Where my clothes come from – No. 8

We found a poster of Vivienne Westwood while we were exploring Shoreditch on my birthday. I hope she’d approve the ethical credentials of the outfit I’m wearing here.

Vivienne Westwood poster
Photographer: Sue Phillips

I’ve always tried to buy ethical products. But, when it came to clothes, for a lot of my life I tended to feel that I was either not young enough or not slim enough for ethical brands, or the clothes were too colourful, or outside my price bracket. Fortunately things have started to change. So I’m sharing the details of some of the companies I’ve discovered over the past few years. (There are more ethical clothing brands listed on the Directories page).

My Komodo LRYA skirt and scarf were a birthday present from my partner, Paul. They’re 100% organic merino wool, and have good ethical credentials as they were manufactured in an ISO9001:2015 certified factory powered through solar energy.

The Chelsea boots came from Tracey Neuls on Marylebone Lane (apparently one of Mary Portas favourite shops in London), but there’s also a store just round the corner on Redchurch Street. I bought these because I love Chelsea boots generally, and Tracey Neuls adds a unique styling touch 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.

My Katie’s Bike necklace is upcycled from used bicycle chains ‘rescued’ from workshops in London, and I bought it from Cycle Chic.

I borrowed the men’s leather jacket (again!) from Paul. He originally bought it from a market stall in Cannobio, Italy.

Foundation and mascara are from Green People, an organic and cruelty-free range of health and beauty products launched by Charlotte Vøhtz, in 1997. Charlotte originally 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. It’s now an international, Soil Association accredited company.

My favourite new discovery in this corner of Shoreditch was the Guðrun & Guðrun pop-up store on Redchurch Street, just around the corner from the Vivienne Westwood poster. Partly because I bought the perfect black roll-neck top to go with my new outfit. And also because it’s such a interesting company.

Guðrun & Guðrun was founded in 2002 by two Faroese women, Gudrun Ludvig and Gudrun Rógvadóttir. The major part of their collection is hand knitted by Faroese, Peruvian and Jordanian women using traditional techniques, but with contemporary styling. Despite being based in such an apparent outpost (in the tiny Faroe islands, in the north Atlantic between Iceland and Norway) Guðrun & Guðrun have achieved international recognition both for their collections and for their environmentally and socially responsible approach to fashion, including providing employment opportunities and training to Syrian refugees.

There’s more information about Guðrun & Guðrun in this video.

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Sue Written by:

I'm a finance professional who's interested in whether we're accounting for the right things in the right ways.

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