The Ethical Fashionista’s Guide to Summer 2016

Written by Alicia Taylor, Contributor to The Good Trade

Can there be any sweeter season than summer? Long days, soaring temperatures and the promise of vacation season ahead, it is the time of year we all look forward to. It’s also the time of year to flaunt your style - from vacation wardrobe planning to wedding and party dressing,  the summer fashion stakes are high. Instead of getting yourself worked up in the heat, follow our ethical fashionista’s guide to summer dressing to help make preparing your ethical wardrobe for the summer easy breezy. All you need to worry about is laying back on your sun lounger and ordering another Pina Colada.

Stay Cool

As summer heats up, we all know it can be a struggle to maintain a cool, glamorous exterior when you are sweating buckets underneath. This is where your choice of fabric is key and why, as if you needed any more persuading, choosing ethical is the best way forward. Cheap man made fibres such as polyester are not only bad for the environment but they don’t let your skin breath and will leave you sweating it out. Instead choose cool organic cottons like Kowtow’s billowing numbers and Beaumont Organic’s everyday dresses or gentle silks courtesy of LA x Ghanaian brand Osei Duro. Not only will you look effortlessly chic, you will feel it too. In the spirit of staying cool, remember to stay in the shade and of course protect your skin with a high factor sunscreen. Sunburn is never a good look - the ethical fashionista only wears eco-friendly and paraben-free (try Ultrasun or Korres).

Summer Separates

With gorgeous weather abound you will want to spend your time outside enjoying the sunshine rather than inside rummaging through your wardrobe. Make life easy for yourself by investing in summer separates that can be mixed and matched - minimum effort maximum impact. Komodo’s Fair Trade tops and bottoms including our favourite khaki culottes are brilliant wardrobe staples which can be worn with a multitude of tops - we especially love Tinsel's beautifully made feminine numbers. Osei Duro’s Taifa top and Lorem shorts shout on trend as a coordinated duo but work brilliantly individually also. Easy breezy indeed.

Sunshine Friendly Accessories

Summer is a great excuse to bring some bright shots of colour to your wardrobe and colourful accessories are a great choice for adding that flash. British heritage handbag brand TINCT has launched a colourful collection including pieces in the most delectable deep orange - perfect for setting off your summer tan. Not only that but their Tote bag is big enough to act as a chic carry on for flights. For when you get to the beach Osei Duro's rope handled tote is perfect for carrying around your bikini and beach towel in its fun tie dye print. Protect your eyes from the bright sunshine with Carla Colour's sugary sweet shades in a variety of pastel colours that look good enough to eat. Finally make sure you choose some comfy and cool footwear - Matt & Nat's vegan silver sandals are a no brainer.

Vacation Packing Like a Pro

The key to vacation packing is going light. Easier said than done I hear you say. Well think about what you are actually going to be doing day by day and how much you actually need - you will be surprised to find that you don't need 10 bikinis (through if you are looking for one we recommend Lalesso and Bantu Wax). Light weight fabrics are your friends - rayon, Tencel and soft cottons are perfect and you will find don't need ironing - no time for that! Another clever tip is to roll your clothes up instead of folding to help give you more space and reduce creasing. Some of our top holiday pieces include Conditions Apply's gorgeous summer cover up dress - soft and feminine it looks amazing over a bikini meanwhile People Tree's gorgeous Zandra Rhodes designed dress is floaty cool - reminds us of a Greek Island in its blue and white colouring. Osei Duro's fabulous Bena Scarf is multifunctional as cover up, sarong and scarf, a travelling essential if ever there was one.

Best Dressed Guest

Summer wouldn't be summer without a good old fashioned wedding. What to wear is always a bit of a conundrum - weddings can vary drastically in style and how formal they are, you always want to steer clear of anything that might be too close to what the bridesmaids are wearing and traditionally white is a no no. In the UK we always have to think about the weather (cliche I know) and a summer coat is an absolute must - Conditions Apply and Tinsels have the best options there. Otherwise its about choosing something stylish and unique with just the right amount of glamour. Conditions Apply's summer collection of colour blocked pieces in gorgeous pastel colourings are ideal - the maxi dress is a great choice for more formal weddings meanwhile their stunning jumpsuit will be sure to garner you plenty of compliments as will their embellished statement jacket. A bit of sparkle always goes down well at a wedding - if you are looking for separates Beaumont Organic's Saida skirt is pretty as anything and perfect for dancing the night away.

Whatever your plans, have a beautiful summer!!

Steph Hogg & Alicia Taylor are contributors to The Good Trade and founders of Gather&See, an online ethical boutique that offers carefully curated collections from the very best in sustainable fashion talent from around the world. Not only do each of the brands they carry have a great story to tell, they also fit into at least one of the Gather&See's 6 founding principles: Fair trade, Organic, Recycled, Eco-friendly, Handmade and Small Scale Production. For more on ethical fashion and more Spring 2016 trends check out Gather&See.Com