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Ethically-made sustainable workwear

Ethically-made sustainable workwear
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Around the world, a growing number of ethical and sustainable fashion brands are burgeoning. A few focus on creating durable, ethically-made, workwear designed for a busy life. These four independent brands are all designed and manufactured in the United Kingdom.

P.i.C. (Partners in Crime)

North London-based brand Partners in Crime was born out of an obsession to do fashion the right way. Friends and founders Rhoda and Sarah wanted to change the game by pursuing a more responsible path in the fashion industry. The P.i.C. pieces are consciously designed and made in a London factory, exclusively run by women.

“Not only are our fabrics locally sourced, sustainable, organic or select stock material, but P.i.C is never mass-produced. It’s time to stop overbuying, and instead choosing stuff you love, and invest in it. We believe there is a better way,” say the founders.

Following that logic, P.i.C created The P.i.C style collection, made of eight versatile, modern and well made pieces. Rotatable and interchangeable, those simple items will allow you to create over 50 clean office-friendly looks. P.i.C style is your consciously selected, contemporary capsule wardrobe. “We all need to care for this planet. But now it’s possible to care and look chic,” they conclude.

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Madia & Matilda

Cotswold-based brand Madia & Matilda is a unique luxury clothing label, specializing in upcycled and sustainable fabrics. Founded by Shalize Nicholas in 2013, Madia & Matilda explores all elements of crafts and design and create bespoke styles.

After working within the industry for retailers and designers, such as Mary Katrantzou in Paris, Nicholas realised that her passion was giving a second life to the print and vintage fabrics she cherished by creating exclusive designs.

Madia & Matilda’s ambition is to hand craft each piece with care, turning old apparels into new designs or creating new pieces with sustainable fabrics. The story behind each garment is what Madia & Matilda value and is inspired by. The brand distinguishes itself by making a point at keeping heritage alive yet with an original and contemporary twist.

By prolonging the longevity of a garments lifespan or by simply designing new pieces with sustainable fabrics, Madia & Matilda is committed to contribute to a less wasteful world.

“We are proud to make our clothing in house in Britain. Within our Local studio we employ a reactive attitude towards recycling, in order to minimise fabric wastage. Any leftover fabric is used for trims and the following season's samples, or re-used for new designs,” founder Shalize Nicholas says.

The beautiful bespoke pieces are timeless and of great quality which make them ideal to wear in the office. Exclusively made of sustainable and eco friendly fibres, such as organic cotton, seacell or linen, the blouses and skirts will comfortably get you through a busy work day.

Madia & Matilda is also supplied to some famous international retailers including Silk Fred, ASOS Marketplace & Brighton Fashion Week.

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Nancy Dee

North London-based brand Nancy Dee is the ethical fashion range from sisters Tamsin and Seraphina Davis. The Davis sisters started their label a few years ago with the ambition to bridge the gap between style, versatility and ethical production. They share the passionate belief that responsible fashion is possible without compromising on quality or design.

The collection focuses on ready to wear original dresses and separates for the ethically minded modern woman of today. Nancy Dee line is inspired by contemporary classic designs and specialises in jersey for its characteristic softness, drape and stretch.

From beautiful dresses to killer ensembles, the versatile pieces translate easily from day to night making Nancy Dee the perfect workwear which you can also rock on a night out. Rather than fashion-fad, one-season wonders, Nancy Dee garments are designed to be long-wearing, adaptable pieces.

All the clothes are exclusively designed and manufactured in the United Kingdom. Their fabrics are mostly made from renewable natural sources such as bamboo and organic cotton. They also use Modal, an eco-friendly man-made material originating from beech wood. Some items are made using upcycled material, often made in the UK, that would otherwise be consigned to landfill.

“We now manufacture all our pieces in the UK, using a couple of small local factories with whom we have a close working relationship. We believe in preserving the specialist skills which are fast disappearing in the UK and in investing where possible in our local economy,” explain the founders.

Nancy Dee takes the utmost care to ensure that the life cycle of their garments, from production to their eventual disposal, has the minimum environmental impact. “Our patterns are designed to minimise fabric wastage. Leftover fabric is used for the following season's samples, or re-dyed and used for a brand new design,” they conclude. As if that wasn’t enough, the prints they use are unique to Nancy Dee, so you won't find them anywhere else!

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Kitty Ferreira

London-based brand Kitty Ferreira is a slow premium and sustainable womenswear brand inspired by Caribbean roots. Founded by London College of Fashion graduate Valerie Goode, Kitty Ferreira uses upcycled and hand dyed fabrics with pomegranate and onions skins.

Award winning brand Kitty Ferreira main goal is to dispel the ‘hippy’ connotations of ethical and sustainable fashion, by combining city chic with the natural world.

Founder Valerie Goode founded the label after being headhunted to work in China as a Senior Womenswear Designer and witnessing horrendous levels of air pollution caused by mass manufacturing. She came back to the UK vowing to never design fast fashion again. Goode looked to her Carribean family heritage as a source of inspiration- the way they use the land, to feed, clothe and heal themselves- and named the brand after her late grandmother from Trinidad.

The brand sources most of their fabrics in the UK, some upcycled and some organic cruelty free silk. The only issue that Goode has with upcycled fabrics (although it being an obvious sustainable use of textiles), is that she cannot trace the origins and the ethics behind that textile. “The value in upcycling has been practiced by our grandmothers long before it became a fashionable term,” Goode says.

The pieces are designed in their London studio and manufactured in the UK- offering made to order to reduce fabric waste. Kitty Ferreira praises itself for encouraging customers to extend the life cycle of clothing by having garments repaired and altered and at the end of life, rather than buying new.

More recently Kitty Ferreira has introduced organic peace silks into their ranges. Goode is proud of to have found one of the only silk farm in the UK, who, raises silkworms, harvests the cocoons and weaves the silk in a cruelty- free manner.

This multi-product collection offers sustainably sophisticated silhouettes and is made in sizes 6-26. The Pomonion collection which has been eco-dyed with pomegranate and onion skins, producing a beautiful, unique print will add a touch of originality to any work uniform. Elegant, ethical and sustainable, with a hint of sexy, make the recipe for the perfect workwear attire.

“I like to think fashion can tell a story not only based on style or an era, but based on values,” Goode concludes.

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Writer: Charlaine Grosse-Lopez