Slow fashion has arrived fast. The in-crowd are no longer buying off the peg, instead waiting up to six weeks for bespoke clothing that should last a lifetime.
If you can bear the wait, it’s worth it for you and the planet. You get something special and there’s no over-production, reducing the risk of unworn clothes going to landfill. It’s not too expensive either, at about £100 for a dress.
Here are the eight made-to-measure brands you need to know about.
Dinah Van Tulleken revealed eight made-to-measure brands you should know about. Pictured: Jumpsuit, £150, kitristudio.com
1 CHELSEA BRAVO
Sophisticate d simplicity sums up Chelsea Bravo’s eponymous label. Using sustainable fabrics, her understated, oversized collection features paperbag- waist trousers, loose-fitting dresses and T-shirts in gorgeous hemp linen. This season sees a simple colour palette of black, white and burnt orange. I love the loose-fit, scoop-back dress in pure cotton (right). Chelsea grew up in London but is now based in New York, where her production studios are, so bear in mind orders may take up to three weeks to arrive.
Dress, £100, chelseabravo.com
2 MOLBY THE LABEL
Molby founder Karina Molby, 28, has achieved just what she set out to. ‘I wanted to encourage sustainable shopping, by reducing fabric wastage and carbon emissions and creating high-quality, timeless garments,’ she says. They’re great fun too. Clashing gingham prints with puff sleeves; floral prints with statement collars; and slogan T-shirts. Prices start at £50. Each piece is handmade to order from her Merseyside studio, which lets the customer make small changes to any design, whether it’s custom sizing, hem length, fabric or colour. Most pieces take between four to six hours to make, so you need to allow up to 21 working days for manufacture and delivery.
3 WE ARE KIN
‘It’s never your body that’s wrong, it’s the clothing,’ says We Are Ki n founder Ngoni Chikwenengere. She operates out of her factory in Bow, East London, using end-of-line, sustainable fabrics.
Her beautifully tailored pieces are available up to a size 26. Take a look at the pleat tunic in stretch crepe, £70 (which can be made longer/shorter if needed). It looks gorgeous over matching trousers — and can be in your wardrobe in as little as two weeks. From £70 for a swimsuit to £250 for a wool coat.
Swimsuit, £70, wearekin.co
4 MEGAN CROSBY
Megan Crosby operates from her Portsmouth studio, where she started ‘the colourful, ethical label I was looking for’. Her gingham dresses plus co-ords are made to order from sustainable fabrics and unsold shop stock. Sizes range from XS to XL and she offers custom-made. From £10 for a scrunchie to £200 for a jumpsuit.
5 KIT.A COLLECTIVE
Ingenious label Kit.a Collective not only sells a fantastic range of made-to-order pieces — gingham wrap-tops, frill collars, face masks and tote bags, for example — but also offers you the opportunity to make these pieces yourself. Founded by two friends who took up sewing in lockdown, you can forget a long list of hard-to-follow instructions and instead sit down to simple video tutorials. The kit for their gingham wrap blouse costs £30.
6 BEFORE JULY
As well as only making what’s needed, Before July founder Elisa Jaycott sources her fabrics from the UK to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. It turns that fabric into simple, colourful cotton wrap tops and baby-doll dresses available in sizes 8-14 that have been featured in Vogue. Production is up to five weeks plus delivery. Prices range from £55 for a top to £110 for a dress.
Dress, £75, beforejuly.co.uk
Known for its bold prints and eye-catching colours, this label isn’t exclusively pre-order, but they do produce limited runs so they can gauge a reaction to designs and then create waiting lists on previously sold- out pieces.
This allows the contemporary brand to produce on demand, thereby eliminating waste and giving us the opportunity to snap up their most sought-after styles (like this puff-sleeve midi dress), guilt free!
8 OLIVIA ROSE THE LABEL
Designer Olivia Rose’s collection is in a slightly higher price bracket — her midi Manon Dress, available to order in four sizes and prints, sells at £228. But every one of the 27-year-old’s romantic, puff-sleeved waist-cinching pieces is designed and made in her Edinburgh studio. The Chelsea College of Art graduate is a one woman show, and can only accept limited number of orders at any one time. No item is pre-made.
Top, £216, oliviarosethelabel.com