Protected: A stylish, ethical, organic and fair trade capsule ‘eco chic’ wardrobe
Organic and ethical fashion is often associated with hippies wearing kaftans and Birkenstocks.
What if you are ethically minded but need to wear smart dress for work?
There are more choices than ever now with lots of companies offering organic, fair trade clothing suitable for the boardroom.
Browsing around the internet, it’s easy to find stylish, ethical and eco friendly pieces.
Putting a few key pieces together to create an entire wardrobe, is not so easy!
There are four secrets to a successful capsule wardrobe.
1- Focus on neutral colours such as black, grey, browns or navy.
2- Go for classic and timeless rather than trendy styles.
3- Buy the best quality pieces you can afford.
4- Only buy an item of clothing if you put it on and it wows you. If it’s mediocre, you’ll never be satisfied and your money will be wasted.
One of the most ethical choices you can make is to invest in quality items that make you feel a million dollars every time you wear them.
There is little point buying cheap clothes if you are dissatisfied and end up getting rid of them a few months down the line. 1.2 million tonnes of clothing were thrown out in the UK in 2005
This ethical capsule wardrobe consists of:
1 pair trousers
1 pair city shorts
2 semi fitted shirts
1 wrap top
2 basic cotton tops
1 pair shoes
The first thing a capsule work wardrobe needs is a good quality jacket. Clothworks http://www.boutique-ethique.co.uk supply clothes made using fabrics sourced for their low environmental impact, made by people paid, not the minimum wage, but a realistic wage. They support makers in the UK, whose skills are sadly being lost due to the ‘holy grail’ of cheap labour.
Using organic cotton, organic linen and hemp, their aim is to combine good design with ethical manufacture and change the perception of ‘Green Clothing’.
Their peace silk, tweed jacket is a wonderful timeless classic that will see you through the seasons and will look stylish with anything. Alternatively, their two tone jacket, lined with silk is more reserved for a more formal look.
Utani http://www.utani-uk.com/ uses 100% Organic and Fairtrade cotton fabric for their ‘Godet’ Skirt. Good capsule colours include mocha, chocolate or blueberry as shown. It is available in size 6 – 22 with a choice of two lengths.
Available in the same colour and sizes as the skirt are the city shorts from Utani.
The vanilla long sleeve wrap top (also available in a sleeveless version if your office is hot) will go with anything for a sophisticated and versatile look. (Also from Utani)
A great pair of trousers are available from Think! http://www.thinkfairtrade.com They are Wide leg, side buttoning trousers with deep waistband in beautiful 100% hand woven cotton and look great in black.
Think! help their suppliers obtain raw materials, pay in advance for the goods – either 50% or 100% depending on their request and work to delivery targets acceptable to their suppliers. They know that women want to look attractive and have created chic, flattering separates that are as easy on the conscience as they are on the eye.
People Tree http://www.peopletree.co.uk have organic cotton poplin shirts. They have a mandarin-style collar and seashell buttons running down the front placket. In a choice of grey, ivory or turkish blue, they’ll look great with either the shorts, trousers or skirt.
People Tree work closely with people in developing countries to build viable businesses that can sustain communities and have been leaders in Fair Trade fashion for years.
Bishopston Trading http://www.bishopstontrading.co.uk have semi fitted shirts available in White, marine or charcoal with 3/4 length sleeves. Bishopston Trading have a policy which outlines the differences between ethical and fair trade fashion which makes for interesting reading when you consider all the ‘greenwashing’ that is around.
All profits made by Bishopston Trading are used to benefit the people of K.V. Kuppam through their registered charity, the South India Rural Development Trust.
THE BASIC TOPS
To stock up on a couple of basic, organic cotton tops such as wrap, short sleeve, camisoles or long sleeve, pay a visit to the Natural Collection. http://www.naturalcollection.com They have a large range of styles and you can use this part of your collection to add a splash of colour to your work wear.
To keep you warm, wrap yourself up in a pure luxury coat from Eloise Grey http://www.eloisegrey.com. She focuses on small scale, crafted rather than highly manufactured clothing. Disillusioned with the throw-away approach to clothing, Her clothing is made for keeps.
The coats are made from Tweeds woven by the Isle of Mull Weavers at Ardalanish Farm in Scotland. Their Organic tweeds are the first Soil Association Certified wool textiles in the UK. For the main lining Eloise Grey uses Hand loom Indian Cotton which is Fair Trade and Organic.
Finally, Beyond Skin make shoes for grown up girls with a conscience. Choose from flat pumps (Tessa) or kitten heels (Larry B – scummy; my favourite!), in a range of colours and finishes, to add a signature note to your outfit.
Beyond Skin is an exclusive ethical footwear label producing beautiful, classic, hand-made shoes. Founded in 2001, Beyond Skin was created in response to the challenging predicament of combining style and fashion with a cruelty-free lifestyle. The result is a stunning collection of vegetarian/vegan shoes that are produced in a manner that is non-exploitative to animals or humans and – wherever possible – the greater environment.