you’re at the top end of the size you’re looking to buy I’d probably advise sizing up if you’re really after that oversized look.

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Beret: Gift from a friend 

Jacket: Lucy and Yak 

Top: Olive Clothing 

Trousers: Topshop 

Shoes: Vegan Dr Martens 

Packaging wise, as mentioned before it came in recyclable plastic wrapping, then a fabric bag and then more plastic wrapping (I think this may be in case the coat sheds but I’m not entirely sure why it was there). However, when I looked this was biodegradable as well.

I do though have some problems with this coat that I wanted to talk about as well. For one, the coat sheds quite a bit and since it’s shedding plastic I don’t feel good shedding down the street (this has calmed down the longer I’ve had it though). Also, as mentioned although the lack of lining makes the jacket cosy; I think with a lining it could work better for colder temperatures and it would stop some of the jacket shedding on your clothes when you first wear it. I’ve been wearing this jacket non stop for a week or two now to really test it out and in that process one of the buttons has fallen off. I’d understand if it’d been a few months of heavy use/ to a year but for a week, I think the buttons may need to be secured better.

Overall, this is a super cosy jacket (in a really unique rose pink) and I really like the innovative nature of how it’s made. If this is a better sustainable option, I’m not sure just yet but it is a ethical one from a brand I really admire. I think a few tweaks to the design would make it absolutely perfect!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’d be interested in a review of other Lucy and Yak styles in the future (I’ve definitely been eyeing some more of their dungarees) or maybe even an interview with the company about their brand (I think this definitely would be really interesting) then let me know in the comments!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

YouTube: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

This post is entirely my own opinion. The jacket was purchased with my own money along with the clothing mentioned in this post. 

Any brands in the background of my photographs are entirely coincidental (the only time I had to take photographs was in London with my friend on Oxford Street). I understand the irony of having a very capitalist background to a ethical/ sustainable fashion post but hey, that’s the world we live in! 

I’m on a journey to make my wardrobe more ethical and sustainable (luckily a lot of what I buy is vintage which helps) but I’m not all the way there yet so the clothes I mention will reflect this. 

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