Sunday, 24 June 2007

My top three ethical fashion brands

Ethical fashion is making big waves with brands like Kuyichi and People Tree having concessions in Topshop. M&S offering a fairtrade range, Dorothy Perkins selling organic tees and The Clothes Show Live having a section dedicated to ethical fashion this year. Anya Hindmarch created a stir with her 'I'm Not A Plastic Bag Bag.' People seemed to be more concerned about its fashion rather than eco-credentials, but some would say that any publicity for ethical living is good publicity. Ethical and stylish were once far from synonymous, but those days are but a distant memory and as an ethical stylist, it's my job to find fantastic ethical fashion buys.

I am off to the Daily Mail for a ethical fashion photo shoot this Wednesday. I'll let you know what day to buy the paper (when I know that is!) if you would like to see this feature and marvel at the beautiful ethical clothes.

For now, to save you scouring the web for hours, tearing out your hair, wondering why you can only find T-shirts with 'Let's Go Green' (or such like) on, here are my top three ethical (I heart) brands. I will be adding more favourites over the coming weeks, months and years.

1) Ciel - The wonderful Ciel, firm celebrity favourite, was brought to us by Sarah Ratty. Sarah's mother was a fashion lecturer at the Brighton College of Art and following in her footsteps, Sarah developed a taste for fashion. After considering and pursuing various paths Sarah finally embraced her creativity and entered the realm of fashion design (luckily for us). Prior to Ciel Sarah developed "Conscious Earthwear," which was first sold in Brown's, South Molton Street.

Sarah designs for ladies who love fashion and care about protecting the environment, recognising that the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. Ciel clothes are created from beautiful eco-fabrics and the production process conforms to labour laws stipulated at
Labour Behind the Label.

If you are wondering what to wear this summer take a look at the V-Neck Smock Dress (as seen on the left). In line with the Foho trend, why not team it with some black tights, or faded denim skinny jeans and a pristine handbag. Hurrah for Ciel!

2) Kuyichi - For the young and uber stylish boys and girls out there, Kuyichi is superb. Kuyichi (established in 2000) craft jeanswear for young, urban consumers. Cutting edge style with a conscience is what they are all about and in my opinion they have succeeded in their endeavour. They develop organic materials and were the first denim label to make good use of organic cotton. What does Kuyichi mean? It comes from the Peruvian god of the rainbow, who, as myth suggests, pinched the colours of life from the Taquille Indians. They weaved glorious blankets and in return Kuyichi returned their colours. This brand certainly bring colour to our lives. Whoever said ethical should be dull?

One of the trends for this summer is going for short dresses and skirts. If you can bear to bare your legs then Kuyichi do some fantastic ones. Check out the Hevess Dress 70-752, Helium Dress 70-753 and Heman Dress 70-754. For stockists of these fab items check out the Kuyichi website.

3) Beyond Skin - Shoes glorious shoes, filling up your wardrobe. Don't buy too many shoes, changing fashion trends lead to an incredible amount of wastage. According to WRAP over one million tonnes of textiles are ditched in the UK every year. Instead of going crazy, buy a capsule collection of shoes, that are less likely to go out of fashion by next week. Beyond Skin is another celebrity favourite. Natalie Portman wore Beyond Skin shoes to the Oscars. This brand was set up by Natalie Dean, a make-up artist in the music and fashion industry and a dedicated follower of veganism. Beyond Skin create exclusive, hand-made (in the UK) vegan shoes in a variety of lush, plush fabrics.

There are no Jesus sandals to be seen on the Beyond Skin website, just luxurious, exquisitely crafted shoes. This month I like the Angelica T-Bar wedge (as seen on the left) which is just so sparkly and spangly and will turn an average outfit into a crowd stopper. Hurrah for Beyond Skin!

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