Fairtrade Fortnight: 6 best ethical fashion

Shop responsibly for sustainable pieces that score in the style stakes

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The Independent Online

Ethically produced fashion made under fair conditions is a growing and increasingly stylish market. These are pieces made from sustainably-sourced materials – the likes of certified organic cotton, bamboo and linen – and put together in co-operatives and factories where workers are treated as they should be (that means paid a decent living wage, operating in safe conditions and absolutely no child labour). 

The brands featured here all follow these principals. Some are certified by the the Fairtrade Foundation and the World Fair Trade Organisation, others have parts of their processes and the material they use recognised by different bodies and organisations that acknowledge their ethical and sustainable values. 

1. People Tree Fiona Top: £55, People Tree

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People Tree has blazed the trail for Fair Trade fashion over the last two decades. Its pieces are certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation and made from sustainable materials. It also stands out for its fashion credentials, collaborating with designers including Zandra Rhodes and Peter Jensen. Its spring collection is full of stripes, florals and spring-feeling prints, including this pretty bird motif top with flattering elbow-length sleeves, made from one hundred per cent organic certified cotton. 

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2. Visible.Clothing The Half One: £13.50, Visible.Clothing 

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Visible was set up in a response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013, a disaster that killed over 1000 workers. Co-founders Andy Showell-Rogers and Andy Lower’s aim is to produce fairly made clothing – to make “the people, the cost and the impact visible”. The brand produces a selection of shirts, tee shirts and pyjamas in the developing world, made from certified fair trade materials where possible. True to its word, you can see more about who made the garment, like this light purple shirt with eye-catching checked detail on the cuffs, which was made by Quan, a Vietnam-based tailor. 

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3. Braintree Clothing Ione Chambray: £59.90, Braintree Clothing

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North London-based Braintree’s “thoughtful” clothing is made from ethically sourced, sustainable fabrics, with manufacturers having to comply to the company’s code of conduct for workers. The collection includes men and women’s ranges, as well as accessories. This chambray skirt on this easy-to-wear dress is made from certified organic cotton, while the stretch top panel with a flattering button back contains bamboo. 

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4. Komodo Okinawa Tencel linen Trousers: £85, Komodo

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London-based Komodo’s has promoted the use of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and other natural fibres since 1988, sourcing pieces from Bali and Kathmandu, produced under fair conditions. These denim trousers are made from Tencel, a fabric made from wood pulp that feels like cotton but it’s more breathable and softer. In short, these are a seriously comfy pair of trouser, made from an eco-friendly material. We’ll be pairing ours with one of the brand’s organic linen jumpers. 

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5. Veja Esplar Trainer: £75, Isabella Oliver 

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The likes of David Beckham and Angelina Jolie are fans of French footwear brand Veja that works with producer cooperatives in Brazil to make these trainers from materials sourced under fair trade principles. These white ones, made from eco tanned leather and with a natural rubber sole (the rubber comes from the Amazon), will go with everything. 

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6. Nomads Floral Culottes: £38, Nomads

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Nomads is the UK’s original fair trade fashion brand and is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum and the British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS). The factories that make its clothes must meet with the company’s fair trade policy. It produces a range of women’s clothing and these on-trend, floral culottes are our pick from its latest collection. Available in sizes 8-18. 

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Verdict 

For fashion-forward pieces, we like People Tree’s or Komodo’s ranges. Veja’s shoes are a wear-with-everything choice that will have you following in the footsteps of celebrities. Visible.Clothing really does live up to its name and we’re excited to see its new collection, available in the coming weeks.

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