Could 2024 be the year of living sustainably? Make do and mend is massive, consumers are considering the environmental impact of their purchases (2023 was officially the hottest year on record) and paying attention to what clothing companies are up to. This year, I’ll be taking fashion slowly. And more sustainably – admittedly, it’s a work in progress. Making the most of the clothes I already own, shopping vintage and carefully choosing who to spend money with, is something I’ve been focusing on for the last few years. So really, this is simply the continuation of that less-is-more process.
To start, here are five noteworthy, independent brands doing things stylishly and sustainably:
January is the perfect time of year for a jumpsuit. I have a small collection already, but if you’re looking for a colourful, organic denim onesie, designed in the UK, go straight to Seventy + Mochi. This female-founded business is on a mission to make denim more sustainable and affordable. Check out Anthropologie for Seventy + Mochi sale bargains.
Apparently named because this London-based company wants to be the brand you rise with in the morning (clothing) and fall with in the evening (they also sell bed linen). Last summer, Rise & Fall sent me a linen dress and cotton shirt to test-drive. And I was impressed. The fabric quality is good, the shapes are simple and stylish and designed to last. The company focuses on wardrobe essentials in quality materials, such as organic cotton, European flax linen and Mongolian cashmere. According to their PR, ‘By partnering with select, tested manufacturers, Rise & Fall make savings that are then passed directly on to the consumer, meaning that they can offer elevated essentials for less.’
Look out for organic silk launching this spring.
Accessories designer Ali Maclean decided to leave her position at Hobbs to pursue her own slow fashion brand ‘when they closed their Italian shoe factory to outsource in China’. Ahem. Nearly all Als of London bags are made using vegetable tan leathers from Italy, selected from a suppliers in Dalston. When the skins arrive in East London, Ali travels by public transport to collect them. Vegetable tanning uses natural tannins found in plant materials to create leather. This process eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and greatly reduces water consumption. ‘ Every bag I make should last a lifetime, so if there are any issues further down the line, I always ask for the bag to be returned so I can mend it,’ says Ali, ‘I’m also always happy to spruce up a much loved bag that has been well worn!’
What’s not to like about sustainable jumpers made in the north west of England? With names, including, Lytham, Wyre, Freckleton and Ingleton, Herd knitwear takes me back to my childhood. Founded by Ruth Rands, a sustainability champion and knitwear-lover who was alarmed when she discovered ‘how many chemicals and plastics are used in processing, and how far wool travels.’ With this in mind she set out to find beautiful British yarns to work with.
‘None were as soft and luxurious as expected,’ Ruth tells me, ‘Then, visiting farms and factories in Yorkshire, I discovered the Bluefaced Leicester breed – it has an exceptionally soft fleece but was being completely overlooked in favour of overseas wools shipped thousands of miles and doused in chemicals. I wanted to bring this story to a wider audience and give back to the farmers who were looking after the sheep and land.’
Founded by Spanish designer Bea Recoder, RECO Paris is a French luxury accessories company. Having worked for Balenciaga, Paco Rabane and Chloe, when the world slowed down during lockdown, she decided to explore a different path. RECO’s chic, patchwork handbags are made from high-end surplus leather and come with a designer price tag – and that’s not including the import tax for those of us who live outside Europe. Wah!
More sustainable style to start the year, including Albaray, Baukjen and Nobody’s Child. All good for sustainable, wardrobe basics. And a reminder that all the brands I work with on the TNMA Edit have a slow fashion ethos:
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