A Sustainable Department Store is returning to Shoreditch for three weeks in December for the much anticipated Edition No. 2. We’re excited to welcome back some of our favourite ethical independent makers as well as introduce you to some new like-minded brands we think you’ll love.
From 6th-22nd December, we’ll be filling 81 Redchurch Street with a curated range of consciously made goods, from beauty and fashion to homeware and lifestyle products. Expect to see vintage garments and homeware from Retold Vintage and Eesome, locally made ceramics from KANA London, handcrafted jewellery by Monarc and much more. Glasshouse Shop will have all your hair and skincare needs sorted with our range of natural and organic beauty essentials.
A Sustainable Department Store is the brainchild of our very own founder, Olivia Crighton and her business partner Meg O’Hara. The pair aim to provide a dedicated space for independent sustainable brands – all of whom are united by their shared appreciation of good craftsmanship and natural materials.
We chatted to some of this year’s designers about what they do, why they do it and their one top tip for having a more conscious Christmas period.
Henri creates elegant yet functional clothes for the modern woman. With a background in pattern cutting, Henri combines her flair for design with a passion for slow fashion that works in harmony with nature rather than against it. Inspired by her love of the Devon coastline and English countryside, Henrietta creates versatile wardrobe staples from sustainably sourced organic cotton. For Henri, sustainability is more than a set of rules, it’s a lifestyle: “I don’t so much apply sustainable principles, they’re a part of me and how I want to live life and do business. I find it’s not about thinking ‘how can I make this sustainable?’ but more ‘how can I create something beautiful?’. Sustainability is a given. It’s creating something that adds value that’s the tricky part.”
“Spend every penny you possibly can with independent brands and local shops. Stay away from Amazon. In fact, delete your Prime account! Spend with the shop around the corner who will value your custom so much more.”
If you’re a salon regular you might have spotted or even sipped from Ana’s handiwork. Our bespoke KANA mugs offer a glimpse into what the ceramicist can create with just her hands and some clay. Her range of tactile, handbuilt ceramics and sculptures are a joy to look at as well as to hold. When it comes to sustainability, Ana encourages us to invest in high quality, handmade items instead of contributing to the throw-away society we live in. As an ethical brand, KANA finds inspiration in people and their stories rather than seasonal trends or fads: “We found London incredibly inspiring – it’s a meeting point of all these different cultures and traditions but at the same time London has established its own way of being, a history we all bring with us from where we grew up. Each person is like a new landscape. And that is as inspiring to me as a weekend away in a new city or place.”
“Invest in good things. Only buy the things that you actually need and buy items that will stand the test of time, that will have a place in your home for years to come.”
Eesome’s curated range of vintage ceramics and accessories for the home encompass everything from Danish pottery and rustic French teapots to Italian terracotta jugs. By carefully sourcing second hand items, Eesome keeps these unique items in circulation, while providing us with beautiful pieces for the home that don’t put a strain on the world’s resources. Often, the appeal of these items lies in their imperfections.
“It’s important to really think about and plan what you are buying. We can all easily consume in a more conscious way with a bit of research and time.”
Monarc Monarc was set up by New Zealand-born model Ella Drake in 2016 with the aim of creating a jewellery brand that had a luxury feel and an ethical conscience. Monarc only uses the finest aboveground diamonds, which aren’t just beautifully cut but 100% traceable. More than 90% of the precious metals used come from recycled materials and the jewellery maker only collaborates with suppliers with similarly strong ethics.
Drake says: “I believe that every decision I make for Monarc should be rooted in good intentions, from the design and the materials to the whole production process, so those wearing Monarc can feel good about the jewellery that becomes a part of their lives.” Ella designs jewellery that’s made to last, “Quality and timelessness are at the heart of Monarc Jewellery. I want my designs to be worn now and passed onto future generations, where they can be reimagined and re-energised by the next keepers’ personal style.”
“Gift wrapping is a simple task that we can easily swap out for a more environmentally-friendly and reusable option. Monarc will be wrapping items in Furoshiki-style, meaning the wrapping cloth made from natural fibres can be used time and time again (or composted).”
From her north London studio, Jessie Harris handcrafts contemporary jewellery using age old techniques. Her made-to-order accessories (which include earrings, rings, necklaces and bangles) focus on clean lines, simple shapes and repeating patterns. By working in small batches with non-conflict gemstones as well as recycled and recyclable materials, Jessie is able to keep waste to a minimum. “Jewellery in its essence is often bought as a special purchase so I try to keep my pieces simultaneously clean, playful and wearable so that my pieces continue to bring renewed joy to their wearer,” says Jessie.
“Take your time when choosing gifts, both in terms of the gift itself and in terms of researching where you find them. Pop up shops are often a fantastic way of shopping a beautifully curated selection of designers, brands and makers that you might not be able to find anywhere else!”
Retold Vintage founder Clare Lewis has a knack for sourcing ultra desirable vintage garments for fashion conscious women who want their wardrobes to be both sustainable and stylish. By celebrating the beauty of the pre-loved, Clare aims to promote positive change within the fashion industry: “Wearing second-hand clothing is one of the most sustainable fashion choices you can make. So at the heart of Retold is the mission to encourage as many women as possible to make their next fashion purchase a vintage or second-hand one instead of something new.”
Rather than looking to the catwalk, Clare sources looks from back catalogues of Vogue and antique stores: “In true vintage form looking back to look forward is a continuous source of inspiration for me, from scouring vintage Vogues, to visiting fashion retrospectives or simply unearthing a piece of treasure at an antique store. One of the joys of vintage clothing is being able to rediscover forgotten pieces and give them a new lease of life.”
“My go-to ethical websites include More This, Less That and Reve en Vert. They will provide me with inspiration on sustainable gifting this year, as well as point me in the direction of local small businesses I can support.”
With its carefully considered fabrics, muted palette and high-quality tailoring, 31 Chapel Lane is your antidote to mass-produced homewares and fast fashion. Instead, this multidisciplinary design house puts sustainability, longevity and functionality at the forefront of its designs. Each piece is manufactured in house using only the finest Irish linen and ethically sourced wool. For this ethical retail destination, reducing waste begins with thoughtful design: “We are interested in the detailing of clothes, how the fabrics are joined and the garments are constructed. There are inherently efficient ways to assemble the various garments and this is often the starting process for a new design. Additionally, the value of the fabric is also a contributing factor to the end design. These are natural fabrics, they’re expensive to work with and as a result, our design decisions cannot be wasteful.”
For Navy Grey, a jumper is only as good as the material it’s made from. For this reason, the brand is proud to make their stylish knitwear from handpicked, superfine merino wool, which is fully traceable all the way back to the farms the sheep graze at. Navy Grey’s eco credentials also extend to its solar-powered offices and use of organic cotton for its labels. Additionally, any yarn not used is recycled by the factory. For founder Rachel Carvell-Spedding it’s about producing less but better quality: “We currently have seven styles of jumper and only add more to our collection as and when we feel there is a gap in the market and we believe that product serves a real purpose. We’re not just about creating more for sales sake.”
“I love introducing a new independent brand to someone through the art of gifting. It shows someone that you’ve really thought about the gift and done your research. I’m also a big believer in just buying one great present for someone, rather than lots of small little things. A great book. A perfect jumper. Warm socks. We all have so many things in our life. Choose one thing above all for each person – and they’ll remember it. Oh and use old newspapers for wrapping gifts – it can look beautiful and is 100% recyclable.”
This Brighton-based vintage shop is an eclectic gathering place for paired down vintage pieces and accessories. Wolf & Gypsy blends contemporary styling with the principles of circular fashion to showcase the versatility of second-hand clothing. It handpicks pre-loved pieces that were originally made with care and attention, that way they last the new wearer for years to come.
“I think just stop and think, don’t get caught up in the madness of buying for the sake of it.”
Join us at A Sustainable Department Store from 6th-22nd December. Follow our Instagram for updates and announcements.
Words: Kyra Hanson