The Fashion Debates, a new series of events discussing ethical issues in the fashion industry, launches next month. Their mission is to inspire action in a positive way, and what could be a more positive way to make a difference than our shopping choices. We asked them to pick their top 10 ethical fashion labels for style with a conscience.
Creative Director Stella Heng will be on our panel at The Fashion Debates. Sports Philosophy make stylish, high-performance workout gear for men and women, and donate 10% of the profits to their charity which fights child labour. They’re dedicated to raising £1,000,000 by 2022.
One of London’s most promising designer talents, Christopher Raeburn uses re-appropriated military materials to create cool, utilitarian menswear and womenswear. He’s taken sustainable fashion to the mainstream and built his brand on a great story.
Pretty, floral and environmentally friendly, London-based ethical fashion designer Nicola Woods is dedicated to sourcing materials that are Fairtrade, organic or from the UK. Her brand also operates a zero-waste policy using every scrap of fabric leftover for embellishment and trimmings. Her ultra-feminine designs have been worn by Pippa Middleton, Livia Firth, Kristin Davis and Katy Perry.
Age of Reason is a print brand with a cool British edge. Former London filmmaker turned Brighton-based designer Ali Taylor Maplecroft launched the brand with silk scarves and has since expanded into ready-to-wear. Expect tattoo-style design bomber jackets and punk-inspired scarves with slogans like ‘I will never surrender’ – each has been made with minimum environmental impact by well-treated workers.
Another of our panellists, ethical fashion consultant Clare Lissaman, oversees this men’s shirt brand. They make a wide variety of formal and casual shirts using Fairtrade and organic cotton. We particularly like the William Morris print designs.
Complete your wardrobe of ethical fashion with London swimwear brand Auria. Made from recycled fishing nets, these swimming costumes and bikinis are helping to protect the marine environment and will certainly ensure you standout on the beach. Bold, retro prints are their signature and they’ve created a collection with emerging designer Ashley Williams too.
Some of the hottest London design studios have worked with Alex Noble’s EMG – Everything Must Go – Initiative. Scraps from the cutting room floors of designers including Zandra Rhodes, Henry Holland, Basso and Brooke and Preen by Thornton Begrazzi are remade into unisex T-shirts. As if that wasn’t great enough, a portion of the profits goes to support Childhope day centres for the children of garment workers in Bangladesh.
Pants to Poverty
This cheeky brand has revolutionised the underwear market. Pants to Poverty works at every level of the supply chain to make a business that’s profitable and fair for everyone from the cotton growers to the people who wear them. These super soft men’s and women’s underpinnings are proof that fashion can have a positive impact on the world.
EA Burns creates modern, sculptural fashion jewellery using recycled precious metals, acrylic and Rhodoid, a biodegradable and recyclable material made from renewable plant sources. Everything is made in the UK too. We especially love the two-tone metal pieces.
Every piece from this elegant outerwear brand is made in its factory in Cambodia. The workers are trained by a former Paul Smith designer, given fair wages and reasonable working hours which result in excellent quality garments.
The first edition of The Fashion Debates, ‘Can We Put An End to Sweatshop Labour?’, takes place on 19th May, 7pm – 9pm, at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, 16-17 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DR. Tickets, priced £10 are available at www.thefashiondebates.com.