This post was sponsored by multiple sustainable brands, all of whom I already had relationships with and believe in 100%. I truly love each brand mentioned and wear everything discussed, I couldn’t be more honoured to be able to support these guys, and to style their items together! All thoughts my own.
If you’re in any way involved in ethical and sustainable fashion, then you’ll know that this week is Fashion Revolution Week. More than that, it’s the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, making it even more poignant and pressing than ever before. This industry has to change, and it can. There are brands out there proving it every day. Today I’m excited to share some of them, as I’ve put together a look book featuring some of my current favourites that I’ve been wearing all Spring. I love all the brands mentioned, and am so excited about how they’re making strides and doing things differently, I hope you’ll feel the same.
(sidenote: let’s acknowledge the obvious, I clearly got my hair done between these two photoshoots haha. Shout out to Glasshouse Salon for all your London needs)
It’s absolutely no secret that I love this brand a whole lot. I’ve followed their journey from initial kickstarter campaign to the completion of their first conscious capsule collection, and I’ve been a vocal fan from day one. Their white shirts are incredible staples for so many reasons, it’s easy to lose count. When it comes to ethics their entire collection is made by hand in New York, and they only work with organic cotton that is 100% sustainably and ethically produced in India, minimising its carbon footprint by keeping the stages of cotton production to one location. GRAMMAR’s shirts focus on impeccable quality, construction and durability; having now had my Preposition Shirt since January I can say with complete confidence that this has been achieved. Nearly everyone owns a white shirt at some point in their lives, but the difference in quality between these shirts and the cheap, unethical and unsustainable ones you can buy on every corner, well you can feel it. These shirts are staples, statements and investments all in one. They’re designed to be super flattering to the body, but they can also be worn with ease and fun.
What I adore most about these shirts though is their versatility. Not only are they flexible to the changing weather patterns of Spring, but they’re so easy to dress up, down or any which way you’d like. They really are perfect for capsule wardrobes and conscious closets everywhere, as you can team them with just about everything. Here you can see me wearing mine with pink denim and smarter shoes (both vintage), as well as with trainers and comfy trousers. They work with both! They’re so easy and adaptable, it makes life incredibly hassle free. They’re also perfect for layering, as I’ve worn mine open over a jumpsuit/t-shirt combo when it started to get chilly. there’s nothing these shirts don’t go with!
For 15% off your’ first order, you can also use my discount code ETHICALUNICORN 😉
When I first met ARTICLE 22 founder Elizabeth and heard this brand’s story I was brought to tears. There is no word to describe their work other than incredible. Their name is taken from Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and you may have seen this brand mentioned before by the likes of Emma Watson, so I feel like I’m in pretty great company here.
Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. Between 1964 and 1973 the US dropped 2 million tons of ordnance, averaging one bomb load every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day for 9 years. One third of these bombs failed to detonate, and The Secret War in Laos left a legacy of 80 million unexploded bombs. Elizabeth founded ARTICLE 22 whilst visiting Laos, when she met artisans in a rural village melting US bombs into spoons, and recognised the chance to bring their initiative to the international market. She originally created the Peacebomb bracelet, (I’m wearing the arrow version in these photos), with the idea of buying back the bombs, as the artisans use the melted metal to create unique pieces of jewellery that can be sold across the world. Designs are created in conjunction with local artisans, so there’s no white saviour complex here, and each bracelet purchased clears 3 square metres of land through financially supporting organisations who safely & expertly clear bombs. As well as providing sustainable economic development, fair income (at least 5x local minimum wage) and community investment, this endeavour also returns land that had been sitting unused for decades back to Laotians for redevelopment and agriculture. See more on their impact here and here, it is truly moving.
The impact, concept and the sustainable approach to recycling materials is enough to make this company truly wonderful, but the product also stands up too. As a piece of jewellery, this bracelet is absolutely gorgeous. As its made from re-purposed military grade metal, the materials making up this bracelet include Vietnam War era bombs, plane parts, military hardware and other aluminium scrap. It’s incredibly lightweight, doesn’t tarnish and can be worn in varying weather conditions, and it’s clearly going to last forever as it’s already lasted decades in the ground. It’s beautifully delicate and strong simultaneously, and can be worn with just about any outfit as it’s so versatile. But most of all, it’s an incredible conversation starter, and a company I’m extremely proud to support. I think Emma Watson summarised it perfectly, they turn something so negative into something so beautiful. ARTICLE 22 are also vocal advocates for banning cluster munitions , predominantly the type of bomb dropped in Laos, which I wholeheartedly agree with. The people running this brand know their stuff inside and out and are incredibly kind, empathetic and collaborative. They work alongside the people of Laos, and do everything they can to create change through good business and good social impact. I’m getting emotional again just writing about them.
In need of sustainable glasses? I’ve got you covered guys. After multiple years of being unhappy with my glasses I finally found a sustainable option, recycling! Retrospecced, in partnership with the charity Vision Aid Overseas, pick the best vintage and designer glasses frames that are donated to the charity, and sell them on to new homes. They have an incredible variety of frames in styles that’ll suit everyone, and they’re able to add lenses at any prescription level you require (or sunglasses lenses!). They’re significantly cheaper than buying glasses through a regular optician, and they donate 20% of their profits directly to Vision Aid Overseas. These donations fund the charity’s sustainable and well planned work to provide vision care across the world, through investing in local communities and training local opticians so that places can become self sufficient. I got these frames from the retro section, and I am now more confident than I’ve ever been in glasses.
This brand is a genuine game changer, and another example of the amazing innovation we often find in sustainable fashion. Not only do they create their bags from recycled industrial materials, diverting waste from landfill, but the materials they use are incredibly durable and long lasting, making these products an ideal investment. I’ve always had trouble in the past with canvas backpacks eventually getting holes in them or just generally getting grimy after a year or two, but these backpacks are made to last a lifetime. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the solution I’ve found in grünBAG.
I have the black backpack, which is made using surplus materials from truck tarpaulin production, and is hand sewn in Denmark. Tarpaulin is a very strong, waterproof and stain resistant material, making this the ideal material for city dwellers and nature lovers alike. Whether you’re running round, dealing with sudden rain shower or trying to keep your bag clean on the tube, this is the perfect piece for that. At the same time if you’re hiking, camping, or just in a bit of a muddy spot, there’s no way these bags will be ruined, and what’s inside will be kept perfectly safe. It’s the dream scenario. The bag designs are also beautifully minimal, functional and modern whilst maintaining a bit of an urban edge. Mine closes with a velcro strap, making it super easy to use and adjustable in size, and it’s so spacious inside. I’ve used it both for travelling as hand luggage and on days when I just need to carry a lot of stuff, and it’s perfect. I actually can’t believe how much fits in. It also has a specific laptop pouch and two smaller pouches (for purses, keys etc), making it extra easy to use. I love this company, I love this bag, I love it all.
Additionally, other recycled materials you can find in their products are sourced from lifeboats, seat belts, plastic bottles, boat sails, bigbags and commercial banners, meaning they’re really doing incredible work when it comes to reusing and repurposing materials. Hooray for a circular economy!
Encircled are the ultimate company when it comes to multi-purpose, multifunctional ethical clothing. Their garments are designed to be worn in multiple ways, making them perfect for travelling, capsule wardrobes or minimalist living in general. There’s just so many options! I’m wearing the sleeveless revolve dress which is responsibly made in Toronto, Canada under ethical conditions with fair pay. Everything is made within 35km from Encircled’s office, in fact you can read what is made where right here, alongside their full code of ethics here. The dress I’m wearing is made from Lenzing Modal; whilst not all modal supply chains are created equal, the material Encircled uses is sustainably cultivated using a closed loop system, natural pigments and chemical free dyes in Austria and surrounding areas, which fall under strict EU regulations and do not impact rainforests. As a material modal is biodegradable, fade resistant, anti bacterial, hypoallergenic, shrink resistant and wrinkle resistant. That’s right, you don’t even need to iron it!
This dress is the first modal item I’ve ever owned, and the first thing I noticed was how incredibly comfortable it was. Like all of Encircled’s items there’s more to this design than meets the eye; it can actually be worn in (at least) six different ways! There’s no specific front, meaning you have different necklines to play with, and the hem can be raised and lowered to your liking. In these pictures I’m wearing it as a top both ways round, as well as with the sleeves pulled down, and and as a dress both ways round. It took about 30 seconds to change from style to style, and none of them were a faff. So far in real life I’ve worn this both as a dress, it’s a fun twist on an LBD as it can be slouchy and casual or easily dressed up, and as a top with trousers. I really like all the ways of using this piece, and it’s definitely a new wardrobe staple that I’ll be holding on to for years to come. Also I really cannot emphasise this enough, it is so soft.
I doubt it’s a surprise to anyone that New Zealand’s finest in sustainable luxury, Untouched World, makes this list. I’ve covered them multiple times on this blog, most recently by looking at their groundbreaking work in sustainability education, and I love hearing about all the different initiatives they’re getting up to across the pond. Since the minute these landed on my doorstep, I haven’t taken their incredible slouchy zip pants off (the benefits of working from home, am I right?). As always the only fashion brand that’s approved by the UN for sustainability does not disappoint with their products: these pants are sustainably made in Christchurch New Zealand from ZQ accredited New Zealand Merino wool. ZQ accreditation requires high standards of care and kindness in its production, and does not allow for any harm to come to sheep in the shearing process, something I can verify having personally spoken to a sheep shearers in New Zealand. The sheep that provide Untouched World’s wool graze on free range mountain pastures, mainly in the South Island.
Every piece is designed with the full garment life cycle in mind, considering every step of the cradle to cradle journey, whilst also working hard to minimise water use and maximise recycling and waste recovery. All in all they create some of the most luxurious, easy to wear and long lasting garments in the fashion industry. It’s a taste of elegance, minus the exploitation.
Aside from guaranteed comfort, these pants are also ridiculously breathable. Gone are the days of my misconceptions that wool is scratchy, stuffy and unsuitable for sun. These super smooth trousers perfectly adapt to hot and cold temperatures, helping keep you calm and comfortable in all situations, which is particularly helpful when you’re going from day to night or tube to outdoors. They can also be dressed up or down incredibly easily, all I’d need to do is swap out my shoes and I’d have an elegant evening look with that GRAMMAR shirt combo. I love that they have a pocket in front for essentials, and I love that their logo looks like the Angel of the North. I think that last one is just for me though.
So there we have it, my top brands for Spring. Each of them are different and wonderful in their own ways, but what they have in common is an unwavering commitment to improving the fashion industry without sacrificing on quality, construction or style. I can’t wait to continually outfit repeat with these pieces for ever.