2019 was an interesting year for sustainable & ethical fashion. Mainly because the fashion industry could not stop talking about sustainability and how much change the industry needed. Did this lead to actual change? Not exactly. We saw greenwashing at an all-time high and major policies that would have improved the industry denied. Still, 2019 was the year for sustainable brands: everyone was talking about them. Whether it was about repurposing, production processes or materials, the media highlighted how crucial these brands are for change to happen in the industry. I personally had a blast discovering new brands and creating looks with my favourite pieces for Style and Sustain. Here‘s a look back at my top editorials...
Collaborating with Honest Department has been so fun. I featured them as one of my highlight brands for a reason! It’s a space that aims to highlight small brands we don’t often hear about in the sustainable fashion industry. I discovered amazing brands like Janjune, Tach Clothing, Sugarhill and more on their website. I must say my favourite look is the summer one from Spain in my Spanish Heat editorial...that yellow skirt gave me life!
I discovered Mero Retro an afternoon in Dalston and immediately fell in love with the store. It became my favourite local vintage store. The owner was also so easy to talk, a true inspiration and the stories we shared made the store feel like a safe-space, a home. Him and his wife repurpose old materials and even old kimonos, turning them into one-of-a-kind fashionable pieces. Everything is either vintage, fairtrade or handmade. The yellow Chinese inspired combo from my Edge of England editorial was one of my favourite purchases of the year!
Retold Vintage stole my heart this year and this red suit is definitely top 3 favourite purchase of the year. It's my favourite vintage inspiration instagram destination. Their marketing is unique, instead of collections, there are vintage drops throughout the year that bring in fresh styles. My favourite thing about Retold is that you are sure that no one else will have the same piece as you! All styles come in a unique size and if you love the piece you kind of have to make it work or learn how to alter which is what style is really about isn't it? One thing I'm sure of is that the confidence this suit from my The Wild Suits You editorial gives me when I have it on is out of this world.
I love the community behind Soko Kenya and supporting them by purchasing my favourite coat of the decade made me very proud! Soko Kenya a clothing manufacturing unit based in Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya created with social and environmental principles at its core: paying fair wages, providing social services to workers and a pleasant place of work, plus a commitment to limit its environmental impact. I bought the coat from my Inside Out editorial on Asos Eco edit and when I posted the look I was moved to get messages from the people behind Soko about how happy they were to see me wearing their piece.
Mayamiko was also a collaboration highlight for me this year. Meeting founder Paola and getting to know her authentically via her passion for sustainability and empowering women was incredible. On top of that, I got to purchase and shoot one of my favourite dresses by them in Aburi, a lovely town in my home country of Ghana. The Aburi Gardens editorial is hands down one of my favourite shoots of the year, plus it was right after I went short for my hair! A great confidence boost! Mayamiko was one of the first brands I discovered when I started my sustainable fashion journey and it's stuck with me and inspired me since.
22 year old sustainable designer Kate MacMahon was a highlight for me because she symbolised a concrete change and step forward in the retail lanscape. After winning the Debenhams emerging talent award, she become the first sustainable brand sold at the department store and having worked there for two years without purchasing a single item for myself, being able to buy her clothes because they aligned with my fashion values was such a thrill. She also marked the beginning of the sustainability conversation for Debenhams, which is nothing short of incredible. This blue boiler suit in my Wonderblue editorial is a key piece of her collection and is a power outfit that I will cherish for years to come. I love that she makes sustainable processes the core of her brand. She's proof that the youth is completely aware of the need for change in the industry and are bringing it about themselves!
In 2020 (and for the decade), I'm looking forward to discovering more brands but especially seeing more brands become mainstream and included in the fashion industry as a norm and not just in the "sustainability" niche. This decade I'm hoping to see the fashion industry and sustainability become one industry. I'm hoping to see policies accepted so that change can happen for the future of this planet and the people living on it. As consumers and citizens we must continue to demand change and act with change in mind to move the industry forward.