Weekend Read : Now is the Time to Go Sustainable

We were delighted to see an exciting new statistic (who knew numbers could be thrilling?) from Google Trends, showing that over the past three months search interest in “How to live a sustainable lifestyle” has increased by a whopping 4550%. As that's a philosophy we believe in and, as mums of young children, see as the way forward for everyone, this makes us happy. But not totally surprised, as we've also noticed an upsurge in people searching ethical fashion through Gather&See.

We hope that all our visitors, new and returning, find it entertaining, rewarding and thought-provoking, and a big thank you to everyone who has found something to wear and make life more joyful in these constrained times. You are helping to support our many small brands which bring employment to young designers, and to disadvantaged people and traditional artisans, often in economically deprived areas.

The lockdown has been hard work and stressful but has given us time to think about the benefits of cleaner air, quieter streets and a less frantic existence, and how we can bring a little of this into the eventual new normality. Fashion, we know, is one of the most polluting industries but big efforts are being made and individuals can help in many ways with their own choices. Gather&See gives you the story of each brand it features, and how it is sustainable, and here are just some of the ways our brands bring you a more sustainable wardrobe:

Better-made clothes - both in quality so they last longer and fit better (as that great fashion philosopher Dame Vivienne always says, "buy less, buy better”), and in how they are made to reduce environmental impact, such as organically made cotton which uses less water and resources, or artisan production in one small area to reduce travel.

Choosing slow fashion - interesting designs that are not trend-driven but are versatile and can be worn in different ways over the seasons and years, like reversible pieces from Clo Stories and Riyka.

Pieces made from recycled materials - now a trend at the highest fashion levels. Some of our more approachable but equally beautiful items come from Riyka (clothes), Been (bags), Mayari (jewellery) and Kind (jewellery)

Pieces that support sustainable employment for the makers, often in developing countries. Our brands include Asime print clothes and AAKS woven bags, both made by Ghanaian women.

And a final tip - if you love your clothes, look after them so they last. Wash exactly as instructed, clean only when necessary (it’s less environmentally friendly) and mend small faults before they grow. A neat, contrasting mend is on-trend - darning is the new knitting! You heard it hear first...