Bristol has a healthy appetite for sustainable fashion. One local businesswoman is tapping into what she hopes will become a perennial trend…

After seeing the damage done by the high street’s fast-fashion dynamic, Amelia Twine – if the name sounds familiar, it’ll be because she was co-creator of the Eat Drink Bristol Fashion events and restaurants – decided to swap her sustainable food agenda for sustainable fashion. Givewearlove.com is the exciting new Bristol-based online boutique she’s launched as a result, putting together curated edits of stylish and ethical womenswear. It’s actively fundraising for organisations working to secure a better future for the fashion industry too – connecting shoppers with its issues and raising awareness of what needs to be done to make it all far healthier.

With established and emerging sustainable brands, the ongoing theme is wholesome production stories. Having hosted sustainable food summits and sat on the board of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Amelia has already worked to support change in the food industry in favour of sustainability, and founded her fashion project with similar intentions for another industry so in need of a new model and modus operandi.

…I began to see some critical parallels between the issues food production faced and those in the production of clothing and textiles…

“For years people were confused about our brand name Eat Drink Bristol Fashion – those who weren’t aware of the phrase ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’, would ask what the fashion element was,” she says. “Of course there wasn’t one, but this got me thinking about the fashion industry. I began to see some critical parallels between the issues food production faced and those in the production of clothing and textiles. The land is degraded, water is polluted, people and animals are exploited, there is a lack of transparency and accountability. Everything deplorable in current global food systems seemed so often replicated in fashion. But the industry is already changing for the better and I wanted to help it on its way to a greener future.”

A partnership has been launched with the charity TRAID (which stands for textile re-use and international development) and Amelia has also collaborated with Bristol-based brand Something Elsie Vintage. “We want to actively engage the style-savvy shopper with the issues facing the industry and give them the opportunity to support positive action by donating small amounts to fantastic organisations that are doing invaluable work supporting the people and planet.”

Outfit of the month

The fresh spring ensemble features People Tree, Beaumont Organic, Ethletic and Tribe Alive garments

Amelia breaks down this fresh ensemble with from the Give Wear Love early spring edit – with lovely clean lines, four favoured brands and a whole lot of Bristol attitude…

Buying better cotton

‘Gaia’ tee
Brand: People Tree
Fabric: Organic cotton

Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics but has often been described as the ‘dirtiest’ crop on the planet. Conventional cotton can use as much as 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s pesticides – a huge amount for just one crop. It can have high levels of chemical residue which means you’re wearing toxicity right next to your skin. It also uses large volumes of water to process. Give Wear Love is all about organic. The facts are simple – organically produced crops are better for you, better for farmers and better for biodiversity. Buying organic cotton garments means you are investing in a healthier planet and healthier soil.

Transparency

Tassel earrings and ornate foldover clutch
Brand: Tribe Alive

One of the most important things for us at Give Wear Love is how open a brand is about a garment’s production story. Many brands are on a journey of sustainability with aspirations to continually improve and the more information they offer us the more we begin to have confidence in their supply chain. We love hearing the story of each garment; hearing where, how and who made it and why the brand has chosen to work in that way. The brand that produced these gorgeous accessories works directly with its producers and offers employment to at-risk women at a living wage. They focus on creating safe working environments and offering empowerment to their artisans.

…Cotton has often been described as the ‘dirtiest’ crop on the planet…

Avoiding poor quality fast fashion

‘Samantha’ skirt
Brand: Beaumont Organic
Fabric: Linen, with coconut buttons

Linen is a fabric with a rich history. It is understood to be the oldest known fibre and is certainly one of the most sustainable. Used for
centuries, it still holds a core place today as one of the most functional and durable fabrics. Made from the flax plant, linen requires less water than cotton to produce, along with fewer fungicides, pesticides and herbicides – although these can be avoided by buying organic. The strength and durability of linen means you’ll be able to wear it again and again and love it for years to come. Every year, millions of tonnes of clothing and textiles end up in landfill. The high street’s fast-fashion dynamic results in the production of poor quality clothing that is not made to last and is often disposed of after just a few wears. Investing in garments made to last is one key aspect of a sustainable wardrobe.

When Fairtrade makes a difference

White Cap Lo trainers
Brand: Ethletic
Fabrics: Organic cotton and FSC-certified natural rubber, with coconut fibre inner layer

What makes a supply chain ‘good’ isn’t limited to the harm it might do but also how it actively works to support each link in the chain. Brands can invest in a healthy supply chain, where their producers receive fair pay, good working conditions and premiums for social projects. Producers’ livelihoods are valued, and a business is run with the triple bottom line in mind.

And if you’re vegan…
There are ways of choosing garments and accessories that only use animal products from high-welfare sources. But if you would rather avoid them altogether, some brands produce ranges that are fully vegan. This can also extend to how they source their raw materials – taking habitats into consideration and avoiding monocultures and overexploitation of the land.

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Images: We’re loving the Bedminster, Totterdown and Harbourside-shot collections (all imagery @jackabbottphotography)