I’ve been searching high and low for ethical womenswear to add to my #ethicallymade #slowfashion directory (coming soon) where I can champion the very best of ethical style that lasts. First up, kimono dressing gowns ethically-made in India by Verry Kerry.
Now, I’ve been on look out for a kimono dressing gown for longer than I care to remember, well for as long as my old faithful has been out of action in retirement after refusing to be repaired any longer. It has had a good innings. Bought second hand and given me years and years of comfort and touch a glamour, even in the mornings – and that is a BIG ask.
Yet, despite its passing, I’m not ready to let go, not until I can find a replacement and one that is ethically made and #wellfashioned. Enter Verry Kerry.
I’ve got a thing for socks. I carry one with me – a lucky one that is – but I’ll save that story for another time, and many many years ago my mum used to work for a sock factory in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire.
Yet, despite my love of socks and fond sock-making memories, my collection is sadly lacking and I don’t get the gift of socks anymore.
Instead, I always end up borrowing those of my other half – the half that always gets the socks for Christmas, birthdays, Father’s Day and maybe (if he’s lucky) Valentine’s Day.
But no more – us women shouldn’t be ignored on the sock front – so campaign ‘give me socks for all seasons’ starts now, and will even be buying my own as well as more to borrow too.
In my mind, socks so do indeed maketh the shoes especially when your shoes are a bit down in dumps, so in my attempt to be a bit more #wellfashioned here’s a few Made in Britain sock makers for you to check out.
I found the textiles artist Bernie Murphy thanks to Margaret Molloy and her #WearingIrish campaign, and just fell in love, in love with Bernie Murphy’s 2017 collection – her piece or rather pieces of Ireland all imagined, designed and handcrafted in Donegal, Ireland.
My words can’t do her collection justice so I’ve picked just a few of my favourites from her collection:
Hat & collar
Wrap scarf & culottes
Collar & cape
And, taken these words from Bernie Murphy herself to explain where her inspiration comes from:
“Standing on the shores of Donegal, on the Wild Atlantic Way, feels like standing on the edge of the world; there is colour and texture and inspiration wherever you look. This is where I find my greatest inspiration – where my imagination can feast on the blues and greys of the wild Atlantic ocean, where the fields and hills suggest patchworks, lines and patterns, where the barren lands and peat bogs blend the russets of trees and heather with the neutrals of sheep fleeces and stones… all combine to suggest the structures, colours and textures for my contemporary garment sculptures.”
Maybe it’s the Irish in me as I write this on possibly the hottest day of the year as I shelter indoors – but I feel connected to Bernie’s collection and can almost feel the fabric through my computer screen.
I’ll be interviewing Bernie Murphy very soon about her work. If you can’t wait till then, feast your eyes on this short film about her work and see Margaret Molloy in all her Wearing Irish glory wearing the Gortyarrigan tunic top (love this) in my previous Wearing Irish blog post.
Well Fashioned Credits
Bernie Murphy is Made in Ireland in Donegal and shipped worldwide
I was first introduced or rather stumbled upon Age of Reason Studios when I went along to the Best of Britanniaevent back in 2014. Spotting the designer Ali Mapletoft from afar, I plucked up the courage to copy her ahem get a lesson in how to wear a scarf (believe me I needed one) and then walked away wearing or rather making a statement in my I will never surrender scarf.
A rare and wonderful find.
To this day, it is still one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever owned and still looks as good as new despite almost daily wear. This is one piece of clothing that I’ve never regretted buying. It is so well made and still surprises me how it can just transform whatever I’m wearing and make me feel seriously Well Fashioned.
I can also wear it without guilt knowing that no sweatshop labour has ever been involved in its making, and I’m doing my little bit to support UK manufacturing and British made.
Indeed, what I really love about Age of Reason Studios is that they are fully upfront and transparent about their supply chain and suppliers and try to source everything sustainably. They even namecheck their suppliers, including The Pin House for sewing and North Ronaldsay Yarn for its wool, and use older models too which for a gal like me in her 40s is the kinda thing I like and makes me feel that looking good isn’t out of my reach. I’ll post up some pics soon of me, my scarf and I.
As well as scarves, Ali also designs and prints womenswear and cushions, and sends out great offers in her regular Age Reason Studios emails so sign-up to her mailing list quick.