The crop of fashion brands coming up this summer is more than thrilling – although there are plenty of them. sustainability, or the smart sidestepping of Brexit fees, so why not toss a couple of them in your overnight suitcase?
Knitwear for the summer? It’s officially one thing. Hope Macaulay has been creating cheerful knits from her home in Portstewart, Co Derry since 2018. Exuberant hand-knitted pieces are perfect for summer in Ireland; pull one over your favorite summer dress on a cloudy day.
Made from responsibly sourced giant merino wool – a biodegradable and sustainable material – Macaulay fans include pop star Halsey and model Gigi Hadid. The multicolored Wonderland chunky knit cardigan, £ 320, made from 100% merino wool, has a rainbow appeal. In terms of Brexit-related fees, the brand is buyer-friendly. Due to the Northern Ireland Protocol, customers in the Republic of Ireland can purchase Hope Macaulay without incurring any customs charges or tariffs.
Another label for color lovers is Olivia Rubin. While the name may sound familiar, its new Be Mine collection, which launched at the end of May, has an extended size range, offering up to a size 24 in clothing and a XXXL in loungewear. A frothy Olivia Rubin maxi dress will bring a touch of fun to any summer look. Pair it with Birkenstocks or chunky sandals from Teva to avoid falling into the saccharin.
Manchester-based Neon Rose is a feminine design collective that is growing in popularity for a wide range of sizes – just ask their 60,000 followers on Instagram. The brand’s curvy collection, where summer staples like small flowers, shiny ginghams and trendy collars are all guest stars, up to size 28.
While Danish favorite Ganni can only offer up to a size 18, he has kudos on the sustainability front: introducing a rental platform in 2019 and recycling dead inventory into future collections. In addition, the brand is committed to a responsible fiber policy. It is committed to using only independently certified cotton, viscose and polyester, so your next Ganni purchase can be (relatively) guilt-free.
The fashion industry is far from perfect when it comes to sustainability, but recent advancements are aimed at reducing its footprint on the planet. When Rixo created her first capsule swimwear collection, she turned to Q-Nova; a durable nylon fiber obtained from regenerated raw materials. The swimsuits and bikinis (from € 74) feature a hand-painted mermaid print; sure to be the envy of others on your next swim in the sea. Bonus points go to Rixo because the label has also absorbed VAT and taxes: the price Irish customers see there is the total they will pay .
Omnes is a perfect summer brand that strives to bring sustainability to the masses. It’s young too. Launched only in July 2020, the brand struck a chord with buyers previously held back by the often prohibitive price of ecological fashion. Transparent about the production process, what’s attractive about Omnes is the price – statement pieces start around the € 50 mark. Discover the lime green camisole, € 44.50, and the bias cut midi skirt, € 52.50, two essentials for any Irish holiday.
Closer to home, To Dye for by Johanna is to follow. Founded by Johanna Dooley – formerly of Borrower’s Boutique – this is a collection of tie-dye t-shirts and clothing inspired by the country’s obsession with loungewear. The brand has already been acquired by Brown Thomas as part of its Create initiative, which launched on July 6. Pair the Deux Fleur organic cotton t-shirt inspired by love-child, € 20, with relaxed cropped jeans and sandals when the sun is shining.
Are you looking for the perfect sun hat? Unisex, ethical and multifunctional: Ulster brand Imara celebrates the classic fisherman’s hat, with a touch of originality. Designer Amy Condell calls her the “witch” – a reversible hat / bag hybrid, from € 69.50. Each is made from 100% locally sourced flax, and with every purchase, Condell plants a tree on his family farm in Donegal.
Other linen lovers should follow suit and fall for a piece from Sleeper, a Kiev-based label founded by former style editors Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa. Her ethically crafted dresses are loved by celebrities such as Lena Dunham and Elle Fanning.
Meanwhile, craftsmanship is at the heart of designer Sindiso Khumalo’s inspiring pieces. Hailing from Cape Town, Khumalo studied design for Future Textiles at Central St Martins: the result is a brand that fuses conscious living with African storytelling. Passionate about collages and watercolors, Khumalo’s prints are original and luxurious. The creator is available at Net-a-Porter, as part of its Vanguard program.
Thanks to Brexit, European fashion brands are experiencing a peak in popularity. Two Spanish labels, in particular, suggest a sort of very “now” cool. La Veste, the darling of Spanish designer Blanca Miró and designer Maria de la Orden, has resuscitated fashion’s obsession with Peter Pan collars; Equally appealing, however, is its new line of lightweight tailored jackets and Bermuda shorts. Meanwhile, Barcelona brand BPCR offers playful resin jewelry that is just the bright side of nostalgia.
Finally, if you’re still lacking inspiration, treat yourself to a scroll on Toast (Eu.Toa.st) – a site often considered the best-kept secret for fashion insiders thanks to its clever selection of clothing and housewares. There are linen twill summer dresses, easy espadrilles and ruffled Italian cotton poplin tops that evoke relaxed summer days – and a sort of considered luxury.