Ten Stylish and Sustainable British Fashion Brands
Stylish and sustainable are not words commonly put together. But, some of these British and sustainable clothing brands are showing us that the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. Sustainable fashion doesn't have to mean unshapely sack dresses, hippy patterns and lots of beige and we shouldn't have to sacrifice our own unique sense of style, just because we're trying to shop sustainably.
"Sustainable fashion doesn't have to mean unshapely sack dresses, hippy patterns and lots of beige"
After making the decision to shop more sustainably, I initially found it quite difficult to find sustainable brands that reflect my own sense of style. I also prefer buying from British companies, and for some reason kept falling in love with sustainable brands that were based in Australia. This really wasn't ideal considering the cost of postage and the air miles! But, after a bit of research, I quickly found some I absolutely love.
These are my top ten British fashion brands with sustainability at the heart of their businesses, who are showing us how to be both stylish and sustainable.
Know The Origin
Know The Origin was founded by Charlotte in 2015 "with the aim to transform the fashion industry". Charlotte was inspired to start KTO after finding that the lack of transparency within fashion supply chains has led to human rights abuses and environmental degradation across the globe. They use organic, recyclable and sustainable materials in their collections and seek to minimise environmental impact throughout the supply chain. They have built strong relationships with their suppliers in India and all of their cotton is fairtrade certified. They have full traceability of their products from seed to garment.
Gillian June was founded in 2016 by London College of Fashion Graduate, Imogen Johnson-Gilbert. The company has strong roots in tailoring and everything is crafted with sustainability at the core. Many of their pieces are up-cycled, and they use surplus, reclaimed and vintage fabrics. Sustainable fabrics such as linen and TENCEL are also used. If you're trying to avoid plastics, this is the company for you as they only use natural and biodegradable fabrics. Their cutting patterns have enabled them to minimise waste and use up to 95% of fabrics. They source materials from fair trade companies and reputable British farms.
Madia & Matilda
Madia & Matilda are based in the Cotswolds and are committed to sustainability throughout the design process. The company was founded by Shalize Nicholas in 2013 after she realised that nothing brought her more pleasure "than breathing new life and creating exclusive designs from limited fabrics". Madia & Matilda specialise in up-cycled and sustainable fabrics, using vintage or end of roll fabrics and sustainable fibres throughout their collections. Through reusing fabrics, they are able to prolong the lifespan of a garment and minimise waste.
Komodo is a pioneer of the sustainable fashion movement which was launched following a travel adventure in 1988. They produce stylish and sustainable clothes for both men and women. They are a fair trade company who use sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and TENCEL throughout their collections. They are based in north London and are a soil association and GOTS certified company.
Thought are a sustainable British fashion company based in London. They produce stylish and sustainable clothes for men and women. They are committed to sustainability and use natural and biodegradable sustainable fabrics such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, and wool throughout their collections. They also use recycled polyester made from plastic bottles. All of their dyes are azo- free (a known carcinogen). They reduce their environmental footprint by manufacturing clothes from "first to final stitch in the same country" and transporting products slowly to the UK.
People Tree are probably one of the most well known British sustainable fashion brands. They use sustainable materials such as organic cotton, TENCEL, lyocell and responsible wool in their collections. They are a fair trade and GOTS certified company. They are a supporter of artisans and work with producers to help them improve their skills. They create employment in rural areas with low employment, employing traditional artisans with skills such as hand weaving, hand knitting, hand embroidery, and hand block printing. All clothes are dyed using low impact dyes, free from azo chemicals.
Lucy and Yak
Lucy and Yak are based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and are well known for their gorgeous dungarees. They've started to expand their range in the last few years and now sell dresses, trousers and jackets among other items. They use eco-friendly materials including recycled polyester and organic cotton in some of their designs. They also use low impact dyes, and packaging from recycled materials. They pay a living wage to their employees. They are committed to improving their environmental footprint and working conditions of their staff and recently installed air conditioning in their factory.
Nancy Dee is a gorgeous British sustainable brand which produces a range of clothing which are absolutely perfect for the office. The company was founded by Seraphina Davis in 2008 and all garments are manufactured exclusively in Britain. Their fabrics are mostly made from renewable, natural sources such as bamboo and organic cotton. They also use modal and some up-cycled materials which would otherwise be consigned to landfill. Their patterns are designed to minimise fabric wastage.
Finisterre are based in Cornwall. They design functional and sustainable clothing with the needs of British surfers at the heart. They have collections for both men and women. They are committed to sustainability and use sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and recycled materials in their collections. They have recently eliminated fluorocarbons from their waterproof range and are a certified B-Corp business.
Vintage Style Me
Vintage Style Me are based in the Cotswolds and they believe in slow fashion which is "thoughtfully made and thoughtfully worn". All of the garments are handmade using a mixture of reclaimed and vintage fabrics where possible or sourced from British factory mills. All of their garments are made with natural materials and their packaging is recyclable.