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Top 10… Ethical Labels to Love

Ruth Styles

31st January, 2011

Once seen as a style-free zone, green fashion is officially cool. Ruth Styles tries on 10 fashion-fabulous brands for size

Lost Property of London
Why? Launched in 2009, Lost Property of London takes the concept of upcycling to fashionable new heights. The brainchild of Central St Martins graduate, Katy Bell, everything in the small accessories collection is reworked from recycled fabric, using sustainable production techniques.
Key piece: Not only does the Feathered Beeby Clutch, £165, work perfectly with this season’s 70s trend, it’s a real classic in the making and will wear well for years.
Get it from: Lost Property of London is available at Liberty and Urban Outfitters. www.lostpropertyoflondon.com

Noir
Why? Cutting edge design married with eco-friendly production and sourcing have made Peter Ingwersen’s Noir one of the world’s most covetable eco-brands. His stark aesthetic, inspired tailoring and ethical stance have won the label legions of fans, including model Elle Macpherson. Ingwersen has also created a fair trade fabric line, Illuminati II, which works in partnership with cotton farmers in northern Uganda.
Key piece: Combining a sharp silhouette and feminine ruffles, Noir’s Aurelia shirt, £299, is perfect for work.
Get it from: Online boutique Fashion Conscience is the best place to look. www.fashion-conscience.com

Minna
Why? Quirkly, girly prettiness combined with zero-waste cutting techniques and recycled, vintage and organic fabric have made Finnish label, Minna one to watch. Launched in 2008, the brand is now one of the highlights of London Fashion Week’s Esthetica show and has received rave reviews from all quarters.
Key piece: Versatile, charming and fresh, the Lalita camisole from the S/S11 collection, £130, works for day and night.
Get it from: Shop online at www.minna.co.uk or in person at Harrods

The North Circular
Why? Founded by model, Lily Cole, The North Circular’s designers, Alice Ashby and Katherine Poulton, have used their experience at labels such as Rag and Bone, Roland Mouret and Luella to create a covetable collection of knitwear, made using British Wensleydale wool. The wool is ethically sourced and the pieces are handmade by a knitting collective in the north of England. Think woolly jumpers lovingly knitted by your grandma, only better.
Key piece: The Fishermans Rib Sweater, £350, is the last word in cosy knits and comes in a choice of black, grey and navy.
Get it from: www.thenorthcircular.com

Olga Olsson
Why? So cool that Kate Moss has already been spotted on the beach in one, Olga Olsson makes gorgeous bikinis with a Brazilian feel. The brainchild of designer, Ruth Ferguson, each piece is made in the label’s Rio de Janeiro atelier by artisans from the deprived Complexo Maré area. All materials are sustainably produced and locally sourced.
Key piece: With its flattering shape and cool digital print, the Rose Rio bikini, £165, is a holiday must-have.
Get it from: www.olgaolsson.com

FIN Oslo
Why? A palette featuring muted, dusty colours such as lavender, cream and grey plus a laid-back aesthetic have made Per Sivertsen’s FIN Oslo one of the best green fashion brands around. Slick separates and sweet, short dresses make up most of the collection and all are created from organic, fair trade and ethically sourced fabrics. The hand-spun and dyed, non-violent wild silk is typical.
Key piece: With its wide collar and cute crop, FIN Oslo’s Feline jacket, £160, is ideal for the office.
Get it from: FIN Oslo is available at ASOS and at www.shop.finoslo.com

Nina Dolcetti
Why? Quite possibly the coolest eco-friendly footwear on the planet, Nina Dolcetti makes shoes that are a million miles away from the hemp sandal stereotypes. Launched by Cordwainers graduate, Elisalex de Castro Peake, in 2008, shoes are made from recycled leather offcuts, pre-consumer waste and sustainably sourced wood and cork. Signature styles include ergonomic curved wedges and skyscraper open-toed boots.
Key piece: Lace-up fastenings and towering heels make the Bev Boot, £420, perfect for toughening up a tea dress.
Get it from: www.youngbritishdesigners.com

From Somewhere
Why? Reclaimed textiles are the buzz-words for Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci, the designers behind luxe eco-label, From Somewhere. High quality but unwanted cashmere, cotton shirting, silk and tweeds are reworked into cute harlequin knits, little dresses and tailored skirts, all of which are individually cut and totally unique.
Key piece: Even after the novelty wears off, From Somewhere’s cropped, diamond pattern jumper, £215, will still be a favourite.
Get it from: www.yoox.com

Ciel
Why? Fashionable pieces that combine style and sustainability have made Ciel an A-list favourite, with celebrity fans including Sienna Miller, Zoe Ball and Cate Blanchett. Everything is produced using 100 per cent Azo-free dyes and recycled or Oekotex and Confidence in Textiles certified fabrics.
Key piece: Made using upcycled Liberty print fabric, the Americana Star print knickers, £26.95, are simply gorgeous.
Get it from: www.cielshop.co.uk

Prophetik
Why? The label behind the stunning silver dress worn by Livia Firth to the Golden Globes, Prophetik produces high-fashion pieces to highly ethical standards. From natural dyes to low impact production, designer Jeff Garner is passionate about creating fashion that leaves a minimal footprint. The label also regularly collaborates on charity projects including Susie Amis Cameron’s ‘Muse’ school; a Californian institution which teaches children to live in an environmentally sustainable way.
Key piece: The monochrome Southern Damsel dress, £89, puts a new spin on Americana and would be gorgeous at summer parties.
Get it from: Chiswick boutique Eco Age or online at www.prophetik.com

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