Masters Of… Driving Change
Back in 2019, Browns embarked on a very important mission: to reduce our impact on the world around us. Guided by Good On You - our partner and source for all sustainable fashion brand ratings - we’ve curated a selection of the names that will work hard for both the world and your wardrobe. Below we spotlight a few of our favourites from the SS21 season...
Even if we can’t travel far afield right now, we can channel our wanderlust into a destination wardrobe to wear a little closer to home. Next stop: Anaak, who are delivering relaxed silk dresses, smocked tops, sleek separates and effortless beachwear to evoke a holiday state of mind.
Having previously worked in fast fashion, founder Marissa Maximo decided it was time to make a positive impact on the industry by launching her own ethical brand. Preferring handcrafted and one-of-a-kind pieces, she designs garments that are made using traditional processes by artisanal communities in rural India and Bolivia. Hand-loomed organic fibres, eco-friendly azo-free dyes and hand-stitched detailing feature throughout her elegant collections.
Rich cultural cues from each of the artisans’ historical surroundings are woven through each piece, reflecting the personal nature of Marissa’s brand. The artist and textile designer has a rich Filipino heritage, and cites cultural exploration as her greatest source of inspiration. She hopes her pieces will be kept forever and evoke nostalgia for a certain time and place for each wearer.
One can never have too many wardrobe essentials, and for basics that are far from basic we’re turning to cult favourite Baserange. Since 2012, founders and friends Blandine de Verdelhan and Marie Louise Mogensesn have been practicing their brand’s simple philosophy: to deliver comfortable clothes that stand the test of time. Boasting high-quality fabrics consisting of both natural and recycled fibres, their essential edit of easy-going loungewear and underwear will form the base layers of your outfits for seasons to come.
Committed to clean production, each piece is created by family-owned factories via processes with minimal environmental impact. Not far from the brand’s French headquarters, one of the factories utilises a natural dyeing process combining plant-based pigments with rainwater collected from the roof (proving that teamwork with Mother Nature really does make the sustainable fashion dream work.)
Whilst sustainability is a centrepiece of their ethos, so too are inclusivity and community. Baserange promotes body positivity and race equality with easy silhouettes and a broad range of sizes, as well as minimal hues to match different skin tones. This uplifting brand is inviting you to feel good and confident in your skin, so what are you waiting for?
“People are not the most creative or most important things on earth. I think we need to start working backwards to come to that realisation,” Lauren Manoogian stated during an interview with Vogue. The Brooklyn-based designer’s love for our natural environment grew from her childhood in St Louis, and although initially she dreamed of becoming a vet, luckily for us (and our wardrobes) Lauren fell in love with hand-loomed knitwear during college.
Her respect for nature is manifested within her collections, showcased through a dedication to pared-back colour palettes, natural fibres, undyed yarns and minimalist designs. After debuting her eponymous label in 2010 with a collection of sweaters, Manoonigan gradually expanded by adding bags and accessories into her repertoire.
Ensuring her carbon footprint is minimal, Lauren works with a small collection of knitwear factories in Peru, who source supersoft, chunky wool from the local area. The new season’s totes, shoulder bags and backpack have been individually hand-crocheted in muted beige and brown hues that will transcend seasons.
Having won our hearts with her timeless combination of Scandinavian design and fine French craftsmanship, Cecilie Bahnsen is now setting her sights on sustainability, moving towards a zero-waste business model.
Entering motherhood was the catalyst for her new conscious thinking: “You realise how precious things are and that everything you create has to have meaning because it’s your imprint on the world,” the designer recently said to Vogue.
Having more time over lockdown last year allowed Cecilie to look closer at the fabrics she uses. Romantic dresses, tops, sweaters, skirts and jackets are crafted from airy, 100% upcycled embroidered fabrics in natural hues. She returns to her signature billowing silhouettes, designed to move fluidly with the body and flow with the wind, embellished with sequins and beads to glisten in the summer sun.
Since their inception in 2010, Jewellery Ethically Minded (a.k.a. JEM) have been on a mission to become driving forces for change in the business of jewellery-making, rewriting traditional codes and crafting beautiful embellishments using sustainable methods. Ethical gold sourcing is at the heart of the brand’s ethos, reflected in their commitment to working with artisans and small-scale miners who are empowered by the Fairmined assurance label.
“We aspire to shine a new light on the world of jewellery without depriving it of its essential poetry and grace,” General Director Dorothée Contour explained to Alliance for Responsible Mining, after JEM won the #MyBestFairminedCollection award in 2017. Fusing the best of nature and science, JEM presented their first ever lab-grown diamond in 2018.
Now available at Browns, you can wear JEM’s precious heirlooms with pride, safe in the knowledge that you’re safeguarding the planet for the generations your JEM jewellery will be passed down to.
When we think of the keys to any healthy relationship, transparency is high on the list. Where our fashion relationships are concerned, we’ve got Seattle-based brand Girlfriend Collective in mind, the activewear brand injecting eco-consciousness into every workout. Husband and wife duo, Ellie and Quang Dinh, formed their eco-friendly activewear label with the mission to bring the best responsibly sourced leggings to the market. Mission accomplished.
A background in premium denim and digital marketing informed Quang’s dedication to fit and function, who spent over a year researching and developing fabrics and fits with his team, ensuring each piece was suitable for all shapes and sizes. This extensive development process resulted in leggings that are opaque, sheer-proof and sturdy, with a high-rise fit that won’t roll down whilst you’re sweating your stuff (or doing the weekly shop). As for the fabrics themselves, each piece is made out of a fusion of recycled water bottles, fishing nets and other ocean-polluting waste, reducing landfill by boosting your workout wardrobe instead.
So whether you’re a fully-fledged eco-warrior already, or are just embarking on your journey towards eco-consciousness, you’ll find your cheerleaders in Browns and these sustainably-made designer collections. In the wise words of Cecilie Bahnsen from her Vogue conversation: “It’s all about this journey: we don’t quite know where we are going, but we have the hope that it’s going to be somewhere better.” We couldn’t agree more.
Words by Sophy Davis Russell
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