As editor, I knew I wanted to tackle the subject of sustainability within the countryside in the Spring Edition and, as always, to champion British brands. I felt passionately that I wanted this particular Edition to be something more, something special.
When I hear the word sustainability, I must confess it can feel a bit, well, dull, but as I have learned in my research for this Edition, as Stella McCartney explains ‘Eco shouldn’t be a word that immediately conjures up images of oatmeal-coloured fashion, or garments that are lacking in any sort of luxury or beauty, detailing or desirability.’ Sure, I enjoy an oatmeal-coloured piece – I think a lot of us country folk do, but I can definitely relate to what she is saying, so here are some of our favourite British sustainable and independent fashion brands from equestrian, country and farming to lifestyle and jewellery, both from within and outside of the countryside.
Considerate and colourful, lifestyle brand Nattily Dressed creates brightly-trimmed gilets made from Polartec fleece. Inspired by both city and country living, on average 20 plastic bottles are recycled to make the fleece for each versatile gilet. There’s a designated hole in the pocket to thread headphones through and even the option to add a detachable pom pom to the zip! RRP: £120 for an adult’s gilet at: nattily.co.uk
Born in 2003 to meet the needs of hardy British surfers, Finisterre creates functional and sustainable products designed for those who share their love of the sea. Stylish, ethical and super luxurious, from practical outerwear to stylish chunky knits, this is a brand making real waves in the sustainable fashion movement. My favourite product? The Budock Wool Fleece made using recycled wool, RRP £110 currently on sale for £82.50 available online at: finisterre.com
Firm friends of In The Country, entrepreneurs Catherine and James have made it their mission to leave behind fast, unethical fashion in favour of championing tweed from small Yorkshire mills. Created to reflect their respective country and coastal upbringings, the luxurious collection uses their own designs and is definitely built to last. Pictured below; Catherine and James wearing their Touch of Tweed sweatshirts.
Formed in 1988, Ninety Percent was born when co-founders Para Hamilton and Shafiq Hassan bonded over a mutual love of John Lennon, David Attenborough and disappearing craftsmen. Based in Camden, this contemporary womenswear label shares 90% of profits between charitable causes and those who help make the collection a reality. With dozens of items to choose from, this is a truly special brand committed to doing things very differently.
Taking inspiration by the natural world around her, Emma creates ethical pieces that uphold her passion for protecting the planet. Using only antique or vintage gemstones that are already in circulation, Emma is moving away from using gold plating, as due to the complicated chemical process, the gold cannot be 100% recycled or Fair Trade. With the noble goal of eventually being 100% sustainable, Emma uses approved shipping methods such as working with carbon neutral shipping companies and bicycle couriers for deliveries within the local area.
A last minute contender to this piece now that it is being published online; Waring Brooke is a classic example of a sustainable British brand. Based in rural Nottingham, on a BIOMASS power plant where all the products are designed and made, WB focuses on creating luxury knitwear. The two founders; Megan Turner and Samantha Brooke are passionate about slowing down the fast fashion movement and bringing the focus back to timeless, quality pieces. Keep your eye out for a brand piece on Waring Brooke coming up soon!
Opting to ignore the easier, more cost affective route that was recommended to her, i.e. sourcing materials from the Far East; ethical British designer Penelope Chilvers instead employs Spanish artisans to create her beautifully detailed footwear. Passionate about keeping a dying craft alive, Chilvers promotes handmade craftsmanship with materials sourced from the same region as the highly-skilled artisans who work on them, and whose skills have been passed down from one generation to the next.
The epitome of chic country clothing, and a favourite of Assistant Editor, Kate, all of Troy London’s products are designed and manufactured in the UK. Founded by Oxfordshire-born sisters Rosie and Lucia Ruck Keene, the brand is named after the house they were brought up in. Combining high quality, natural fabrics with contemporary design twists, it’s a brand favoured by British style favourites HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and Poppy Delevigne.
The stars of Spring’s Business In The Spotlight interview (which we’ll be sharing soon), and for good reason. Honest Riders are passionate about how equestrian style shouldn’t just look good, but do good too. The complete slogan range raises money for equestrian charities, with products ‘Fair Wear Certified’ and made from organic cotton.
Trailblazing for over 225 years, Peregrine creates hardwearing, fit-for-purpose clothing with as little environmental impact as possible. Traceability and sustainability are key, with everything from farm to factory being traceable and British made. As the brand themselves put it: ‘Britain was a successful industrial nation for centuries – so why would we want to lose all that skill and the ability to make things on our doorstep?’
Bridging the gap between town and country, Really Wild Clothing – a real favourite of Hollie-Ella’s, was founded by Natalie Lake who seeks to create timeless collections with a broad appeal. Inspired by highland moors and pebble-strewn shores, Really Wild work with some of the same tailors who craft collections for the likes of Stella McCartney and, where possible, source and make their garments here in Britain, including working with the esteemed Linton Tweed Mill, an historic mill heralded by the likes of Chanel.
Proudly made in Britain, 3 Donkeys coveralls are designed by women for women, allowing for a more feminine shape that is both comfortable and stylish. Founded when owner, Amanda identified the limited amount of decent women’s workwear available, at a time when more and more women were taking up rural and land-based careers. Still a family-run Devon-based business, the brand is on a mission to fit out women in every type of outdoor activity, in the most sustainable and eco-friendly way.
There are dozens of new and exciting brands popping up all the time and for us, as consumers but also as a magazine, it is so exciting to see. Of course there are a number of brands not included in this list, but we can’t include everyone… we’d be writing for days. For now though, where you can, support British brands making the effort to create sustainable, quality garments – together we can combat fast fashion and support homegrown.