By Chantal Brocca
With fashion week in full swing, all eyes are firmly set on the big luxury labels that truly know how to wow the crowds with their fancy défilés – but somewhere in the corner streets of global cultural hubs, Insta shops and mono brand boutiques, a string of ethical newcomers are steadily on the rise hoping to catch the attention of that smaller, yet significantly increasing percentage of fashion consumers looking for something made a little bit more mindfully.
Enter team Eluxe: mindful as always and with emerging design talents contacting us every day, we hand picked several new ethical fashion brands that we thought really stood out. Whether by using innovative materials, creating cool new trends or employing traditional couture techniques, these clothing brands clearly define themselves as more than just a label.
We cannot wait for this launch! Maison Makarem announced their debut collection at The Ritz Hotel last London Fashion Week in style: guests like Olivia Palermo, who wore the “Button skirt”, and Naomie Harris who wore the “Layal Dress”, gave us a sneak peek of just how fabulous this new ethical brand is going to be.
The MAISON MAKAREM SS17 collection has been created using traditional couture methods in a privately run mill in Italy, ensuring ethical production methods and sustainable materials are implemented to create each piece. Founded and directed by London based designer Layal Makarem, the new collection features generous drapes of lavish silk of crêpe-de-chine in delicate pastel hues, such as vintage pale pink silk, and crisp Louis Blue shantung, created using traditional couture methods. High waisted trousers, full-length skirts with spirals, seams and asymmetry, serve to highlight the beauty of the female form – and we love the drama of those voluminous sleeves!
Wanting to promote the cultural know how of her beautiful homeland Peru, the source of some of the world’s finest cotton spanning the length of its rich heritage, founder and designer Andrea set out to create an environmentally conscious clothing line with alpaca fiber, prized by all luxury brands due to its natural incredibly soft, silky quality. Not only: she stands by the principles of circular economy, whereby nothing is ever lost; only reintegrated. Her designs are ethically produced by Peruvian women and are all 100% biodegradable right down to the washing tag and come with an unobtrusive, thoughtful message lightly silk screened in the inner back – PVC free. As the brand name suggests, her ideology is one of escape to find the ultimate nirvana – whatever forms it may take. My suggestion? Head for the turbans. Ridiculously soft, of course, and trust me – turbans are having a serious fashion moment!
Ethically focused fashion label, A.BCH, makes their collections entirely from responsibly sourced materials, from GOTS certified fabrics and threads, to plant-based buttons, even carbon neutral delivery. And when it comes to sustainability, A.BCH founder and self confessed fibre nerd, Courtney Holm, is not sparing any detail. Each article of clothing is assigned a code, traceable on the website, where customers can learn exactly how their garment came to be.
‘After years in the Australian fashion industry, I saw how little was known or communicated about the origin of our clothes. Something needed to change. That change begins with A.BCH giving full disclosure and being accountable for its impact,’ says Holm.
And the best part? By selling directly to customers online, prices are kept affordable all the time. There are no heavy markups, no discounting and their seasonless approach means styles won’t outdate.
Clean, simple, and a cool urban aesthetic make up this socially responsible eco-brand, and yes, they mean accountability when it comes to fashion purchasing decisions. Don’t worry though, they make it easy for you: they integrate offsetting of the carbon emissions of their beautifully cut blouses, staple dresses and kimonos, made from sustainable or reclaimed fabrics, directly into their zero waste, zero water pollution process, while keeping production local to help the economy how they can.
Brides-to-be, this is for you – locally produced in Canada and carefully handmade from start to finish for the modern gal, Truvelle ensures every gown has a story to add to your own. It recently wrapped up on a project to create a small line of ten exclusive wedding gowns in an effort to minimize fabric waste: Truvelle retailers got the chance to design their own dresses using the label’s own patterns and off cuts from previous collections, adding their own style, names and accompanying descriptions for a truly unique touch.
This LA based brand helmed by Ashley Denisov creates capsule collections of sustainable men’s and women’s wear based on the principles of ‘no season’ – in other words, these styles are meant to be timeless. But that’s not all – the apparel is entirely made in the USA using fairly waged workers, and materials like ethical wool and Tencel are used to ensure all the clothing is eco-friendly.
This is a brand that was clearly inspired by that scene in Gone With The Wind, when Scarlett fashioned a dress from the drapes – and we mean that in the best way! Working by the principles of circular economy, this Parisian label uses upcycling to re-appropriate the mountain of quality, discarded fabrics that abound in the thrifty city, working them into collections where each piece is by construction and definition entirely unique. Ex-curtains, sofa covers and tablecloths: anything goes…and eventually comes back through their various sourcing partners, where they sort, pick out, carefully inspect and wash before creatively trying to fit it all in the pattern cuts of their collection. As the label grows, so does the team and its initiatives – 2016 saw the arrival of “Tout Est Possible” (translation: “Everything Is Possible”), an association out to spread awareness through education of sustainable fashion and the circular economy.
A long time lover of nature and passion for endangered environments, Natascha combined her natural aptitude for science and art into a process worthy of the words sustainable luxury. Her line of silky scarves follow an environmental and socially conscious ethos; from their small local manufacturers to her amazing hand painted prints, the process ensures water supplies are protected, wastage is minimized and harmful elements avoided in order to produce something that lasts. Her first collection ‘Oceania’ depicts mesmerizing illustrations of the beautiful forms that lie deep within the ocean – a reminder to all of us to stop and appreciate the beauty that the Earth provides naturally. Love.
Grown tired of the wasteful way in which we consume fashion in the 21st century, Sofia decided to create a simple, timeless line of incredibly cool denim by recycling old dead stock she found in Greece. The message is one to slow down by sidestepping the fashion industry’s built-in, dead end make-sell-turn obsolete model – with quality for durability and a killer aesthetic to go with it. Sofia is currently researching new and better ways to make her label more sustainable in line with her belief that the Earth only has so much to give, and that we all really need to start thinking about what we’re doing to the planet and each other. Watch this space.
This buoyant brand is alive with prints and colors, something founder and designer Dui stuck to for twenty years in the spirit of happiness and defying mindless trends. Born and produced in her homeland India, her lookbooks definitely beam the quirkiness of her label, providing easy to wear staple cuts in a burst of fun patterns.
Here, you’ll find dresses, trousers and tops in bright colours that scream ‘sunshine’ – these are pieces that bring a little touch of light to even the greyest rainy day, but look especially right somewhere hot and cheery, like Dui’s home nation, Australia.
Anya Cole is a Polish designer whose HANIA Fall 2017 Hand Knit Collection was recently revealed to the public in her New York studio on 56th Street. The collection boasts quite a few elements of sustainable luxury: each cozy, buttery soft piece is handcrafted in the USA using only the finest Italian and Scottish cashmere – all ethically sourced and produced, supporting local communities.
Chantal Brocca is the fashion blogger behind Underneath My Silk.