By Diane Small
Of course everyone will say Burberry did it first, but eco-fashionistas know better: blanket wraps have always been as warm as an old friend’s hug and make a bold statement. And here’s the proof: a few amazing sustainable brands that did the blanket wraps for winter long before Christopher Bailey got the idea.
Shamanic shawls and Earth Mother wraps are the speciality of this American designer. Taiana Geifer works with ancient felting techniques, using only natural materials like Merino Wool sourced from organically raised sheep to create durable, beautiful scarves and wraps that are also dyed using only low impact, non-chemical colours.
Arlette Lee is evangelical about Alpaca, claiming that it keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and doesn’t pill like cashmere tends to do. She makes elegant Ruanas–a kind of cape/coat hybrid–from the material. Her designs look wonderful belted or worn loose, and are perfect for both elegant evenings out, or slung over a tee shirt and jeans.
Shunning the fashion cycle, Leslie Tessler’s capes are meant to last for seasons–even generations. Based between Buenos Aires and New York, Tessler’s signature capes incorporate Italian cashmere and French woven silk, as well as Peruvian alpaca into their chic designs.
This brand travels around the globe and sets up projects with local artisans who need the work in places like Afghanistan, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The result is ethical accessories with a modern twist on ancient textile techniques.
Its most recent hand-made scarf collection, created from cashmere and wool, is adorned with folk symbols, ceremonial patters and powerful images that recall the intricate art of sandpainting, an ancient spiritual healing ceremony.
A Peace Treaty accessories have been seen on shows like Gossip Girl and HBO’s Girls, and has gained many celebrity fans like trend setter Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry.