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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Summer went by quickly, and now autumn is slowly being taken over by the chills of winter. This can be a bit of a dilemma for eco-minded people of the north: what can we wear to stay warm, whilst avoiding polyester and other polluting materials, as well as fur?
Fortunately, there are some snuggly, ethical alternatives out there, ranging from recycled materials to sustainably raised wool and alpaca.
Here’s our pick of the best winter coats for 2014.
When a woman who works for a successful investment firm in London for nine years abandons it to travel the world in search of a new inspiration, wondrous things are bound to happen. This is the story of Arlette Lee, whose last stop during her trip around the globe was Peru. Here, she discovered the warmth and sustainability of alpaca wool, and a business was born.
Today, Lee creates a uniquely shaped ruana–a kind of combination of a cape and a coat–which is light and stylish, yet powerfully warm.
This cozy coat is made of WonderFelt, which gives the structure, texture, and look of pressed wool felt, but is actually fully vegan and is made of recycled fibers. The fact that it is insulated with 100 gram Primaloft ECO fibre means this one will keep you so warm when the temperatures plunge.
This award winning independent fashion label reflects contemporary London through conscious, modern design. Goodone addresses the environmental impact of the fashion industry by ‘up-cycling’. Thus it combines new British and sustainable fabrics with reclaimed textiles.
This Oversized Wool Biker is an absolute corker. Tough, warm, a brilliant shade of royal blue – we would wear it with skinny jeans one day and a big volumous skirt the next. It is bulky enough to get chunky knit wear under it but still manages to lengthen and look elegant at the same time thanks to the diagonal zip and chunky aran knit colour. Made from soft recycled Prato wool and recycled Aran it couldn’t get any cosier.
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This cape-coat is so warm and fuzzy, it feels almost like a comforter! Coming in black or red, it’s made of high tech organic moleskin. What’s that, you ask? These are 100% vegan, organic textile fibres that use technology to spin a windproof, well insulated material. Red Riding Hood never looked so good!
5. Stella McCartney‘s Federica Blanket Coat
One of Eluxe’s all time vegan favourites is the British designer, who recently presented her Green Carpet Collection in London. Her “Federica” blanket style coat is dead on trend: bulky wraps are a total thing this winter. Plus, it will keep you warm in the chilliest of temperatures, thanks to the oversized wrap around style in Alpaca and wool. Shocked that the Vegan Queen is using animal fibres? Don’t be. She assures us that the material is sourced gently, and the animals are raised happily. How does she know this? They live on her own personal farm!
6. Max Mara’s Eco Friendly Coat
Italian house Max Mara is the latest major fashion player who joined the sustainable and green movement. Max Mara teamed up with Saluzzo Yarns to produce a four garment collection, including these coats, which use NewLife yarn, constructed from recycled plastic bottles.
7. Go Vintage!
Why buy new when there’s so much amazing old stuff out there? Even if there are absolutely no vintage shops in your neighbourhood, you can always buy online at places like this. You never know what you may find!
Georgie & Elaine’s Carol Pea Coat is just the coat to keep you warm this season. Just becuase it is getting cold doesn’t mean we are going to give up looking good. The deep red 100% novelty wool is a great on trend color that will have you looking stylish and more importantly keep you warm all season long.
100% Cashmere, using vegetable dyes and created in small studios with Fair Trade principles in Italy, this classically cut coat should last a lifetime, both for its high quality and timeless style. Well worth the investment!
Maiyet has done what other brands have tried and failed to do: fuse a luxury sensibility with ethical credentials. Using artisans in the developing world to create their designs, the company is fully dedicated to sustainability, and works with with Nest, an independent not-for-profit organisation that specialises in empowering artisans through entrepreneurship.
While the label has created several chic styles for Winter (see the main pic), this precisely cut, minimalist boiled wool jacket, below, is one of our faves.