Nothing could better signify the continuing rise of all things eco than this sighting on a recent trip to Paris:
So shocked was I that Parisians had allowed the conversion of one of their beloved Patisseries into an organic clothing shop, I wandered inside the Ekyog store to see what this was all about. I really didn’t mean to buy anything (I was just “researching”) but minutes later, there I was handing over my Euros for a pair of organic cotton leggings, a yoga top, an organic lipbalm and perhaps most frivolously of all, organic cashmere underwear. I know, I know, such extravagances really can’t be justified even if everything was oh-so-soft and beautifully presented AND environmentally friendly.
I felt a little less bad about the cashmere undies when I went home and did a bit more research on Ekyog. Their mission is “to do business and to contribute to the objective that our planet will still be liveable in 50 years”. I’m sure that statement comes across better in French but there is no doubt about their admirable intentions. Not only are Ekyog clothes good for the environment, but the company is also good to the communities providing their raw materials. They are committed to Fairtrade principles and are also involved in projects such as installing clean water pumps for the areas where their cotton is grown. Hopefully, with such worthy credentials, the locals won’t mind missing out on a tarte au citron or two.
It seems that eco-chic isn’t the only do-gooding happening around Paris. I also came across what is being heralded as “the first chic charity shop”. I love it that the French assume theirs is the only chic charity shop in existence but I have to admit the shop in question – Merci – is pretty damn stylish. Set in one of the beautiful courtyards of the Le Marais area, Merci was established by the founders of the chic BonPoint brand, Marie-France and Bernard Cohen. Merci offers exclusive designer items at low prices and all profits go to a humanitarian association that works with children in Madagascar. Marie-France and Bernard Cohen have wielded their fashion power and persuaded some of the big fashion brands (YSL, Stella, Marni and Isabel Marant) to waive their rights in support of the project. The store is quickly becoming a go-to destination, offering something for everyone: a book store, children’s section, homewear and even a restaurant serving wholesome regional produce.
p.s. In addition to inspiring me on the eco-chic front I can’t help but mention the gorgeous tea shops I found in Paris. There were so many but a couple of my favourites are here.
1. Le Palais Des Thes (Le Marais district) – beautiful layout, cheerful packaging and best of all, their tea is all ethically sourced with a policy of getting to know all their tea planters personally, providing them with decent salaries and banning child labour.
2. Mariage Freres (Place de la Madeleine, Paris) – I first sampled this deliciously subtle tea over breakfast at my hotel and took a trip to their tea emporium. Check out the lovely, authentic way Mariage Freres display their tea in huge big tins.