We love Indian womenswear brand Kanelle

I’m always on the lookout for great brands championing slow fashion, taking many factors into account. I want every item I wear to come from a place of awareness, with less wastage, using organic agriculture that uses less water for irrigation (and is free of poisonous chemicals), fair conditions for workers, and a generally holistic approach to crafting clothes.

One of the tools I use to find clothing items that fit these characteristics is Ikkivi, a slow fashion shop that focuses on selling and promoting Indian brands that match at least two of their core values: the pieces have to be handcrafted, organic, fair, with minimal waste, local or traditional technique, and vegan. Kanelle is one of the brands on this marvellous platform, and it’s been a joy owning one of their pieces: the Asymmetric Lilac Dress. It’s a beautiful handwoven chanderi dress that I’m always proud to wear; it’s not only a gorgeous garment, but there’s a whole set of unique cultural values behind it. I love the care Kanelle puts behind its fashion, crafting clothes that speak volumes.

Out of the six Ikkivi core values, Kanelle fits into four: the pieces are handcrafted, traditionally made, with minimal waste and by workers who are paid and treated fairly. Every item is made by hand in the traditional Indian way, incorporating some modern tailoring elements for two reasons: first, to ease things up for tailors and workers; and, second, to provide a new twist to crafting clothes. The work is a combination of different techniques, combining what has worked with hundreds of years with cutting-edge technology; Kanelle uses block printing, 3D embroidery, and stitch detailing in materials such as linen cotton, chanderi, kota linen, khadi, and silk organza.

While it’s undoubtedly a slow fashion brand, Kanelle focuses its image on its style, which strives to find balance between keeping traditional Indian attire and opening up to modern trends, within the country and well beyond its borders. Designer Kanika Jain is India-born and England-trained, an exciting combination when it comes to creation; she has a background of marketing and fashion studies in London. The style and colours she’s looking to promote never shy away from showcasing her culture, with only a tinge of western sensibilities to connect with her modern outlook on how to dress. The result is breathtaking, with delicate and comfortable garments that expand on the Indian approach to femininity, with lovely overflowing pieces that feel a little like walking around in a cloud. Trendy, minimalistic, and comfortable are some of the words that best describe Kanelle.

Kanika stumbled into the gist of her collection in her New Delhi workshop: as she walked around and saw the beautiful and fashionable women working on her designs, splattering the entire area with colour, she realised she needed to carry that intimate feel to the outside world. Kanelle is a brand made by a woman and inspired by those women who go from style to style effortlessly, particularly the Indian ladies who make fashion look easy. In each item of Kanelle’s apparel, there is a sense of awe towards women with the ability to combine Indian traditional with a modern approach while also adding a few western elements here and there.

Keeping the precious secrets and practices of traditional creation is an essential part of sustainability, particularly when it pertains to fashion. The massification of clothes is only a few decades old, yet the need to clothe ourselves and look stylish while doing so has been going on for centuries. Every culture on Earth has included part of its soul into garments, and it’s our duty as a society to uphold the values and techniques that have worked for generations. The way each piece of cloth is created, treated, dyed and sewed must be preserved as not only a greener manner of living on this Earth but also as a respectful way to the creations of the cultures of the world.

I love the work of brands like Kanelle, those that strive to take the traditional out of corners and expand it to new horizons. Seeing fashion evolve to a different feel while retaining what makes it unique is always a joy to watch – and wear. Visit the official website here.

Sustainable time-keeping? We love VOTCH Watches!

Sustainable fashion doesn’t end at clothes any more than fast fashion does. Accessorising is important to any fashion lover, even those of us who strive to be conscious about what we wear. What’s interesting is that there are more and more new brands that follow the path to sustainable wearables. One industry that has been a little slower on the uptake is watch making, as so many brands still work with less-than-ideal materials for straps – which is how Votch was born.

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Votch is a brand of faux leather watches launched in London but produced in Shenzhen, China. The brand stems from a fully vegan perspective, looking to create fashionable accessories that don’t damage animals and, ultimately, the environment. While they’re always working towards finding new materials, the latest Votch collection uses a mix of TPE, cotton and polyester in its straps. The brand is also free of PFC, PVC, plasticisers, phthalate, bromine and heavy metals; they’re REACH and RoHS compliant, PETA approved as vegan, and including recycled and renewable materials.

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Pure Thoughts, a Britain-Made Alternative to Conventional Candles

I love having candles around the house, particularly those that work their aromatherapy magic. However, I also have an infant at home, and my number one priority is always keeping the safest environment possible for him. Having a small child has made me hyper-aware of the number of mainstream things that contain harmful chemicals, and scented candles are no exception. Babies are highly sensitive to smells and chemicals, and it turns out that traditional candles release a lot of toxins when they’re burning. With that knowledge, my quest to find natural candles that wouldn’t jeopardise the health of my family began: the last thing I’d ever want to do is pollute the air inside the safe space of my home.

As an aromatherapy lover, I’m looking for soothing smells whenever I search for candles. Meanwhile, as a firm believer in sustainability, I also need to find a brand that matches ethical standards. Lastly, as a mum, I’m looking for something that the grownups in the house can enjoy that doesn’t come close to harming the little one. I’m happy to say that, after searching for a while, I’ve finally found the perfect brand: Pure Thoughts. Read more…

All You Need to Know About Ethical Denim

Photo by João Paulo de Souza Oliveira on Unsplash

We have always been told that the one must-have item for a woman is the perfect pair of jeans. The right jeans can make us feel confident and magical. The right jeans can be worn to work, to the park and to the club! The right jeans can weather years of wear and tear and still look good. However, finding this perfect pair isn’t an easy task. Not only do they need to be flattering to your shape, but the quality of the denim needs to be worth the investment, and most importantly, the denim needs to be ethical. Over the years, the reputation of denim has been dragged through the mud of ethical fashion. Traditional denim production has taken a massive toll on the environment and an even bigger toll on certain communities by using slave labour. Thankfully, more and more companies are coming up with ways to eliminate these unethical methods and to create a product which is good for the planet and which will make us feel good about wearing it. For the sake of a better future, here are some things you should know before making your next denim purchase.

What makes denim ethical?

Photo by Ben Berwers on Unsplash

Ethical denim is denim that is produced in an ethical and fair way in a manner that is also sustainable for the environment. This means that sweatshops and child labour are replaced by family businesses and factories with proper working conditions. It also means using new and innovative methods of reducing the amount of chemicals and water required to produce jeans. It takes too much water to make jeans (not to mention the amount it takes just to grow the cotton for the process). So if a denim company has found a way to lower the industry standard of water waste, for instance, they are on the right path towards ethical denim. Read more…

Serendipity Organics – A Magical Find

Sustainable fashion is my day-to-day. It is, first and foremost, the focus of my work; however, it is also a life philosophy. I love living in a time in which it is getting easier to consume fashion responsibly – and that goes for myself and my family. Finding sustainable fashion is also about raising my son to understand what his mum does – and why it’s important. So, with motherhood came a new challenge: delving into sustainable children’s fashion.

Children grow up quickly, and it’s ever so tempting to fall into fast fashion to clothe them. Thankfully, there’s an increasing number of brands dedicated to filling the gaps for parents looking to dress their children ethically. I’m always in the search for companies that put their values into manufacture, and attentiveness to organic textiles seems like the best way to do that when it comes to newborn and infant clothes.

Organic textiles stem from an all-around commitment to make clothes that damage the Earth as little as possible. That means changing up the structure of how things have been done for decades: there’s far less water involved when sowing and harvesting, and there no harmful chemicals are used at any point of production. And that’s the basis of the entire philosophy behind Serendipity Organics. Read more…

Eco-friendly and Ethical Substitutes for Leather

There is no denying that leather is a classic, durable material that has been used for centuries for the production of clothing, footwear and accessories. However, in the recent years, there has been a continuous debate in the fashion industry between the use of animal and synthetic vegan leather. While one could argue that the leather industry contributes to animal cruelty, deforestation, and a negative environmental impact, vegan alternatives, on the other hand, are usually derived from non-renewable petroleum-based substances that are toxic, non-biodegradable and detrimental to the environment. Although vegan leather seems more ethical, it is far from more sustainable. Thankfully, innovative companies have come up with several solutions to this ethical dilemma by introducing new kinds of leather-like materials that are just as hardy and attractive as leather, but don’t cost the planet in the process.

Pineapple leather

Photo by Mariana Vusiatytska on Unsplash

Arguably the most well-known and widely used leather substitute in the fashion industry, Piñatex is an innovative leather-like material made out of pineapple leaves. This plant-based leather was invented by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, who witnessed the enormous environmental impact of the leather industry firsthand, and started wondering if there is a way to create luxury materials without harming the planet, and thankfully, there was. Read more…

We are crazy about Bel Kazan

Meet our new eco-favourite for prints and effortless glamour, BEL KAZAN. A womenswearbrand based in LA’s Echo Park, Bel Kazan is a quick-to-love brand, trust us! Designed with modern women in mind: empowered, adventurous, independent spirits. Inspiration is taken from around the globe to create bold prints and effortless silhouettes that easily take wearers from day to night, and quickly become wardrobe staples.

 

Every BEL KAZAN garment is crafted in the brands’ own factory in Bali, respectfully using traditional techniques for an authentic aesthetic. Using time-honoured methods such as hand printing and batik, a wax stamping art form that dates back to the sixth century with its design process, fabric choices, and the art of creating each print by hand, the pieces stand out for their quality and silhouette – your perfect day to night wardrobe piece, an absolute must for any serious eco-fashion advocate. BEL KAZAN delivers some real sustainable gems with its offering, thoughtfully designed to have a minimal footprint, with a meticulous selection of fabrics, dyes, and other materials. We love how honest they are too, the brand is clear that they remain on a learning curve and so remain responsive enough to adjust their production model to be as kind as possible to the environment. I caught up with Belinda Kazanci, the wonder woman behind sustainable fashion’s emerging champion brand, read our interview below…

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