The Ethical Fashionista's Guide To Spring 2016

Written by Alicia Taylor of Gather&See

The seasons are a-changing and thank goodness Spring is finally upon us. With it comes a tangible air of hope and new life - the sun is brighter, days longer and new season buds are coming into blossom - you can practically hear the little chirrup of baby birds happily singing away. Plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but for the Ethical Fashionista, the prospect of a whole new season of gorgeous ethical fashion is the icing on the cake. If the Winter droll has finally brought you down let us reenergize and refresh you with some fabulous Spring style tips. Little Miss Sunshine eat your heart out.

Spring Clean Your Closet

In the spirit of refresh and renew, Spring is the perfect time to clear out your closet. If you are looking for a little inspiration then check out Marie Kondo's brilliant Spark Joy,  An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up to help you really assess what you need and what you don't and how to properly fold and organize the items in your wardrobe. Trust us, the way you fold  makes a difference! Take anything you don't wear regularly to your local charity shop or get creative and repurpose items into something new. At the same time think about detoxing your wardrobe - cheap acrylics and polyesters out, organic cottons and sumptuous natural silks in. If you have the basics right you can build everything else around it. Kowtow's divine new Building Block's are exactly the kind of piece we are talking about - Organic and Fair Trade Cotton tops, Camisoles and t-shirt dresses that really will 'Spark Joy'.  

Transitional Style

With all that space freed up, it is time to think about investing in some classic Spring pieces that will work for this in-between season. Its all about layering to create a sharp look that will work for cooler and sunnier days. The starting point has to be a Spring jacket - time to stow away your favourite winter coat and replace it with its cooler, more fun sibling. We adore Swedish brand Maska's summer shirt coat - lightweight but tailored to perfection. Pair it with the brand's divine navy culottes and a plain white shirt and you have an elegant spring outfit. If you are looking to live by Livia Firth's 30 wears mantra, then you cannot go wrong with Kowtow's Literature jacket, a classic black trench that has just the right amount of cool-girl edge to it. And for under the jacket? Simple T's, knits and pants that you can mix and match to your hearts content. A Breton stripe T-Shirt dress paired with an oversize cardigan and little ankle boots or your winter jeans with some more summery footwear - Matt&Nat's gorgeous new vegan footwear collection ticks the box nicely. And did we mention culottes? Cut wide and snug at the waist, they are a must have item for 2016.  And the best thing about transitional - you'll be able to wear through Summer, Fall and into Winter too and for years to come - now that is sustainable fashion.

A Dash of Colour

As much as we love the rich textures and deep tones of winter, we are hankering to lighten things up and inject a bit of colour into our lives. A hint of pink or a shock of blue does just the trick at this time of year and vivid colour was all over the SS16 runways. At Gather&See we are super excited to have just introduced Carla Colour sunglasses - ethically made sunnies in the cutest designed frames and colours. Our pick for spring has to be the oh-so-pretty Pink Haze pair, just perfect for sunny Spring days. For a bolder shade - British handmade accessory brand TINCT's rich red tote looks wonderful with spring stripes and clean whites. If prints are your thing then Danish brand Tricotage have a delicately yellow hued print Joyce Dress which has all of that effortless cool you would expect of a Scandi brand. For a shock of colour then everyone's favourite Fair Trade Ghanaian brand Osei Duro is the place to go - we are big fans of the Costa Rib dress in both blue and orange for an artful play on colour. Just what the doctor ordered.


The Return of the Dress

Whilst winter was all about covering up Spring gives us the opportunity to shed our layers and welcome back the dress. Romance is a big trend for SS16 with dresses playing a key role. Whether you go for short and sweet, maxi and dramatic or somewhere in-between, we just love a dress. At Gather&See our silk Vega dress from Maska spells out spring with it's delicate and colourful print whilst a slightly harder edge option of Kowtow's Turning Pages Dress which is sleeveless with a roll neck and midi hemline. Tricotage's Sharon Shirt Dress is an ideal Spring workwear dress - pair it with some chunky brogues for added sass.

The Art of Accessorizing

What better to match with your renewed Spring glow than a little bit of bling. Edge of Ember combines global influences, socially responsible practices and artisan know how to create achingly cool jewellery - the Myla ring and matching Myla cuff are two of our spring choices that will coordinate beautifully with this seasons silhouettes. In terms of arm candy, use spring as an excuse to pair things down and make use of an elegant clutch - for something chic that will go with everything you can't beat TINCT's navy number, just the right size to hold the essentials but not big enough to cart around your bathroom cabinet - which we are thankful for! Finally, with that sun very much shining this spring it is time to get your shades out. Finlay&Co's handcrafted sustainably sourced wooden frames have gained a celebrity status and we can see why. The Beaumont Half Rims and Bosworth styles have a slightly nostalgic feel that we just love for Spring.

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