Category Archives: Green

Maiyet

Let me introduce you to, Maiyet, brought to my attention by my dear friend Joe, who happens to be working with them on their digital strategy.

Maiyet happens to have all the qualities I’d look for in a modern luxury label: gorgeous, stand-out clothes but also a philosophy and purpose that goes beyond luxury.  Maiyet outlines their mission as “celebrating rare artisanal skills from unexpected places around the world” and introducing them to the fashion world, via their beautiful designs.  As far as I can tell, this isn’t a token effort to tick the ethical box – Maiyet has entered into a strategic partnership with Nest, a nonprofit dedicated to training and developing artisan businesses in the places that need it the most.

This label also does a good line in atmospheric campaign images, craftsmanship videos and a perfect selection of ethereally beautiful models. They know their brand and they know who their audience is (that would be me, but richer).

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 09.24.46

Maiyet Autumn 2012

Anyway, once you see the clothes you’ll probably forget about the worthy back-story for a moment and instead focus your energies on how on earth you get your hands on one of these beauties. Right now, they aren’t widely available in the UK (only net-a-porter and Selfridges from what I can see) but this is set to change next year. Ultimately, it is this desirability that signals real success for Maiyet.

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 09.32.22

Maiyet Spring collection

 

Work Out Life

I’m ashamed to confess that up until now, my yoga outfit (if you can even call it that) consisted of old black leggings and a worn out Gap pyjama vest. In my head this was wholly justified, as waking up on a dark morning to do yoga was effort enough.

My strategy for the morning commute to yoga class was to throw my trench coat over the top of this mismatched get up and hope not to be seen by anyone I knew. This strategy has served me well as there are not many critical hipster eyes on the East London line before 7am.

Still, I was beginning to regret my lazy approach since other girls at yoga seem to be able to get up early AND throw on a pair of snazzy printed leggings and somehow make their messy bun look artfully stylish rather simply unbrushed and unwashed (like mine).

Thank goodness then, that earlier this week I was invited to a yoga class run by the new label Work Out Life. And in return for getting up early and attending the class, the lovely ladies at Work Out Life have kitted me out with a gorgeous yoga kit. With matching pieces and everything.

Hurray! My road to early morning style recovery has now begun.

Work Out Life is all about fusing performance wear with fashion and mixing work out pieces with more casual fashion pieces, so you can move seamlessly from one activity to another and still look presentable.

Sounds ideal to me! Perhaps a little too ideal as I don’t quite have the lifestyle that involves gliding from yoga to coffee and back to yoga again. But still, beyond the PR speak, the pieces are really lovely.

Work Out Life ‘Perky’ top and printed trousers

The ‘super chic long sleeve top’ and ‘super fly’ leggings I was given not only look great and have some really nice detail on them, but they were super comfy to do yoga in. In particular, the top was long enough not to ride up when being all bendy and upside down and stuff. You can tell the pieces have been designed by someone who actually does yoga and knows an exposed stomach isn’t something most girls want to have to grapple with first thing in the morning.

Work Out Life ‘Activate Life’ racer back top & ‘No 1 Ass Pant’

It won’t be a surprise that these pieces don’t come cheap, but they are comparable in price to labels like Sweaty Betty and in my opinion, much more unique and better quality. I’ll have to see how they wash but so far so good. Also, 40% of the range is made using organic cotton and the production methods are all socially and environmentally responsible where possible. So big tick there.

I’ll be keeping an eye of this label and seeing how it develops. And in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying the fact I don’t need to look quite so shame faced if someone sees me on route to morning yoga.

An introduction to swimwear

I had my first introduction to the art of swimwear this Friday, over a Shoreditch breakfast with the lovely Ruth from Olga Olsson and my two Digit fashion buddies – Alexis and Nomfundo.

For such a small piece of clothing, an awful lot of care and time goes into creating a swimsuit. In fact, probably almost as much time and anxiety as it takes the average girl to find a swimsuit that she feels comfortable in.

We’d probably all save a bit of time (and pain) if we were able to take Ruth along with us to the annual swimwear shopping trip. After years of helping customers find the perfect swimsuit for their shape, it only takes her a matter of seconds to recommend what would suit us girls, despite the fact we are clad in multiple layers of clothing.

It helps that her collection of luxury swimwear is full of highly desirable pieces with designs to suit all body shapes and style preferences. My favourite piece was the Marilyn sweetheart ruched one piece whilst Alexis had her eye on the lovely high-waisted Lara bikini.

Marilyn one piece from Olga Olsson

Lara bikini from Olga Olsson

It is true that these pieces will set you back more than your average M&S cossie – my current swimsuit did only cost me £15 after all – but alongside making you feel more confident, the Olga Olsson pieces are made with environmentally responsible materials and techniques where possible.

Time to get cosy – A celebration of wool

The fashion world may be firmly focussed on spring/summer collections at London Fashion week, but outside it’s getting chilly and conkers are dropping from the trees.

This means it’s time to get back into the black tights and start digging out the winter knits and coats. I love Autumn time fashion – it’s so much more interesting than summer dresses and nothing beats a soft, cashmere jumper teamed with a favourite scarf and kick-about boots.

In the spirit of getting cosy, I went to the Wool Modern exhibition yesterday. Just as I entered the building, there was a huge downpour of distinctly Autumnal rain – the perfect backdrop for browsing some gorgeous woollen creations.

It’s only a small exhibition but the pieces on display are perfectly formed. The exhibition is part of the Campaign For Wool, spearheaded by the Prince of Wales to highlight the importance of wool and to try to reverse the decline in the number of wool farmers. This is occurring due to factors such as an overall decline in sheep in wool-producing countries and falling prices for wool.

The idea of Wool Modern is to show just how versatile wool is as a fabric, and to inspire the next generation of talent to embrace wool in their own work.

My favourites included:

A dramatic, printed coat by Erdem, called the Savannah (excuse the terrible i-phone picture but hopefully you get the idea).

Erdem Savannah Coat

A beautiful Alexander McQueen evening dress, embellished with gold and inspired by military uniform.

Alexander McQueen evening dress

And finally a woollen and leather jacket, with over-the-elbow gloves, by Rick Owens.

Rick Owens jacket

The exhibition continues until 29th Sept and is at La Galleria, Pall Mall.

Natural Textures & Colours

Apologies for the lack of posting lately – I’ve been away enjoying the natural wonder that is the Lake District. I’m back feeling inspired by the beautiful scenery and very much ready to embrace Spring.

As regular readers will know, my family go to the Lakes every year. This trip, I found myself taking pleasure in the small details which sometimes go unnoticed against the backdrop of awe inspiring mountains and shimmering lakes.

But to the observant eye, there is a delicate beauty in the small signs that represent a thriving, natural ecosystem: bright green lichens growing on sturdy boulders, bouncy moss clinging to the side of banks and small shoots hanging from the trees, all about to burst into life.

Lake District - beauty in the small details

It seems it’s not just me who notices these micro-features of the natural world. Some of my favourites designers –  Rodarte and Osman – have recently shown collections that are inspired by the beauty of natural textures and colours.

The photo I took of grasses whilst out on a very blustery walk looks like it could have come straight from a Rodarte designed print.

Lake District grasses

Rodarte corn field dress (image from gorunway.com)

Rodarte close up (image from gorunway.com)

Similarly,  the Osman ensemble below – with bright colours set against earthy tones and natural fabrics –  reminds me of the amazing contrasts in texture and colour you find in nature. Bright green lichens growing on dry tree bark is just one example.

Natural contrasts in colour & texture

Osman (image from gorunway.com)

Since not everything in life must relate back to fashion (!), I also want to share with you this pretty picture of the Langdale Valley. For anyone who has not been to the Lake District themselves,  soak in this image and book yourself a trip!

Langdale valley, Lake District April 2011

Inspired by Nature

I’m back at my parents’ house in the country this weekend, attempting to be green-fingered while my dad (aka Head Gardener) continues to need to rest up from his food injury.

My gardening skills are novice at best, but I am enjoying being outside and seeing new green shoots spring up everywhere.

Of course, even when outside in my practical gardening gear, thoughts are never too far away from fashion! In fact, I was thinking today how quite a few things lovely I’ve seen lately seem to be inspired by nature.

Firstly, the beautiful, vibrant green dresses from Roland Mouret’s recent Paris Fashion Week show. The colour looks just like the fresh Spring shoots I’ve been spotting in the garden today. And there is such a lovely fluidity in the cut.

Roland Mouret (image from Getty)

Secondly, the Jil Sander collection from Milan which takes inspiration from bolder elements in nature. I love the contrast of the rusty orange and red with the dark blue. This dress manages to do florals without being overly girly. Non-flimsy florals if you will.

Jil Sander (image from Telegraph.co.uk)

Lastly, the jewellery designer Alex Monroe, whose bee necklace I was given for Christmas and cannot stop wearing at the minute. Monroe’s biggest inspiration is nature, and in particular, the English countryside.

“British jewellery designer Alex Monroe grew up in Suffolk surrounded by fields, rivers and the plants and creatures which inhabit them. He trained at Sir John Cass School Of Art in London, and uses nature to inspire his whimsical, intricately beautiful jewellery.”

His recent collection is photographed against a lovely natural background of moss and tree trunks. The very endearing ‘flying bee’ necklace below is a new take on the classic bee necklace.

Alex Monroe Flying Bee necklace

These ladybird earrings are very seasonal indeed. I was relieved to find out I’m not the only Londoner experiencing an infestation of these little creatures at the minute. Annoying as it is having them buzz around my living room, I don’t have the heart to get rid of them. According to Head Gardener, they are essential for keeping away other more menacing pests.

Alex Monroe Ladybird earrings

Fairtrade fashion from Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley isn’t exactly one of my regular haunts but whenever my mum drags me in there to look at something homeware related, I usually do find myself sifting through their clothes rails and admiring a few pieces. Being a fickle twenty something, the mumsy image means I usually stop there and don’t actually end up buying anything.

This may change come March when Laura Ashley is launching its range for People Tree (the fairtrade fashion label Elle Tea has been a long-time fan of). Not only is the collection ethical, but it is also very pretty and vintage-looking. The pieces use Laura Ashley prints from their 1970s archive which have been given a new lease of life with modern colours.  ’70s style is due to make a major comeback this Spring/Summer so Laura Ashley could be onto a winner in more ways than one.

My favourite piece is this cute little jumpsuit. Expect environmentally conscious fashionistas to be bouncing around in the 100% organic cotton at a park near you soon.

Laura Ashley for People Tree (image from telegraph.co.uk)