Selfridges' Bright New Things Designers AW19 Offer High-End Sustainable Fashion For A Decent Price
"A lot of people don't realise that if you buy a t-shirt for £20, someone — whether it is the guy who grows the cottons or makes it into the fabric — wasn't paid," fashion designer Charlotte Knowles told Selfridges. She is part of Selfridges' AW19 Bright New Things cohort: a group of sustainably-minded designers aiming to give the world high-quality fashion for a fair price.
Back in February, the department store launched the first line-up, focusing solely on eco-friendly fashion. This time, homeware has joined. (October will also see beauty brands entering the fray.) Every designer has been chosen for their commitment to making homes, wardrobes, and the planet a more sustainable place. There's Instagram-friendly puffy-sleeved blouses, gorgeous marble furniture, and a brand guaranteed to kickstart the next trainer trend.
Bright New Things forms part of Selfridges' Buying Better Inspiring Change initiative. By 2022, the company has pledged to make at least half of its products better for people and the planet. The following design talent is a small but hugely important part of that strategy.
As Daniella Vega, director of sustainability at Selfridges, explains: “It has never been more vital for business to take note of not only what our customers demand from us, but what our planet needs — fashion, beauty, and homeware products that don't harm the environment, that can be recycled, and that give back to the communities who create them."
Here's a rundown of the six designers chosen this time round.
1. Charlotte Knowles
Founded by Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault, this London-based brand puts ethics at the forefront of every business decision. From working with mills that safeguard fair wages to using upcycled fabrics and biodegradable packaging, the pair are proving that sustainability and fashion can go hand-in-hand. Design-wise, expect simple yet unique pieces that you'll love forever. Prices start from £240. Sizes range from a UK 6 to 14.
A relatively new name in the fashion world, F_WD was started by footwear designer Raphael Young. Fusing eco-friendly principles with streetwear techniques, his thick-soled trainers and boots are crafted from the likes of vegan leather and recycled fishing nets. Prices start from £285.
3. Olivia Rose
Every Instagrammable design from this brand is carefully handmade in Olivia Rose Havelock's Edinburgh studio. Why? So she can ensure every fabric is sourced locally and that nothing goes to waste. Currently, only two designs are available: a puffy blouse for £220 and vintage printed dress for £260. Available in UK size 6 to 14.
With Anaak, Marissa Maximo's goal is to support the lives of talented artisans (especially women) living in the likes of India and Bolivia. Each and every one of her fabrics is natural and uses eco-friendly vegetable dyes, providing a cool, relaxed look. Pick up holiday-appropriate muslin shorts for £145 and wide-legged cotton trousers for £240. Available in UK size 6 to 14.
Another trainer brand, Yatay uses recycled materials to craft vegan-friendly footwear that will last for years. Plus, every pair that's sold results in a tree being planted in a deforested location. The pared-back designs aren't available at Selfridges just yet, but keep an eye out in the coming days.
If you've been wanting to add a sustainable element to your home, GoodWaste is here to help. Launched by three Royal College of Art graduates, the brand takes waste materials from London's biggest industrial site and turns them into super luxurious homeware pieces. The marble and steel designs don't come cheap (with prices starting at £750), but they're definitely an investment to save up for.
It's true that buying sustainably can dent your bank balance more than typical high street shopping. But knowing what your money is funding can soothe the pain.