It’s a lot easier being green now. In 2021, sustainability rose to the forefront of runways, collection notes, and high streets with the oomph of a pack of mentos dropped into a coke bottle. We’ve supported this via our DROP EVERYTHING column, featuring pieces of equivalent effervescence from the best sustainable designers every single week. Now, we’re ending the year with a banging best of, rounding-up the labels we’ve fallen in love with and choosing a new piece from each. Think of it as a sustainable gift list, but one that’s evergreen rather than just for Christmas, a celebration of the talent putting the planet at the centre of their creative universe.
Thai-and-American duo Nong Rak make ‘wearable fibre art’ (that’s stunning, experimental knitwear to you and me) alongside selling handpicked vintage pieces in their New York City studio. Hand-crocheted in small runs using organic materials, their scarves, hats and pullovers splice pastel yarns and natural fabrics together into optimistic, eccentric garments.
Drop everything and get…the Debris Jumper, hand-crocheted from over twenty yarns with some added vintage agora goodness.
Started by Imogen Evans back in 2018, IMI STUDIOS is so in vogue it literally was in Vogue, and that’s not the half of it. Built around swirly abstract patterns, cutouts and nostalgic prints but never, ever cliche, it’s the kind of online store that tempts you – dares you, even – to spend every damned penny you have left in your current account. Everything is handmade in the UK, swapping fast fashion for something nice ‘n’ slow.
Drop everything and get…the Mila Top, handmade from poppily printed lycra.
Inspired by his Jamaican roots and his childhood move to New York, designer Edvin Thompson’s pieces energise high-fashion silhouettes with punch-bowl pops of colour, from minty sea-greens to serotonergic yellows. Currently made in small batches, he’s looking to move to a full, circular programme. Talking to The Cut, he said: “All of these luxury brands and big factories in New York just throw out clothes that they don’t use or sell and samples that don’t work.”
Drop everything and get…the Paisley Trouser, a last-minute party-piece to dazzle your difficult-to-impress cousins.
Started in New York by Olivia Cheng, Dauphinette is a flower bed of serotonin-injected fashion (the label calls itself the “Happiest brand on earth”, which seems about right). Using recycled fabrics and upcycling vintage clothes, Cheng creates unique garments and decor filled with pressed flowers, petals, mushroom motifs and eyespot earrings. It’s like you’ve strolled through a garden centre and butterfly house in a plain outfit covered in glue, and we mean that in a really positive way.
Drop everything and get…the “Happy Bug Day” Sophia Turtleneck, a whimsical, Warhol-inspired top made with deadstock jersey.
T LABEL’s sensual, seductive range of lingerie, gloves and dresses, are all made by hand with the most luxurious deadstock fabrics. Tay Gordon’s latest collection – inspired by The Matrix and Pulp Fiction (like, our favourite movies ever) and art directed by Magda (our pal!) – sees the brand’s already-iconic glove shapes made from the purest Indian Dupion Silks and skin-like cotton organdy. We’re feeling ourselves!
Drop everything and get…the Disco Corset, it’s Chrimbo, init!
It’s undeniably lazy to lift a brand’s slogan and squeeze it into a wad of copy, but is there anything more alluring than Viron’s promise of ‘Plant power, techno, recycling?” It got us Berlinphiles instantly interested, more so when we discovered the range of footwear on offer. Produced from food scraps, PET bottles and army surplus, Viron’s boots are solid, sturdy stompers, taking no autumnal leaves as prisoners and supporting your feet to the max. We’re huge fans of the brand’s calling card – printing each boot’s composition on the outer layer – for all your fellow plant-based rebels to admire.
Drop everything and get…the 1997 Black Apple Boots, Chelsea Boots taken to the top flight.