Equa Blog - News, Views and Ethical Styling...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

My top pick at London Fashion Week

Just a quick word from me to let you know about my absolute favourite show at London Fashion Week this weekend.

There was no question from me that the best event just had to be ethical lingerie designer Enamore's 'You Had Me From Hello' catwalk, which saw a combination of traditional catwalk modelling alongside cabaret performances. It was stunning, as I'm sure you can gather from this photo here.

Generally speaking, London Fashion Week's Estethica, the ethical fashion zone, was the best show so far, with far more designers showing than before.

I always love visiting the Beyond Skin stand. Their shoes are so wonderful and the designers are always a pleasure to gossip with.

The best new label showing there was Ajna - her beautiful knits from Peru are so luxurious.

There will definitely be some new labels featuring in our SS10 collection. Watch this space!

Shop for Enamore at Equa
Shop for Beyond Skin at Equa

Love, Penny x

Style Tips - Autumn Winter's Top Trends, plus exclusive discount

As London Fashion Week comes to a close, our energies at Equa are directed once again to the current Autumn Winter 09 season. New stock is arriving in store regularly, and each time a delivery arrives we feel the same excitement we first felt when buying the collections, all over again.

To celebrate the new season, we've made available an exclusive 10% off all purchases for our loyal blog readers. Simply add the promotional code LFWEQ09 at checkout to qualify for your immediate discount.

Meanwhile, the team here at Equa are all suitably style-savvy and trained to give you great styling advice, personalised to your look and needs, both online and in our Islington boutique. And one of my absolute favourite parts of owning Equa is seeing beautiful ethical fashion ranges go from showroom to shop-floor, and hopefully to your wardrobes!

Even at this early stage of a new season, between us we can spot the hottest fashion stories coming through. Here are our insider style tips:

Flexible dressing
We're definitely seeing a move from distinctly tailored pieces for smart events and casual pieces for weekend towards items that can move more fluidly between many occasions. As a general eco style rule we definitely say buy less and buy better, both in terms of quality and the amount of use you will get from a garment. We love to see in our new ranges, garments that will suit a laid-back style but also can be easily dressed for a meeting or a party.

Designers to try: People Tree, Alchemist, Outsider
Pieces to see: People Tree Owlen Jersey Dress (pictured), Alchemist Sheer Silk Dress, Outsider Slouch Pencil Skirt

An easy way to get through the transitional seasons, when it's neither overly warm nor too chilly, layering is definitely still a popular choice for Autumn Winter 09. We recommend experimenting with layering rather than opting for the every-day tops over vests look. Try blouses under party dresses, belted oversized cardigans over shorts, vests on top of long-sleeved tunics. Head for the unexpected. It won't always work, but when it does you'll find a new favourite outfit for life. Take your pick from the expanding collection of organic cotton items at Equa, perfectly weighted pieces for layering.

Designers to try: Stewart + Brown, Annie Greenabelle
Pieces to see: Annie Greenabelle button pleat dress, Stewart + Brown gathered tank

Winter blues
We mean winter blues in a good way of course! The entire blue-toned spectrum, including aubergine, plums and purples, provides the most striking alternative to perennial winter black and grey this season.

We find it's a colour range that flatters most skin tones and hair shades, though we must admit it looks simply stunning on pale-skinned brunettes.

If you can't face yet another draining grey day, popping on something a little regal will lift your complexion and your spirit. Want to introduce the colour sparingly, then opt for an accessory, like Matt & Natt's purple pool bag.

Designers to try: Nancy Dee, Matt & Natt, Kuyichi
Pieces to see: Komodo Ellie dress (pictured), Matt & Natt Fairbank Pool bag, Kuyichi Mimoza cardigan, Nancy Dee Queenie dress

Statement jewellery & accessories
We love, love, love our jewellery & accessories designers. We just know that our chunky brass pieces from Made will be best-sellers this season (fab Christmas presents too, by the way), and Leju's boldly coloured larger necklaces are simply transforming against a simple neckline.

I especially adore the Made Hayley Mardon rhombus Necklace, pictured. Born in Zimbabwe, Hayley is a graduate of the prestigious jewellery design course at Edinburgh College of Art, where she won a Precious Metal Bursary Award. This beautiful piece will be pride of place in my own jewellery box!

As far as bags go, Equa will be stocking Matt & Natt's fantastic new holiday collection. Suitable for vegans, expect a funkier spin on the classic Matt & Natt shape, at fantastically affordable price points.

Designers to try: Made; Leju
Pieces to see: Made Hayley Maron Rhombus, LeJu Mora necklace

Thursday, 17 September 2009

From New York to London Fashion Weeks, Equa celebrates international ethical fashion

It's a fantastically exciting time to be in ethical fashion as September heralds the international catwalk season and, with it, a showcase of the very best ethical fashion and beauty across the globe.

Over the space of six weeks Fashion Weeks in New York, Paris, Milan and London will seduce, excite and entertain us with the shapes, styles, colours and fabrics we'll be wearing for Spring Summer 2010.

Of course, ethical fashion is about enduring style over seasonal fast fashion, but its still vital for ethical fashion designers, especially those we stock at Equa, to stay in touch with what influential design giants like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and emerging talents like Luella, Christopher Kane and Danielle Scutt are up to. After all, what these visionaries create now we will all want to wear in seasons to come, just the most ethical versions we can find!

Equa will be at London Fashion Week from tomorrow onwards, spotting the most gorgeous collections and exciting fashion stories, and of course doing a thorough edit of the best of Estethica, the ethical zone which now features over 30 ethical collections.

Meanwhile, we're also inspired by Paris and New York's Ethical Fashion Shows, both of which are hotbeds for new talent. Find out more about these on Greenmystyle.com. Click here for Paris and here for New York.

At Equa we're having our very own celebration of international ethical fashion & beauty. We stock ranges from across the world, here are some of our favourites:

From Europe

Alchemist, pictured left, is a label for women who want to look feminine without being too girly. With a focus on perfect tailoring, the Dutch brand is certified by Made-By, which means you can track production back to its source.

A best-seller for us, there seems to be no shortage of fans for French ethical trainer brand Veja. To make their trainers Veja uses organic cotton canvas from Fair Trade cooperatives in Brazil, natural latex from the Amazon Rain Forest which requires no tree felling, and 'ecological leather' which Veja developed in 2003 which is chrome-free and tanned with organic compounds only.

From the UK

Annie Greenabelle
Who doesn't love Annie Greenabelle (pictured right and top). Using end of roll fabrics and Fair Trade Foundation certified organic cotton, her cute dresses appeal to the girl in all of us.

Lingerie to feel exquisitely sexy in, and all ethically produced, much from vintage fabrics. A guilt-free Agent Provocateur if you like!

Beyond Skin
Pioneers in ethical footwear, Beyond Skin uses environmentally friendly fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton and recycled bottle tops, to create collections that are stylish and wearable across seasons.

From the US

Another new arrival in store and online this season, Whish is a range of bath products that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, TEA and DEA-free as well as petrochemical-free and use all natural and organic ingredients. We feel a pampering session coming on!

Stewart + Brown
Quintessential quality casualwear in organic cotton, Mongolian cashmere and sustainable fabrics such as hemp and Tencel from this American design duo. The pointelle cotton vests are popular all year round. Great for layering.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Komodo launch heralds a new AW09 season at Equa!

It's our mission to bring you ladies the most stylish, affordable and ethical fashion collections out there, and we think we've hit gold on all three of those magical ingredients with a brand new arrival for Autumn Winter 09. For the first time, we'll be stocking key pieces from much-loved ethical fashion brand Komodo.

At nearly 20 years' old, Komodo is truly an ethical fashion range ahead of its time. While the UK high street began building itself a mountain of poor quality, unethically manufactured, fashionable for a nano-second clothes, Komodo founder Joe Komodo was busy designing easy to wear, timeless pieces in environmentally-friendly fabrics, made under the principles of fair trade and in small factories that could be monitored.

But it's not just Komodo's ethical foundations that make it a shoe-in for our wardrobes this season. We also love the instant wearability of a Komodo item - it will fit seamlessly into your current wardrobe - and the affordable prices. It feels great to be offering you another range at high street prices without high street pain!

We predict the Komodo Shang shift dress in charcoal grey pictured above will be a best-seller. Cut to fit and flatter a feminine shape, with twist detail at front and back, raglan sleeves and a wide neckline, it's Breakfast At Tiffany's chic, and only £78. Mark this one down as a new wardrobe staple and breathe a sigh of relief each time you have precisely 30 seconds to muster up a look smart enough for a meeting or early evening drink.

Nodding to AW09's boyish trend, Komodo's Kay skirt adds cute braces to a tulip skirt, while the Otis pleat-front shorts are just calling out for a pair of brightly coloured opaques. Looking for something for lazy Sunday strolls? Try the Ellie dress or Ollie blouse, made from organic cotton, and trust that you're doing your bit for cotton farmers too.

Watch this space for more news about new brands at Equa and the Autumn Winter 09 trends we predict are on the rise!

Shop Komodo here
See all new season arrivals at Equa

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Organic Fortnight begins this Saturday

The annual celebration of all things organic gets underway at the weekend, as Organic Fortnight sets sail. Running from September 5 to 20th, and organised by the Soil Association, Organic Fortnight is a nationwide campaign highlighting all the great things about organic products, including organic fashion.

Up and down the UK, people in shops, schools, cafes, churches and farms will be hosting events and raising awareness about why organic is the healthy choice, the best for animal welfare and the right thing for the planet.

Equa is a long-time supporter of organic fashion - we love the fact that organic cotton clothes have been farmed in a non-toxic environment using methods of production that are safer for farmers and textile workers. It makes the items all the more beautiful in our eyes.

We imagine you've already sampled organic food, and perhaps even organic wines, organic bedlinen and towels, and organic beauty products too. If you've not chosen organic fashion for your wardrobe before, now's the perfect time to try.

At Equa, we have a range of organic cotton tops, dresses and jeans available in our online shop, and at our Islington boutique too. If you'd like help choosing your first pieces, our instore stylists will be more than happy to help! After all, every organic item that becomes a cherished piece in your fashion ensemble helps to eliminate the serious health risks that intensive non-organic cotton farming poses for workers.

Organic pioneer Stewart+Brown (AW09 season is pictured above) is one of our most loved casualwear ranges. As well as using organic cotton, items are also dyed using low-impact dyes, and 1% of proceeds from sales are donated to charity.

For a perennial staple, we'd highly recommend the long pointelle tank. It's a classic racer shape and so delicate and soft to the touch we recommend it gets washed with your favourite lingerie! It's currently reduced to £31 from £45.

For an Eighties fashion twist, try the Stewart+Brown long merrow tank in blueberry. If you're particularly brave, dress with leggings and stack up the fluro bangles. It reaches mid-thigh, so if you're still sporting glowing summer legs it could even be worn as a mini-dress.

Organic jeans are another great option. Infact, we can't think of a good reason not to wear organic jeans. Switching to organic for the most worn item in our wardrobes is a small step that can have a very big positive impact. We're sure you'll love Kuyichi's skinny fit Sive organic cotton jeans, currently reduced to £92 from £120.