The 7 best ethical all-in-ones
If there’s one thing that a sustainable fashion brand loves, it’s an all-in-one. Whether we’re talking dungarees, jumpsuits or boilersuits, for some reason, you can bet your life you’ll be able to find one in linen or TENCEL or even – gasp! – organic corduroy. Swoon. I’m not sure why one-pieces are always catered for so well in the eco-clothing market – maybe the environmentally minded also have ultimate comfort at the top of their wish list – but whatever the reason, I’m into it.
The jumpsuit I’m wearing here is from People Tree’s V&A collection from last year. It’s made from TENCEL – AKA The Wonder Fabric – and it’s a dream to wear. It saw me through last summer’s heatwave as a far cooler option than my usual shorts and vest combo; I wore it for a weekend away when it was so hot we couldn’t walk the dog on the pavement in the middle of the day, and both he (the dog) and I had to get in a cold bath in our hotel in the middle of the night to cool off. An incident we’d both rather forget, I think.
During the day in that jumpsuit though? Breezy and non-sweaty, thank you very much (TENCEL actually wicks moisture away from your skin). I nabbed a pair of TENCEL trousers from this year’s V&A collection right before my shopping ban, which I am feeling very grateful about.
My sustainability journey has brought me into contact with some lovely new (to me) brands which are making my year-long shopping ban feel like a bit of a mistake. But just because I’m not buying new clothes, doesn’t mean I’m not going to celebrate the labels doing it well, because if you are in the market for a new jumpsuit, these are the most responsible places to buy them.
YEVU Clothing ‘Day/Night’ 100% cotton boilersuit, £153.18 (yevuclothing.com)
Thanks to the reader who alerted me to this beauty on Instagram. It is a STUNNER. YEVU is a fantastic brand. It empowers women in Ghana by providing them with skills and a sustainable income. It also makes absolutely beautiful clothing – this cotton print fabric is a traditional West African wax technique sourced from female wholesale vendors at Makola Market in Central Accra. It has a wealth of information on its website meaning it is completely transparent – you know exactly where these clothes are coming from. Oh, and there are a whopping TWENTY FOUR jumpsuits and boilersuits available on its website. Roll on next year when I can buy one…
Lucy and Yak
Lucy & Yak ‘Eddie’ 100% organic corduroy boilersuit, £68 (lucyandyak.com)
I’m going to hold my hands up and say I love targeted advertising on Instagram. As someone who can’t have children, I spent a lot of time filtering out the stuff about babies and pregnancy and it worked! Now I just get dogs and flat shoes and sustainability. Dreamy. And Lucy & Yak is a brand that pops up time and again. There’s nothing wishy-washy about these product descriptions; in this case, you even learn how many hours it took to make by hand, and that this corduroy is organic and uses low impact dye. Oh, and look at that reasonable price tag. Top marks, Lucy & Yak.
The Keep Boutique
Thinking Mu ‘Toldos Tomboy’ 100% organic cotton jumpsuit, £95 (thekeepboutique.com)
This delightful store in Brixton Village is dedicated to sustainability, and as an added bonus, if you’re lucky, Tibbs – the resident whippet – will also be in store when you visit. This particular jumpsuit strikes a chord with me because it reminds me of one I had as a child. It was smade from a striped seersucker fabric from Cloth Kits – remember them? – and my Mum got it a good 5 years too big for me on purpose. We rolled up the legs and sleeves for years and I got so much wear out of it. It was really sad when finally, aged 11, I had just got too tall to fit into it. But there’s a story of making clothes last if ever I heard one.
Sancho’s 100% organic cotton herringbone dungarees, £52 (sanchosshop.com)
I came across Sancho’s recently when its co-founder, Kalkidan, brilliantly upstaged Nigel Farage at a Brexit party event in Exeter (hop over to the brand’s Instagram account to read her account of the incident). And I’m so glad I did! This company was set up as an antidote to fast fashion, which Kalkidan and Sancho’s other co-founder, Vidmantas, had experienced the damaging effects of first hand when visiting countries like Ethiopia. As well as stocking other Fair Trade, ethical and organic brands, they have their own label which includes these lovely dungarees, and have two shops in Exeter. Crucially, they keep their prices really affordable.
Beaumont Organic ‘Margaret’ 70% modal jumpsuit (the other 30% is polyester), £245 (beaumontorganic.com)
Beaumont Organic is a British ethical label. Its pieces are the kind of classic cool that will stay relevant in your wardrobe for, well, probably until they wear out, actually. This particular pair of overalls comes in three colours, and there’s also a more casual long sleeve option in grey and black lyocell. It also has a cracking offering of summer dresses, so worth checking them out too while you’re there.
People Tree ‘Mimi’ 100% organic cotton jumpsuit, £115 (peopletree.co.uk)
People Tree is a market leader when it comes to ethical fashion, and I think its designs have just got better and better in the past couple of years. I love this organic cotton jumpsuit, not least because it’s not incredibly long on the leg and looks like it might actually fit my 5ft3 frame (this is what impressed me about the jumpsuit I got last year too, and am wearing in the top image). I’m very keen on its ‘Jessie’ yellow dungarees, also made from 100% organic cotton, too.
Stalf 54% linen boilersuit, £175 (stalf.co.uk)
Made for women by 10 women in Lincolnshire, Stalf offers just 12 styles in its collection, but they are all designed with longevity in mind. Not only that, you can see all of the women making the clothing online, so there’s absolutely no doubt that they were manufactured in anything but great conditions (and in a pink studio, where apparently the kettle is always on). Stalf has a focus on slow fashion and as such, it doesn’t follow trends; rather it simply listens to what its customer is asking for.