What comes to your mind when you think of Russia? Is it vodka? Brown bears? Snow? – You’re right, we have plenty of those. But Russia possesses some sustainable gems, too. Since Moscow is the city where I was born, let me tell you where you can shop clean and sustainable. I will show you my favourite places for ethical fashion, natural cosmetics and zero-waste shopping.
Thrifting is the only thing that beats my love for food. Truth be told, Saint Petersburg (check out our St.Petersburg guide here) has better vintage shops, but the capital runs greater events!
Vintage Marketplace is a seasonal thing that takes place downtown in beautiful buildings with rich history. You can buy everything from vintage dresses to Soviet pins and houseware. Follow Vintage Marketplace on Instagram or Facebook to make sure your trip aligns with the event.
Svalka is a Russian word for ‘a pile of rubbish’, ‘dump’. Despite its name, Svalka is a second-hand paradise. There are not just clothes but you can also buy furniture if you wish to add a babushka-touch to your interior.
This is where you will leave all your money if you haven’t spent everything on shots yet. Vintage Voyage carries premium vintage clothes starting from the beginning of the 20th century. It’s pricey, but worth a visit. They have some stunning dresses and jewellery pieces!
Charity Shop Msk
From all of the above this place is the kindest. People behind Charity Shop Msk were the first ones in Russia to raise awareness about the destructive side of the fashion industry, and how some of us switch clothes everyday while others literally have nothing to wear. Charity Shop Msk collaborates with Fashion Revolution Russia, so if you need to free some space in your suitcase, bring unwanted clothes to one of their four shops. They donate all earnings.
CLEAN BEAUTY & ZERO WASTE
Biozka concept store
Biozka concept store | Moscow, Taganka, Bolshoi Drovyaniy pereulok, d.8, building 1
Among many green labels this small shop carries, ZAO Cosmetics is my favourite. ZAO is certified by ECOCERT, they are cruelty-free, and most of their products are refillable and come in bamboo containers. I personally tried ZAO’s lipglosses, creamy eye shadows and different liners. I heard that ZAO’s mascaras and lipsticks are good as well. Keep in mind there’s just one shop, not two, even though Google still says otherwise.
It is a legendary pharmacy built in 1914. Open 24/7, located in a very trendy area of Moscow, Mapteka offers everything sulphate-parabens-evil-free. Like, Veleda products. I’m sure you’ll find something to your taste there.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Lush and The Body Shop. These shops are everywhere in Moscow. I want you to meet their Russian cousin: Natura Siberica, founded in 2008. The brand offers a wide range of organic hair and skincare products made with extracts from herbs grown and harvested across Siberia. Their products meet European standards of quality organic cosmetics, which is confirmed by numerous prestigious certificates (ICEA, ECOCERT, COSMOS STANDARD, BDIH).
Nevertheless, I always recommend to read the labels. I do it with all the brands named above, because big companies can afford greenwashing. But don’t take me wrong, Natura Siberica is worth checking out! Just be smart 🙂
zero waste shop
zero waste shop | m. Dmitrovskaya, ul. Novodmitrovskaya 1, p. 26. (entrance through the Khlebnitsa bakery)
First zero waste shop in Russia, founded by Larisa Petrakova, enthusiastic environmentalist that struggled to find package-free products and ended up opening her own shop. There you can find many things from food in bulk and cleaning products to reusable straws and menstrual cups. The shop is located at a creative space called Flacon. Charge your phone, you’ll be taking pictures there!
About the author
Alica Koz aka @alisa.koz is a sustainable blogger from Moscow who now lives in Madrid. On her blog alisakoz.com she will be sharing more guides to different cities in Europe. If you wish to stay in the know, subscribe or give her a follow on Instagram.
She is also happy to help if you are travelling to one of the places she talks about. So don’t hesitate to contact her.
Are you living in a city with sustainable gems that you want more people to know about? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear about them!