Once known as ‘Cottonopolis’ and the center of the world’s cotton manufacturing industries, Manchester has seen a recent resurgence in the fashion world, becoming home to some of the world leaders in what is now known as the “fast” way.
But attitudes and buying habits have slowly changed, and although the cotton and textile manufacturing trade in the UK has all but died out, a small group of dedicated independent designers and designers have settled in the town. in direct response to major fashion brands.
As sustainability, fair wages and working conditions become increasingly important, these freelancers have thrived and continue to thrive, using sustainable and recycled materials, limiting their carbon footprint and being ethical throughout. the supply chain.
Here are the best fashion brands in town right now; innovative designers and manufacturers leading the way in sustainability…
Probably the best-known sustainable brands in town, offering a selection of contemporary pieces from their NQ flagship store, which revolve around organic cotton and eco-friendly materials. 97% of the production comes from Portugal and they are keen to emphasize the importance of low impact transport logistics on display.
Founded by Hailea Crichton, Deidei is a women-led sustainable vegan fashion brand that aims to create circular collections and clothes that last. The brand’s products only use durable fabric types including; bamboo, corozo, tencel and cupro to create stylish pieces that can be dressed up or down. Deidei is an online-only store, but regularly hosts pop-ups across town where you can buy her clothes in person.
Joanie Clothing is always determined to take steps to become a more environmentally friendly brand. You won’t find its products on the high street, as the brand produces small runs of collections improving its supply chain along the way to reduce waste where possible. It emphasizes 60s and 70s silhouettes and regularly features bold prints from local designers and artists.
Emiko Studios designs and creates to order planet-friendly clothing for adults and children. The Manchester-based brand draws inspiration primarily from workwear collections, handcrafting all of its products using fair trade mills and organic and natural fibres. She also uses leftover waste from product scraps in her collections, ensuring the brand is 100% sustainable.
Emiko Studios Shop
Marie Blanche Vintage
White Mary Vintage only began its journey a few months ago, but the brand has already made an impact, embodying all that is exciting about sustainable, vintage fashion. Owned by retro collector Bee Whittaker, the brand upcycles overlooked vintage gems to create one-of-a-kind pieces for fashion lovers and rule breakers, especially those who are earth conscious.
White Mary Vintage Shop
NSIAH is an ethical and eco-friendly brand inspired by nature and printed in a UK-based factory powered by renewable energy using organic cotton. Founder, Monique Nsiah has always appreciated the beauty of nature. As part of her photographic hobby, Monique often finds her attention drawn to the way the sun’s rays pass through the branches of trees or the intricate patterns of a flower, which she has incorporated into her designs.
Eclectica Vintage is another brand that reuses old vintage gems, this time in the form of bold, psychedelic 70s print shirts. ‘from the heart’ household items that she regularly sells in Stockport’s covered market.
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Pirkani offers a range of minimalist t-shirts and sweaters, all made with 100% cotton and sustainable materials like Lyocell, hemp and bamboo. A highly transparent brand, they maintain extremely high ethical standards, ensuring that all workers in the supply chain are paid a living wage, provided with health insurance, vacations and have access to free daily meals.
The very wonderful Gwen Harris started Gray Milk during the first lockdown after being laid off from her full-time job. The brand’s philosophy is to be as sustainable and inclusive as possible, offering bold and bright printed clothing inspired by the 90s grunge era and children’s cartoons. Gwen designs and manufactures everything from a shed in her garden, creating innovative dresses, mini-skirts, tops and t-shirts, alongside her homeware brand, Buy strawberries.
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Sustainability is at the forefront of everything Sken Studios stands for. Owner Sabira uses only recycled silver in her collections and champions a zero-waste approach to design, meaning none of her product scraps ever go to waste. The brand caters to those with a more minimal taste, but certainly not without a sense of humor. Inspired by a breadth of emotions experienced during the early stages of parenthood – bewilderment, exhaustion and general insomnia anxiety – Sabira’s collections are honest and relatable.
Sken Studios Shop
The Norah Store in Stockport is not a brand per se, but it focuses on a community of slow, female-led, sustainable small businesses to provide shoppers with a refined, planet-friendly experience. You’ll find brands such as House of Sunny, Arthur Apparel, Intentionally Blank and Lisa Says Gah among beautiful homewares and planet-friendly skincare lines curated by her team.
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To make sustainable, ethical and organic clothing “for a healthier fashion industry, planet and society”. Phloem products are made in Fair Wear certified factories powered entirely by renewable energy, and with all production stages complying with strict fair labor standards.
Tops, shorts and underwear, all handcrafted to order in owner Faye Evie Joynes’ Manchester workshop – so they’re all free of the transport-related emissions you’d expect when made in-house. ‘foreign.
Evie Joynes shop