Natural Selection

We all know style is important, but for those who are more environmentally conscious, these three labels are worth checking out. UK streetwear label Maharishi creates its line of clothing using hemp and natural fiber materials, while Singapore-based UK designers Belle and Dean and the O Line by Dorothy Perkins use mainly organically farmed cotton. I-S brings you a lowdown on these labels.
The fashion conscious must have heard of Maharishi, the über cool (and ultra luxurious) street wear label that was founded by Creative Director Hardy Blechman back in 1995. This must-have among London’s hipper and trendier folk still reigns as the one of the most sought after fashion brands today—its combination of sleek cuts and even sleeker embroidery designs (featuring images of skulls, dragons, mountains and just about everything in between), with hemp and natural fiber materials, make it hot even after all these years. No other label can attest to being environmentally conscious and high fashion all the same.
In an exclusive interview with I-S, Blechman states that “the label has always been about bringing positive change within the fashion industry with our products. But not forgetting the style aspect, we also try to collaborate with various artists such as Futura and the Andy Warhol foundation to come up with exclusive products that are highly desirable all the same.”
While Maharishi and its sister line, MHI, have been coveted the world over for their edgy designs, few realize that the label was the first to use recycled materials and military surpluses. Organic cotton, which helps to lessen the amount of harmful chemicals used in cotton production, is also one of the staple materials in Maharishi garments. For its Autumn/Winter collection this year, look out for recycled pieces as well as sweatshirts that are organically farmed, further solidifying Maharishi’s status as one of the most influential, environmentally conscious and progressive fashion labels ever.
Maharishi is available from Blackjack, #01-10 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd., 6735-0975.
Belle and Dean
Based in Singapore, Belle and Dean was founded by Brits Dean O’Sullivan and Issy Richardson. Their men’s, women’s and baby wear are made to last and of designer quality, tagged with surprisingly affordable pricing (with baby rompers starting from $15, and men’s and women’s tanks from $24 and $22 respectively). The duo started their label here because they believed in the benefits of organic clothing and wanted to spread the word. They aim to see change in Singapore, as “we’d like to see Singapore catch up with Japan or the UK in terms of eco-living…where organic food, energy-efficient homes and sustainable clothing are established and growing,” says Richardson. “We think that it is only right that people who are in a position to do so like us, should support protecting our environment.”
Made from the long staple variety of organically farmed cotton, the result is soft unbleached rustic white plain T-shirts, ribbed cotton tanks and also T-shirts that come with hand-drawn screen prints of endangered plants and animals. As a former archaeologist, Richardson specialized in animal remains and injects some of that experience into her designs. Detailed illustrations of mystic looking peacocks, grizzly bears, funky doe-eyed giraffes, wild rabbits and soulful Catalan donkeys have proved popular, and are printed on the tees using dyes free of lead. The cuts are flattering and as the tops are kept very basic, so they go well with almost anything and will live long in your wardrobe. Belle and Dean is celebrating its sixth month of success in Singapore with a Christmas sale.
Log onto their website now to purchase, or call 9389-9132.
O Line by Dorothy Perkins
While not popularly known to be environmentally friendly, the UK female high-street brand Dorothy Perkins boasts a little known O Line that should be a hit among the fashion and socially conscious. Don’t believe us? Just check out its T-shirts and tank tops that boast lines and logos such as “Recycle,” “Plant More Trees,” “Save Energy” and “Turn Off The Taps.” Made entirely out of organic cotton that is grown without pesticides or genetically modified seed and ripened by the sun in a natural environment, the tops have a soft vintage washed look to them, and simply paired with jeans or a cropped jacket, you’re almost good to go.
Tops from the O Line are now on sale for $13 or less, and available from #01-007 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Blvd., 6336-2761.