I recently wore British brand Merci Me London to the Environmental Media Awards in Los Angeles. The awards recognize the huge influence entertainment wields over the public and how that can be used to spread environmental awareness in ways both subtle and strong; producers, directors, actors, writers, musicians and celebrities nominated for an EMA Award share a passion for the environment and a socially conscious ethos. Whilst walking the carpet discussing sustainable issues, the decision to wear ethical fashion seemed astute!
Founded by the London-based designer Economics graduate in 2008, Merci Me London can be found headquartered in East London. The young designer is quickly becoming known for classic chic and contemporary with an edge - the lime green silk dress I wore to the media awards was inspired by classic glamour and feminine luxe, providing no exception to Mercy's minimal design approach. In fact the designer recently launching a collection which eradicated the need for zips, buttons or fastenings. "Everything is either simply worn, draped or tied."
For Merci Me, design and manufacturing all taking place around the capital city is a non-negotiable for ensuring quality and efficiency, (a challenging but thriving route for the near 3,000 designer fashion businesses in the UK). The Made in Britain movement is a crucial one, actively supporting communities and offering, opportunities for employment in a declining sector of the UK economy - there are approximately 150 thousand people employed in the UK textile manufacturing industry today, one sixth compared to about 30 years ago - and it also provides a direct means to reduce the amount of shipping and transport involved in the supply chains for the brands' products, reducing the carbon footprint along this chain in the design process. According to Ogole, "It is a continual process of trying to find a fabric that is not only great quality, but is available in the UK or in particular made in the UK." This tenacity may well pay off, according to a recent Alliance Report ('Repatriation Of UK Textiles Manufacture') there has been a much needed uplift in demand for UK products that have a strong British association, with the authenticity and tradition of well-made designs seen as a mark of exclusivity overseas.
I love this brand and was happy that I could get behind a British brand and show support all the way over in Los Angeles. MERCI ME retails between £50 - £500 and can be found online through the UK's leading independent boutique, Wolf & Badger. I wore the dress with an OKAPI bag (a South African brand using locally sourced materials and operating on a fully traceable and ethical business model - read more here) and jewellery from Swarovski and fiercely independent boutique Bermondsey 167 in South East London; the birthchild of former Burberry designer Michael McGrath, Bermondsey 167 is home to a curated selection of design-led quality clothing and accessories. Bespoke pieces made with care by artists and artisans from around the world - particularly South America join the shop's own-label (M2cG) for fashion findings off the beaten path.