Ethical summer fashion (to the lighthouse)

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My modelling experience to date consists of being photographed from the chin down holding an object from the Decorator’s Notebook shop. A mini terrarium, a serving bowl, a giant vase… sometimes just my disembodied arm edging into shot! So it was with a lot of excitement (and just a hint of apprehension) that I approached the task of a fashion post with some favourite pieces from ethical fashion brand, Bibico.

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After waiting far too long for a warm evening, Joe and I headed to this amazing C19th lighthouse, which is just half an hour’s walk from home. It stands proudly on Black Nore Point, overlooking the Severn Estuary, where it flashed its lamp to ships twice every 10 seconds until 2010 when it was sold to a trust for preservation for just £1.

The British Blanket Company - rust red crossroads picnic rug

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To me, the movement of ethical fashion into the mainstream consciousness is one of the most exciting trends happening right now. Buying fair trade or organic clothing no longer means wearing bulky shapes or hippy styles. Personally, I am incredibly excited by initiatives like Fashion Revolution Day, a positive response to the Rana Plaza tragedy, Toms’ annual ‘One Day Without Shoes‘ and the rise of independent fair trade fashion brands like Bibico, who really listen to what modern women want and create style-conscious clothing with an ethical conscience.

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Each piece in the beautiful summer collection from Bibico is designed in Britain by Nieves Ruiz Ramos (know as Snow), who founded the brand with her husband Tim back in 2008. After a decade spent designing for high-street brands such as Zara, Snow became disillusioned by the treadmill of fast fashion. “The clothes were getting cheaper but the quality was worse and there was no consideration for the people producing these clothes,” Snow explains. “We made a decision to create our own clothing company. A company with a slower ‘back to basics’ approach to fashion focused on creating clothes that were timeless and well-made, rejecting the idea of fast fashion.”

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My floral Flare dress is made by fair trade producers in India and I fell in love with the summery print as soon as I saw it. The cotton has a slight texture and a satisfyingly heavy feel that falls nicely without creasing. I decided to cinch in the waist with a vintage silver leather belt and finish the outfit with strawberry red plimsolls (which actually came out of the box smelling of strawberry laces, I swear it!) and a pink striped pom-pom scarf.

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At five-foot-nothing tall I sometimes struggle with dresses being a little too long, but this one was perfect for me. Just on the knee and modest enough for evenings spent lindy-hopping the night away, which is definitely going to be its purpose from now on! If you like the flower print it comes in five different dress styles, including a lovely shirt dress and a longer-sleeved day dress. The plimsolls are made from organic cotton with recycled rubber soles so they are eco and vegan friendly, and I loved the elastic panel in place of a traditional tongue so they can be worn with our without laces, making them practical for slipping on to scramble over the rocks at the beach.

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Bibico’s beautiful summer collection is available now online or from their shop in Bath, go and check it out and get some ethical fashion loveliness for yourself.

Flare Dress, £69; Adela Red Cotton Plimsolls, £34; Striped Pom Pom Scarf, £29, all Bibico. Silver leather belt, vintage. Picnic rug, £99, The British Blanket Company.

[Photographs: Joe John. This post is written in collaboration with Bibico, who kindly supplied the clothing featured]

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  1. bea says

    This is just the perfect dress. I love the print and had had my eye on it at Bibico. Your pictures helped me finally buy it!

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