Our Top 11 Eco Fashion Blogs & How To Pitch To Them
Whether you're looking for more customers, buyers or stockists, press coverage is essential. Pitching to bloggers can be tough, so I've tracked down eleven of the hottest eco bloggers out there to find out what makes them tick, how they like to be pitched to and what plain annoys the heck out of them!
Sasstainable combines an accessible read with professional journalism and quality photography. Angela Wallace, creator of the clean and easy-to-use blog, is all about aspiration and she inspires others to explore important issues, rather than being preachy. I was really interested to discover why she features certain brands and, like her blog, she was incredibly clear about what she looks for:
"... an attractive and user-friendly website, a strong and inspiring brand story, high quality goods or services, an established and active social media presence, clear ethical and sustainable values and practices, and a distinct and unique style. Style is actually one of the hardest to define – what seems “stylish” to me won’t be for another person."
How To Approach Sasstainable:
You'll be pleased to hear that Angela loves hearing from new brands, including cold calls, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Don't get in touch if you're only offering your kickstarter or fundraising campaign - that's not a story. What else can you share? Your first collection, or introducing brand artisans? Get in touch with a specific pitch: a product review, an interview or a social media campaign. Always offer her some form of compensation, such as a small fee, a free product or service.
Bloggers are often self-employed. It takes effort, time and talent to create an article, editing and drafting photos and copy, not to mention marketing it across social media platforms.
Always plan ahead and give Angela at least two weeks to cover your story. Finally, present adequate PR materials, a well edited press kit, including pictures, press releases, brochures, quotes and logos. It can help a blogger to begin with those branded basics.
Ceri Heathcote of Ethical Fashion Blog, has been blogging since I can remember and rarely misses a post. Incredibly informative and approachable, she showcases a range of clothes on her site, usually pieces that she has tried and tested herself. She's also hugely excited about networking with and promoting other eco bloggers too - which is fabulous! I caught up with her to find out exactly what she looks out for:
1. They have an interesting or unique story to tell. 2. They have a collection that I love the look of and can provide me with great images. 3. They have a collection that I love and are providing a piece [garment] for review so that I can give my own opinion on it... 4.They are providing a relevant item for a giveaway or a nice discount code that is unique to my readers.
How To Approach Ethical Fashion Blog:
Get to know the blog and see how your work will best fit. Tell Ceri exactly what is unique or different about your brand, tell the story behind it and provide her with great images as jpgs (she doesn't work with pdfs). Keep it short with a few paragraphs of info in the email as opposed to an attachment.
Ceri is a stickler for transparency, so make sure you're upfront about exactly how you're an ethical brand. Like most journalists (people!), she hates being messed about. As a super busy mum of two, working full time and managing a number of websites, her time is precious. If you get in touch make sure you get straight to the point. She'll also be more likely to use any clear, concise information that she can simply lift out of an email.
People that contact me to offer a product to review, then change their mind when I respond or try and force me into writing a sponsored type post instead of giving my own opinion really irritate me. I would prefer for people to be clear and upfront about how they want to work with me so that I can decide whether it will work for my blog or not.
Green Issues is a Singapore based blog with fun images and an easy to use layout that keeps you clicking. It focuses primarily on upcycling clothes and how to make them into something new or more wearable. Green Issues founder, Agatha Lee (Agy), loves to feature designers or brands that use waste textiles in their designs. I asked her what sorts of designs really stood out for her and what she'd feel inspired to feature:
The styles are timeless and they have a range that suits everyone's tastes! It would also be nice if they could cater to the older generation too - my mum has asked why there isn't anything for her age group.
How To Approach Green Issues by Agy:
Be transparent. Agy has experienced brands who approach her, claiming to be ethical but then don't have the transparency or proof to back it up. For her, being transparent and telling consumers the story behind the product is one of the best ways we can do more to raise awareness of ethical fashion:
"The public love to hear about what goes on behind the scenes, and it gets them to think about what they are buying."
If Agy can't share your amazing stories, then she isn't doing her job.
Fashion Hedge, founded by Yarina Valverde, is a recent discovery of mine. I already love her. Her insight into ethical fashion is refreshing and she tends to cover humbling brands who she's usually approached herself. She gets right down into the gritty details, but somehow still makes being eco super cool - and we need more of that! When I asked her what she looks for in the brands she features, she told me:
I always look for clear information and evidence that they understand what they are using as their marketing points and brand strategy and that their sustainability claims aren't just words... A lot of people in this niche are taking the hard route to build something they believe in: they could be making more money doing more mainstream things... I have been approached by brands that simply do not meet my criteria and are only taking advantage of the eco trend as a marketing point... I've had to say no to some of them.
To tick the 'clear information' box, Yarina would look for detailed information on where you are manufacturing your clothes and accessories, the materials you're using, their origin and quality, and your underlying company values and goals. I'm pretty sure I cover all those boxes over at Offset Warehouse - but it's nice to double check!
How To Approach Fashion Hedge:
Be honest. Be clear. Yarina wants to know about your operations and how you go about your business - this should be clear on your website. You also need to have a truly great product, actually cool, stylish and flattering pieces people want to wear. Lastly, she needs to feel your passion for ethical fashion. Follow her on twitter but NEVER send her a direct message on Twitter requesting to be featured. Big NO. Yarina is a huge twitter user and has a pet hate for those who disrespect "the silent rules of the game", she adds,
I can tell whoever is managing a social account doesn't know what they are doing, I have to say goodbye. You have been warned!
Sass Brown, founder of Eco Fashion Talk is one of these ladies who knows her stuff - she is the Acting Associate Dean for the School of Art and Design at FIT afterall! Sass is heavily involved in the ethical fashion world and holds a lot of influence in the eco-arena. She loves to get down to the nitty gritty details and discover new techniques, brands and movements. I caught up with her to chat about some of her own eco principles,
"Every time you buy a product you are voting with your wallet, so know what you are funding with your purchase, whether that is a CEO who's annual bonus is greater than the GDP of a small nation, a poor human rights record of treating workers fairly or paying a living wage, or trashing the environment through the production of their clothing. Knowledge is power, do a little due diligence and find out what you are funding first, because no piece of clothing is worth someone else's life. "
If you're going to get in touch, don't assume Sass will feature your work. She may love all things sustainable, but what the product looks like is still king.
How To Approach Eco Fashion Talk:
Don't forget to send your website. Sass likes to independently research her stories. She says, "its amazing how many people reach out but forget to include a link!". Sass is the type of journalist who's happy to follow up with specific questions and image requests - so hook her first, and she'll follow up.
City Girl At Heart is a beautiful lifestyle blog that features an ethical brand every Tuesday, aptly named "Ethical Tuesday". This is a great opportunity for brands to showcase their products and get their ethical message out there. I got in touch with the creator of the blog, Georgie Butcher, to find out what makes her tick:
I am happy to showcase any brand on my blog that has a strong ethical ethos and is passionate about what they do. I am inspired by brands that find innovative ways to make products from used materials that would otherwise be trashed. I am also really passionate about brands that empower women providing them with a safe workplace and fair salary.
What Georgie hates, however, is when she covers brands who don't return the favour:
It annoys me if brands don't use the blogpost in their own social media marketing. The point of what I'm trying to do is create a community of ethical style crusaders who all support each other and help everyone to get the message out there. It's a shame when brands don't get onboard and are only looking to promote themselves
How To Approach City Girl At Heart
Email Georgie direct. She will usually review a product for you, create a giveaway or you can write your own copy. But don't be shocked if she doesn't pick up your story - she'll only work with brands that she really loves and work with her readership.
Honesty and transparency is key to what I do.
Made-to-Travel is all about making ethical fashion accessible through showcasing more affordable fashion and more wearable designs. Jamillah, founder of Made-To-Travel, doesn't just focus on ethical fashion either. She offers an all-rounded blog experience, including posts like Good Habits, DIYS and Smile Files, that she refers to as her "Happy Things". I caught up with Jamillah, to find out what she looks for in the brands that she features. While her main focus is the ethics behind the manufacturing, she also needs inspiration:
"The real inspiration for me is in the stories behind the brands I work with... and the reasons why all these brands have chosen to do such tremendous work empowering people to make better lives for themselves... this is the stuff that is truly inspiring to me."
How To Approach Made-To-Travel:
Use her name, JAMILLAH - it's written all over the blog for goodness sakes. I'm always shocked to hear when designers haven't even tried to find out the name of the blogger. Great tip: check out her policies and disclosures page. Jamillah LOVES it when a brand cites her policies page - it shows that you understand how she works and that you've read the blog.
Come with the story, but offer a bit more more. Of course Made-To-Travel might mention you briefly if you just send over your story, but if you want a full feature send over a product and ask for a product review or offer a discount for the readers or a giveaway. Plan ahead and make sure you give enough notice if there's a time constraint on your promotional offer.
Don't take it personally if she doesn't respond immediately and don't be afraid to follow up. ALWAYS respond to her emails (well, any journalists' emails!). Even if you've decided you'd rather not go ahead with a giveaway or Jamillah doesn't think your product is quite right for her, be gracious and polite and respond. Don't leave her in the lurch and burn that bridge.
A beautifully clean and fresh looking blog, founder Hannah Hughes will only ever feature looks that she thinks are really fashion forward: "It's a really tight edit", she says "I don't feature items purely because they are ethical they need to be as aesthetically pleasing as what else is on the market". I asked Hannah what she looks for in the brands she features:
My blog is aimed at people who have a love of fashion and interiors but want to make a conscious decision to choose eco friendly and sustainable versions when possible... I'm always looking out for brands who produce stylish products that have a sustainable or ethical element about them. What inspires me most are upcycled items. I hate waste so if an item can be transformed into another wearable/ useful piece I think that's wonderful.
Her pet hate? Designs that look too "earth mother", so hippy designers steer clear! She also finds it particularly frustrating that there simply aren't enough affordable ethical designers out there - so if that's your forte then go get her!
How To Approach The Eco Style Editor:
Include lots of low resolution pictures. For Hannah, most things can be summed up by more pictures and less words. For a super quick way to create low res and web ready images, head to Photoshop. Open your image, click 'File' and 'Save for Web'. This will drastically reduce your file size and save the blogger some valuable time too.
Quirky, eco fashion girl extraordinaire, Ron McQuade, uses her blog Dresses on A Clothes Line to showcase her personal style sourced from ethical or sustainable sources. She has an incredible, eclectic eye for style and takes self portraits in fun, colourful locations. I was keen to discover what she looks for in the brands she wears:
"After checking a brand's ethical and sustainable credentials, I'm most interested in a brand's style. I come across plenty of ethical brands but not all of them are to my taste. Some are too high end and expensive, some just don't fit my aesthetic."
How to Approach Dresses On A Clothes Line
Be open and honest. Ron doesn't feature all the brands that approach her, only the ones that catch her eye. Ron is incredibly understanding when it comes to startups and is happy to advertise smaller brands for free, "I understand the difficulty of getting an idea off the ground". What irritates her, however, is when she's offered exposure on a brand's social media page as payment, particularly for brands with very few followers. To write a feature takes a significant amount of work, and this just doesn't cut it. It's particularly irritating from large brands who can afford to pay for her time.
10. One Green Dress
Amelia Glynn, founder of One Green Dress, takes a more analytical view of the brands and products she features. She likes to delve into their ethical trade policies and really understand the 'good' that the business is doing - so don't forget to highlight these when you get in touch. One Green Dress is all about sparking debate and discussion, and in this vein Amelia loves it when brands encourage their shoppers to ask questions. Get your followers to starting thinking about where their clothes come from and incite some discussion. I had a chat with Amelia about the sorts of things she looks for in brands:
I look for a particular emphasis on improving working conditions and labour rights. I tend to find a lot of brands only focus on the environmental so I really enjoy finding brands that do work on the human side of ethical trade. I'm also looking for fresh designs - I want clothes that last the test of time both physically and fashionably but I still want those designs to inspire me.
Like many eco bloggers, Amelia is incredibly sensitive to what is sometimes called "Green Washing". I chatted to her a bit about this:
It's frustrating when a brand advertises themselves as eco and then has no relevant information on how they manage their supply chains on the website.
How To Approach One Green Dress:
Be transparent. Make sure you send Amelia all the info - she wants to hear about what real work you're doing, not just what you believe. (And follow her on Instagram!)
The girls over at The Conscience Collective are currently in the middle of a new development, where they will be showcasing a directory of fashion forward, ethical brands that meet their aesthetics and principles. The blog is currently on hold as they make these changes, but I still wanted to add their blog to the list - particularly with the impact their new changes will have (the potential is huge)! Stacy Hope and Emma Forster-Hiscock, co-founders of The Conscience Collective aren't about showcasing what they love personally, but instead, put forward a narrative of how the industry is evolving and can evolve as a whole. I asked them what would meet their aesthetics and ethical principles:
"We first look for ethos behind the brand - how are their messages conscious of social and environmental impacts - as well as whether the brand appeals to our aesthetics. The latter is in tandem with ethos as we want to show the younger consumers that ethical fashion can also be appealing, and even affordable. For some brands it may be the entire collection, whereas for others it may be one item that we see as a must-have."
The girls also talked about the danger of diversification: when brands do certain things very well and then decide to expand their range with products that are mediocre. Suddenly, the tone of the entire collection and brand is brought down and what was once outstanding, suddenly becomes normal and boring.
How To Approach The Conscience Collective
Before contacting the girls, read their blog and make sure your brand fits with their style. If you think what you've got works with their aesthetics and principles, get in touch - don't forget to address them by their names! Be clear with how you'd like to be featured: is it a review, a normal blog post featuring your product, should it include social media? In keeping with the natural, personal tone of the blog, Stacy and Emma like to be free to express their own opinions, so don’t try to dictate the content of the post too much.
To Conclude: How To Pitch To Ethical Fashion Bloggers
Pitching to bloggers may seem like hard work but hopefully this has shown you that the process is really very straightforward. Try and see your pitch from a blogger's point of view. Will it entertain their readers? Does it tick all their ethical boxes? Most importantly be succinct, open, honest, transparent and humble.
I'd love to hear your thoughts so please do leave your comments here. If you like these articles and would like to receive a monthly roundup of all of our articles, please add your email address to the "Insider Designer Knowledge" box up the top, or sign up to a more specific mailing list here.