Welcome to my third and final post for Fashion Revolution Week! If you haven’t caught up here you can read Part 1 where I talk about the week and why I wanted to post about it, and Part 2 where I gave you my lingerie recommendations!
Now I usually do my own personal research about a brand before purchasing, I love to refer to the Baptist World Aid Fashion Report and make an effort to read it each year. This is most relevant to Australia and New Zealand, but Fashion Revolution also publish a Transparency Index for more global brands which is definitely worth a read wherever you reside! I’ve had a glance over this one and it is incredibly thorough, I’m looking forward to giving it a decent read and getting to learn the ethics of more brands.
Cry Cry Cry Clothing
Cry Cry Cry Clothing are the perfect brand to start things off with as a (previously to me) local label from Wellington, New Zealand! Previously running the iconic Wellington brand Swonderful, Fran started Cry Cry Cry Clothing several years ago and has become an NZ pinup staple! She makes and patterns everything from her small home-based studio. I’ve been to several high-tea try on afternoons and I absolutely love her stuff! Unfortunately I only own one Cry Cry Cry piece as of yet (which I wear usually twice-weekly) but am determined to change that this year – the Manhattan dress is really speaking to me!
She often creates limited runs of styles from gorgeous vintage and deadstock fabrics. Every so often Cry Cry Cry Clothing do a dress-a-day month where they take fabrics from their stash and create one unique dress every day. If you are luckily there are 2 sizes in a style but usually they are just one-offs. These also span her ample size range running from an NZ 8-24. Cry Cry Cry Clothing has made-to-measure options for many pieces as well as offering fully custom work! You can also supply your own fabric to be made up into one of her classic styles.
Twenty-Seven Names are an iconic New Zealand brand and I have been ogling their garments since I first moved to Wellington. Their style is a fun mix of prints and natural fabrics in timeless cuts which teeter between a vintage and modern look. My absolute favourite collection was ‘A Cat May Look at a Queen’ AW19 collection which featured many cat-print pieces. I was lucky to pick up a couple at a workroom sale and adore them to bits!
Twenty-Seven Names has always been manufactured exclusively in New Zealand. I honestly didn’t realise this before writing this post but on every single product page they list where the garment was cut and sewn as well as their origin of their fabrics and trims! Absolutely fabulous to see such a strong commitment to their ethos. It’s also interesting to find to see them utilise both in-house designed fabric and deadstock materials. They also have a great page on their website called ‘Take Care’ all about how to care for your garments in an eco-friendly and economical way.
I was introduced to Taylor about a year ago by my mother and am now an absolute fan of the brand. Hello New Zealand again, this brand hails from Auckland and has a very strong modern style with tonnes of texture and block colours. Their collections are balanced with hard lines and structured pieces contrasting with light and airy chiffon draping. There’s honestly something for every wardrobe, as I mentioned my mother and I shop at the same store! Their pieces ooze elegance and they also have loads of versatile multiwear pieces. I have a button-up striped sweater which is reversible, has a detachable turtleneck as well as has a button and tab at the waist allowing it to be cinched or free flowing – and that’s just a sweater!
Everything is designed, patterned and sampled in New Zealand and everything they can manufacture there will be. Some specialty items such as knitwear are manufactured offshore in carefully selected factories. These products are also labelled differently so you know where your pieces come from. Fabrics are sourced predominantly from Italy and Japan with the designer taking buying trips as well as work directly with mills to really get to know where the product is coming from. A large proportion of their fabrics are made from natural fibres which makes them so sumptuous to wear.
Holi Boli is a brand based in rural India and was started by a Kiwi couple. Four years after visiting India as a holiday they decided to pack their bags and move over with the intention of helping share skills with the local women. They have now trained over 170 women in designing, sewing and patternmaking and employ 15 who work on the Holi Boli label. Fit & flare dresses and tie waists feature heavily in their pieces leaning towards a classic style with an adjustable fit.
Holi Boli makes a majority of their product out of wholly natural frabics which they source locally from India. They use organic and certified cotton as well as an eco-friendly denim which recycles 90% of their waste water back into production and hasn’t been acid washed. I think it’s wonderful that Holi Boli are not only manufacturing sustainable products but they are uplifting women through teaching and employment opportunities. I love to see a company enacting social change as well as sustainable change.
Kowtow – the brand for Wellingtonians. “We make a conscious decision to only use renewable and sustainable fibres and ethical manufacturing.” Kowtow is an absolute institution based in Wellington, New Zealand, possibly one of the most ethical and sustinable brands on the planet. Fabrics are made from organic, renewable and biodegradable fibres and their designs have a focus on being comfortable wardrobe staples which can last a lifetime.
Kowtow’s website is awash with their ethos and proof of it, from front page declarations of their values to videos of the entire production process of their fabrics. They care about everything, from working with accredited manufacturers who are subject to independant audits to making sure the sheep they source merino from are cared for. They also offer complimentary repairs and will take back items if they are of no use – for which you will recieve a voucher. I honestly recommend a read through their website if you haven’t previously, they lay out everything and are truly inspirational.
Wilson Trollope is another brand I personally adore, based in (yep) Wellington, New Zealand! Wilson Trollope has a very modern vintage aesthetic, their collections are awash with fit and flare dresses and cropped jackets. I own several of their dresses and are a staple for when I need to go to a job interview or want to feel confident or professional.
Their garments are made in New Zealand and a lot of consideration goes into their fabric selections. The pieces are designed to last a lifetime and remain in style for a lifetime. Putting so much time and consideration into everything from the design to the manufacturing and to the ecological impact really shows. I also make an effort to go to every workroom sale to purchase bits of their fabrics and hunt down samples, I’ve had some fabulous one-offs that never made it into production.
Wolf & Whistle – Activewear
Wolf & Whistle are fab, but this one is a bit of a cheat as they are owned by Playful Promises who I discussed in my Lingerie Recommendations post. If you want to read about their ethics then click here for my previous post. But I thought they were worth popping in here in case this is the only post you read. Wolf & Whistles swimwear and activewear are made predominantly from a performance fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. They have a handy recycling symbol on the product photos of pieces which feature this!
I have a pair of Wolf & Whistle leggings which I have reviewed previously on my blog and I have to say I am still loving them. The material is absolutely lush, it’s held up to dozens and dozens of washes and wears. It’s soft, comfortable, firm and definitely moisture wicking, I love it them at the gym as they work with any kind of exercise. They range from a size UK6-26 and their cupped swimwear pieces from a B-F.
Doing Their Part
Now my next set of brands are ones that are manufactured ethically in terms of the final garment production but do not, as far as I can see, use materials which are sustainable or low-impact. I am happy to amend any part of this post if I am mistaken, but this is just from information I have managed to find out.
Vixen By Micheline Pitt
Vixen by Micheline Pitt products are designed and manufactured in the USA. Micheline Pitt was previously employed as a production manager and quality assurance for Pinup Girl Clothing so she understands clothing and keeps it to a well-made and high quality standard. Vixen has a strong cute but edgy vintage style and has carved out a really unique and well-loved style in the pinup scene.
Vivien of Holloway
Vivien of Holloway is all designed and manufactured in London under the watchful eye of Vivien. They use great quality fabrics and construction and all designs are adapted straight from traditional patterns of the 40’s and 50’s.
Miss Candyfloss is steadily becoming one of the frontrunners of reproduction vintage-inspired garments. Designed in Sweden and manufactured in Transylvania their garments have very classic styling and I really enjoy their fun colour palettes!
Lady V London
Lady V London has dozens of classic pinup styles with such a variety of fun prints and patterns. In 2013 all manufacturing was moved from Europe to London to keep an eye on production and quality, so everything is designed and manufactured in-house.
Emmy Design are another Swedish brand with a vintage focus. Designed in Sweden production happens in Lithuania for most standard garments and in Morocco for knitwear – which is an iconic staple of the brand. Emmy has a real ‘reproduction’ feel with lots of hardy wool fabrics and classic colours.
And so – those are some of my favourite brands working towards a Fashion Revolution, being transparent about their ethical and environmental processes. I hope you have found at least one new brand you hadn’t heard of and I invite you to check them all out! It’s really wonderful seeing brands care more about their impact of what they do and not just the end product or bottom dollar.
I’ve loved writing these pieces and reminding myself of all of these wonderful brands who are helping to make the world a better place. And I’m going to be honest this series has really taken it out of me. I’ve spent hours trawling websites and researching each of these brands to really figure out what they are about. Even though I was familiar with them I really wanted to find out in depth how they were trying to make changes and share this information!
Let me know any more of your favourite ethical brands in the comments! I am always on the lookout for more designers and brands I can support making a difference!
Thanks so much for reading!