If you thought ethical fashion was the preserve of female consumers, Brothers We Stand will make you think again. Set up in solidarity with the people who make clothes, the site offers one of the best collections of sustainably made menswear I’ve seen.
It’s the edit that make Brother We Stand, er, stand out. Founder Jonathan Mitchell has worked hard to feature items that challenge preconceptions of sustainable fashion as worthy but ugly. This is a sharp selection, with independent designer Alec Bizby (a recent graduate from the London College of Fashion; handmakes his entire collection in his studio in Haggerston, East London) a standout brand on the site.
Layout is spectactularly user-friendly. Item description is accompanied by a section ‘footprint’ (a brand’s ethical practices) which you can choose to visit or not, depending on how vigilant you’re feeling that day. In a move of admirable transparency, product description includes a paragraph entitled ‘Areas for development’ – aspects of manufacture that could be further improved.
The site operates according to three principles: manufacture must respect both people and planet; products must look good and perform well; products must last. But enough of the science bit. Here are my ten picks from the site.
1. Navy Wool Jumper with Denim Elbow Patches by Alec Bizby: Slouchy, sexy, made from an end of line wool fabric, if only he made it for women. www.brotherswestand.com
2. Liverpool Reversible Trench in Ebony + Anthracite by Ecoalf: The epitome of louche elegance, this water resistant reversible trench is made with 58 recycled plastic bottles. www.brotherswestand.com
3. Fairtrade Rooftops T-Shirt by People Tree: Hand printed black t-shirt with rooftops design in 100% organic Fairtrade certified cotton. www.brotherswestand.com
4. Recycled Board Short Endangered Bee Print by Riz Burgh: There’s a sting in the tail on these board shorts, crafted from Riz’s signature fabric – recycled plastic bottles. www.brotherswestand.com
5. Charcoal Jacquard Kimono Cardigan by Alec Bizby: Wear anywhere kimono cardigan crafted from a soft jacquard fabric sourced from a mill in Edmonton, just up the road from Alec’s studio. www.brotherswestand.com
6. Fire Hose Overnight Bag by Elvis and Kresse: Win friends and influence people with this handsome overnight bag made from recycled British fire hose and a lining of military parachute silk. www.brotherswestand.com
7. Aspn Down Recycled Jacket Mustard by Ecoalf: This camouflage print ultra-light hooded down jacket made with 80 recycled plastic bottles should do the trick in wintry weather. www.brotherswestand.com
8. Sailor Organic T-shirt by Rapanui: Because nautical stripes and an anchor on organic cotton can never really go amiss. www.brotherswestand.com
9. Black Jacquard Drop Crotch Trousers by Alec Bizby: Smart enough to wear out, soft enough to lounge in: Bizby’s drop crotch trousers are the finest of their ilk. www.brotherswestand.com
10. Chinos in Navy by Monkee Genes: These casual chinos have been developed to hang well but with a degree of recoverable stretch. www.brotherswestand.com