Fashion Icons Who Support Sustainable Style

With London Fashion Week in full flow, it is sometimes hard to believe that an industry that is perceived to be shallow and vanity based can also be doing something good for the planet. But the 21st Century has seen the rise of recycling, re-using and sustainability when it comes to all areas of our shopping lives, and that includes fashion. We re-use out plastic carrier bags, or better style buy an eco bag, we look for organic cottons and fabrics, and there has been a push to buy British to reduce our carbon footprint. Even the most stylish of fashion parties can now be environmentally friendly, with companies like Little Cherry providing biodegradable cutlery and tableware and party supplies in the UK’.

When it comes to fashion Icons, there are a few ladies who lead the way when it comes to caring for the planet. From embracing veganism, to showcasing sustainable design on the red carpet, these ladies show that you can look amazing without it being at a cost to the planet.

Livia Firth

When it comes to sustainable fashion, Liiva Firth is the queen of the Red Carpet. using each event to launch a green carpet assault. This years Met Gala saw her wearing a dress made from pineapple leaves, a by product of the pineapple harvest. She is also one of the founders of Eco Age, which advises big brands on how they can improve their practices to make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is one of fashion’s most eco conscious names. The designer, and brand, are vegetarian, and produce a wide range of vegetarian, non leather bags as a real alternative to luxury designer leather goods. The dress worn above by Livia Firth is a Stella design using organic silk, once again as part of the green carpet challenge. Stella has said about her designs:-

I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was one of the first high profile names to show that veganism could also be applied to the red carpet. She helped to bring vegan shoe brand Beyond Skin to the forefront as a beautiful brand that showed that red carpet shoes did not have to be leather or suede, and then created her own line of vegan shoes, explaining that:-

“As a vegan, it’s been challenging finding designer shoes made of alternative materials. This collection offers a great selection without compromising quality or style.”

Even if designer labels and collaborations are out of your price range, it is easier than ever to buy into the sustainable fashion message. Charity shops and vintage fashion allow us to reuse and recycle our wardrobes, whilst there are more brands like Gudrun Sjoden who use organic fabrics and look to supporting projects in the developing world that show fashion can be a force for good.

What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion?


Fashion With A Heart – Shoes By Shaherazad

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Fashion is often considered to be vacuous, to be all about appearance with very little substance behind it. But sometimes you come across a brand that is aiming to change lives too. Shoes by Shaherazad is doing just that, one step at a time. The ethos of the brand, the brainchild of Shaherazad Umbreen,  is all about empowering women through fashion, both by creating beautiful and elegant heels that can be worn for 18 hours as women work and frankly kick ass without having to sacrifice their femininity and style, but the brand also seeks to empower women and girls living in poverty through the ‘Solidarity by Shaherazad’ programme.

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The idea behind ‘The Eighteen Hour Heel’ is fantastic, a godsend to anyone who has to stand on their feet for long periods of time, and yet still loves the look and feel of wearing heels. Shaharazad has looked at the elegance and grace of flamingos, able to balance on one leg for long periods of time, and has created a shoe which distributes the body weight so that the shoes are comfortable and wearable for much longer periods of time than the average shoe. Another design feature that makes them wearable for 18 hours is that they can be transformed from an elegant, no-nonsense court shoe for day wear, to a beautifully embellished evening shoe through the addition of ‘slip on shoellery’. All this, and they are British made too.

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But I think the really exciting part of purchasing a pair of heels from Shoes by Shaherazad is the philanthropic element, knowing that your shoes are actually making a difference to the life of women and girls around the world.  The ‘Solidarity by Shaherazad’ programme, working in collaboration with Global Giving, directly funds projects that provide sustainable futures for girls, through work and education. Currently women have been empowered in countries such as Kenya, Peru, Pakistan and Palestine. As Shaherazad explains:- “These are heels which have the power to do good and make many women and girls happy.”

Beautiful shoes with a conscience. This can only be a brilliant idea.

Elite Fashion Show – it’s almost time.


Following a very successful inaugural event last year, fashion is returning to the Burlington Hotel, Birmingham this summer as the Elite Fashion Show in association with Creative Media Design returns this Sunday. (24th July) The initial event last year was proclaimed as  ‘The finest fashion event in Birmingham outside of the Clothes Show’ and this year the show has attracted a host of local celebrity guests including ITV presenter Sameena Ali-Khan, DJ Dan Kelly and ‘White Dee – Dee Kelly’, the breakout star of Benefits Street. There will also be incredible performances by musician Esther Turner and international dancer Shelley Anderson as well as 14 designers showcasing exclusive collections for the event including London Fashion Week and Vogue accredited designers. It promises to be a glamorous, glossy event.


A total sell out!

The show, and the ideas and ethos behind it have been pioneered by the extraordinary  Joshua Williams, who is Mr Birmingham 2015-17. The event shows that fashion and glamour can be used as a force for good, with a charity basis to the show – all proceeds are donated to leading mental health charity, ‘Mind’ and humanitarian charity, ‘Beauty with a Purpose’. The event is  not-for-profit, with the standout attraction being the the midpoint of the show, which will see ‘Elite’ rebrand into ‘Express: Looking good, feeling good!’  This section, in association with Mind, will see the Elite Fashion Show models joined by people from the community with an experience of living with mental health illness. This stance of defiance is a further step in  breaking the stigma that is so often attached to mental illness and those who live with it on a day to day basis, either through their own experience or that of living with someone who is suffering.

Joshua states:-

“Fashion as a whole demands perfection. With visionary designers breaking boundaries within fashion to create collections that make an impact such as Alexander McQueen, it’s no wonder the industry is high paced and high pressure. With the fashion industry often being portrayed so negatively in terms of mental health, I think it is vital to include this part in the show in order to demonstrate unity between the industry and those suffering. This set will allow real people from the community with a lived experience of mental health to gain confidence through shattering stereotypes associated with their illness in a dynamic and encouraging environment. It is a way of making a statement and saying mental health illness is nothing to be ashamed off”.


The event in association with Creative Media Design aims to elevate the status of the Birmingham fashion industry whilst giving emerging and established designers the opportunity to showcase their collections in the heart of the second city. The show is now a total sell out, and promises to be quite an event.

See you there!

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