The Australian online shop Blue Caravan launched last year to prove that beautifully designed products are the best catalyst to shift shoppers towards sustainability. The founder, Jen Djula, supports and promotes direct trade with emerging and independent designers and insists on ethical production both locally and overseas. She's scoured the world to put together a beguiling array of gorgeous but guilt-free home buys. It's already a big hit.
You soon forget the shop's impressive ethical credentials (thus proving that eco is most definitely chic in this case) and lose yourself in the enormous "design market" with everything from pretty paper table lamps to baskets woven from recycled crisp packets and screen-printed tea towels decorated with typewriters.
I've got my eye on some cool grey linen cushion covers with paper-cut-effect phrases on them such as "All you need is love". They're contemporary and cute without being sickly. I also like the bold graphic geometric Modern Glamour cushions. The fretwork designs on the front are printed onto linen and cotton mix fabric, while the backs are made from hemp and yak hair. How much more eco-friendly can you get?
There's something irresistible about Blue Caravan's high-gloss flamingo pink cuckoo clocks. They're not for the faint-hearted, but I can imagine one would look amazing hanging on a dark grey wall, offering a neon pop of colour. My other favourite has to be the little Valley salt and pepper set: two tiny pinch pots and a matching dinky spoon, all made of porcelain and decorated with iron oxide.
There are plenty of stylish fair-trade products to admire here, too: jute bowls, hand-woven by talented women in Bangladesh and perfect for storing fruit or vegetables; block-printed cotton napkins for elegant table settings and beautiful silk quilts from India. The green scene suddenly got a lot more exciting.
For shipping costs to the UAE, visit www.bluecaravan.net or call 00 610 459 073 419