The 5 best ethical clothing and sustainable fashion stores in London

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Finders, keepers: The Keep Boutique, London (Photo: The Keep Boutique)

Here it is: our run-down of the tried and trusted stores in London where you don’t have to trade ethics for aesthetics

Dahhlings! London Fashion Week is back. Yes, yes, muchos kissy kissy, runway swag and VIP hullabaloo – indeed, a spectacle like no other. But how sustainable is it? Well, if last September is anything to go by, the answer to that is, thankfully, more than it used to be. More and more big-money brands seem to be ebbing toward a more sustainable fashion ethos – just check out Karl Lagerfeld’s environment-sensitive “eco-show” in Paris last month (attended by ethical fashion A-lister Livia Firth, no less, and with top model Kendall Jenner leading the parade). But it you can’t afford Chanel, don’t fret – we’ve got you covered for ethical clothing shopping. These stores are chock-full of properly made, long-lasting, fair-made threads that happily wear their sustainable smarts on sleeve:


1. The Keep Boutique

(Photo: The Keep Boutique)

(Photo: The Keep Boutique)

The Keep Boutique offers exactly what you might expect: clothes to cherish and hang on to. Fortifying the sustainable soul of Brixton Village, the store hosts a curated collection of affordable, ethical fashion. The Keep was born out of a desire to seek out and promote fashion brands with true integrity whilst carefully curating the selection to ensure style comes first, says owner Kate Richards. The store is a labour of love, a never-ending search for pieces to keep and cherish. You can buy both women’s and menswear from the recently launched website, too, but there is an adorable attention to detail within the shop itself; the clothes rails are made from natural tree branches, and the windows are beautifully decorated. Appreciation of quality and craftsmanship is literally all over the shop in this petite treasure trove. 32/33 Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR. Open Mon-Sat, 11am-6pm; Sun, noon-5pm. www.thekeepboutique.com.


2. 69b Boutique

(Photo: Absolute Vintage)

(Photo: 69b Boutique)

This independent women’s boutique is all about style with a conscience, and feels way too sleek to be eco at heart. However, despite appearances, all its brands – whether fairtrade, organic or ethical – have strong sustainable fashion cred and are consciously minimising their impact on the planet. The store stocks a comprehensive list from the well-known likes of Toms, People Tree and Braintree, along with new emerging designers. 69b Broadway Market, E8 4PH. Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-6.30pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-6pm. www.69bboutique.com


3. Here Today, Here Tomorrow

(Photo: Here Today Here Tomorrow)

(Photo: Here Today Here Tomorrow)

The clue is in the name: dispensing with the “gone tomorrow” culture of fast fashion, Dalston’s Here Today, Here Tomorrow sells sustainable brands and houses an in-store studio where its own collection is designed and made. The enterprise is a collaboration between three women, Anna-Maria Hesse, Julia Crew and Katelyn Toth-Fejel, whose mission is to break down the barrier between designer and consumer. Having the studio shop connects customers to the manufacturing process, showing people the craftsmanship required to create unique handmade products. Some pieces are made in-house, others are designed here then made by skilled artisans in Nepal – but, fairly traded, of course. 30a Balls Pond Rd, N1 4AU. Open Tue-Sat 11am-6pm. www.heretoday- heretomorrow.com


4. Absolute Vintage

(Photo: Britta Jaschinski/Absolute Vintage)

(Photo: Britta Jaschinski/Absolute Vintage)

From modest beginnings selling shoes in Portobello Market, Absolute Vintage opened its bricks-and-mortar store back in 2003, boasting colourful displays of era-defining and quality vintage clobber for ladies and gents. Since then, it’s expanded and now has a sister store called Blondie just a stone’s throw away on Commercial Street. Compared to its slicker, designer-focused sibling, the flagship contains undiluted stock: everyday vintage wares at reasonable prices. Shoe collectors in particular are spoilt for choice. Remaining true to its Portobello roots, it’s a wild one and can come close to chaos, but if you enjoy the hunt as much as finding the treasure, it will not disappoint. 15 Hanbury St, E1 6QR. Open daily, 11am-7pm. www.absolutevintage.co.uk


5. The Third Estate

(Photo: The Third Estate)

(Photo: The Third Estate)

This well-curated, uncluttered corner-store just off Camden Road arrived in London in 2012. Everything in here is made with care: “No animal ingredients, no sweatshop production,” we’re promised. But, even if that doesn’t move you, the style here stands up. For guys, shirts from sustainable- style standard-setters People Tree are a highlight. But really, the kicks are the thing: colourful, retro-esque Macbeth skater sneakers for casual; great-value, vegan-friendly desert boots by Hooves for smart. Still, the small schlep from Camden Road pays off for girls, too: we love cosy dresses by Bibico. Happily, now there’s no need to compromise ethics for style. 27 Brecknock Rd, N7 0BT. Open Tue 11am-7.30pm; Wed-Sat 10am-6pm. www.thethirdestate.co.uk

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