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By Holly Litchfield
Let’s face it: fashion isn’t always comfortable. From towering heels and tight tees to skinny jeans and underwire bras, we may not always feel like what we’re wearing is a ‘second skin.’ This is somewhat more endurable in summer, when the outfit stands alone, but when we need to add winter coats and chunky jumpers, it’s easy to feel heavily weighed down by our clothing.
Not so with these casual 10 eco fashion brands, which create light, easy designs based on natural fibres that let lay gently on the body whilst keeping you warm when the cold weather comes. Let it snow!
Specialising in hand-knitting, these exquisite garments are constructed in the homes of female knitters based mainly on the Faroe Islands (with some in Peru and Jordan) as part of Gudrun & Gudrun’s women’s empowerment projects. 100% organic lamb’s wool is used in the creating of the designs and its unique, oily lanolin content makes the clothes water resistant, hard wearing and light. Such a small brand from such a remote place has gone on to receive widespread acclaim from fashion capitals around the globe.
Talk about luxurious! Bamford’s thick, plush handcrafted cashmere sweaters, dresses and robes are the absolute epitome of British chic. Using only natural and organic materials to create beautiful, ethical garments, Bamford is more than just a mere label–it’s an integrated lifestyle brand, offering natural skincare, homeware, and even meditation and yoga classes to help ensure your thoughts are as pure and gentle as your clothing.
Based in beautiful Barcelona, Rebelroot is a brand proud to stand for sustainable, ethical fashion for both men and women. Founded in 2012 by recently graduated fashion design and illustration student Eva Riu, Rebelroot’s ‘rock chic’ clothing with a conscience has already gained recognition and acclaim: the brand has been showcased at Madrid Fashion Week and sells to returning customers internationally.
Alpaca fleece boasts 22 different shades of warming earth colours, unmatched insulating qualities and a fibre that’s said to be ‘second in strength to silk, but softer than cashmere,’ so no wonder this soft, glossy, animal-kind material is a new favourite with eco-chic designers. 100% pure alpaca yarn is used in the creation of Purl Alpaca exclusive collections and bespoke designs. The alpaca may be native to Peru, but what Purl does with its fleece is purely British–timeless knitwear designed for layering in an unpredictable climate.
Founded in 2011, Noctu are a family run business and growing brand dedicated to supplying organic, luxurious night and loungewear heavily inspired by the beauty of nature. Using 100% organic and fairtrade certified cotton, Noctu produce simple, elegant, comfort-purpose clothing in fresh, calming shades like dusk blues, soft roses and dove greys. We love this label for those grey, chilly days when you just want to hibernate at home with mugs of tea and box sets!
With its Japanese style and edgy appearance, the designs at Midnight Methods are both contemporary and futuristic. Raw organic cotton, delicate embroideries and lightweight French cotton trill are just a few of the sustainable materials fashioned into draped trousers, loose jackets and perfectly cut tees that are the perfect day wear for urbanites.
A longtime favourite with eco-fashionistas, New Zealand based Kowtow uses plush organic cotton to create loosely draped cardigans, trousers, coats and tees that sit softly on the skin whilst feeling snuggly warm. As most pieces are boxy and unstructured, it’s easy to experiment with layering with Kowtow clothing to adjust to the fickle British weather!
8. Study 34
Just one woman is behind Study 34: Eleanor O’Neill, who hand produces all of the garments in her Newcastle studio. After realising how much waste yarn was leftover yarn in bulk from the fashion industry, she decided to use this material, (which otherwise wouldn’t be enough for larger manufacturers to complete a line of garments with) to create her own line of warm, high quality jumpers.
A British staple on the eco-fashion scene, Beaumont Organic makes all their designs ethically in Manchester, using naturally dyed wool and end roll fabrics which would have otherwise ended up in landfill. With multi-textured designs that are both roomy and comfy, we especially love their faux fur jumpers, which are toasty even on the coldest nights.
10. Eileen Fisher
This is a label that takes sustainability very seriously. Only the finest natural fibres like Tencel and Merino Wool (and sometimes even organic ones, like cotton and linen) are selected to be dyed through totally natural processes to make clothing that feels like a second skin, no matter how sensitive you may be. Ms Fisher knows what women want not only in terms of garments with a minimal impact on the earth, but also with regards to cut–her pieces are designed for stylish comfort, and can be dressed up for the office or dressed down for weekends. No wonder she’s become an international phenomenon, selling on two continents, as well as online.
Outsider is fully dedicated to ensuring their ethical clothing is made from vegetable dyed, natural materials. Roomy and casually chic, these are perfect pieces for chic every day wear – no wonder they’re a favourite with celebrities like Livia Firth, Emma Thompson and Elizabeth Moss.