The rise of sustainable fashion in Hackney

The fashion search engine, Lyst, has reported that searches for ‘sustainable fashion’ increased by 66 per cent in 2018. Consumers who careful about what they purchase are looking for labels that are do good for people and the planet.
The Hackney-based companies we have talked to below are some of our favourite ethical alternatives to fast fashion companies.


■ The young brand that smashed its Kickstarter goal last year in just over 24 hours turns materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill into stunning premium accessories. Think recycled plastic bottles turned into zip tapes and linings for their bags, or leather industry offcuts and trimmings milled into a powder and pressed together to form the lush recycled leather used for their totes and clutches.

Handmade in a small artisan studio in East London, all BEEN London bags are named after our favourite places – Columbia Road Crossbody, London Fields Tote and Wilton Way coin purse. And every order is packaged into recycled boxes by The Camden Society, a social enterprise which trains and employs Londoners with learning disabilities. These guys are also challenging the opacity of the fashion industry by putting their entire supply chain from zips to delivery on a block chain based digital passport sewn into the labels.

Founded by a former news journalist, sustainability lecturer and Hackney resident Genia Mineeva, BEEN London has just been selected as one of UK’s FUTURE 20 startups and is already making waves among sustainably-minded celebrities. The founder says they’ll be tackling our disposable coffee cups next.


■ Sustainable vegan menswear clothing brand, Rozenbroek, has hosted
a launch party in Clapton to debut their new organic wardrobe essentials range, all made in Yorkshire using solar energy. Garments are individually made to order, which not only minimises waste, but helps develop a lasting and personal relationship with their customers.

With their repair or recycle service, they strive to promote longevity and value. Their aim is to give the power back to the consumer to help create the much needed shift in the market place.
Rozenbroek Unit 17,
The Factory, 21-31 Shacklewell Ln, E8 2DA


■ JOA takes clothes that local charity shops cannot sell, cuts them up, and remakes them into jackets. This all happens in their own making hub, and 30 per cent of profits goes back to the same charity shop. Co-founder Julie Chaussende said: “Indeed, fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, creating carbon emissions, chemical use and landfills that destroy wildlife and alter our climate. That is why we keep each step of the process as local and transparent as possible, and pay the London living wage to all our employees,”

JOA challenges fashion consumption by introducing unique, one-off jackets made of pre-loved garments. Mixing innovative pattern-cutting and edgy aesthetics, they are designed for adaptability. They also offer a sentimental service, that allows any of your old clothes to be remade into a JOA jacket.

Julie said “JOA is always going to operate locally, and in the future, we aim to have many different JOA hubs all over the UK. We are turning today’s fashion system upside down and envision an industry that puts people and planet first!”


Words Cassie Quinn

■ The Seam is a new social enterprise that makes it easier to get our most-loved clothes made or mended. They connect skilled seamstresses to people in the neighbourhood who are looking for repairs, alterations, made-to-measure garments or even embroidery work.

To find the best tailors and seam stresses in your local neighbourhood, visit


■ Stour Space in Hackney Wick runs regular workshops. Hosted by Rachel Johnson of Code Street Clothing and Louise Halswell of Fuudhoods, ‘Scrapworks’ teaches simple DIY tricks for mending your clothes. Check out their free workshops on the first Thursday of every month.


■ Rental fashion is set to be another big game changer in fashion consumption. When you have a series of weddings to attend, buying a different outfit for each event can become excessive but platforms like Higher Studio are changing this. Here you can browse and rent a gorgeous Issey Miyake dress for a special event removing the build up of unworn dresses in your wardrobe.

Words: Yasemin Cusack