Ethical fashion labels enjoyed unprecedented prominence at the 2014 Paris Fashion Week, reflecting the rapid growth of the ethical fashion market as a whole.
One brand that has been grabbing headlines across the fashion world is Maiyet, whose show on the night of Saturday 1st March took centre stage in Paris’ opulent Grand Palais.
Dubbed “equal parts style and ethics” by Vogue’s Emily Holt, Maiyet was founded just 4 years ago in New York but its founders Daniel Lubetzky and lawyer Paul van Zyl are already eyeing sales of £100 million within 5 years. But whilst Maiyet’s bold patterns and tribal designs have earned the label recognition in their own right, the brand stands out from the crowd for its conscious effort to work with and support artisan craftsmen as well as their communities in the developing world. To help achieve this, Maiyet entered a strategic partnership with the non-profit organisation, Nest, as well as securing investment from a host of celebrity investors including Sir Richard Branson.
In the UK, sales of ethical fashion grew 72% in 2010 alone to reach £177m having already quadrupled in 2009, according to research by data analysis group, Mintel. Growth has been driven in part by existing brands incorporating socially and environmentally conscious practices into their lines, as in H&M’s Conscious range of ‘sustainable style’, as well as by the recent proliferation of the number of startups and SMEs entering the market.
One such UK startup is Mauxen, who are preparing for the launch of their pioneering environmentally friendly underwear for him-and-her this Spring/ Summer (2014).
“We’re not like other underwear brands because we are looking towards the future”, says Mauxen’s founder, Supriya Chohan. “I wanted to create something chic and sexy; revamping the old hippie-hemp image of eco clothing into a clean, modern style”.
Prior to commissioning the underwear range, Chohan took a proactive approach to procuring suppliers whilst ensuring that full transparency and sustainable practices are enacted across the business. The factory selected in China adheres to strict environmental standards and recycles its waste water. And unlike cotton, bamboo is a high yield crop that reaches harvest without the need for any deleterious chemical fertilisers or pesticides. The fibrous stems are then processed and woven to create a fabric with a silky, linen-like texture that is hard wearing yet gentle enough for even infants.
Christian David is another in the ever-growing numbers of ethical entrepreneurs. Along with his Kure Bazaar brand of organic nail polish, Christian has more recently launched the Bo Jus range of natural detox juices which were being handed out to the discerning crowds backstage at Maiyet’s Paris show.
Consumers trying to eliminate unnatural chemicals from their diets have a wide range of organic and additive free foods to choose from. But for fashion conscious consumers wanting to avoid harsh chemicals in cosmetics, the choice is more limited. Spotting this niche in the market, Christian launched Kure Bazaar. Using up to 85% natural ingredients, Kure’s nail lacquers complement the nail’s natural regenerative cycles whilst boasting the resilience and durability of its synthetic rivals.
"We are the only one in the world with Kure Bazaar to combine Fashion & Ecology in cosmetics,” Christian David explained. “The exclusive formula and colours inspired from fashion are for us the perfect match for our trendy and eco clients."
Images courtesy of http://www.maximilianclarke.co.uk/