photography by dominic farlam
report by marion hume

It was as buzzy as a bee at the BFC’s eco-fashion Estethica Brunch yesterday, which could have had something to do with the home-baked muffins. As for the real buzz, it seems the ethical segment of the fashion industry is the one to watch.

If Sarah Ratty, designer and founder of green fashion company Ciel, and board member of the Ethical Fashion Forum, is the Queen Bee of eco fashion, her label is the honeypot (we get interrupted twice in five minutes by people wanting to buy; the Paddington Bear duffel and cute Cossack-style shift are favourites). “There used to be a few lone voices; now we’re so many,” says Ratty, who has put the sustainable vibe in the UK’s hive since Estethica, sponsored by Monsoon, began in 2006, and whose collaboration with Liberty (she uses its lovely leftover fabric) is to be sold in Whistles. Up-cycling, recycling, organic, ethically made and local is a lot to expect from 
a pair of silk crêpe de Chine briefs, but you’ll find those at Ciel, too.

Estethica’s message is clear: “no hair shirts here” (but plenty of snug wool from The North Circular). Far from the old eco cliché, From Somewhere’s racy dresses were made of repurposed Speedos, while the Fairtrade Collective’s scarf project, with designers including Marios Schwab, Holly Fulton and Julie Verhoeven, brought strong ideas to these fairly traded squares of cotton. With NEWGEN’s scarf installation fluttering down the historic Stamp stairwell at Somerset House, the question of what’s the accessory of the season has been answered, too.

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