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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Sorry, but English girls generally don’t really care what you think. Kitten heels in this season? That’s nice – but they’ll keep wearing their Doc Martens, thank you very much. Everyone going ‘bronde’ like JLo? Hmm. English girls are more likely to go purple. Make no mistake: when it comes to fashion, Brits are more into self expression than following trends or ‘doing chic,’ and from Mary Quant to Vivienne Westwood, UK fashion designers perfectly convey that fashion a classy wackiness like no other nation. And now that sustainable fashion is a must in today’s environment, there’s a new generation of British eco-fashion designers who are making eccentricity groovy, green and glamorous. Meet the English Eccentrics.
Broderie anglaise and prints pretty much define British fashion, and those features are exactly what Soul London loves to use in its cotton and silk creations. Apart from making small quantities of each collection locally in the UK, the brand supports the eco fashion ethos by creating day-to-evening pieces that never go out of style.
Upcoming designer Mariana Jungmann creates intricately detailed, beautifully cut clothing that looks like no other. She employs a zero waste policy in her atelier, but doesn’t end her sustainable practices there: she has also made a conscious decision to only work with natural fibres, which are far less damaging to the environment when eventually disposed. The fabrics are also sourced from UK-based mills, helping to neutralise the carbon footprint created by the use of machinery in the studio. Furthermore, Mariana donates all unused and spare fabric to Project Linus UK, which is a volunteer organisation that aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets.
Phannatiq is the brainchild of designer Anna Skodbo, a passionate fan street style who cites urban decay as one of her inspirations. No wonder her brand’s motto is “Urban London inspired attire for those who don’t do shiny.” The collections are an assemblage of the city’s images printed on hand dyed fabrics. Bold shapes and sassy anti-fit establish Phannatiq’s cross-genre attire, that is entirely made using organic and unbleached bamboo, silk and cotton. Also, all textiles are produced using natural plant dyes, therefore eliminating the majority of chemical waste from the textile manufacturing process.
Designer Bronwyn Lowenthal founded this quirky little brand in 2002. Lowie’s philosophy has always been to create beautifully designed clothes with minimal environmental impact and an insistence that their workers are happy and fairly paid. The clothes are made with finest soft wools, luxurious organic and recycled cottons, and often feature adorable prints and graphic designs. We particularly love the Frida and Diego sweatshirt, below.
Sketch London is about fun, everyday sexy and affordable luxury fashion made in limited edition quantities. Garments are made from end of run prints and wastage that would ordinarily be destined for landfill and disposal. The brand’s founder, Shazia, studied fashion in Florence and then worked at luxury fashion company Betty Jackson, which triggered her desire to create her own brand. She currently is regarded an expert in luxury hand woven textiles and has been sponsored twice by Harris Tweed to produce collections.