This post was sponsored by Untouched World, and I received product to review. All thoughts my own.
Ah, the quest for sustainable staples. It’s something most of us who are interested in ethical fashion will become familiar with at some point. Whether you’ve decided to curate a capsule wardrobe, need reliable pieces for work, or want items to balance out a collection of bolder prints and colours (guilty as charged), nearly everyone gets good use out of these key items that form the foundations of our conscious closets. I find basics interesting because they’re the ultimate humble garment, often overlooked or under appreciated, and yet they’ll stay in our wardrobes longer than most other things. They transcend trends and they go with everything, so we find ourselves reaching for them again and again. Staples are the items we really live life in, and so for me it’s important to make sure the ones I bring into my life are going to go the distance with me, make me feel comfortable and confident, and come with quality and ethical credentials I can be confident in.
It is, therefore, a total treat to be talking about Untouched World once more when it comes to this area. The sustainable luxury brand, recognised by the UN and shaping global sustainability education through their work, have of course also got a beautiful range of natural, low impact basics to last a lifetime. And this organic shirt, well it just so happens to be preventing food waste at the same time. It’s made from soy!
Soy fabric is created from fibres found within each soy bean, which are a natural by-product from extracting soy oil and making products such as tofu. These coarse fibres are processed to be turned into long strands that can be spun and then woven into fabric. As soy is something we’re so used to eating (or drinking) it’s hard to imagine how a soy based fabric might feel, but it’s actually very similar to silk or cashmere. It’s soft, light and flexible; feeling very luxurious, draping easily, and flowing beautifully! It’s more absorbent and breathes better than cotton, and when dyed it will hold its colour for a very long time, wash after wash, as dye clings to individual soy fibres in the fabric. It’s anti-bacterial and UV resistant and, while not quite as strong as cotton or hemp, it’s still durable and easy to care for. It’s also completely natural, so will break down at the end of its life and return to the earth (in fact you can even compost it yourself!), and any fibres that aren’t high quality enough to be used for fabric are repurposed into food for animals, leaving no waste behind. Some people also believe that soy fabric can be beneficial for out bodies, as it contains amino acids which we can absorb through our skin.
The most important thing to note about soy is that, like most resources, not all is created equal. The plant can be grown in conditions that use a lot of water and pesticides and contribute to habitat destruction, however Untouched World specifically use organic soy that is grown on a smaller, responsible scale. And, as with their entire range, everything is handmade under ethical conditions including fair pay, safe treatment and empowerment of workers.
When it comes to the organic soybean shirt itself, I think Untouched World have got something special here. I love how incredibly lightweight it is. It’s definitely more on the sheer side, but I avoid adding extra layers by wearing it over my sustainable crop top bra from Lara Intimates, which gives enough coverage to keep my modesty intact and keep everything breathable and easy. It’s a really flexible piece; I generally wear it tucked into jeans or shorts, but have also worn it loose as a longer shirt and unbuttoned as a light overshirt. Obviously, being white, this can be paired with anything, but I particularly love it combined with light wash or pink denim (my secret love), as it spruces up everyday dressing with that touch of luxury that so easily elevates outfits without any actual work involved.
I also really like that this fabric has a slight crease to it. You can of course just iron/steam it like any other normal piece of clothing, but honestly I’m a bit of a crease champion when it comes to this shirt. Although I don’t follow trends, back in 2016 I did happily welcome the creased look becoming cool, both because it enabled my laziness but also because I genuinely like the aesthetic. When done right I think it gives a feeling of effortlessness and not taking yourself too seriously; it feels relatable and a little tongue in cheek whilst still somehow looking classy. There’s a real art to it, and while it may not be for everyone, I just love how it looks when a shirt is delicate and light like this one. There’s a sense of ease, self confidence and playfulness that comes with creating a look that’s not too stiff. Just as we live life in our basics, it’s nice to show that we actually do live life. And when it’s a shirt like this, one that drapes so elegantly, I would go so far as to say it can make us seem just a little bit ethereal as it hangs in that way that is just right. And who doesn’t want to feel like that?
Ultimately, I think the best staples are ones we feel free within. The pieces that enable us, both in terms of physical movement and how we feel inside, to be ourselves fully. I’m a firm believer that fashion and function can go together. If fashion is an outward expression of who we are, then it needs to be functional enough to help us shed self awareness and embarassment. Comfort and confidence are often linked, and I’m glad to have found a staple piece that delivers both in droves. And on top of that it’s long lasting, natural, and created ethically and sustainably. It’s everything I could want in a staple and more, and it’s a type of every day luxury item that I’m excited to indulge in again and again for years to come.
Photos by Gianna Scavo