Brands that give back

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Years spent working in fast fashion, witnessing the sheer scale of waste and ecological damage, inspired Valentina Karellas to create her own, slow fashion knitwear brand. Sweet off-kilter jumpers, skirts, jackets and accessories are handmade in Valentina’s small London workshop, using salvaged overstock from other brands and factories, washed using natural soap hand washing processes (check out this mini clip). Vegans can commission work in cotton. Check the blog for tips on visible mending and tips on making use of old fabrics. Plus, for every purchase, £5 is donated to bloody good period charity.  https://valentinakarellas.com


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When East London resident Nika Diamond-Krendel asked herself why an area feted for creative talent didn’t seem to enjoying the impact of its fame, she learned that, in just thirty years, its thriving leather industry had dwindled to nothing. As brands began to outsource production to cheap - but less ethical - factories, jobs started to disappear and skills were lost. Nika wanted to create a brand that created work and preserved traditional craft, enabling old spirit to sit alongside its new energy. The result was was handbag label Paradise Row, bringing together people with different skills to support and revivify local craftmanship and which invests a percentage of its profits back into the local community. https://www.paradiserowlondon.com/


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Katie Lightfoot, founder of luxury and ethical British fashion brand Mercy Delta, launches #LifeAndSoul after her brother, Sam Baldwin, aged just 33, took his own life last June. “Sam had never shown any signs of depression,” explains Katie. “He was successful, had many friends and came from a close family. Always the joker sporting a cheeky grin, friends often described him as the life and soul of any party. Depression didn’t present itself to us in the way we would have expected it to.”

Acid-bright unisex shirts feature Baldwin’s iconic swallows prints, representing positivity and optimism. In the UK, 84 men are said to end their lives by suicide every week. “By launching #LifeAndSoul, we hope to shift preconceived notions of what depression and suicidal thoughts might look like,” adds Katie. “There should be no stigma in asking for help.” 20% from every shirt will go to male suicide charity CALM. mercydelta.com