Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ethical Fashion Brands That You'll Love

Ethical production is becoming increasingly important to us. We're not just bothered about where our food comes from, we're caring more about where our clothes come from as well, especially in the midst of the current sweatshop discussions. Ethical fashion is shaking off its festivally 'oh, I hand wove this while playing the lute and eating mung beans' vibe (actually, I quite like mung beans and festivals) and there are some gorgeous options if you want to be a little more conscious about what you're wearing.


Beyond Skin have been making vegan shoes since 2001 and they're one of Domestic Sluttery's favourite shoe brands. Not only are they stylish, Beyond Skin also keep prices pretty low - these navy and silver platforms are £153 (and these beautiful coral pumps are £135). Not quite high street prices but not so expensive that you'll have to consider selling a kidney to buy them (probably not all that ethical). Want more shoe options? TomsOne For One scheme gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair that they sell. And don't forget Melissa, the fashion bloggers' favourite, are also vegan. Some of their shoes smell of bubblegum. I still don't know why.


Oh, People Tree. Let me count the ways that I love you. Actually, a lot of the ways are very Orla Keily-based so that'll make counting a bit easier. Right at the top of my list is this lovebird dress, which is £110. BUT, before you all get mad at me for spending all of your money, the People Tree sales are fabulous. This excellent boat dress is just £37.50.


We've featured a couple of ethical lingerie brands previously - Life's Not Fair But My Knickers Are might have a wordy name but they offer smalls in Fairtrade, organic cotton. They're available from Saumarez who only work with ethical lingerie brands.


As if they weren't fabulous enough already, Ayton Gasson have their own eco friendly lingerie range! They were already tickling my fancy with their reclaimed Nottingham lace, but their eco range uses organic cottons and peace silk methods so the silkworms can transform into moths. If you're on the look out for something a little more casual, Luva Huva hand make all of their lingerie in the UK.


While we're on the topic of ethical silk, wedding gown company Minna offer their whole range in Peace silk. That's fabulous. So is this short weddng dress - oh my goodness, the sleeves. I think I just want it for parties. Prices for Minna wedding dresses are kicking around the £400-500 mark. That's very reasonable indeed.


Nancy Dee tick loads of ethical boxes. Their pieces are made in the UK, from sustainable fabrics and organic cottons. I do wish the dresses in the range were modelled a little better - the photos don't really do the clothes justice, but here's a perfect wear-every-single-day-throughout-summer maxi dress. It's £99.


Melie Binaco are an interesting brand. Their handbags are vegan and sold at the incredibly excellent ethical boutique Fashion Conscience. They're eco friendly as well as being animal friendly so they care about the chemicals used in their fabrics. All high street shops do faux leather but you don't really know much else about the materials aside from that. This bag might be £82, but you can be certain of its ethical credentials. They're actually based in LA and I'm really, really hoping this clutch bag makes it into their UK selection.


Lowie has been a firm Sluttery favourite for a long time, they even popped up in our nautical fashion feature last week. They do their best to pay their small manufacturers and hand makers a fair price which often means small production runs and limited edition pieces. I do wish that above outfit was a cute little dress, but it's actually a silk top and a lace-trimmed skirt. Both are adorable.


I blimmin' love We Wood. Their designs are amazing. For every wooden watch they sell, they plant a tree. That's good wood maths.


Fair & True are a little erm... enthusiastic with their use of bold prints. Basically, you're going to love them or hate them. Still, a Fair Trade cotton bikini for £35 is not to be sniffed at. (Stop sniffing bikinis, that's really weird.) That's actually a bigger selection on Fashion Conscience than there is in their own online shop.


Komodo have been creating ethical and organic clothing since 1988 (I was six!) They're a little more grown up than my usual style, but I do like what they're doing. I really love this floral jumpsuit. It's Rayon so it's made from tree cellulose and it'll suit someone petite, skinny and without tits (so basically NOT BLOODY ME). Also, I have no clue what's going on with this cardigan, but I think I like it.


Braintree might be a little floaty floaty for me (I do not do tunics), but I do like this maxi dress. It's made with 70% bamboo and it's good for your wallet as well as the planet - it's only £49.50.


No slave labour. No child labour. No blood. No sweat. No tears. Monkey Genes' tagline really hits home. Their jeans start at £40, I've just bought a pair.


My absolutely favourite ethical shop is Think Boutique. Their sales are fabulous and you'll find a lot of the brands mention here included on their brilliant pages. Today I'm struggling to choose between this red striped sweater from Bibico (it's so damn French I'm certain I'll have a ridiculous accent every time I wear it). Or...


...this beautiful grey dress. Both, probably. Everything. It's so good to see ethical clothing that's affordable and fashionable. Like these brands? Support them and show them a little love. And please do share any other ethical brands that we may not have heard of. There's some great ethical fashion in the UK and we should really start shouting about it.

21 comments:

  1. Excellent piece. Just to say that the Nancy Dee maxi is in the Think Boutique sale (http://www.thinkboutique.co.uk/salesale/clothing-1/gloria-maxi-dress) for £50 if you're lucky enough to be an 8 or a 10. I am not. I am grumpy about it.

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    1. See, everything good is in the Think Boutique sale!

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    2. Nandy Dee, not Nancy. Bloody auto-correct.

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    3. Actually that was my typo, whoops!

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    4. *pours all the coffee*

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  2. There's the classic Vegetarian Shoes too, a favourite when I lived in Brighton. I love these red lace-up boots.

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  3. *instantly logs on to Think Boutique* I love the ethical nightwear and lingerie too.

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  4. Just a warning about Monkee Genes, I have found them to be very anti plus size (to the point of arrogance) and for that reason I would never want to deal with them.

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    1. Loads of other brands to discover in the post, Anon!

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    2. But having just been through all these links, almost nothing in any clothing range from any of these retailers is available above a size 16, with most sites saying their "large" is a size 14. Would be nice as a plus size woman to have the opportunity to purchase ethical fashion too, and according to this evidence it remains almost impossible (aside from accessories and second hand).

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    3. More plus size options would be nice! As would more tall and petite options. The dresses in Minna can all be adjusted, and there are lots of options for shoes and accessories - and a lot of these shops do have pieces in a 16. It's not ideal, but it is getting better. Most small companies have the problem of sticking to smaller sizes, particularly when it comes to lingerie - this isn't just an issue for ethical clothing brands.

      We've discussed that more in our plus size debate:

      http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2013/01/is-plus-size-fashion-in-uk-good-enough.html

      And you can see more of our plus size column from Gemma here:

      http://www.domesticsluttery.com/search/label/plus%20size

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    4. And I will add ethical plus size to my list for future columns, of course.

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  5. I love this post. So many amazing pieces. I am a big People Tree fan and love the Lowie outfit that you have included. The choice and styles of ethical fashion are definitely improving all of the time.

    I thought you might be interested in my website http://www.style-is.co.uk. It is a search engine for ethical fashion so makes it quick and easy to find an ethical choice and includes sale items and discounts for those on a budget. Would love to know what you think.

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  6. Toms shoes are so comfy and perfect for walking the dog. Especially love their glittery ones! Just not a huge fan of their 'one-for-one' scheme but figure it'd be a bit odd to buy a pair with the specific request that they don't donate! If anyone knows of a similar style shoe please let me know - I'm not a shoe person at all and never know where to start!

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    1. How come you're not a fan, Anna?

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    2. Well giving away stuff for free is a very paternalistic approach to aid that almost always has a negative long-term impact on local economies and creates cycles of dependency that do little to help lift people out of poverty. And after all, systemic poverty is the reason people don't have shoes - flooding the local market with free shoes made in a factory in China does nothing to alleviate poverty, and in some instances causes or deepens it. It sucks because I really like their shoes!

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    3. I see what you mean, Anna. Throwing money at a problem isn't always the best answer. But I got the impression that the One for One scheme was a little more than that and that they do a lot of work with the countries and communities they're supporting. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I do think it's good that they're getting us discussing the ethics behind ethical brands - I think that's important as well. Stamping Fairtrade and organic on stuff isn't enough for me - I don't like when companies are jumping on the bandwagon just because it's trendy.

      Any companies in the round up that you are tempted by? Any you think we've forgotten?

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    4. I think their eyewear program is much better, in that they contribute the the employment of drs and nurses, fund eye-saving surgeries that mean patients can become employable etc. But their footwear scheme still relies on there being an indefinite supply of poor children without shoes, and they haven't yet got round to eliminating that problem. I'm heartened to see they're looking at schemes to set up factories in Ethiopia and Kenya and a handful of other target countries, but for me they're still not there yet and their model is one I really don't like. Love LOVE the rest of the list though - Fashion Conscience is great, and the bags at Melie Binaco look amazing. Nice to see good options for people who are at hears tree-huggers but don't necessarily want to look like one!

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  7. Hi. Seasalt is another brand which has the ethical awards for production - and they do go up to a size 20. I do find that the larger sizes are often the ones that go first! (www.alexandrasofkeswick.com); Nomad is also Fair Trade and they go up to a generous 18 - again we do have a small selection of their range on our website.

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  8. Great that made in the UK Monkey Genes are only £40! Still a bit above my price level, but maybe one day I can buy some second hand.

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