29 Nov

Ethical Fashion with Flair: Colour

Look around your office or the train, and you’re likely to see a general blur of beige, black, and denim blue, with a bit of navy, dusty pink, and bottle green mixed in. Come on people, where’s the joy? Where’s the fun? Where’s the colour?!

This month we’re looking at colour. You can rock colour all year ‘round. It’s energising, empowering, and playful. It’s vital and defiant. It lets you say to the universe, “Sorry mate, not today. I’m doing my thing and I’m going to brighten this place up.”

Okay, we get it. Colour isn’t for everyone. Many people have a kind of self-imposed limit on how bright they’ll go. Most people, in fact, won’t branch out beyond the odd accent colour on top of a base of neutrals. And while we respect their normie ways, if you’re a colour person, chances are you like really bright colours and you’re always looking out for something that’s bold and bright.

It’s a bit of a cliché that sustainable clothing has to be neutral. But in all honesty, if you’re just skimming the well-known ethical sites you’ll find a lot of neutrals and basics. Black t-shirts and blue jeans are great and all, but if you’re someone who loves colour, here are some brands that will help you keep things bright and bold. Being green doesn’t have to mean being beige!

Veja

Rated: Good

Low Top Condor Sneakers – Ships internationally

Veja is a French brand designing ecological and fair trade footwear, and is also a sustainable fashion pioneer. Speaking of colour, let us introduce the world’s first post-petroleum running shoe… in blazing fluro yellow. (Don’t worry, they have versions with just a flash of colour on them, too.) These beauties are made from recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton, and sustainably harvested wild rubber, so you can stand out from the crowd in more ways than one.

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Shop Veja @ Farfetch.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good

Gajka Jacket – Ships internationally

Thanks to recycled materials, Ecoalf creates sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones. Want to stand out from all the black jackets? Check out Ecoalf’s puffer jacket in Coral – it’s made of recycled bottles.

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Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Mara Hoffman

Rated: Good

Akila Asymmetric Skirt – Ships internationally

With a focus on mindful and conscious practices, Mara Hoffman uses eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified cotton, recycled nylon and recycled polyester, and even has a range of Oeko-Tex STeP certified products. They also have a gorgeous extended sizes collection, so you can be sure to find a new wardrobe addition no matter the bod you rock! This button-up shirt dress skirt is typical of Mara Hoffman’s collection: an unapologetic silhouette with a bright and contemporary block colour, with sizes for everyone.

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Shop Mara Hoffman @ Farfetch.

ThokkThokk

Rated: Great

TT02 Magix T-Shirt – Ships internationally

ThokkThokk creates striking minimalistic graphic designs bursting with energy that are ecologically and fairly produced. Rock this pastel t-shirt with vapourware vibes, or choose from a whole range of bright plain tees or graphic designs.

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Shop ThokkThokk.

Dedicated

Rated: Good

T-Shirt Mysen Base Violet – Ships internationally

If you love a great graphic tee, Swedish label Dedicated has you covered. Dedicated is an ethical streetwear brand for men, women, and children. All cotton used in its pieces are 100% organic and most are Fairtrade-certified, which means that you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics to dress in style. Here’s a Fairtrade t-shirt in trendy violet for a very reasonable price. You’ll also find pink, mustard and coral. Yes please.

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Shop Dedicated.

Left Edit

Rated: Great

Isla Skirt – Ships internationally

Left Edit is based on an identified need for more fashion-forward garments that are equally as sustainable as they are stylish and affordable. The brand calls itself “Responsibly Bold”, which seems about right. Here’s a “Spicy Orange” skirt that has a matching shirt for maximum impact.

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Shop Left Edit.

Shop Left Edit @ Made Trade.

milo+nicki

Rated: Great

Siesta Dress – Ships internationally

milo+nicki makes cruelty-free, ethically-designed, eco-conscious womenswear with Indian and Zambian roots. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials like GOTS certified cotton, and is a leading advocate for better labour rights! This siesta dress is bright blue and made of banana fabric. What more can you ask for?

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Shop milo+nicki.

Space Between

Rated: Great

Pieced Red Leggins – Ships internationally

Space Between is an initiative at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts which addresses the wastefulness of the current textile/clothing system using design thinking. This fantastic social enterprise working with students and graduates has some innovative pieces, like these bright leggings made from upcycled postal worker uniforms.

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Shop Space Between.

Birdsong

Rated: Good

Red Jumpsuit – Ships internationally

Birdsong is a boutique label producing gorgeous womenswear. Its clothes are handmade in London by knitters and seamstresses earning above the London living wage. The business is built on a philosophy of fairness and authenticity, promising customers “no sweatshop, no photoshop”. This popping red jumpsuit is handwoven and dyed AND has big pockets. It’s got everything.

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Shop Birdsong.

Vaute

Rated: Great

2019 Lincoln in Yellow – Ships internationally

Vaute prides itself as being the world’s first vegan fashion brand, using innovative and high-tech sustainable textiles, cut and sewn in New York. For when it gets really cold, stand out and show the frost who’s boss in this banana-aesthetic coat made of recycled materials. Check out the testimonials on the product page from people wearing it in freezing North American winters to ease your mind about its abilities.

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Shop Vaute.

Keep your eye out for the other articles in this series that look at Streetwear, Patterns & Prints, and Wild & Wonderful options!

About the author: Pete Gomori is a creative director, writer and Londoner who helps ethical fashion companies with their branding. Find him at www.studiogomori.com.

Editor's note: feature image via Farfetch, all other images via brands mentioned. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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