Karen Millen, €240
I'd like a replacement for my old leather jacket
Katie, by email
There are few things more disheartening than realising that your love for a particular item in your wardrobe has got out of hand – although I’d wager no one had this problem before Facebook and the possibility of taking photographs on one’s phone. There are definitely a few options for you that will work just as well as your old faithful leather jacket – with dresses, jeans and much more – but won’t have you or your friends rolling your eyes at “that old jacket” again. (That said: do not throw out this leather jacket – you will undoubtedly wear it again, once the dust has settled.)
This lobster-pink biker jacket by Twin-Set (€489 at Ellen B in Clontarf) is a really great option, especially for spring. The colour is gorgeous and really eye-catching but, unlike many shades of pink, it won’t clash with denim or even red. It will look great with minty greens and blues and will definitely provide a welcome change from black.
This yellow tweed jacket (€240 at Karen Millen) is a great grown-up alternative to a black leather jacket, and is nicely structured without being too prissy. The colour is really unusual and, although it won’t suit everyone (yellow is either friend or foe), it veers nicely on the warmer side of mustard. It will look perfect with jeans.
Lastly, this tweed bouclé jacket (€69 at Next) will work just as well as your leather jacket, while being slightly more put together and giving more leeway in terms of mixing in scarves, gloves and perhaps even a belt. The concealed fastening means you can wear with whatever metal you choose (gold buttons often seem to preclude one from wearing silver) and there are red and blue threads running through the tweed, making it easy to mix and match with other colours. Plus, it won’t break the bank.
Where can I find eco-friendly fashion?
I’m wondering if you know of any eco-friendly fashion companies, clothing and otherwise? I’d like to try to be more conscious of what I’m consuming and wearing, but I find it really difficult to sort through the different claims. I also don’t want to look like I’m wearing head to toe hemp.
Anna-Louise, by email
This is a really tricky one, because eco-friendly can mean so many different things. There are many large chains, for example, that are not, strictly speaking, eco-friendly, but are making strides with eco-friendly cotton.
Then you have the animal lovers; Stella McCartney doesn’t use leather in any of her products, instead producing them using vegan leather. But the jury is out on whether this qualifies her as eco-friendly or merely animal-friendly.
People Tree is a brand that prides itself on producing fair trade and sustainable fashion, and its designs are really lovely. Its products are also reasonably priced, which can be another problem with sustainable and eco-friendly fashions; as production costs rise, so do end costs. Dresses start at around £55 (around €64). It also does a line with Irish designer Orla Kiely, of knitwear, dresses and accessories, in slightly muted nods to her signature prints. Peopletree.co.uk
Ayuvastra is an Irish brand that produces clothing made of fabrics that are grown organically and harvested sustainably. Designs are relatively basic, kind of weekend or yoga gear, in muted palettes, but the fabrics are super-soft and the dyes are beautiful. It sells womenswear, menswear and childrenswear, as well as bed linen and scarves. Ayuvastra.ie.
Of course, the most eco-friendly and sustainable consumption of all is to buy second-hand or vintage clothing and accessories. It can also be the most satisfying type of shopping, unearthing a gem buried beneath a heap of grotty cast-offs.
Re-Dress is an Irish initiative that looks at nurturing and fostering a sustainable Irish fashion industry. It runs events throughout the year, as well as being responsible for Better Fashion Week, an annual showcase of brands, speakers and ideologies. Re-dress.ie