Spring-Clean & Curate Your Wardrobe for Spring 2017: 20 Tips + Eco-Fair Fashion Brands & Shops

Trends + individual style + sustainability? Can you have the best of ALL worlds? Hell yes, you can! Here’s my brief & crisp eco-fair fashion/ decluttering guide for Spring 2017.

Featuring a few of my all-time favourite brands, some of which I’ve already covered on BEAUTYCALYPSE, while some other brands are my latest “discoveries” (thanks to the trade fair tandem ethical fashion show + green showroom and the INNATEX), my curated picks are based on current trends, on my personal style preferences and, of course, on a bit of luck – it’s always possible that I’m missing some truly outstanding ethical brand, so let me know in the comments which brand portraits you would like to see here!

Part 1. Spring-Clean & Curate:
tips on saving time/ money and unique style development
Part 2. Spring 2017 Trends – Ethical Chic:
fashion trends and where to shop them sustainably
Part 3. Favourite Online Shops:
my fave one-stop fashion hot spots online
Scroll down to whatever is most relevant for you!

Let’s start with a few tips on how to spend less and care more.

Part 1: Spring-Clean & Curate

Tip #1:
(Re)access your size chart, your body shape, your best colour, the upcoming season, and your lifestyle

This truly is the foundation of all things style: our bodies change, our lives change – so reassessing your basics in the beginning of each season is not a bad thing, for both your style and your budget.

In order for you to make decisions like “keep or toss?” or “does this dress flatter me?” you need to have a sense of what looks good on you and what looks crappy on you.

You have to be aware of your current or maybe changing lifestyle and upcoming occasions as well – what good is it to have a dozen ball gowns if you’re not going to any balls? There is that joke that 70% of garments we own are for when we lose weight, while the remaining 30% are for when we lose our mind. Don’t be that person 😉 because instead, you can save your fashion money for more meaningful, more flattering and – who knows? – maybe even life-changing fashion pieces!

Another thing: as you reassess your measurements, your lifestyle changes and your schedule, you also need to honour your style development. What has changed? What do you like now you didn’t like before? What are you tired of wearing? Take notes.

Also, in the beginning of each season, try to lay out what events are coming up for you. Weddings? Beach holidays? A new executive position? A hiking adventure? Will you need new things, gear or garments? Note that as well.

This brief assessment will help you plan your purchases and your budget, and I strongly suggest not looking for trendy things just yet; I’ll get to this in a moment.

Making a regular seasonal update to your wardrobe two or four times a year (and notice that this doesn’t necessarily mean making new purchases – you can shop your own closet) is a fantastic way to save money in the long run by ticking off three boxes:

1) You know exactly what you’ve got and the chances of you getting a gazillion-th pair of same jeans are zero, you’re also less prone to spontaneously shopping useless stuff;
2) You have the opportunity to shop your closet or to make new purchases, ypu get to enjoy all the fun in the process, and you’re good till your next closet reassessment next season;
3) You see in time when garments need to be replaced, and are not rushed to buy just anything to fill the gap, so you can save money by waiting for a good deal.
4) You have less interest to look for random trendy pieces, instead you can hunt down – by shopping or by shopping your closet – special little fashion treasures that fit your season best.

Tip #2:
What is your style persona?

I like playfulness in my life – and I am very serious about it: a friend and I only got through the rather boring and unhappy early school years by pretending we were medieval princesses time-warped into this age one day or space adventurers studying an alien race on another.

A style persona is a concept that I‘ve developed over the course of the last couple years to help myself have more fun with fashion, again.

You see, after decades of wild style experiments when I would dress up every day, my fashion sense said, “nah, I’m outta here” and left me wearing the same pair of pants with the same odd shirt every day. Or briefly: I was bored. But I wanted to have that love for style back in my life. And I created a styling aid just for me.

What is a style persona?

The idea is based on the fashion stylists’ work for film. When a stylist creates a wardrobe for a show’s or a movie’s protagonists, the goal is to make people look the part. Sometimes it’s cartoonish and exaggerated (Cruella DeVille, Harley Quinn), sometimes it’s just a very powerful means of character design (Phryne Fisher of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the complete GOT cast).

I’m not sure if there are stylists of fashion gurus out there who work with this strategy, but I want to say that I didn’t copy anyone. It just came naturally to me when I was examining the outfits of my favourite movie and game heroines – Aeon Flux, Underworld, LOTR, The Elder Scrolls and the Mass Effect franchises and on and on and on…

My style persona is a role for a season or an unspecified amount of time that highlights something about my character I want to highlight. I like to give the style persona a fancy, fun name that’s memorable and meaningful.

I won’t share mine but here are a few examples:
Travelling poet and secret dragon huntress! Warrior ice queen! Steampunk girl boss! Space pirate captain! (You can go less crazy if that suits you better, I was just whipping up stuff from my own subconscious here.)

Root your style persona in what you’re passionate about and in your style and season evaluation, make a moodboard with styles, quotes, even just words that fit this fascinating being.

Again, try to think in an exaggerated way – as if describing a movie part. What are the colours? What are the movements? Is it fluid or tailored? Is it sensual or dystopian?

But, you may ask, what does creating a persona do for me?

Basically, it makes dressing yourself and shopping for your new, seasonally updated style easier, memorable and fun. Think of if as an extended, and more you-based version of “what would Jackie O./ Beyoncé/ Daeneris do?” – you create a memorable style persona and stick to it. Mispurchases, uninspired outfits? Bye-bye!

Tip #3:
Basic wardrobe consistency – you like it, you stock it

This is sooooo important in being both stylish and budget-savvy! If a piece is so good you literally keep wearing it, logic suggests that the lifespan of same garment won’t be forever. Be prepared – in the long run this will save you time and money.

So, whenever you’re able to find a basic that suits you to a T – price, quality, style and function – try to stock this garment, so you have a replacement. What basics can you “stock”?

I keep a mini “stock” of my favourite winter and summer leggings (I prefer them to pants anytime these days, but a decade ago it would’ve been skinny jeans), my favourite sportswear, my favourite hosiery, and my favourite functional and underwear. But how is doubling your purchases budget-friendly, you wonder?

Well, it will result it less or no impulse buying plus no need to rush (which can always add up to costs) when replacing an item is due so you can take advantage of and keep an eye out for promotions.

Does it make a mockery of minimalism and curated/ capsule wardrobe concept? No. I’m not suggesting you should have three dozens of your favourite pairs of jeans, just one spare pair for the sad day your favourite basic disintegrates and can’t be repaired.

Which leads us to:

Tip #4:
Reuse & Repair

Using what you’ve got and repairing what you’ve got is the best. It can spark your creativity, become an opportunity for truly unique style and just be fun. So what can you do?

Learn how to take care of your clothes properly, read care tags before you buy. My personal bit of advice: don’t buy garments that require dry cleaning. Dry cleaning is not even close to being eco-friendly, it’s expensive, and you have the toxic fumes released into the environment and into your closet and just too close to your skin.

It’s also worth noticing that some companies offer repair workshops to their customers, others have programmes in place to take back garments if there are parts that need to be recycled (things like membranes in outdoor clothes) – check out for example Kings of Indigo denim and for outdoor wear Patagonia.

And now, let’s look at the Spring/ Summer 2017 trends – and how to shop them sustainably.

Part 2: Spring 2017 Trends – Ethical Chic

After each pick, you’ll find a link to the brand or company, where they’re from and, if available, a link to a BEAUTYCALYPSE feature on this specific brand.

Tip #5
Trend: denim total look

In 2017, you can’t overdo denim. The more, the better! At the ethical fashion show, Feuervogl caught my eye – a German brand specialising in colourful urban denim styles that go beyond a simple scheme of “skinny, flared, boyfriend”. This family-run company’s GOTS certified products stand out with interesting finishes, amazing fabric quality, versatile cuts and a juicy colour palette.Feuervogl, Germany

Tip #6
Trend: extravagant shades

Flashy sunglasses are in this season. If you need a new pair but plan to keep it longer or maybe make it part of your signature style, check out the eco sunglasses by Antonio Verde. Models left to right – Marino black and yellow 60€, Valencia blue 50€, Barcelona panther 60€:Antonio Verde, Belgium

Tip #7
Trend: skinny silk scarf

Whether you look for a 2017 trend – the skinny scarf – or for a classy classic carré, silk is so versatile and so beautiful… it clearly should not be about boiling silk larvae alive.

Based in India and Germany, Cocccoon offers handloom peace silk pieces that are produced sustainably and organically, without toxic dyes and without cruelty – the (cute) silk moths can peacefully emerge, and the cocoons are then processed into precious raw silk. And for pieces that sustain a rural region’s economy the green way, the price tags are absolutely fair, too.

From left to right – Maharashtra Colors of India Scarf (149€), Virodh Peace Silk Handloom Scarf (149€):And this is what a cocoon left behind by an adult moth looks like (picture taken @ green showroom Berlin, January 2017):Cocccoon German website, Cocccoon in the Abury shop, Germany/ India

Tip #8
Trend: bold colours & floral prints

If you want bold colour – strawberry, coral, emerald, smoky blues, mango orange – and contrasting, urban floral prints, let me briefly introduce and praise this 1999-founded company based in Cologne: Lanius offers genuinely sustainable and genuinely fair fashion for women – the signature styles are sleek, colourful, bold, elegant and tailored just beautifully. Check out the online shop and keep your eyes peeled with their upcoming Autumn 2017 collaboration with German hosiery brand Kunert.

Lanius, Germany

Tip #9
Hosiery trends: fishnet’s back alright + colour

The “matchy” looks, basically, when you are wearing one colour – anything but black, really – head to toe are a very powerful style statement that will turn heads (and requires you to be a bit daring, too). So, what do you think about tights that come in the colour of your coat?Even though this interesting collab between Kunert and Lanius is planned for autumn 2017, three styles from the Econyl-made Kunert BLUE line are already available in shops and online: 15 den, 30 den and a sexy black fishnet with a back seam, 16-18€.

Kunert, Germany

Tip #10
Trend: athleisure vibes

Athleisure is a trend that’s here to stay.
And the ethical, organic and Peta-certified vegan-friendly brand Lillika Eden is a favourite of mine.Their effortless signature style makes me crave and/ or order almost each piece they release, like the ruffled tee (65€), the sleek black leggings (35€), or the organic jersey sweater with the pink gold zipper in the back (55€).

Lillika Eden, Germany | BCBtW portrait

Tip #11
Trend: shirt dress

Shirt dresses are huge in 2017, and my INNATEX discovery Mila.Vert has the loveliest shirt dresses ever. Made of organic linen or denim, the dresses are timeless and classy. Given the hem length, you’ll probably want to pair them with a pair of leggings if you don’t like to bare your legs in the office – or you can style them as a summer coat altogether. Approx. 145€ each.

Mila.Vert, Slovenia

Tip #12
Eco swimwear galore

A summer with no swimwear? No way. And I have a one-page guide for sustainable swimwear for you guys. Check it out!

Tip #13
Shoe Trend Spring 2017: straps, metallics, spring boots

I’ve seen the Portuguese brand’s pieces in the Berlin Avesu shop, but I only had a good chance of having a closer look at the range when visiting their ethical fashion show booth. NAE vegan shoes offer exactly that, vegan shoes, for women and men. From left to right, the Spring/Summer 2017 trend-savvy fashionista picks: Irene orange (89€), breathable anti-allergy, waterproof summer ankle boot Saka (130€), Bare gold (99€).The main problem with vegan “leather” is that, by definition, it has to only be free from cruelty – but it still can come with toxic PVC coatings or dyes not free from critical toxins if not produced in an eco-friendly way. NAE works differently, using cork, eco microfibres, Piñatex (a pineapple leaf fibre) and recycled PET. Styles are urban, classic, sporty – and comfy, made by shoemaking pros.

NAE fashion with compassion, Portugal

Tip #14
Shoe Trend Spring 2017: Killer heels

While I am not a big supporter of living your life on heels, I own two pairs of the fabbo The Glow Brand stiletto pumps – vegan, tox-free, made in Italy heels that give back – to wear “on occasion”. I invested in one pair of nude-powder pumps but I also bought one flashy neon green pair to match different outfits. Did I mention that these shoes are completely waterproof? For more feats, check out the post I linked in the end of this tip.A little bit of advice: the design is such that the pumps have a “toe-collete” – so if your toes or the front parts of your feet are quite elongated, it might not fit very well. I had a friend who complained, so take this into consideration.

The Glow Brand, Germany | BCBtW portrait

Tip #15
Jewellery trend: bold statement vs. dainty boho

Ethical jewellery comes in all styles and shapes. You can get colourful statement bracelets or dainty boho charms.Colourful bracelets made from tagua nuts coloured with food dye: Abury, Germany | Precious stones and ethical silver: Raw Copenhagen, UK | Read my interview with Raw Copenhagen founder

Part 3 Favourite Online Shops

Here are a few slow fashion online shops that I like. If you look for more of a one-stop fashion shopping experience, these might be for you. Check them out!

Tip #16 Komodo

My first encounter with the UK-based online shop for ethical fashion Komodo, GOTS-Certified by Soil Association Certification, happened @ ethical fashion show this January. The wide range of basic dresses, tunics, tops, pants with a very chillaxed vibe allows for a nice shopping experience and EU-wide delivery is free starting at 50€ purchase.

Komodo, UK

Tip #17 Grüne Erde

More GOTS-certified basics of excellent quality? Yes, please! The Austrian company Grüne Erde (“green Earth”) is known for superb classics and top quality basics. All you need for the office, for a night out in a jazz bar, for your yoga retreat or for your summer holiday in the Bretagne.

Grüne Erde, Austria

Tip #18 Wunderwerk

No compromises: the award-winning sustainable fashion shop Wunderwerk is IVN BEST/ GOTS certified.

Although I hate to say it, I’ll say it nevertheless – Wunderwerk’s urban prints, geometrical lace, oversized and layered styles and a simply gorgeous denim range don’t look their sustainable part. The designs are amazing!

Wunderwerk, Germany
Or: Wunderwerk Berlin flagship, Kastanienallee 11 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg

Tip #19 Outsider Fashion

Ethical fashion with a touch of French glam? Oh yes. Dramatic tux jackets, playful material-mixed dresses, dreamy blouses and sleek Breton stripes – this is 2009-founded Outsider Fashion. I’m a sucker for their striped bamboo socks, the water-based nail polishes, and the adoooooorable knits. Do you sew? Outsider offers fabulous organic fabrics, too.

Outsider Fashion, UK

Tip #20 Armed Angels

Let’s wrap up with THE address for organic basics. Modern, relaxed but gently (=wearably) trendy styles are at the heart of the Armed Angels collection. 90% of the styles are vegan-friendly, ethical wool is used, however – no leather.

Armed Angels, Germany

* * *

So what do you think, Adventurer? Will you curate and “green up” your wardrobe this Spring? Please share this article with your fashionista friends – let’s help the ethical companies bust the myth that eco-fair fashion is boring or not affordable, together!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

9 Responses

  1. I am not really sure what kind of style I have. It really depends on the mood and situation AND what I actually like most in my wardrobe this moment. It can be a 1950s dress or biker boots or a running tights… However I think your post finally convinced me to leave some really odd and old blouses behind me that I am not wearing for sure again. All the time I cleaned everything (usually twice a year) I thought it might happen I need them even I know better. Anyway, thanks for the very detailed post as always and for recommending Wunderwerk for me. I am super happy with my jeans.

    P.S. love the cocoon picture!

  2. T.

    I saved this for the weekend to read. Great advice but can we see you wear some of that stuff too?

  3. Inspiring! I am wondering what style persona I should have. I wore an outfit (with hat) the other day, I looked like my grandmother in the late 1940s; wasn’t quite what I was going for but….. it was odd to realize that I had changed so much from this time last year.

  4. Anna

    That’s a lot to take in. The brands are very different but their styles are looking amazing 😍 The closet curation system deserv a post of its own.

Comments are closed.