Go ethical. Go Irish: Three ways to keep it Irish, stylish and sustainable
Style File: The Ethical Silk company, Grown and Olann are leading the way in ethical production
Jess Kavanagh of Olann dyes wool sourced from little farms in South America who harvest the wool in a humane way rather
Next week being Fashion Revolution week with Tuesday seeing the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh which killed 1,138 garment workers and injured many more, a variety of events are taking place to mark the new campaign #whomademyclothes. Irish brands committed to sustainability and ethical production include the following:
These lovely silk pyjamas in pink and gold are from Ethical Silk’s latest collection called Jaipur inspired by the colours of that great Indian city and its ever-present sun. The new collection which is designed in Ireland includes a silk robe and even a mulberry silk eye mask, perfect for long haul flights.
All Ethical Silk products are printed by hand and made in a Fairtrade tailoring unit in Jaipur. 10 per cent of their profits go to charity, 5 per cent to an Aids centre in Theni in India and 5 per cent to Focus Ireland, so sustainability is at the heart of this company. The collection is sold exclusively online at www.theethicalsilkco.com.
“Clothes should not cost the earth,” say the founders of Grown, an Irish company that takes sustainability very seriously. They mean that literally, as for every T-shirt they make they plant a native Irish tree as part of their commitment to the environment.
Their collections of T-shirts, hoodies and shirts are made in organic cotton or jersey, have names like Gull, Dillisk, Humpback and Mullaghmore and cost from €23 for a loose-fitting razorback in jersey up to €90 for a navy hoodie in heavyweight cotton. Find them online at grown.ie.
A new entrant to the list of sustainable Irish fashion companies is Olann, founded last year by Jess Kavanagh from Cavan, a mother, dyer and knitter with a deep love of colour who is making knitting fashionable again.
She dyes wool sourced from little farms in South America who harvest the wool in a humane way rather than by what’s called mulesing, a practice of cutting strips of wool bearing skin from sheep.
You get some idea on her website of the sophisticated colours and combinations of colours that Kavanagh, an LSAD graduate, creates specifically designed to match various skin tones and have generated an enthusiastic reaction worldwide.
Now she is one of 24 finalists competing in the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Award, the finals of which are being held tomorrow in Google’s Dublin HQ. www.olann.ie