‘Where stuff comes from’ aims to help more people find ethical, sustainable companies in their local area, or online. This blog is independent. No commission or payment is taken from companies listed here.
(Companies are categorised depending on whether they’re online, in London, or outside London. Within each online/geographical category there are alphabetical sub-categories: for example, clothes, children’s clothes, dairy, footwear, gardening, health and beauty, home and lifestyle, jewellery and yoga.)
Ally Bee was established by Alison Baker in 2014 to offer “a luxury alternative to mass production knitwear . . . with a gentler touch on the planet”. Jumpers and accessories are created from alpaca; an environmentally friendly, natural fibre sourced predominantly from British smallholdings and spun in a small mill in Dorset, and Falklands merino wool.
Amberoot sells men’s and women’s fashion, and products for the home. Amberoot was co-founded by Gintare with the “ambition to make the fashion industry more environmentally conscious, ethical and transparent”. You can select products using filters including biodegradable, organic and up-cycled, and find information on the country location of design, manufacture and materials.
Armed Angels is a German company set up in 2007 by two friends, Anton Jurina and Martin Höfeler. They say: “Organic is not just a trend for us; it’s our belief and taking responsibility and protecting our environment is not an option but a must.” They work with GOTS, the Fair Wear Foundation and Fairtrade to ensure their clothes are organic, fair and socially responsible. Armed Angels sell a range of women’s and men’s casual clothes, including yoga separates.
An organic and ethical women’s clothes brand launched by designer, Hannah Beaumont. Includes a ‘Made in England’ range. Ethical production policy includes GOTS certification for cotton, fair wages and good working conditions.
Beautiful Soul London
Beautiful Soul London was set up by British fashion and textile designer, Nicola Woods. Her aim is to reconcile style and sustainability, with an emphasis on UK-based production and craftsmanship. The brand encompasses clothing, accessories and alternative bridal wear in signature floral prints.
Behô was established by Brazilian designer, Vanessa Provin, with the aim of providing “slow fashion with meaning”. Behô sell bags, notebook cases and jewellery, including vegan bags. Their products are developed in partnership with artisans and native indigenous Brazilian communities, with a focus on social and environmental responsibility.
A social clothing company selling beanies, and other accessories made by artisans in Bolivia. Each item is signed by the maker, and you can look up your maker on the Beyond Beanie website to find out more about their work and life.
Bibico was established in 2008, by ex-Zara designer Nieves Ruiz Ramos (also known as Snow). In their own words: “We design beautiful easy-to-wear clothing made from quality natural materials. Designed by Snow and made ethically by producers we know and trust.”
Brothers We Stand
Brothers We Stand sell a range of different menswear collections, including their own ‘basics’ collection, all with a social or environmental impact that “sets them apart from the mainstream”. Supply chain information is shared in ‘footprint’ tags.
An independent sewing pattern label (set up and run by Charlotte, Elisalex and Victoria, a trio of 20-somethings based in London) for women who want to make their own clothes with an up-to-date take on classic silhouettes. If you like By Hand you might also be interested in Offset Warehouse eco fabrics and haberdashery, listed below.
A mobile, social selling app used by individuals to sell clothing, shoes and accessories including secondhand, homemade, vintage and rare items.
The East End Thrift Store (on asos)
Vintage clothing online. Also have a shop in east London (see the listings below).
Elvis & Kresse
Elvis & Kresse create bags and accessories by re-engineering seemingly useless wastes, including decommissioned firehose, and combining them with traditional craftsmanship.
You can read more about Elvis & Kresse on the Style page: Where my clothes come from – No. 3
Everything in Colour
Sustainable fashion brand that makes all entirely one-off items of womenswear, menswear and accessories using end of line or vintage fabrics.
Men and women’s outdoor clothing; including knitwear using British Bowmont Merino wool, processed in Yorkshire and dyed and knitted in Scotland.
You can read more about Finisterre on the Style page: Where my clothes come from – No.7
Freitag are perhaps better known for their backpacks and bags. But, a couple of years ago, they set themselves a challenge to develop 100% compostable clothes for men and women. They now sell a range of women’s and men’s clothes, including stylish but fully bio-degradable jeans.
Gather&See sell clothes and accessories from like minded, forward thinking designers all of which fit into at least three of Gather&See’s five founding philosophies: Fairtrade, organic, eco-friendly, small scale production and heritage.
Guðrun & Guðrun
Guðrun & Guðrun was founded by two Faroese women, Gudrun Ludvig and Gudrun Rógvadóttir, and is based in the tiny Faroe islands (in the north Atlantic between Iceland and Norway). Their mission is to provide stylish clothes for conscious consumers. The company champions traditional Faroese hand knitting employing knitters on the islands, and also provides training and employment to female refugees via projects in Jordan and Peru.
You can read an interview with Guðrun & Guðrun Shoreditch pop-up store worker, Eir, on the Style page: Where my clothes come from No.11.
A capsule collection of women’s shirts, hand-made in London using GOTs certified organic cotton.
Hiut Denim jeans was set up to invigorate the denim jeans manufacturing industry in Cardigan, Wales after global brands moved their production from the town to overseas production facilities leaving hundreds of people in the town without jobs. They aim to produce high-quality, durable jeans including organic denim options.
Iris London was founded in 2012 by Ellie Simpson-Gray, a graduate of the London College of Fashion, to create modern, feminine, ethical lingerie. The range is produced in London and Derbyshire from georgette silks, Chantilly lace and structured mesh – all sourced in the UK.
A British label using Izzy Lane’s own flock of rescued sheep to create fashion using wool. Winner of RSPCA Awards in 2008 and 2012, New Designer of the Year at the RE Awards and finalists in the Observer Awards, the Daily Mirror Animal Heroes Awards and the Global Sustainable Luxury Awards.
Just For collaborates with high-profile designers and celebrities to raise awareness and funds for the Environmental Justice Foundation’s (EJF) work protecting people and planet, by selling sustainably sourced, 100% organic and fairly traded t-shirts.
Juta (জুতা) means ‘shoes’ in Bengali. Juta Shoes sell hand-made leather espadrilles using environmentally-friendly jute soles sourced from Southern Spain and reclaimed leather offcuts from local factories. They’re also a social enterprise supporting marginalised women in London who face a number of barriers to work.
The Keep Boutique
The Keep Boutique was launched by Kate Richards in 2012 to promote fashion brands with true integrity. The Keep Boutique offer a curated selection of clothes for women who appreciate quality, craftsmanship and sustainability. They also have a shop in Brixton Village (details in the South London section below).
Know The Origin
Know The Origin was set up by Charlotte Intone and Laura Lodge, after they discovered a mutual interest in ethical fashion as students at the London College of Fashion. KTO works with Fairtrade and organic producers across India to create a ‘Foundation Set’ of men’s and women’s tees, unisex hoodies and sweatshirts, plus a side-split dress which can be layered or worn as stand-alone pieces for a versatile and affordable wardrobe.
Ethically produced clothes using organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, Tencel and other natural fibres. Member of the Ethical Fashion Forum. Take a look at their website for policies on employment ethics, workplace conditions, and the environment.
Lemuel MC was founded by Marta Cernovskaja, a Siberian-born textile graduate, to sell 100% linen, sustainable, handmade artisan clothes and accessories. They specialise in “ethical clothes that are designed to stay as beautiful as the day you bought them – turning the tide against fast fashion retailers who specialise in what doesn’t last and gets thrown away.”
A heritage inspired fashion label founded by designer Bronwyn Lowenthal, which aims to produce collections as ethically as possible, and with minimal environmental impact. Lowie also offer a free repair service.
Mayamiko was established by Paola Masperi to design and sell clothing, accessories and home wares, ethically made in Malawi fusing together contemporary design with traditional African techniques. She says: “We believe that ethical production should not compromise the quality and design of the product, rather it adds to its exquisiteness and value.”
The Nancy Dee womenswear range is designed and manufactured exclusively in Britain. The label was established by sisters, Seraphina and Tamsin Davis, in 2008 and specialises in vintage inspired, eco-friendly fabrics – mostly made from renewable natural sources such as soya, bamboo and organic cotton.
Neon Moon was founded by Hayat Rachi to “create a better world for women, with women”. It’s a “body-positive lingerie brand” which challenges narrow definitions of beauty, and has a mantra of not empowering women in one country by exploiting them in another. Neon Moon manufactures lingerie in the UK and is “proudly the world’s first feminist lingerie brand”.
A family firm founded by sisters Zoë Gale and Milly Greenslade to design and sell ethically made, Fairtrade, organic cotton nightwear.
Fairtrade, ethical, ‘bohemian’ clothing with organic cotton certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards).
If you make your own clothes, take a look at Offset Warehouse for hand-picked, eco fabrics and haberdashery. And you might also be interested in By Hand sewing patterns, listed above.
One Memoir work with emerging designers to create “one-of-a-kind jackets crafted with individuality and sustainability in mind”. They say: “We are turning the current fashion industry on its head by sourcing pre-loved clothes and reviving them through hand crafted upcycling to extend the lifecycle of fashion.”
Pachacuti was set up by Carry Somers (co-founder of Fashion Revolution) to preserve traditional artisanal hat making skills in the Andes through combining high quality, environmentally-friendly materials with Fair Trade working practices.
Ethical, environmentally-friendly outdoor gear produced in a manufacturing partnership with a charitable foundation in Columbia by providing employment for vulnerable women.
People Tree was launched by Safia Minney, and was the first organisation anywhere to achieve GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification on a supply chain entirely in the developing world. They are pioneers of sustainable methods of production to minimise environmental impact, with the majority of their cotton certified organic and Fairtrade, and dyed using safe aso-free dyes. The company says: “We make beautiful garments that are a living blueprint for our values: people and the planet are central to everything we do.”
PICO was established by childhood friends, Phoebe and Isobel, to sell ethically sourced, environmentally-friendly, organic cotton men’s and women’s underwear basics.
You can read more about PICO on the Profiles page: PICO
Ramnation was launched by Talia Hussain in 2017 in the belief that “what you wear matters – and so does its provenance”. Ramnation create menswear from the fleeces of Britain’s traditional and rare breed sheep, including Hebridean, Manx Loaghtan, and Jacob. The wool is organically dyed and spun in Cornwall at a Soil Association certified mill. And I love the fact the Lookbook was created using real people at the company launch.
Ethically sourced men’s and women’s shorts, for land and surf, made from 100% recycled materials (plastic bottles); designed in London, digitally printed in Manchester, and manufactured in Portugal.
Shepherdess is a 100% British brand, founded by Alison O’Neill, shepherdess, walkers’ guide, hill farmer, writer and fashion designer. Alison believes in ‘working with the landscape and not against it’. She’s carved out a distinctive path in a male-dominated profession, taking the role of shepherdess and expanding it into the arena of stylish, tweed clothing and accessories.
Good choice for an occasional splurge or a quality piece that will last a lifetime. If you’re going to buy a luxury item, buy it from a label with clear policies on sustainability, responsible sourcing policies, and ethical trading.
Story Dots provide a different take on buying clothes. They operate as an online storytelling platform championing ethical fashion, and building links between makers and buyers. You browse makers rather than products initially to find out about their approach and motivation, making your ultimate choices more memorable and meaningful.
Tamay & Me
Handmade cotton and indigo jackets. Tammy & Me aim to provide flexible work that fits the traditional way of life whilst protecting the textile traditions of the Red Dzao, North Vietnam.
Thomas Thomas is an androgynous tailoring label. Founder SJ Weston describes the brand as “boy meets girl, vintage meets modern, tailoring meets sportswear, an eclectic mix”.
What Daisy Did
Bags created using natural and waste materials. Strong advocates of slow fashion. Operate in India and the UK, with a combined work force of over 100 artisans, and a recruitment process focused on tackling poverty and homelessness through the recruitment of vulnerable people both in India and the UK
Little Green Radicals
Organic, Fairtrade children’s clothes since 2005. The Little Green Radicals website includes lots of information about the overall ethos, and the manufacturing team in India.
Monty & Co
Monty & Co was set up by Leigh Montague. Her children’s designs are inspired by her love of history, utility and British heritage (and by her son, Grayson!). All garments are made in the UK from 100% natural fibres.
Where Does it Come From?
Ethical, Fairtrade, environmentally-friendly childrenswear. Each garment includes a unique code which allows you or your child to trace the full story of your particular garment, and who made it.
Hook & Son
Organic raw milk and other dairy products.
Beyond Skin are an ethical footwear brand “wildly dedicated to proving that fashion and ethics can go hand in hand!”. Heather Whittle and Natalie Dean are behind the brand, which they established in 2001 to sell 100% vegan luxury footwear.
El Naturalista aim to be ‘responsible with the environment’, and produce all their footwear in one of three factories based in Spain and Morocco. Their range includes vegan and chrome-free shoes. Women with ‘large’ feet will be pleased to know sizes go up to 42 and even 43 for some styles. Use the store locator to find stockists in the UK.
Ethletic was founded by James Lloyd and Dr. Martin Kunz in 2004, initially to sell fairly manufactured footballs. The company has since expanded into fairly-traded sneakers, manufactured in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Ottowin Footwear was founded by couple Lucy Lloyd and Oliver Cross in 2016. They started the brand to give customers a ‘slow fashion option’, with the ultimate aim of helping to transform our relationship with the ‘world of things’. All Ottowin footwear in made by hand in limited editions in Bristol, UK.
Po-Zu footwear is made from materials from responsibly harvested, naturally renewable sources. They contain no pesticides, bleaches or toxic dyes and are locally sourced wherever possible. Po-Zu use organic cotton in their shoes, and all leather is chromium-free.
Unique and quirky, contemporary designer shoes; made by skilled craftspeople in small, family run factories. Tracey Neuls adds a unique styling to classic designs, plus they’re ultra comfortable. From a sustainability perspective, Tracey Neuls shoes are manufactured in small, family run factories, and use vegetable dyed leather where appropriate.
Lorentzlaan 7, 2105 TP Heemstede, The Netherlands
Organic and organic in transition flower bulbs.
The Really Wild Bird Food Company
A family farm aiming for high-quality bird food produced using low bird food miles, with seeds grown in environmentally-friendly ways. Certified members of the Webbpaton XS farm Cardboard and Waste Plastic Recycling Scheme.
Health and Beauty
Bulldog Skincare for Men
Certified cruelty free. Products never contain ingredients from animal sources including common ones like lanolin and beeswax, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are approved by the Vegetarian Society in the UK.
An organic and cruelty-free range of health and beauty products launched by Charlotte Vøhtz, in 1997. Charlotte created her own brand as a result of struggling to find natural, organic products when her young daughter Sandra was battling multiple skin allergies and eczema. Green People is now a global, Soil Association accredited brand.
Neal’s Yard Remedies
Established as a small apothecary store in central London in 1981, and now an international company, Neal’s Yard offer a wide range of ethical, organic, skin and beauty products made in the UK. They pride themselves on their ‘honesty, integrity and transparency’ when it comes to ingredients, and provide detailed provenance information on the website.
Optiat transform used Arabica coffee grounds – sourced from London’s cafes, bars and restaurants – into natural, exfoliating scrubs, thereby diverting them from landfill. Good for your skin and good for the environment!
The Soap Co.
The Soap Co. is an ethical luxury soap brand with a strong social and environmental ethos. All products are manufactured applying ‘circular economy’ principles to reduce environmental impact, are paraben-free and not tested on animals. They’re based in east London and have a traditional workshop in the Lake District where handmade soap bars, hand wash, lotions and gift sets are manufactured by people who are visually impaired, have disabilities, or are otherwise disadvantaged.
Home and Lifestyle
Aerende was founded by Emily Mathieson, a former travel editor for The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Red. It’s “an online shop selling beautiful products for your home, all of them made in the UK by people facing social challenges. It’s a bit like a (very) small, independent department store – a special place to find a range of carefully crafted products from around the British Isles, created by makers who are unable to access or maintain conventional employment.”
Ecosophia specialise in organic, handwoven and naturally-dyed textiles for the home, including bed linen, cushion covers and throws. The company was founded by Kate Anderson who is particularly interested in the connections between nature, culture and the economy, and how these can be harnessed to create positive change.
The Living Rug Company
Rugs, cushions, throws, yarn and cards from Peak District shepherdess Deborah Griffins’ flock of rare breed and English breed pet and rescued sheep. Eco-friendly and organic (not certified). Rugs are made using a felted technique so are vegan.
Objects of Use
Objects of Use are “against throwawayism”. They sell household tools and functional items, and aspire to: “minimise the environmental impact of our products by offering objects that are built to last (and improve with age), using low-impact production methods and natural materials. We aim to source our products as carefully as possible, with the majority being manufactured in the UK, Europe, and Japan.”
Zoë Quirk set up This Because to “champion products that look good and do good”. This Because sells a range of different products including chocolate from a company providing training and employment for people with autism, and notebooks from a print house using offcuts. As they say: “Because every time we spend money, we’re voting for the people we want to support, the businesses we want to grow and then kind of world we want to live in. So the sooner we can spend our money with companies contributing to a more generous and lasting world, the better”.
There’s more information about choosing ethical jewellery on the Issues page: Jewellers Talking: Ethical Jewellery.
Cred pioneered ethical and Fairtrade jewellery, with a particular focus on responsible mining practices and transparent supply chains. They launched the world’s first independently certified environmentally and socially responsible wedding rings in 2003.
London born jewellery designer Lily McCallin founded FrillyByLily in 2006. What excites and inspires Lily most is rich colour. Vibrant gemstones play a central part in Lily’s work, as does light reflecting Perspex. Lily is registered with Fairtrade Gold, and her diamonds and gemstones are sourced from a fully traceable ethical supply chain.
MADE’s signature style comes from extensive use of reclaimed brass in their jewellery, which is handmade in Kenya. They source material locally at a fair price, helping to support the community within the vicinity of the jewellery workshop, including Kibera, one of the world’s largest slums.
Mix-Fits combines jewellery design and making with freelancing on funding & societal change. Jewellery-making driven by principles of less is more, remaking unloved or broken jewellery and offcuts into new jewellery to be worn over and over again.
Shakti Ellenwood creates handmade jewellery inspired by diverse influences including ancient cultures and sacred symbols. She’s committed to sustainable and ethical design, using certified conflict-free diamonds and other gemstones and 18ct Fairtrade gold.
Fantastic, architectural jewellery using sustainable materials. Ute Decker is a leading proponent of ethical jewellery. She was one of the worldwide first Fairtrade gold licence-holders and is regularly invited to write and speak on ethical jewellery. Lots of interesting information on her website, including on Fairtrade gold and Fairmined gold.
Valerio Jewellery was established by Greg Valerio. In his own works Greg is: “Dedicated to the creation of beautifully crafted jewellery, forged from a design ethos of powerful, resolute, ethical and humanitarian values”. In 2016 Greg was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s new years honours list for his work pioneering Fairtrade Gold and for services to communities in Africa and South America
100% natural rubber and jute yoga mats.
Eco-friendly, biodegradable yoga mats, handmade in Nepal to support rural livelihoods.