Ethical Spring Fashions by Deborah Campbell Atelier

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I met Deborah, of Deborah Campbell Atelier, in Winchester Discovery Centre a couple of months ago; a fitting place to hear about the designer’s innovative use of sustainable fibres and abstract art inspired prints. A wealth of experience in clothes manufacturing and trend forecasting led to the formation of Deborah Campbell Atelier as a women’s ethical fashion brand, with Deborah now working towards her third collection. The pieces, which are vibrant yet classic enough to wear season after season, are all made in Britain using sustainable materials such as recycled fabric from plastic bottles and British wool. Deborah’s SS16 collection is the largest yet, offering a complete capsule wardrobe for work and play.

Deborah started her fashion career working for a manufacturing company at a time when much of the production industry remained based in the UK. She went on to establish her own manufacturing company and with business partners supplied the likes of high street favourites Miss Selfridge and Oasis. From here, she shifted focus to branding and consultancy, establishing another business called Style Industries London. Through Style Industries London Deborah offers forecasting, design and sourcing consultancy to other fashion brands that want to adopt a sustainable approach, “gently nodding toward key trends that have longevity”.

Deborah founded her own ethical fashion brand because she “didn’t enjoy the endless spiral of consumption”. She knew that some high street brands and retailers were becoming more responsible, but that it wasn’t enough without working under a totally different system. For Deborah, sustainability isn’t a trend, but something that must become part of how we live. With her background it’s no surprise that Deborah’s managed to create a fashion product that’s both desirable and sustainable.

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The dress shown here is made from recycled plastic bottles. Processed through a mechanical rather than chemical process in Italy by textile manufacturer Saluzzo Yarns (formerly Filature Miroglio), the fibre known as ‘Newlife’ was also used by Georgio Armani to create an eco-friendly gown for Livia Firth at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. The fabric is then digitally printed, far better for the environment than the dirtier screen-printing process. The result is a beautiful, top quality fabric that holds its shape for Deborah’s shift dresses and smart box blouses. In addition, Deborah sources British wool from Ireland and Scotland to produce classic chunky jumpers made in Leicester.

Lifestyle & Family Photography

The SS16 collection has just launched on the website ready for pre-order. Although you’ll have to wait until next year for dresses, you can cosy up in one of the classic fisherman’s sweaters right now. The Guernsey Jumper (£99) is a heritage piece inspired by the original Guernsey, first designed for the channel Island fisherman to help brave the elements back in the 1500. Shoppers also have the chance to support the Phoenix Foundation by buying the ‘Bee the Change’ organic cotton tee. 20% of the profit from the sale of this t-shirt goes to The Phoenix Foundation who provide much needed burns equipment to children caught up in war zones.

Deborah Campbell Atelier is a label to watch and you can get a slice of the action with an exclusive discount code – 20% off all products using code EMW15DCA until the 31st December. Browse and buy online www.deborahcampbellatelier.com

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Back to Basics Collection by FAUSTINE STEINMETZ Handwoven and Handmade

This season Steinmetz takes her collection “back to basics”, looking at the numerous ways in which a staple item can be reproduced, using illusions to create fabrics which are not what they seem at first glance. For SS16, the designer also acknowledges the artist that made her want to become a designer – Joseph Kosuth. After seeing “One and Three Chairs” in a book at the age of 14, Steinmetz believes her mind was opened to visual arts in a way that she still cannot explain today.

Faustine Steinmetz is the latest recipient of COTTON USA’s highly coveted sponsorship for SS16, an advocacy programme that helps up-and-coming designers to showcase their talent and creativity, bringing the vision for their collection to life through the versatility of U.S cotton.

Steinmetz puts her own twist on iconic pieces, and this includes weaving her own fabric using a traditional handloom in her London studio. This attention to detail to create quality, long-lasting garments is just one of the merits that made Steinmetz a great fit for the COTTON USA sponsorship.

The sponsorship programme has been a valuable platform for budding designers to elevate their work. Previous recipients of the sponsorship include Richard Nicholl, Meadham Kirchhoff, PPQ, Preen, Louise Gray and palmer//harding.

Steinmetz said: “I am thrilled to have been selected to receive the sponsorship for a second season. Support for young designers like myself provides a platform to express our creativity and showcase our vision.” She continued “What I love about U.S. cotton is not only the exceptional quality and versatility, but also knowing that the fibres I am using to hand make my designs have been responsibly produced – this is very important to me when sourcing my materials.”

The Parisian-born designer began her studies at Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris before moving to London to complete her Masters at Central Saint Martins, under the guidance of Professor OBE Louise Wilson. Having worked for the likes of Jeremy Scott and Henrik Vibskov, Faustine set up her label in early 2013 after acquiring her first handloom. All of Steinmetz’s pieces are made in accordance with her belief in craftsmanship over trend, designing staple pieces for the everyday woman.

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Brand Watch: Nomads Clothing Fairtrade Since 1989

Nomads Clothing began with a beautiful story. Founded by a pair who met whilst backpacking around India in the 1980s, they snapped up £200 worth of ethnic clothing and headed back to sell it in the UK. Returning to India with the profits they made they decided to start Nomads Clothing, inspired by the Indian culture and gorgeous fabrics and artisan crafts they came across. Nomads continue to travel to India several times a year to develop their collections, which make use of print and detail to create contemporary, covetable pieces.

There is plenty of information online about Nomads fair trade policies. Supporting handicraft artisan skills, you will find traditional methods such as patchwork and block printing in their collections. Equality of pay for male and female workers is guaranteed, as is no child labour. Keen to protect the environment too, Nomads continue to increase their use of organic cotton.

You can pick up a wide range of womenswear from Nomads – dresses, tunics, trousers, coats, tops and blouses. Pictured here you can see me in the Jasmine Print Cowl Neck Dress (now on sale at £42 from £60) which I absolutely love! Made from organic cotton with an easy side zip fastening and just the right amount of stretch, it’s the perfect go-to dress for any occasion. The print is quite Christmassy too!

Nomads fair trade organic dress

Alongside all the great prints they have plain basics including quality long-sleeved t-shirts and shirts. Jewellery, bags, scarves and gloves can be found in their accessories collection including cashmere fingerless gloves for just £20. You can find a stockist list online and head to your local fair trade retailer, or else, now is the time to check out their collections online where they have 30% off many products www.nomadsclothing.com.

Nomads have been trading for 15 years and have refined a business model to support workers, protect the environment wherever possible and offer lovely, and affordable clothing for conscious consumers. They should be a staple in any women’s wardrobe.
Nomads fair trade ethical clothing

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COSSAC Cool: Ethical Fashion

COSSAC ethical fashion yoga

I get approached by new ethical fashion brands quite regularly but COSSAC is different because COSSAC is a fashion label that just so happens to be consciously ethical in approach. This means that rather than relying on ethics alone to make a brand profile, COSSAC is a trend-led label for the youthful woman who loves life, loves fashion and wants to make a stand for what she believes in.

COSSAC launched yesterday, 24th October 2014, and currently has two small women’s collections. Utilising conscious design with low environmental impact, the label was founded by the lovely Agata Natalia Kozak who says:

“The reason for starting COSSAC is the desire to make something good, something I believe in and love doing that additionally will have a positive impact on fashion, society and environment. It’s not about making money, it’s about starting a positive change, a little fashion revolution.”

Agata uses fabric suppliers in the UK, India, Germany and Turkey and currently bases production in the UK and India. At present 80% of the fabrics are fair trade, organic, recycled and/or sustainable with Agata working towards 100%.

For the Eye’ is a fashion-forward collection of trendy separates. The look is minimalist, pieces for going out in the evening or heading to parties. This top (£75) for example, is made from organic cotton velvet and recycled fur with a sheer organza panel at the hem. The organic cotton top I’m wearing above (£25) is part of the ‘For the Soul’ collection, a range of lounge/casual/yoga gear featuring my favourite – slogan tees. I will definitely wear mine for yoga, but right now I’m wearing it with a long grey jersey skirt. I can’t wait to see what COSSAC have in store for future collections!

To view the full collection visit: www.COSSAC.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/COSSACfashion

Twitter: www.twitter.com/COSSACfashion

Instagram: www.instagram.com/COSSACfashion
Watch COSSAC Behind The Scenes. A/W14 photo-shoot on You Tube: http://youtu.be/U98OZ7Mnd-c

You can support COSSAC through their Kickstarter campaign and get your own piece of Eco-Hot fashion here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1393449163/cossac-ss15-eco-hot-fashion

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Recent Guest Posts

I’ve had a few guest posts published recently –

Giving UK Ethical Fashion the Celebrity Treatment – La Leaf

La Leaf is a Berlin-based ethical fashion site. I was approached by the lovely Sarah, co-founder and editor of the site, to write about an aspect of ethical fashion from my UK-based perspective. Drawing on my recent trip to Zandra’s Rhodes penthouse for the launch of her latest collaborative collection with People Tree, I wrote about the rise of the celebrity in eco-fashion and what we can learn from the food industry.

Crossing Disciplines – From Fashion Undergrad to Geography PhD – PhD2Published

PhD2Published was set up in 2010 by Charlotte Frost as a resource for helping early career researchers to get their first academic book published. It now provides all sorts of advice for PhD students and ECRs. I wrote this blog to share my experiences of moving into social science from a strong background in fashion.

PhD Publishing Strategies – Which Journal? – Geographypostgrads.com

Geographypostgrads.com is the University of Southampton Geography blog for our own postgrads to contribute too and which I edit. I wrote this post to explain my thoughts on academic publishing and the strategy I’m using to help myself move across to sociology.

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Big Event Coming Up? Rent a Dress for a Sustainable Solution

I love a pretty dress as much as the next girl, probably more in fact, but I have become quite aware of how many pretty dresses I have and how rarely they get worn. I’ve never been one of those girls who can only wear a dress once, that’s ridiculous! However, no one wants to wear the same dress over and over again (especially with the amount of photos which pop up on Facebook).

One of my best friends got married last week at a beautiful venue in West Sussex and I had quite a ‘mare deciding what to wear! Weddings don’t come round very often (although I’m getting to the age where they are more common) so I wanted to look amazing and enjoy the process of getting dressed up. A few months ago if someone suggested I go and hire a dress I would have immediately thought of a shabby shop on the edge of a town, stocked full of OTT prom dresses and mother-of-the-bride two-piece suits. In fact, the dress hire market has seen a whole new Hollywood style makeover – you can now browse hundreds of designer dresses online and have one shipped to your door for a big event, which is exactly what I did.

Hiring a dress allowed me to have something new (to me) to wear without spending an extortionate amount of money on something I might not wear again in the foreseeable future. It also meant I could be quite confident I wouldn’t turn up and find someone in the same high-street dress as me. Dresses for special events are absolutely perfect for the rental market, if I had my way we’d never buy a dress again, just share them around!

There are a few websites providing this service. I opted for Girl Meets Dress, co-founded by Anna Bance and Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise in 2008. Prior to founding the online dress hire platform Anna spent three years with luxury brand Hermes as UK PR manager. It took me a few weeks to decide on the right dress, I think it helps if you know what suits you and how a dress might fit your body shape (remembering that designer dresses come up quite small). You can order dresses to try on prior to your event for a small charge but I just went for it and ordered two dresses to arrive the day before the wedding. I could then see which fitted best and I only paid for the one I wore, both dresses were then sent back the next day (you can do three or seven day hire).

I wore the Nicole Miller Eva Dress in watermelon, which retails at £300 and I hired for £49. I teamed it with Jones nude leather peep-toe wedges which I’ve had for years and an ASOS feather clutch which I bought second-hand on eBay. I will definitely use their service again. Look out for introductory offers and discount codes.

Wearing my rented Nicole Miller dress

Wearing my rented Nicole Miller dress

Dress Hire sites:

girlmeetsdress.com
wishwantwear.com
mycelebritydress.com
that-dress.net
myredcarpetdress.co.uk

Poser (just because I could)

Poser (just because I could)

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