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Nothing to wear? Ask Whering for help

Hi Bianca! You founded Whering with the aim of bringing an end to the “buy-use-dispose” culture. What prompted the initial idea and how did you go about putting your plan into action?

I had just accepted my first job in London at Goldman Sachs and I was eager to get involved in environmental committees to tackle waste, mostly around food and disposal and I thought ok – this is ‘your thing’ and good on you for wanting to make this happen (hello intrapreneur). But then I started work on the Stitchfix IPO and began to delve deep into consumer buying patterns, machine learning to optimize consumption and the environmental cost of fashion. 

It took me 2 years to make the jump, but I finally founded Whering in the summer of 2020 out of a profound desire to democratise the personal styling landscape and fundamentally make efficient the way we buy clothes and use them.

For me the system was broken. The vicious cycle of not being able to see what you own, impulse buying (while never getting it quite right) and the lack of inspiration in the styling process meant only one thing: we had to take it digital and harness the power of AI to personalise our fashion experience.

We love the hashtag #WardrobeZen. Can you tell us about the thinking behind it?

Thank you! We came up with this hashtag to encourage a “philosophy” that revolves around mindful and conscious shopping, as opposed to impulse buying. To avoid this, we believe outfit planning is key to avoid decision fatigue. I like to think of Wardrobe Zen as a state of mind which is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the ‘I have nothing to wear syndrome’. For me it’s all about reusing and loving what you own for years to come whilst strategically incorporating quality pieces into your wardrobe.

Can you share what you mean by “recovering lifestyle hypocrites” and tell us when you first became interested in, and engaged with, the sustainability movement? 

When we talk about “recovering lifestyle hypocrites” we’re also poking fun at ourselves! Maybe you used to think of yourself as a bit of an eco-warrior with all the best sustainable habits but would still crack and purchase the latest trend from a fast fashion brand. Or maybe you just had too many clothes hanging in your closet that you never realistically wore. 

As I mentioned earlier, it was when I was working in the City that I kickstarted my whole introspective journey into my own contribution to the issue of consumerism (yes I had been to Zara that day to buy yet another ruffled top during my lunch break and I knew this had to stop). Sometimes it can be difficult to actualise the best of intentions!

Who inspires you in the industry?

Celine Semaan: she is the executive director of Slow Factory (an open education platform on fashion, intersectional feminism and colonialism) – she gives us a more nuanced views on climate action and consumption, in a world where solutions to better the planet are seen as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and often misleading us to consume more. I love how effortlessly she addresses the most complex of topics and how she empowers the community through education and really practical resources.

What are some of the biggest issues that we need to tackle and how can Whering help? 

I think we can all agree that the biggest challenge facing the fashion industry at the moment is overconsumption. At Whering, we want to help women use the pieces they already own as efficiently as possible and to extend the life cycle of the clothes lying idle in our wardrobes. For me, part of the problem of the ‘nothing-to-wear’ dilemma was that I didn’t have nothing to wear but nothing new to wear. We keep buying because we think that just one more item will unlock our ideal wardrobe – but how can it if we have no accessible inventory of what we own?

We also want to personalise our Wherers’ shopping experience to buy less, but better. We’re looking to drastically reduce the carbon and water footprint of consumers by focusing on the two parts of the value chain that they control: purchasing and utilisation. This is why having a digital inventory is so key – to aid our visual memory. Not only does it allow you to ‘shop your own wardrobe’ to get that newness fix, but having an organised digital wardrobe helps you identify what you really need and what pieces can unlock a myriad of combinations. With Whering, our users can track their wears, their most worn items, recreate different versions of their looks and become true outfit repeaters. 

Community is at the core of Whering. How are you planning to keep connecting and growing?

We already have an engaged, tight-knit community of over 23k users on the app, who spend on average 10 minutes a day creating hundreds of new outfits, digitally. Our most popular feature is our Dress Me styling tool (inspired by Cher’s iconic wardrobe scene in Clueless) which has been used 2.5m times to generate new unexpected outfit combinations. We show our community that sustainability above all is a mindset and help them make more circular fashion choices: mix-matching, rewearing and caring for your clothes is the future, and going digital is a step towards democratising personal styling. We empower our Wherers to differentiate between buying trends vs putting outfits together that actually work in the long term (saving us £££ and allowing us to be more intentional). By creating digital outfits first you also only have to try on your top 2-3 picks – imagine what we could all do with that extra time compounded over a year?!

We want to keep growing our community by staying true to our mission and values, and involving our users as much as possible as we continue to develop the app. We’re also looking forward to rolling out our Brand Ambassador programme to bring together sustainably-minded women. 

What’s your advice for someone who wants to shop and dress more consciously but doesn’t know where to start?
1. Refocus

Make yourself a wishlist – sleep on it, debate it, fight it and if you still come back to it, it deserves to find a place in your wardrobe. I’ve learnt over the years to negate the cheap and easy buys by looking inwards first (aka your digital wardrobe: hint Whering), evaluating what I really need and will bring be continuous joy (for the longest possible time) as well as identifying and saving up for dream pieces that will serve me in my journey. Shifting your mentality to investing in quality creates a special relationship with a piece and fundamentally makes you fight harder to take care of it, style it differently and possibly resell it (circularity is a thing guys).

2. Normalise: renting, thrifting and swapping (soon on Whering)

Are the greatest ways to step away from overconsuming for the wrong reasons and shift into a more playful yet circular relationship to clothes. For me, this step is all about upending the ‘buy, use, dispose’ model many of us have lived by in the last two decades. Allowing yourself that freedom to experiment with fashion by renting pieces you wouldn’t want to own forever, buying preloved pieces on Depop or Vestiaire Collective usually allows you to buy better quality for cheaper and borrowing pieces. Sharing really is caring, for people and the planet.

3. Unlearn: break your bubble and diversify your feed

Again, slightly biased because my personal mission is to get us to reuse what we own – but – by removing the constant subliminal messaging from the wrong brands, influencers and communities and focusing instead on following accounts that empower with their mission, educate and tell real stories about what they do we consume less and better. Connecting with smaller designers, slow-production brands and ecosystem stakeholders is a powerful way of helping you identify what ‘things’ you really want and need and what else is just white noise we’re all overwhelmed by. Good On You also has all the goss on brand ratings – so look ‘em up before you follow. 

4. What needs to happen for fashion to have a brighter future?

More transparency and collaboration between brands to achieve a total overhaul of the current fashion industry model. I’m an optimist at heart so I refuse to believe that all hope is lost in terms of fashion and sustainability, but it’s obvious that we cannot continue at this rate for much longer. 

For me, we need to see a fundamental paradigm shift on both sides of the value chain: production/consumption and utilisation. On the former, stringent regulations in place to challenge brand greenwashing (as this really messes with the mind of the consumer – and normalising legitimacy is the only way forward), restrictions on the exorbitant number of collections produced by fast fashion houses and laws that enforce living wage and garment worker protection (as well as environmental pollution and waste disposal guidelines). 

Fundamentally, brands need a better understanding of demand. On the data side, Whering creates unique insights into the ‘black box’ of the apparel industry: wardrobe utilisation & composition data. This will enable retailers to better tailor their product range to consumer needs and ultimately reduce waste and unsold stock. Smart sizing technology implemented across the brand ecosystem is also a game-changer here.

From the consumer standpoint, efficiently using the pieces you already own is one of the easiest things to limit your fashion carbon footprint. Here we need to see a burgeoning system of circular advocates and businesses, to ensure we make throwaway culture a thing of the past by ensuring the consumer has easy access to greener choices right throughout a piece’s lifecycle (purchase, care, resell, donation, recycle). The key to real transformation here will be swapping the Amazon-esque ease of fast fashion buying and getting us all to treat the garments we buy like the good friends that they are (not my quote but bloody on point). 

What’s next for Whering? 

Our next move is to create an impact dashboard for our Wherers, to empower them to understand the impact of purchasing decisions and the beauty of offsetting certain behaviours with more conscious ones. We’re also onboarding a network of green dry-cleaners, donation points and repurposing services across the UK to make repurposing, mending and donating a little more intuitive. 

Finally, we’re talking about taking the app social so our Wherers can add their friends and see what’s in each other’s closets! We’d love to introduce a “request to swap” function as well to encourage even more usage of clothes and community in the fashion space.

Find out more about Whering here.

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How a sustainable stylist helped me out of my clothing rut

It’s commonly thought that I have a well-edited wardrobe because I work in fashion. The truth is, my closet is currently in a state of disarray following a clear out (as recommended by sustainability experts) that’s left me with what I can only describe as a bit of a jumble. 
Hanging on my rails right now are the following: 

Ghost of my fashion past that I’m trying to wash and care for carefully in order to wear them longer

Organic Agolde jeans that are oh-so comfy thanks to the balloon shape but will now never compare to the feeling of pulling on my WFH BFFs: sweatpants

Investment buys that I’m over-precious about because I spent so long considering them – namely a hemp Jacquemus blazer that I fell in love with thanks to how similar the soft blue hue is to one of my favourite paintings

Summer dresses that I’d shuffled right to the front with the aim of listing them on a rental platform. London then became gloriously hot and they were all I wanted to wear (ahh, linen)

Vintage finds that still need alterations (including some trousers from Paris that I picked up five years ago)

A peony-pink Maggie Marilyn dress that remains a really special gift

‘Exploding zipper’ pieces – styles I no longer fit into after jumping on the banana bread, TikTok pasta and whipped coffee trends during lockdown.

Everything that’s left I cherish, but nothing really goes together or can be thrown on without much thought – plus 80% is black instead of the joyful colours that I desperately want to be wearing as my diary starts filling up again. So, I thanked my lucky stars when an email came through from The Forward Lab’s founder, Joy, asking me if I’d like to try out the services of a sustainable stylist. While I’ve gotten to know some amazing sustainable brands through my work and what planet-friendly fabrics to look for, I had little idea of how to put complete looks together, or how to turn my existing wardrobe into a capsule closet that’s vibrant, interchangeable and aligned with my values. Cue Cassandra Dittmer.

Based in Los Angeles, Dittmer is an international sustainable brand consultant and fashion stylist. “I’ve been in the styling industry for about ten years and I started more traditionally in the red carpet space,” reveals Dittmer at the start of our Zoom call, sharing that she moved to LA for the weather and hiking, not the glamour. “I fell into entertainment and fashion after studying fashion design and for the first seven years I was just happy to be working and supporting myself in a new industry and a new city,” she continues. It was when she chose to go solo and launch her own business that it became clear she needed to decide exactly what she wanted people to come to her for. “I wanted there to be integrity to my work and I didn’t want to just take up space. I slowly started to become more interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, which I was always into, and I realised that it was still a bit of an afterthought,” she says. Eco-friendly style wasn’t what the conversation was centered around at the time, but she felt that it needed to be.

Having since gone from strength to strength in that field, Dittmer has launched an eStyling service that’s all about placing ethics and values right at the forefront of each fashion collaboration. Prices for the sustainable styling packages start at £120 and go up in tiers to £650 for a full closet refresh. Plumping for Tier 1, my trial began with a questionnaire that’s designed to unearth tastes, concerns and priorities. “Everyone is at a different place in their journey and has different values,” explains Dittmer of the meaning behind each considered question and the initial consultation. “For some people it’s important to shop local, for others it’s perhaps more important to integrate diversity or to find vegan products. For me, it’s all about looking at sustainability in a way that’s not ‘one size fits all’.”

After filling in my responses regarding everything from style icons to favourite body features, a beautiful Curated Digital Boutique landed in my inbox seven days later. It ticked every box by sourcing and showcasing easy core pieces that are very buildable, mixed with manageable amounts of personality and colour. 

15 new brands were placed on my radar (10 of which I’d never heard of and was excited to discover!), each accompanied by a short blurb explaining how they meet my needs when it comes to sustainable production, ethical work conditions, and female-led brands. Right at the end came a list of tips and useful resources. Bookmarking the PDF, I felt inspired to learn even more about these labels and designers, and that I was officially out of my clothing rut. 

Click here for more information about Cassandra Dittmer and eStyling.
Don’t miss The Forward Minds podcast with Cassandra.

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Everything you need to know about The Wardrobe Crisis Academy

Available online and accessible globally from Thursday 20th May, Sustainable Fashion 101 is the first course up for grabs and sees the former VOGUE Sustainability Editor in the role of instructor. Created together with Dutch sustainable materials company Arch & Hook and the Australian Fashion Council, the six-week introductory course has been thoughtfully designed to tackle big themes and cover the issues driving sustainable and ethical fashion today – think nature, materials, waste, workers’ rights and circularity. It’ll provide all those signing up with the tools to start taking positive action, or to step up their game and promote real, meaningful change.

So, how did the idea for the academy come about? “It’s an extension of the podcast and was born out of feedback from listeners over the past four years,” explains Press. “They’re telling us that they want to upskill on sustainable fashion outside of full-time study or expensive professional development courses,” she continues, emphasising that acting like a university isn’t a part of the plan. Instead, there’s a real focus on putting something out into the world that’s not only educational, but also joyfully creative and highly original. “There are some great open-source MOOCs but they tend to focus on designers. What about everyone else? The onus has been on people to basically D.I.Y. – and that can be intimidating. Who’s got the time do all the research themselves and figure out what’s important and relevant, and what’s a trusted source? Wardrobe Crisis Academy does that for you.”

Along with guided study, audio presentations and weekly videos, students can expect stimulating journal prompts, special guest lecturers, live community calls, quizzes, workshops and even meditations, led by a fashion academic who doubles as a yoga and meditation teacher.  “It’s all about mindfulness and connection,” says Press, when asked about the inclusion of the latter.

A sneak preview of the curriculum revealed that it (rather wonderfully) starts by gauging each individual’s interests, hopes and dreams, and that the mixed-media format is the result of endlessly tried, trialled and tested ways to present exercises to a beat that’s never dry or boring. “The magic is in how we do it,” enthuses Press, highlighting that over 40 lessons “with a lovely rhythm” cost the equivalent of the price of a night out. Sold. 

Sustainable Fashion 101 is available for presale now from $55 USD/ €45.
Find all the course details at

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Many materials are made from trees. Here’s how to find forest-friendly fashion

“From the catwalks of Milan to New York’s 5th Avenue, from your favourite boutique to the local mall, fashion increasingly has a hidden cost that doesn’t show up on the price tag,” says Canopy, the environmental nonprofit organisation that’s dedicated to protecting the world’s forests, species and climate. The hidden cost we’re talking about here is something that many designers, brands, manufacturers and consumers can be unaware of – that some of their most beautiful clothes are being made from the trees of ancient and endangered forests. 

To produce smooth, drapey fabrics such as viscose, rayon, modal and lyocell, forests are used in the manufacture of dissolving pulp (the chemically intensive process that happens before the man-made cellulosic fibre is spun into thread) and the demand for these textiles is growing – in fact, it’s estimated that the fashion industry logs around 200 million trees every year (according to the latest update) to produce cellulosic textiles. Conscious consumers who are concerned about climate change will recognise the link between management and the preservation of forests. Yet, while there’s an expectation for products to be made with responsibly sourced materials, this isn’t always the case. As it’s stated on Stella McCartney’s website, “managing forests sustainably means using them in a way that maintains their productivity, biodiversity and regeneration capacity, as well as ensuring they can meet society’s needs now and in the future.” Good sustainable forestry practices are where the CanopyStyle initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) come into play.


CanopyStyle is creating real, impactful change. While there remains work to be done when it comes to curbing the sheer number of trees going into fabric each year (#solutionsaresexy – could agricultural straw be the answer?), over 330 brands and designers have committed to the initiative and are working to eliminate the use of ancient and endangered forest in their supply chain.


The Forest Stewardship Council is described as the world’s most credible solution for sustainable forest management, providing assurance of responsible sourcing. 


TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal are certified bio-based fibres that are manufactured using a more environmentally responsible production process. Able to fully revert back to nature, the fibres are certified as compostable and biodegradable. Plus, TENCEL™ Lyocell uses a low-toxicity solvent and the majority of the chemicals are reused in a closed-loop system.

ENKA® sources Domsjö´s FSC® certified cellulose from a Swedish biorefinery, which fully originates from local, legal and sustainable forestation in Northern Europe. What’s more, ENKA® Viscose has received the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute’s Gold level Material Health Certificate

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Activist Sophia Kianni on climate literacy and education

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to introducing Sophia Kianni. At just 19 years old, the Iranian-American climate activist has already achieved so much. She represents the United States as the youngest member of the inaugural United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. She is a Senior Partner at JUV Consulting, a Gen Z marketing agency that works with clients to authentically engage young audiences. As a journalist, she’s penned articles for the likes of Teen Vogue and Refinery 29. She has been named VICE Media’s youngest Human of the Year. The list goes on.

Today, we’re here to talk about Climate Cardinals. Its purpose? To make the climate movement more accessible to those who don’t speak English.

The idea for Climate Cardinals came about seven years ago following a trip to Iran, where both Kianni’s parents are from, “I was really struck by how horrible the pollution was and I started to research the climate in the Middle East. I discovered that the temperatures there were rising more than twice the global average,” she begins. Later, while chatting with her relatives about the topic, she was surprised to learn that they didn’t even know what climate change was, “I realised that it’s because there’s very little information available in Farsi, which is their native language, so I started translating some of it with the help of my mom to try and teach them.” And there it was: the lightbulb moment for Climate Cardinals. “I decided to start Climate Cardinals because of that experience. I wanted to replicate my success on a larger scale.” 

It was in October 2019 that Kianni really started to work on the idea and she began by securing a fiscal sponsor (March On) so that Climate Cardinals could have 501c3 status. Next, she assembled a small team and tasked them to help create a logo and a website. Then came TikTok – “the way we really got off the ground is we had a viral TikTok video that reached over 100,000 people on the first day. It drove people to sign up with us,” she explains, revealing that the team still uses social platforms like Instagram and TikTok to recruit volunteers. Currently, over 8,000 volunteers in 41 countries are working to source and translate science-based climate information.

Social media had a role to play in the start of Kianni’s journey as a climate activist, too. “I saw people like Greta (Thunberg) and other young people in the US really starting to come together and organise events. I wanted to be a part of what they were doing because I thought it was so important and they were being so effective in raising awareness,” she reveals. That’s why she sent DMs to a bunch of organisers for various groups on Instagram – like Extinction RebellionFridays For Future and Zero Hour – and simply asked how she could get involved. She credits those experiences with helping her to launch Climate Cardinals.

The accomplishments don’t stop there. Kianni is also thrilled to be the host of The New Fashion Podcast. “My interest in climate action means there’s a natural connection to sustainable fashion, and hosting the podcast is something that I really love doing,” she admits. “I see myself continuing to do things in the sustainable fashion space as I now buy all of my clothes secondhand and it’s something I’m very interested in.”

So, what advice would she give to someone who wants to shop more consciously? “It’s all about making the small changes that you feel you can, and that fit with your lifestyle. I look at it through the lens of owning your privilege. If you’re in a position of socioeconomic power – where it’s not hard for you to go out and buy all of your clothes from a more sustainable retailer – then you should totally do that. But I also understand that, for some people, all they can afford is fast fashion and I’m not going to shame them.” Kianni adds that she doesn’t believe climate change will be solved solely through individual action. Instead, it’s something that the government needs to pass policy on.

This leads us nicely onto the topic of Biden’s Earth Day summit. “I hope that with Biden now in office we’ll see that the climate crisis is being taken more seriously,” she divulges. “The US has re-entered the Paris Climate Agreement and I really hope that we can go beyond that to engage in conversations with other countries and make sure that they’re also committing to taking action. I hope for us to see climate progress.”

Find out more about Climate Cardinals and Sophia at www.

Donate to Climate Cardinals here.

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FUND: a sustainable sweater brand with a worthy cause

Let’s start from the beginning, could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

When I was 18 months old my family moved to a remote region of southern Africa, my dad was a geologist and I often rode out with him into the desert. 

I was only part of that world for a short while as we moved back to England when I was seven, but living in a small African community had a profound effect on me. I saw that the children there had so little, I saw how much they loved school because, for many, it was the only meal they would eat all day. When we moved back to England we lived in Northamptonshire and my father worked in recycling. My sister, brother and I had a very happy childhood. 

Before heading to university I wanted to go and explore the world so I went travelling with friends and then taught English for a year in a very poor region of Nepal. Once again I became inspired by the beauty and enthusiasm of the children there. During that time I decided that whatever my business would be it would involve providing school meals to children in poverty. School meals provide much more than daily sustenance; they provide children with opportunities that empower them to strive for a better future for themselves, their communities and the world. So the mission of FUND came first.

Have you always been interested in sustainability?

Yes, I have always been amazed at the ‘waste’ culture we live in. Using jumpers as an example – on average consumers only keep and wear a jumper for a couple of years which is very unsustainable. The reason for this is largely down to the quality of the knitwear.

Most items of clothing contain synthetic fibres which gradually break down during the washing process so that over time the item loses its shape and softness. These tiny microplastics then get washed into our seas and oceans causing untold damage. Sadly the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world.  The textile industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the world and is culpable for roughly one-fifth of all industrial water pollution. Some of the main factors that contribute to this industrial caused pollution are the vast overproduction of fashion items, the use of synthetic fibres and the agricultural pollution of fashion crops. We haven’t got time to sit and be scared by the current situation, we’ve got to be positive, hopeful and innovate so we can bring about change.

At FUND all our knitwear and packaging is 100% plastic-free, we only work with wool which is a low impact, biodegradable fibre so we feel we are providing a good example for other businesses to follow.

What about fashion? 

I am a big fan of sustainable fashion and so try to seek out brands that I feel a personal affinity to that have a story behind their creation and processes. I wear lots of dresses and one of my favourite fashion brands is called Christy Dawn. They make the most beautiful dresses out of dead stock.

Many of the larger fashion brands order in vast swathes of fabric, for a certain dress or skirt style which ends up being discontinued and the fabric is then wasted. Christy Dawn buy up this beautiful fabric and upcycle it into vintage style dresses and one-off pieces.

My sister is a fashion designer and I follow the creative development of brands such as Gucci and Vivienne Westwood however, personally, I try not to be governed by trends. Instead, I like to purchase items that are beautiful, interesting or timeless in their own right

How would you describe your own personal style?

I like clothing from all eras – I have pieces in my wardrobe that have been passed down from my mum and grandmother, along with other vintage pieces I’ve sourced myself. I wear a lot of dresses, mostly in colourful prints and I often wear these with my jumpers. I like small interesting brands who make things well, so they last a long time. I try not to buy anything synthetic if I can help it. I also really love crazy trainers and ‘80s-style wool socks pulled up over my jeans. Basically anything colourful or different! The most beautiful thing I own is an Alice Temperley floor-length dress embroidered with beautiful flowers.

Do your studies in Art History inspire the colours in each collection? 

I studied Art History at university so colour, pattern and design have always been very important to me. I like to paint, mostly in oil and my work is usually very abstract. I like to play with the interface of light on different shapes and textures. I take inspiration from everywhere: interior design magazines, fashion editorials and books on art or architecture. I think of my work at FUND as an art project – a snapshot of modern cultural experience. The jumpers are my canvas and the embroidery is like my paint, it’s about making your own statement.

Who are your favourite artists?

I am really inspired by the work of Tracey Emin. Her work embodies a new perception of female sexuality, redefining beauty and confronting stereotypes and taboos. Her most famous work “My bed” was an installation consisting of her unmade bed, slept in for weeks and stained with life. She uses vulnerability to tell a story of her struggle and the struggle all women face. Through her charity work, she has raised money for the NSPCC and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. She is a very provocative English artist and I like that her work covers both autobiographical and confessional pieces. One of our statements “love always wins” is actually inspired by her neon art piece entitled “true love always wins”.

What inspired you to launch FUND?

I wanted to find a way of making the clothing we wear more meaningful. I have always wanted to run my own business – even at school I knew that it was going to be important for me to create something of my own. I have never been driven by money but instead have always been drawn to work, people and brands with a social and environmental mission, where the motivation is doing good in the world.

My lightbulb moment came when I was teaching English in a remote region of Nepal. I saw the huge difference having an education can make and so decided that my business would need to make a contribution to this in some way. Through each jumper purchased we fund 100 school meals for children living in poverty across 26 countries. For many children, a free school meal means they are able to attend school rather than being made to stay at home and undertake household chores. Education empowers people and fosters positive change in communities. It is a ladder out of poverty and will lead to a more sustainable future for all. I set FUND up as a vehicle to do good, it’s much more than just a fashion brand. 

How would you describe your brand to someone who’s completely new to it?

A brand that ‘FUNDs’ positive change through cosy, conscious, carbon-neutral statement knitwear that is made in the UK.

Could you tell us more about the yarns you use?

Our yarn is spun in Scotland – it’s a beautiful old mill on the edge of an ancient loch. We source our wool from ethically reared sheep and use natural dyes and recycled water from the local Loch to colour it into a beautiful array of bespoke hues. The wool is very soft because the water is gentle and so our jumpers feel like cashmere. We have an expert team of British weavers who knit our seamless knitwear from a single thread, we do this to avoid any fabric offcuts and waste. Once complete, the jumpers head to our embroidery workshop near the Cornish coast, it’s where I live so I go every day to see the colourful new creations. The team hand-finish each piece (which can take up to two hours to complete!) and every piece is made with lots of care and love.

Could you explain more about the thought behind the conscious processes, making and packaging?

We are a carbon neutral business, we have a very low carbon footprint because every part of our process, from the wool we use, to the way we knit our jumpers, to the recycled packaging we use is considered. We only work with British suppliers because it’s very important to us to support British manufacturing – now more than ever. It took time to find good people who shared our belief in sustainable luxury. We currently make a monthly donation to the carbon trust and are looking to become a B-corporation business this year.

How long does it take to make and embroider one sweater?

We have a lovely little artisan embroidery workshop in Cornwall piled high with different coloured jumpers and threads. Every jumper purchased on our website is embroidered to order so that we don’t carry any stock and to reduce waste. Once we receive your order, we pick your jumper and set up the embroidery machine with your chosen design and thread. It took us a year to refine the process, and it takes between 1-2 hours  to embroider each jumper. Because we don’t use any synthetic backing in our embroidery we had to develop a completely new way of embroidering with wool on wool. Even now we have to prototype each design a number of times and make small alterations in order to create the perfect finish. 

How important to you is it to support small, independent farmers and why?

All our jumpers are made from a super soft lambswool called Lamaine. Wool was the perfect choice because It is a naturally sustainable fibre. It is warm and flexible, water-resistant and anti-bacterial which means it retains its shape and softness and requires only gentle occasional washing. We only work with independent farmers to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are adhered to and to support small businesses. We also only work with British suppliers, both for wool and across the entire brand, which makes it much easier to look into the full supply chain of who we work with. 

What’s your personal favourite statement in the lineup so far and why?

We are extremely excited to be launching with Harrods and alongside our own collection, have also created a collection of exclusive, limited-edition jumpers. The colours are so eye-popping and fun! The statements on our jumpers are all inspired by longer quotes from notable figures that have a profound meaning. A new favourite from the Harrods range is “DEPENDS” which is a vibrate blue jumper with bright red embroidery. It’s inspired by a David Attenborough quote, “the future of our planet and indeed all life on earth depends on us.”

Who (or what) inspires the other phrases? 

I am drawn to song lyrics, poetry, satire and quotation and inspired by the experience of others and the positive power of self-expression through language and storytelling. I am also a hopeless romantic. Everywhere I go, I go singing – I have a useless talent for remembering every word of every song or poem I have ever heard, and much to my children’s annoyance I can’t help but sing along to everything. Each of our statements comes from a meaningful quotation or a beautiful poem or song lyric for example our BRIGHTSIDE jumper is inspired by the quote for C.S Lewis “when you can’t look on the brightside I will sit with you in the dark”. It is actually about friendship during difficult times. All our embroidery is designed to inspire bold self-expression and empower people to speak their truth. I’m also completely fascinated by the amazing lives many of the authors have had, often battling adversity to do incredible things. You can read the bio for each author of my statements on the product pages of our website

Who would be your dream person to spot wearing a FUND jumper?

FUND jumpers are for everyone, they are a unisex fit. I absolutely love David Attenborough and would be overwhelmed to see him in my green “SAVE IT” jumper. It is inspired by the quote from Robert Swan, the great polar explorer who said “the greatest threat to the planet is thinking someone else will save it”. We should all watch David Attenborough’s documentary “A Life on Our Planet.” He is brilliantly honest, but hopeful too. He suggests that we should not waste things; not food, not electricity. Buy less and buy well, choose things that you love and that will last a lifetime. Invest in people and in education and look after the natural world by rewilding and learning to grow food in smaller sustainable areas. The earth is the most precious thing we have and we all have a part to play.

What does the future hold for FUND? Any exciting projects in the pipeline?

On 3rd of March, we are launching on with an in-store pop-up planned for later on in the year. As a young independent brand, it’s a huge honour to be recognised by an institution like Harrods. I can’t wait for launch day to see FUND, the brand I’ve created, alongside so many brands I’ve admired for years. 

Fund Jumpers
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Munthe founder Naja on conscious consumption and CPHFW

With Cecilie Thorsmark at the helm and a Sustainability Action Plan in place, Copenhagen Fashion Week presents two things: the most exciting Nordic talent and opportunities to drive real, positive change. Here, Naja Munthe shares more about the search for better fibres, the meaningful projects she holds dear to her heart and how she’s developing a more responsible business by the day.

What does sustainable fashion mean to you?

For me, it’s eco-friendly production and packaging, emission reduced production, organic materials, waste reduction and social responsibility.

You’ve been donating to Greenpeace since 1989 – have you always been interested in the natural world and standing for a better future?

The natural world has captured my interest for almost as long as I can remember. As a child, I asked my parents countless questions about all parts of the world, whether on social, scientific, cultural or moral levels.

An increasing number of MUNTHE’s styles are being made using considered materials like organic cotton and recycled fibres.  Can you reveal why this is such an important part of your brand’s CSR strategy

It’s a good place to start! 

If cotton is to be sold as organic, it requires a third-party certification from independent, accredited certification agencies. Organic cotton is generally grown as part of a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. It’s also grown from non-genetically modified (GMO) seeds and without synthetic chemicals, such as fertilisers or pesticides. The goal? Less soil and water contamination and fewer health hazards for farmers, manufacturers, and consumers. Increase soil fertility and biodiversity.

Capturing and reusing waste, the recycled fibres are produced in a “closed-loop” process. They’re made from eucalyptus and FSC certified leftovers from the timber industry – the fibre yield per acre from the trees used in the Lenzing fibres is up to ten times higher than cotton.

What do you think are some of the most pressing issues the fashion industry is facing?

The fashion industry is a sector with a high environmental impact; it involves a very long and complicated supply chain, which is associated with large consumption of water and energy, use of chemical substances, water and air pollution, waste production and finally microplastic generation.

You’ve been involved in many meaningful projects – do you have a personal favourite to date?

I love them all, really. But PLAN International is in my heart. Back in 2013, we made a jacket for the benefit of empowering Indian seamstresses to become self-sufficient and an integral part of their work organisation – with health checks, pensions, insurance etc.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your brand? 

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has largely affected the fashion industry, from the people it employs to the waste it has created. However, this crisis could also present an opportunity to rethink the industry. At MUNTHE, this unique set of circumstances can hopefully bring about a positive change and allow us to rethink our values – especially the CSR strategy, which is more important than ever. 

 Naja Munthe, Founder & Creative Director of MUNTHE
Are you excited for the digital edition of Copenhagen Fashion Week and can you reveal anything about MUNTHE’s presentation?

 So excited! There will be something, but nothing resembling fashion week as we knew it. Until COVID-19 sent most of the world into freefall, fashion brands would pay a lot of attention to throw ten-minute runway shows to advertise clothes that would be available six months after, capturing an elusive sense of relevance. At this Copenhagen Fashion Week, MUNTHE again takes the opportunity to do our own thing and focus on the things we are good at –  a new kind of lockdown creativity. 

Usually, there can be around 300 people for a fashion show. Now there is a new chance – due to the circumstances of this Fashion Week – to do something extraordinary and try something new. MUNTHE, therefore, decided quite quickly that we wanted to make a film, which should be supported by a picture universe. 

The AW21 collection it’s all about diversity and originality.

What small changes could The Forward Lab’s readers make to build a more sustainable closet?

Shop less and find your style instead of following the trends. Do your brand research to shop more sustainably and donate unwanted clothes.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to shop more consciously but doesn’t know where to start?

 First, do the research and learn about fabric production and different textiles. Choose brands that use recycled fibres and opt for more sustainable options like organic cotton. 

Be curious, ask questions and start looking at your clothes differently. Instead of only asking yourself; Does this piece look great on me?  Rather answer some of these questions: Who made these clothes? What materials were used? Where did they come from? Where were they made? What’s it like to work there? Etc. Being interested in the answers to these kinds of questions is the best first step towards changing the story for the people who make our clothes.

Lastly, what does the future hold for MUNTHE?

It will be sustainable 
No matter what the world looks like when we get out on the other side, we need to consume less. The COVID-19 crisis will result in a permanent change to our shopping behaviours and ways of conducting business. MUNTHE will upgrade our supply chain and fulfillments – and strengthen our technological platforms.

Sustainable Collection Munthe
Find out more about MUNTHE’s CSR strategy here.

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5 min with Baum Und Pferdgarten during Copenhagen Fashion Week

Baum und Pferdgarten celebrates creative, individual and expressive style through collections filled with playful prints, artful colours and fluid, androgynous tailoring. What’s more, it strongly believes in the importance of circularity and is working hard to become more responsible and transparent in all aspects of its operations – including sourcing recycled and organic fibres with a lower environmental impact.
Here, Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave – the duo behind the brand – reveal some great memories from CPHFW and the magic behind Copenhagen style.

Could you share some of your fondest memories to date from Copenhagen Fashion Week? 

Rikke: I’m especially proud of our Autumn Winter 2016 show where everything just came so beautifully together; the collection, the mood, the venue and the soundtrack. We were inspired by the movie ‘I Am Love’ and Villa Necchi outside of Milan where the movie takes place – we ended up having the show in Thorvaldsen’s Museum here in Copenhagen. Thorvaldsen worked as a sculptor in Italy for most of his life and the museum reflects this in a beautiful manner. We also worked with two really talented composers for the soundtrack who incorporated voices from the movie and recorded “real-sound” from Italian church bells, street noise etc.

Helle: To me, the Spring Summer 2020 show was an important milestone. I feel like we really set a new direction for the brand and came with a fresh point of view. We started working a lot with transparent fabrics and silhouettes in a way we are still exploring.

Copenhagen Fashion Week typically plays host some of the best style in the world, both on the streets and the runways. What do you think makes ‘Copenhagen style’ so special?

Helle: All the collections from Copenhagen tend to be very wearable and appeal to a broad audience of real people. Plus, the people in the streets of Copenhagen are really good at dressing complicated pieces down and making it real rather than an inaccessible dream.

Rikke: Copenhagen style is very effortless and represents a kind of casual coolness where less is more.

You’re showcasing for AW21 digitally – can you reveal anything about the collection and what challenges did you face creating this way?

Rikke: We can definitely reveal the challenges! Less than a month ago we cancelled the entire production we had been working on for months and changed our format 100% – from one digital format including a lot of people in one venue to another digital format where nobody has had to meet in person. The new format is all about celebrating the diverse ways of creative expression we experience from the #BaumFamily.

Helle: That’s all we can reveal for now – but please stay join our Instagram for the live streaming of the show on Wednesday, Feb. 3rd at 20:00 CET!

Copenhagen has been hailed as “fashion’s sustainable capital”. How important is sustainability to Baum und Pferdgarten?

Rikke: Obviously, sustainability is very important to Baum und Pferdgarten!

Helle: With every collection, we are working towards becoming more and more sustainable in terms of fabrics, production and transport – but we are also looking into converting everything around the collection like the wrapping, the hangtags and so on. We are very happy to be part of Copenhagen Fashion Week where sustainability is at the top of the agenda!

Post-pandemic, what does the future hold for the brand?

Rikke: We feel like everybody in our team and the Baum community is holding their breath and just waiting for this to be over, so we can all start to live life to the fullest and enjoy ourselves again.

Helle: We are very confident in the future and have high hopes for Baum und Pferdgarten.

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4 sustainable fashion books to add to your 2021 reading list

by Elizabeth L. Cline

An expert on consumer culture and sustainability, Elizabeth L. Cline is an author, journalist and public speaker based in New York.
She was responsible for the critically acclaimed 2012 expose Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and later released this highly anticipated follow-up book The Conscious Closet: A Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good.
Far more than your average style guide, this paperback (which is printed using Sustainable Forestry certified paper and also available as an Audiobook) is “a call to action to transform one of the most polluting industries on earth — fashion — into a force for good.”
What I particularly love about it, is how Elizabeth recognises that we all take a different approach to fashion, plus different attitudes and needs when it comes to clothes. It’s split into six digestible parts, including “The Art of Less” and “The Art of More” and is packed with practical advice about everything from basic mending stitches to thrift techniques. Along the way, it’s peppered with short yet insightful Q&A interviews with the likes of Kathleen Talbot, VP of Sustainability at Reformation and Kate Sekules, Founder of The illustrated cover by Kaitlin Kall is chic and colourful, too.

by Lauren Bravo

Lauren Bravo’s writing is always a real treat to read thanks to the way her personality shines through in every article — even her Instagram bio makes me smile “London, clothes, custard.”
Lauren’s second book How To Break Up With Fast Fashion presents fast fashion as the ultimate toxic relationship and encourages you to fall back in love with the clothes that are already hanging up in your closet. A reminder that no outfit should cost the earth, this honest and relatable guide is packed with handy tips (personally, detoxing my inbox has been a real game-changer) and highlights some achievable ways to embrace slower dressing. If you’d like a little taster, here’s a link to an extract from Lauren’s book on Refinery 29. Her list of five fabrics that “don’t ruin the planet” includes Piñatex used to create the Liwan Forward collaboration, too.

by Dana Thomas

Dana Thomas is an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author who began her career writing for the style section of The Washington Post. Released a few years after her groundbreaking book Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes sees Dana deliver a comprehensive look at what designers and companies (both big and small) are doing to propel the broken fashion industry toward a better future. In order to do so, she travelled the world to speak to entrepreneurs and innovators, learning more about what these leaders of change are doing and the technology in development.It’s an engaging, eye-opening read that’s persuasively written.

by Clare Press

On my hour-long commute to work (which I never thought I’d find myself missing!) there’s nothing I love more than popping on my headphones and listening to the Wardrobe Crisis podcast. In the witty and persuasive book that sparked it, VOGUE’s first ever Sustainability Editor Clare Press — who also once ran a vintage store — explores the history and ethics behind what we wear and traces the origins of icons like Chanel and Dior. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this book is required reading for anyone who’s looking to feel good about their wardrobe again.

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Your guide to joyful loungewear that’s comfy and conscious

Admittedly, I’ve never been one to get truly excited about buying joggers or sweatshirts – until 2020 that is, when my favourite polka-dot dresses, slim jeans and cornflower blue blazer found a new home at the back of my wardrobe. As more time indoors went by, the need to replace my (already overachieving) old comfies cropped up, and that’s when I discovered the rules of buying sweats were exactly the same as buying a new blouse. Each purchase still needs to be considered and loved. They should be made from conscious, soft materials and laundered kindly, not discarded because of the occasional coffee spill. Most importantly, like any fashion purchase, your new sweats should make you feel good, and that’s where ‘joungewear’ comes into play. Joyful loungewear could mean serotonin-boosting colours or cheery symbols that instantly lift your spirits,  supporting female-founded sustainable brands, or guilt-free options that have been ethically crafted with circularity in mind.

In need of a little more inspiration? Take a look through the green-thinking roundup below and remember that you’ll be forgiven for later wearing your sweatpants with real shoes out of the house.


Take it from someone who has pretty much lived in her hoodie and sweatpants since they arrived, the joyfulness of Maggie Marilyn’s Somewhere Sport pieces comes in twofold: firstly, they are so exceptionally soft and comfy thanks to the carefully selected neutral fabrics and the considered fits – the slim joggers are snug around the butt and have elasticated cuffs which tapers them a little, while the hoodie is oversized and slouchy without feeling swampy. Secondly, they’re fully traceable, meaning you can wear them knowing that they’ve been made responsibly from farm to finish. Mindful materials are a big factor here; the organic cotton fibres support organic agriculture, which prohibits the use of synthetic toxic pesticides and fertilizers as well as genetically engineered seeds, while using significantly less water. Not only is organic agriculture better for the environment, but it also protects the livelihoods of farmers and their local communities. Further to this, founder Maggie Hewitt and her team are working closely with their suppliers to encourage the implementation of regenerative agriculture processes. It’s fair to say that it’s been quite the year for Maggie Marilyn, which recently announced its switch to DTC from majority wholesale and an extended size range. “Our purpose is to use fashion to create a better world,” says Hewitt, who seems to be on exactly the right track.


The impossibly stylish duo behind ROTATE Birger Christensen, Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Friis Madsen, decided on the name ROTATE because it evokes the cyclical nature of those wardrobe favourites that you wear on repeat. What’s more, their signature dresses have become major hits on fashion rental apps and platforms like By Rotation. Now, the former COSTUME staffers have released their most environmentally responsible capsule yet: ROTATE Sunday. Created using 100% recycled materials and certified organic cotton, it blends the relaxed, easy mood of weekends with the label’s bold, sexy energy. Think of it this way: if ROTATE is all about partying in puff sleeves, Sunday is there for the day after, when cosiness and comfort are top priorities. It’s the use of mood-boosting colours that turns it from loungewear to ‘joungewear’, like the flame set debuted by Jeanette during Copenhagen Fashion Week and the candy pink sweatshirt Emili Sindlev wore while getting her makeup done for Dancing with the Stars. Plus, the silhouettes are perfectly oversized, thanks to the Creative Directors who workshopped the fits.


“We are of the opinion that if we can do it better, and kinder, we will,” says Ninety Percent. Concerned with the past, present and future of the clothes, it works with industry-leading factories to ensure responsible production, while its team continuously searches for considered fabrics to create with. On top of those two very important things, the label is called Ninety Percent because it shares 90% of its distributed profits between charitable causes and those who make the collections happen – you can even vote for your chosen cause using the unique code on the garment’s care label, which sparks such a warm feeling inside. Added joyfulness here comes from the satisfying number of places that you’ll be able to get away with wearing sweatpants and tanks, thanks to the stylish fabrics and great fits. The stark contrast of the two-tone joggers makes you instantly feel a bit cooler and the tartan set is equally as perfect for lounging in as it for grabbing brunch with your girlfriends.


A feeling of joyfulness with MATE’s loungewear can be derived from knowing that you’re supporting a female-founded company that’s predominately operated by women. Launched by Kayti O’Connell Carr, the “clean essentials” brand gives a damn by creating each collection using non-toxic, natural or organic materials. Its supply chain is localised in LA (ten miles to be exact,) where each piece is cut, sewn, dyed, packaged and shipped in recycled boxes. Whether you’re working from home or curling up on the sofa with a good book, join #TeamDressClean with one of the brand’s TENCEL sleep sets – not only is the fabric is so soft your skin will thank you for it, but the sweeping necklines and elasticated waistbands ensure maximum comfort. These shade of these organic cotton terry sweats are the perfect match to Goop’s ginger and turmeric latte, too.


Though it doesn’t identify as a fully sustainable brand, GANNI is working hard to deliver more responsible fashion collections, particularly through an exploration of quality materials that are better for the planet and your wardrobe. Certain to put a smile on your face, its cheery edit of organic cotton T-shirts are printed with uplifting slogans and a reminder to recycle. You could team yours with the brand’s EcoLife® sweatpants. A certified yarn, EcoLife® is made from 50% post-consumer recycled polyester (such as PET plastic bottles) and 50% pre-consumer recycled cotton from end-of-line manufacturing ‘scraps’ which would otherwise have gone to waste.

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ByRotation founder Eshita Kabra-Davies’ on to build a conscious community

Since launching in the fall of 2019, By Rotation has been an unstoppable force for change. The UK’s leading peer-to-peer fashion rental app was created by “third culture kid” Eshita Kabra-Davies after something of a wake-up call while honeymooning in her motherland Rajasthan.

During the trip, she began to recognise just how wasteful our consumption habits are and how polluting the fashion industry can be. “Plastic and textile waste covered city streets and rural areas beyond the well-documented overflowing landfills, alongside beautiful murals painted by school children of the government’s Swachh Bharat (Clean India) movement,” explains the founder of what she witnessed first-hand. “Pigs, dogs, lambs and cows, whom as a Hindu I consider sacred, were eating synthetic human cast offs – it made me angry,” she continues, revealing that was the moment when it crossed her mind that she had a part to play in this linear fashion consumption model. “I bought “Made in India” clothes and didn’t always love them enough, sometimes donating them to charity, which I knew probably ended up in landfills in India and African countries.” Taking positive action, Kabra-Davies decided that fashion rental could go a step further and become a fashion sharing community that remains “wholly circular.”

The By Rotation app tackles the issue of over-consumption by simply empowering people to shop less and share more. Plus, Kabra-Davies has created an opportunity for people to find joy in dressing in a way that’s kinder to the planet and their wallets – a cult Jacquemus tote can be borrowed for just £7 per day, for example.  “I really want people of all (socio-economic) backgrounds to realise that they don’t need to buy more poor quality items to indulge their whims, they can have the real thing simply by sharing,” she enthuses, expanding that the diverse #WhatsMineIsYours rotator community includes students, professors, homemakers and celebrities alike. In fact, renting and lending has never been so fun, “it’s like the items have a life of their own – kind of like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants!”

If you’re still reading this and not downloading the By Rotation app for a slice of micro bag heaven, we applaud you. But, as the title of the article states, Kabra-Davies – who was listed alongside Greta Thunberg, Isatou Ceesay and Stella McCartney as one of fourteen inspiring women leading the fight against climate change – has kindly agreed to share her tips for building a conscious community. Time to take notes, fellow changemakers…


Attend as many networking events and panels as you can and go alone! You’re there to learn and grow. I always sit right in front when I attend panels, and am extremely engaged.


Although we can’t attend events like we used to due to COVID-19, we can still achieve a similar result digitally! I love to jump on IG Lives and also host a weekly series for By Rotation named “A Glass of Wine with” which has had a wide range of guests from across the world!


I love giving back to our community by inviting them to meet up with me and the By Rotation team in a fun setting. It really brings our company and digital brand to life.


From secondhand interiors, artists, fashion brands – I love to support local creators and founders especially during such a difficult time. I love to get to know the people behind it all and what drives them. The personal touch is what it’s all about!


We love to collaborate with brands and companies that share a similar ethos with us, and therefore a similar target audience. It really provides both brands with more depth, and I truly believe people are now looking for brands to be more humane and therefore authentic.

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5 mindful hidden gems to have your travel radar, by The Maptique

A self-described power duo, Agnese is the “digital guru” with an eye for photography and a discerning taste in food (she was born in Rome, after all), while Paola is the “events maven” who believes in living la dolce vita and knows exactly what modern, sophisticated travellers desire. They’re opposites when it comes to packing, too – Agnese never travels without her camera or Kindle, whereas Paola prioritises ultra comfy sneakers to cycle, walk or explore in and her signature red lipstick.

While it’s not too often that we can thank our former flames for our success stories, the two met through Agnese’s best friend that was Paola’s ex boyfriend and soon began grabbing lunches together since their offices weren’t all that far apart. As it transpired, they shared both backgrounds in fashion and a perpetual love of travel. Frequently tasked with requests for guidance from friends and co-workers with wanderlust, the two decided to start a travel blog together, “everyone was always asking us where we were going and they always wanted tips from us – so it made sense,” explains the duo. Discovering that they were onto a good thing, the pair decided to take the plunge and turn that hobby into a business.  Their new bespoke platform, The Maptique, launched in July 2018 and they haven’t looked back since.

Today, The Maptique creates localised B2B and B2C experiences, along with engaging Insider Guides and a curation of Hidden Gems for its growing readership. As talk naturally turns to the pandemic during the interview, Paola and Agnese reveal that they designed virtual experiences for The Maptique Lab, with the hope of keeping their community’s spirits up during the tough time through digital experiences combining online and offline activities like yoga, painting and nail art.

The impacts of the current crisis have also highlighted to many how we can all learn to live – and travel – more mindfully. “We really care about the environment and sustainability issues. To us, sustainability is a way of living,” they say, as I’m poised ready to jot down their tips for travelling more consciously. They point out that “small tricks” can make a big difference: ditch cars and taxi rides for bicycles where you can, keep your tickets digital rather than printing them, travel off-season, pack only what you need, cut down on plastic waste by always carrying a reusable water bottle, eat less meat and more fish, choose organic, natural and plant-based beauty products – most importantly find a sunscreen that’s free from toxic chemicals, so it’s not polluting out beautiful waters or harming marine life and coral reefs.

Finally, I spy my chance to ask for their recommendations of some gorgeous mindful Hidden Gems and eco-resorts to visit in 2021. Here are their five choices, with some quick snippets of research about each destination underneath.


A taste of luxury in the wild, the Coucoo Grands Chênes eco-domain is a unique retreat located just 45 minutes north of Paris in the woody heart of Raray. Designed with ropes to hike up your (hopefully lightly packed) luggage, the cabins and terraces offer panoramic views of starry skies and treetops, working in harmony with the calm and natural environment surrounding them. The construction of each one respects the trees that welcome them, too. In fact, the health of the trees is monitored by a forest expert so that the huts can be adapted as they grow. Ran by a team conscious of waste, hourglasses are placed in the showers to boost awareness of water consumption. A natural water purification system is used for the treatment of the heated Nordic baths, allowing them to function without the use of harmful chemicals. Local produce is favored for food, just as ecological products are favoured for maintenance and cleaning. Take a book and your walking shoes because you won’t find any Wi-Fi access. Here, it’s time to truly disconnect, log off and unwind – though you’d be forgiven for taking photos of the stunning setting for Instagram.


Foodies, this one’s for you. “Things began with a love story,” says the married couple behind Rantan Farmhouse, Francesco Scarrone and Carol Choi – this heartfelt sense of unity and togetherness is beautifully captured through the way everyone sits and eats together at a communal table in the home setting on the duo’s plot of land in the mountains of Valchiusella. They met and learned what they know about collaborating closely with local producers and organic farmers while working at some of the world’s most innovative restaurants in Copenhagen. Biodiversity, environmentally responsible farming practices and sustainable habits in the kitchen are ingrained for these two chefs-turned-farmers. Creating menus that respect the needs and limits of their land, they use the best products from their fields and work with a natural cycle when cooking with fresh produce, preserving the ingredients at the height of harvest to prepare for leaner seasons. If you choose to stay over, there’s hemp sheets, linen towels and organic soaps.


The San Luis is a private retreat at an exclusive chalet village in Hafling/Avelengo where you can feel at one with nature – it expresses a simplicity of style through the use of wood, glass and clay. Nestled deep in the forest, you can choose from spending the night in a wooden chalet by the lake or among the branches in treehouses. The considered side of things comes into play with the materials and ingredients – specifically ancient timber treated in accordance with the Mondholz (moon wood) tradition, which observes lunar cycles to maintain its resilience and energy. Special textiles and naturally-treated linens are placed in the lodges, while the kitchen makes use of the orchards, berries and rare spices found nearby.


A rural escape in Marrakech, the Berber Lodge retreat is a love letter from the owner, Roman Michel Meniere – a French-Swiss interior designer who’s lived in Morocco since 2002 – and the inhabitants of Oumnass. Inspired by traditional Berber architecture, the lodge was built on an old Olive garden using local resources and by local craftsmen. All of the old olive trees have been preserved, while local trees (like Eucalyptus and Wild Bamboo) are used to create a ceiling. The terracotta tiles were locally custom made and the interior design celebrates the best of local furniture and pottery.


Located on Colombia’s Pacific coast where you’ll find beaches, untouched rainforest and waterfalls that flow from the jungle out to sea, Morromico is a family-owned eco-hotel. With a limit of ten guests at a time to ensure a warm and personal experience, the semi-open rooms are powered by a small hydroelectric plan.

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Discover next-gen material Bananatex with creator Christian Kaegi

Today, its bigger goal of full circularity is guided by a deep respect for the wellbeing of our planet, animals and humans. Its team continues to innovate, explore and develop prototypes at the Zürich studio, where every fine detail is eco-considered, right down to natural wax coatings and recyclable aluminium hardware.

Inspired by the brand’s commitment and unwavering curiosity, we spoke to co-founder and creative director, Christian Kaegi to find out more about the QWSTION’s textile testing and advancements, including Bananatex® (the world’s first technical fabric made from banana fibre) and the latest organic cotton BioLight material that’s durable, water-proof and featherweight.

How would you describe QWSTION to someone who is new to the brand?

QWSTION is about developing sustainable and flexible solutions for mobility. All of our bags come with multiple carrying options to adapt to your daily needs and pursuits – be that business, leisure or travel. As a premium brand positioned between fashion und function, we want our products to be durable and practical companions making your life easier. Our collections are timeless and evolve continuously. Reinventing the bag may be difficult – but enhancing it is not. Improving our products is an ongoing process we pursue with great passion.

What first prompted the desire to develop alternatives to synthetic materials?

Why are the vast majority of backpacks made from environmentally harmful fibres? The answer is simple: it’s cheaper – largely due to the fact that fewer humans are involved in the process of making synthetic textiles than in that of their plant-based counterparts. This leads to another pertinent question: Is it better to prioritise consumer accessibility via a low price point, or to offer a steady source of income to a greater number of people? The complexity of tackling this challenge is enormous, which has motivated us all the more to find solutions.

Could you tell us about some of the solutions you’ve discovered so far?

Since the beginning of QWSTION almost a decade ago, we’ve been exploring ways to create bags made from renewable resources – ones which are just as functional as they are sustainable. After years of testing natural alternatives to synthetic textiles, we achieved our goal of using only natural, organically grown fibres for the shell fabrics with our 100% organic cotton. The key was to develop a way to manipulate soft, flexible cotton fibres to create strong, durable bags. But we knew we could push ourselves even further, so we continued our research.

In 2015 we first came across a plant of the Banana tree family known locally as ”Banana Hemp” or “Abacá”, and its potential as the next step in our sustainability mission was immediately apparent. The inherent properties align with our commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. Cultivated within a natural ecosystem of sustainable mixed agriculture and forestry, Abacá is sturdy and self-sufficient, requiring no pesticides or extra water. These qualities have allowed it to contribute to reforestation in areas of the Philippines once eroded by palm plantations, whilst enhancing the economic prosperity of its farmers.

What are you most proud of when it comes to the development of Bananatex®?

Even though we are a small company with limited resources compared to other global players in the fashion industry, we have been able to develop plastic-free functional materials and build sustainable supply chains simply by hard work, caring and questioning the norm.

What’s different about the BioLight collection?

Our new line of lightweight bags, the BioLight collection, showcases the best of our technical and sustainable material developments so far, leaving the lightest possible footprint on the environment.

Our continued explorations in material development have resulted in a completely new range of lightweight bags – made from Bananatex® (straps) combined with a pioneering technical fabric made for minimal weight and minimal impact: BioLight. Made from plants and leather-free, the new line integrates our learnings from our Minimal Collection – offering a distinct alternative to the synthetic petroleum-based materials lightweight bags tend to be constructed from.

What inspired the beautiful names of the colourways in the BioLight collection?

Each of the three bag styles comes in three colourways inspired by lightweight creatures of the sky: Raven, Heron and Robin – as captured by Zurich photographer Yves Bachmann in a dramatically contrasting editorial shoot.

How important is durability of materials and versatility of products to you?

Timeless design, function and durability are the three central pillars of the QWSTION brand and form an important part of everything we do.

What’s next for QWSTION?

We want to keep on questioning the norm and keep on exploring new ways to carry.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
All images kindly provided by QWSTION.
Editorial BioLight shots by Yves Bachmann.

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Meet Arjun Bhasin, the costume designer using vintage clothing

From the moment acclaimed costume designer and former GQ India Fashion Director Arjun Bhasin picks up my call, I know we’re in for a great interview. His love of vintage clothing practically drips from every word he utters, along with natural sincerity as he describes feeling lucky to have a job he adores. Interested in art, fashion and cinema from an early age, Bhasin moved from India to attend film school in New York, where he currently resides. Now an industry veteran in Hollywood and Bollywood, his name appears on the rolling credits of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (for which he bagged a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination,) Life of Pi,Gully Boy and more.

Among his many achievements, Bhasin is the man responsible for dressing a star with one of the most talked-about TV wardrobes ever: Sarah Jessica Parker. Styling Parker for HBO’s Divorce —her first leading television role since Sex and the City wrapped — would have been no mean feat considering the iconic outfits she wore as the sex columinist with a shoe addiction. “I felt like Sarah Jessica had been seen in every single designer and every single garment that existed in the world! It had all been done so beautifully and amazingly. I wanted to do something new and to present a completely different character to Carrie Bradshaw,” he explains.

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

As all eyes fell on what Parker was wearing as Frances DuFresne, Bhasin rose to the challenge with considered vintage clothes and a great tailor (or three!) on standby. “So much of her other show was about high fashion and incorporating the speed of which brands work. There was this rhythm to Sex and the City that almost mimicked the fashion industry — very frenetic and fast.” When reading the script for Divorce, he felt that the story of someone slowing down wouldn’t work with the kind of noise that often accompanies flashy labels and ceaseless outfit changes. “I loved the idea of being part of a continuum. Sarah Jessica and I spoke about it a lot and she loved the idea of using vintage pieces. Pieces that had once belonged to other people and had a story of their own. Pieces that were being borrowed for our purposes and for what we were doing at the time.”

In another departure from Sex and the City, Parker can be seen wearing some clothes on repeat in Divorce — her coat for example. I ask why; “Well, quite a few things were for the narrative and to show that she was in a bit of a rut. In some ways, the same coat reflected the repetition in her life that she was getting sick of. I also wanted to keep it real and honest to how someone would get dressed. After all, we do wear things again and again! I only have one winter coat and I wear it all winter long. You might have a couple of scarves in colours that make you feel good. Some that you wear on gloomy days and some when you’re happy. I wanted that feeling for her. That she was very much a creature of habit.”

Photo: @arjunbhasincostume

I couldn’t help but wonder how Bhasin managed to find all of these gorgeous vintage clothes that fitted Parker like a dream. Is the key to creating a vintage-heavy closet for ourselves having the number of a fabulous tailor on speed dial? “Yes and no. With Divorce we had some fantastic tailors and the idea of repurposing things was very important to us. We didn’t want it to look dowdy. It still had to feel edgy and funky.”
As conversation flows, it becomes clear that it’s the hunt of finding great vintage clothes that the costume designer enjoys so much. “It’s pretty easy to go to a fancy department store and just pick up clothes. Finding special vintage pieces and repurposing them to make them work or fit is so exciting to me,” he gushes. As for exactly where he finds them, the answer is “almost everywhere”, though he’s starting to do a lot more work online now some of NYC’s stores are shuttering due to impossible rent demands. If he can’t get somewhere in person, at least the internet can connect him with a lady in rural American who just so happens to have a basement packed with 1940s dresses. “When I can, I’ll go from vintage collectors to fairs or weekend markets and The Salvation Army. I’ll go to the cheapest possible place to the most high-end trying to find the perfect thing.”

Familiarly, price tags originally kick-started Bhasin’s relationship with vintage. When he first moved to The Big Apple in the early ‘90s, he was a strapped for cash student who wanted to be seen in cool clothes. Vintage was the perfect solution because it was inexpensive, “I could go down to the charity shop, pick something up and repurpose it for myself. Later, I started to realise that I could do things for work with vintage that I couldn’t do with designer fashion. I could twist it and mould it to suit what I wanted it to do.” Sourcing vintage also made sense as he started to get jobs on small, independent films with low budgets, because he had ways of accessing it. “I did a film called Begin Again with Keira Knightley and on that we decided to use vintage clothing. To dress this young, broke musician, we went to The Salvation Army, picked things up and made them part of the story. It came from necessity, but I made it part of the narrative.”

Photo: @arjunbhasincostume

Today, buying vintage personally holds a special place in his heart, “I would rather buy a garment that was a part of history, that belonged to a curated collection in the ‘70s or ‘80s, than buy something new. I feel like fashion has become so fast that the care and the attention to detail just isn’t the same. I’d rather spend a great deal of money on a beautiful 1940s suit than I would on a modern suit.” That’s his style and his thinking, he says. “I feel that fashion has been quite wasteful recently, too. I don’t think there’s any reason to have clothes going to landfills. That just seems unnecessary to me.”

Bhasin quite rightly points out that the world’s your oyster when it comes to thrifting. In his eyes, flaws or imperfections are opportunities to make a great find even more special, “there’s so much beautiful stuff out there. If something has a little hole in it, I’ll just darn it. If something doesn’t fit me correctly, I’ll alter it. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, I think it makes it precious.”

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By Sarah London: the beauty brand upcycling raspberry seeds

One of them is By Sarah London, an award-winning natural and organic skincare brand founded by two sisters on a mission.

“For us, skincare is like food. It should be nourishing, easy to understand, wholesome and provide health benefits over the long term,” explains the fresh-faced duo behind the label, Sarah and Lauren. They launched the brand in 2017 after Sarah realised she was struggling when searching for some products to help restore Lauren’s skin while she was recovering from leukaemia and dealing with extreme isolation.The problem she found was that it was almost impossible to tell exactly what was in the majority of beauty products out there thanks to cryptic and confusing ingredient lists, or misleading labelling. Determined to change this, Sarah decided to draw upon the knowledge she’d gained from working in the industry for 10 years and began hand-crafting her own blends to soothe her sister’s dry, irritated and sensitive skin.

Since its debut, By Sarah London has enjoyed a succession of hits, most notably the Organic Facial Oil that’s adored by the likes of Deliciously Ella. Last week, the label launched a fruity new product: the Raspberry Seed Cleansing Oil. Suitable for normal, dry, sensitive or combination skin, this nourishing and hydrating facial cleanser is made using a beautiful blend of plant oils, which are all listed on the front of the reusable (and recyclable) 100ml bottle for radical transparency.

“What’s very unique about this blend is the upcycled raspberry seed oil. These seeds are saved from landfill and extracted via a very low energy, solvent-free process.” 
By Sarah London’s founder Sarah

Following conversations with loyal customers about their self-care needs, Sarah and Lauren spent time researching the best natural ingredients available and settled on red raspberry seeds. Why? Well, they contain high levels of essential fatty acids, which help to promote the skin’s health and boost its appearance. They’re also a natural source of vitamin E, which helps to prevent damage caused by free radicals from environmental stressors like UV radiation or pollution.

Sustainably sourced and produced, the upcycled raspberry seeds used by By Sarah London are a by-product from the juice industry and diverted from food waste, “instead of sending the leftovers to landfill, the waste is reused, working to naturally concentrate the active micronutrients that are already present within the fresh pulp,” explains Sarah. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the leftover pulp, which is carefully processed and stored to avoid losing any of those all-important nutrients. No new materials are created in the process and no existing resources are wasted.

Hand-blended in the UK, just like the rest of the line, this new upcycled cleansing oil boasts 20% more vitamin E and is especially rich in omega 3 and omega 6. It’s also formulated using grape seed oil and marula seed oil, plus a plant-based emulsifier that transforms into a milk on contact with water to remove make-up, SPF and daily impurities. It’s great for whisking away sticky sweat after a yoga class or run, too.

With such a plethora of skincare products, buzzwords and ingredients on the market, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to supercharging your skincare regime – particularly if your average day leaves little time to pamper, or if you’re not fully up to speed with the latest plant-based developments. For us, the trick to detoxing your routine is to focus on a few key hero products — and By Sarah London’s Raspberry Seed Cleansing Oil is one of them.

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Introducing children’s clothing rental company, Kid’s O’Clock

The words “buy less, buy better” are everywhere – they’re even printed on the cover of Edward Enninful’s Vogue that’s resting in front of me on my coffee table right now. It’s a message that The Forward Lab stands firmly behind.
In order to gain an expert’s insight on how a “less is more” approach to shopping works in reality, we spoke to Laura Roso Vidrequin, a senior buyer at Harvey Nichols with a seriously enviable work history. Laura is also the founder of Kids o’clock, a newly launched fashion resale site allowing parents to consider alternatives to buying so many brand new clothes.
Here, she talks about the importance of figuring out how a trend works for you, and why ‘ownership’ of clothes should be a thing of the past.

Hi Laura! To start with, could you tell us a bit about your background?
I am French, Parisian born and raised until I reached 17 and moved to New York for my first job as a sales assistant in a showroom. I loved it and felt completely adopted by the city so I ended up staying for quite a few years. After gaining an understanding of the wholesale side of the industry, I moved into buying and joined Lauren Santo Domingo’s team at Moda Operandi – this is where I learned how to apply taste to numbers.

A couple of years later, I was hired by Ralph Lauren/ Club Monaco and I discovered so much, including the politics behind a big corporation, the retail math and the experience of travelling in America. It was such an amazing company to grow in. After eight years in New York, I had a wake-up call when I was approached by Condé Nast to join – its e-commerce platform. I had a different type of learning experience there since the company failed and I found myself redundant after just seven months on the team. Thankfully, I got an extremely lucky break and joined Net-a-Porter as a shoe buyer. What a company to be part of!

More recently, after my maternity leave, I joined Harvey Nichols’ team as a senior buyer of non-apparel. I work with a strong team to ensure there is the right product, at the right price and at the right time. It’s important that we don’t ‘run out of stock’ of the hits and that we don’t end up with too much of the less popular items. Overall, I think buying for a retail space is an amazing role to have, and I’m so thankful to have met all of the people I have so far in the industry.

You have another exciting new venture to tell us about  congratulations on launching Kids O’clock! What can you tell us about the platform and the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! The platform is essentially a go-to for parents/care-givers and families that want cool/useful clothes for kids from birth to 12 years old. Being a mum and a buyer all at once felt strange because of an internal questioning around spending. I had been buying second-hand and vintage clothes for myself for quite a while, and although I wanted to spoil Albert and myself with good quality garments, I quickly found myself piling up boxes of clothes. Think about it: for the first three years of a kid’s life, there are approximately eight/ten sizes that are used. Typically a kid’s closet has on average 15/20 pieces – I’ll let you do the math!

So, I started looking for a platform that sells and resells, where I could buy or rent kids clothes. When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided to create it myself! The timing couldn’t be better because being more responsible and careful is ‘trendy’ and I hope it lasts. I want to change the mentality so that parents start to consider second-hand for their household.

You touched on this just when you mentioned shopping more responsibly is trending. The message “Buy Less, Buy Better” is really starting to resonate. What does the phrase mean to you?
Being thoughtful. It means that a whole new journey is being printed in people’s minds before they actually purchase an item. Easier said for an adult than for a kid! I’m always glad to find a strong media channel or a blogger with a strong following who’s setting an example. My friend Julia Restoin Roitfeld created her own platform that promotes careful spending and I hope that new generations will continue to follow the lead here. We still have a long way to go, but every small action helps and counts.

If someone was looking to ‘buy less, buy better’ and invest in something that would last, what would you recommend that they focus on?
Well, the things that last are those that we take good care of. It’s important to love your clothes, clean them and keep them protected. Don’t buy a copy from fast fashion retailers. Instead, find something that has been produced using good materials and comes from a process that’s both creative and reflective.

Would you say that trends are becoming a thing of the past, or are they still important?
Trends are important as they reflect our economy. What has become a real issue is the amount of trends, often generated by marketing and PR companies, to sell a maximum of a brand’s products.
I have always loved analysing trends after they overtook a city, or a season. What we can totally see now, is that we live in a completely uncertain and dissociative society where all trends clash and are being spotted on the runway, and in the street. Trends have travelled a bit, from being entirely product driven, to now being “behaviour” driven. An example? Wearing the heeled sneakers from Isabel Marant in 2010 vs being responsible in 2020, or is it just me?

If someone does want to try a new trend, what’s the most sustainable or responsible way for them to approach it?
Simple: get it from a second-hand shop! A trend is either characterised by a silhouette, certain fabrics style together or a colour. There is rarely something ‘new’ coming out. Personally, I love purchasing something I’ve discovered while thrift shopping, then redesigning it with a seamstress. I think it’s important to think about what you really love about the trend you’re looking to try out. How is it a trend to you? Most of the time, what we love about a trend is either the creative around it or the silhouettes.

What do you recommend people do with the clothes they no longer need or love? You mentioned the importance of caring for your clothes – could you share any care tips for keeping things in their best condition?
I often like to “declutter” my wardrobe using the following set of rules:

  • Not worn in a year and pristine, branded: sell on a second-hand platform such a Vestiaire Collective
  • Not worn in a year: can I tweak it to change the length or adjust the shape with a seamstress?
  • Not worn in a year: donate

We have to learn to let go, and to be less “product driven”. For me, ownership of a piece of clothing has no future. I hope people start understanding this concept sooner rather than later. We do not need to own forever.

What is the future?
Communication has been so transparent and aggressive towards fast fashion that I think in the future brands will be forced to be more aware of their impact. Now, we must remain realistic, the fashion industry does create a lot of jobs and we have to be careful what we wish for. I think laboratories, tech and brands will have to parner to innovate, not for the sake of comfort but for the importance of our future generation and our planet. The thinking behind ownership of a product is shifting – who thought we would be using something like Airbnb years back? The rotation offers a platform that promotes fashion renting from peers to peers, that would be a HUGE help already. I hope that Kids O’clock engages families to start renting and sharing more.

Finally, do you have any favourite inspirational quotes when it comes to fashion?
I have always been a big advocate of a statement said by Yves Saint Laurent: “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”
The amount of trends being “generated” and “promoted” by fast fashion companies is out of control, and because their creative approach is so good, they now manage almost to sell “a dream” via a piece of garment. We must be careful and try to explain, when possible, that postures, style, silhouettes and outfits must remain a personal way of expressing oneself – not a way to “window display” a brand.

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Why fashion’s “must-haves” should be a thing of the past

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the fashion industry has forced those in it to consider exactly what the ‘new normal’ looks like. As Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele writes in his intimate personal diary from Rome, “we have to think about what we would not want to be the same.” Following a series of Zoom calls with like minded peers, Dries Van Noten has also suggested ways to rewire the broken system. In his open letter, which addresses sales seasons, discounting and reducing travel, he points out that current circumstances, though devastating and challenging, present an opportunity for welcome change.

Inspired by both, I got to thinking about the changes that I would like to see, and play a part in, as a fashion journalist — after all, everyone can take accountability and action according to their roles. As I thought about consumerism and the language used globally by style magazines, it struck me that the way we’re thinking about consumption is unquestionably changing, especially when you consider the term “slow fashion” has generated 90 million social impressions over the past year. But what about the way we talk about in the mainstream media?

This open letter proposes that all global fashion magazines and digital publications ban the term “must-have” from new headlines and articles.

Why? Well, there’s no denying that the message is clear from sustainable fashion pioneers and experts: buy less, buy better. Other activists, like those behind the nonprofit organisation Remake, are challenging us to stop buying any new clothes at all for 90 days. However, when visiting your favourite style websites or opening your inbox, it’s likely that you’ll spot headlines and stories about this season’s “must-have” colour, “must-have” sandal or “must-have” trends.

I love an editorial article about prairie dresses as much as the next person, but it’s time for us to stop positioning new clothes as essential purchases based on passing trends, discounts or fast fashion price points. The pandemic has forced a lot of people to realise how much stuff they already own, or left them reconsidering purchases following unexpected salary cuts or job losses. For many right now, the only cotton “must-have” is a protective face mask, not a new dress  — and even then there are plenty of ways to make one of those using what you already have at home.

To be clear, this letter is far from a takedown of magazines or writers. It’s great that leading platforms are taking sustainable fashion stories seriously, commissioning more and more articles that respond to a growing thirst for knowledge about innovators. What’s even better is that these articles are no longer littered with clich​és about hippies or the mention of hessian potato sacks. However, despite the pressure for endless content to be created, for the pieces to perform well and for the affiliate links to be clicked, it’s important to remember that a headline about eco fashion trailblazers is somewhat diminished when it’s placed next to ‘The top 10 must-haves from the Zara sale’.

I recognise that simply asking for the term “must-have” to be banned may seem small compared to the far more urgent and pressing issues like brands cancelling orders or not paying up. But, we know that small changes in routine – like upcycling something rather than sending it to landfill – can make a difference. As The State Of Fashion 2020 Coronavirus Update points out, the pandemic “will bring values around sustainability into sharp focus, intensifying discussions and further polarising views around materialism, over-consumption and irresponsible business practices.” Fellow journalists, now’s the time to reflect that with our headlines.

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All about upcycling: understanding fashion’s conscious keyword

When Jean Paul Gaultier signed off from his indelible 50-year career in January, he decided to mark the occasion with an upcycled Haute Couture collection. Over 200 looks were presented at the storied Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, each repurposed in some way by using fabrics plucked from the archives. The nod to humble beginnings (when the designer would transform his father’s worn-out trousers into skirts and use little else but recycled denim thanks to a shoestring budget) was subtle, but the overarching message was clear: look at what can be done without the need to produce an abundance of new materials.

After the show, online shopping searches in France including the keywords “recycle” and “upcycle” collectively went up by 25% over the following 24 hours, according to The 2020 Conscious Fashion Report generated by Lyst in partnership with Good On You – an organisation that helps consumers to make more considered purchasing decisions with its ‘People, Planet, Animals’ ratings system. Other stats in the report reveal that an interest in discovering upcycled clothes is increasing, and ranks alongside other sustainability-related terms like “pre-owned” and “second-hand”.

Of course, upcycling isn’t a new concept (think back to Make Do and Mend or to the world of interior design) and Gaultier isn’t the only major luxury name to back it. Sarah Burton’s eco-responsible efforts at the helm of Alexander McQueen are of note, particularly her team’s use of silk jacquards, organza, lace and taffeta from previous lineups for SS20. Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp has been fuelling a mindful movement for years by turning even leftover scraps into remarkable garments with impeccable tailoring and construction techniques.

There are also plenty of likeminded changemakers in the industry right now who are attracting attention by choosing to create using the upcycling method – Patrick McDowell, E.L.V Denim, Hôtel Vetements, The R Collective, Bode and Les Fleurs, for example. What links the success of upcycling appears to be a dedication to helping reduce the amount of waste that the fashion industry is accountable for, a passion for art and innovation and a distinct knowledge of craft. Upcycling isn’t about unnecessarily chopping things up, but instead seeing the beauty (and potential) in something old, imperfect or unused.

Here at THEFORWARDLAB, we’ve consciously collaborated with the French atelier Maille Creation, a 27-year-old cooperative that specialises in luxury knitwear and is trusted for its expertise by Chanel and Dior. Our limited edition series of knitted sweaters and tops has given unwanted, deadstock yarn a second life by spinning the different threads and ribbons together in easy-to-wear silhouettes in fresh colour combinations, including black and orangerainbow and sunset. What’s more, these pieces are designed to last – we want you to wear them for years to come and hand them down when you’re done.

Shop the collection here

Francine Heath is a contributor to THEFORWARDLAB.
London-based product editor and sustainable fashion journalist who advocates conscious consumerism and loves discovering those who are determined to drive change and create a better fashion future. She’s previously written articles for British Vogue, Eco-Age, Refinery 29, Mr Porter and i-D.