Last Updated on May 31, 2023
When you think of sustainable fashion, beige and bamboo instantly come to mind – but these made to order fashion brands are anything but. These days, slow fashion is colourful, creative and best of all, each piece fits perfectly.
Fast fashion has been increasingly popular over the past few decades due to its cheap prices and the unbelievable speed at which it operates, but it really is too good to be true.
While shopping at these retailers might mean you’re able to buy more, often the garment workers who make these clothes are paid dangerously low wages, while many fast fashion garments end up in landfill. You can read more about fast fashion here.
So instead, consider shopping from small businesses that offer made to order garments. Not only are they unique, beautiful and well-fitting, but unlike fast fashion, they don’t work to detrimentally impact our environment at such an alarming rate.
Fashion as we know it is changing. The rise in technology, e-commerce and social media has seen the sharp decrease in the sales of high-street brands, causing those such as Oasis/Warehouse, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston and J.Crew to enter administration or declare bankruptcy in recent years.
Of course, this was only accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the industry being forced to change dramatically. In April 2021, clothing sales fell 79 percent in the United States – the largest drop ever recorded.
While many will be concerned about the future of fashion, for others it’s seen as a necessary change. Designer Marc Jacobs admitted the pandemic had left the industry in a ‘sad’ state earlier in 2021, but he also told Vogue, “We’ve done everything to such excess that there is no consumer for all of it. Everyone is exhausted by it. The designers are exhausted by it. The journalists are exhausted from following it…When you’re just told to produce, to produce, to produce, it’s like having a gun to your head and saying, you know, Dance, monkey!”
Slow fashion is now on the rise and second-hand fashion is predicted to take over fast fashion in the next five years and grow to almost twice its size by 2029, according to a report.
But the change in industry has also seen made to order fashion brands popping up in the UK, often run by skilled women working from deadstock fabrics and offcuts. This is encouraging more and more consumers to shop small, opting for garments that will last a lifetime.
If you’re looking to invest in good quality garments and support small businesses but don’t know where to look, I encourage you to peruse the online shops of the following fashion brands.
Wear Next may receive a small commission if you click a link from one of our articles onto a retail website and make a purchase.
With Love Evie
With Love Evie offers a selection of beautiful made to order gingham and heart-printed dresses, tops and scrunchies that Evie makes herself from her studio shed in Lincolnshire, with each piece offered up to a size 30.
Every aspect of the business is sourced and made in the UK, while Evie manages everything single aspect of the business single-handedly – including fabric sourcing, pattern cutting, admin and social media.
Mini Gillet Pink Floral, £118 – buy now
Esther mix floral, £125 – buy now
After teaching herself to knit in just 3 months, Shelby Marie Fuller launched Elizabeth An’Marie in 2014. Not only does Shelby design everything, but knits every piece too. Her designs are fun and energetic, featuring her signature smiley faces in a variety of beautiful colours and designs. Shelby also creates cute pastel co-ords, poppy bucket hats, statement dresses and floral blouses.
Mary Benson offers luxurious dresses, with velvet and glitter featuring heavily in her designs. They’re made to order from deadstock fabric and are made in-house at their studio in London.
They stock up to a size 30 and can create bespoke designs, while they also sell pre-loved pieces online.
Production time for made-to-order dresses is 2.5 weeks, and it’s so worth it.
The Brontë Dress in Pink Starlet, £595 – buy now
Florence in Violet Butterfly, £600 – buy now
By Megan Crosby
Megan Crosby’s rainbow designs are playful and feminine, with multicoloured fabrics and unique prints aplenty. Similarly to Mary Benson, Megan uses remnant, sustainable and deadstock fabrics to create her garments and only uses environmentally friendly dyes as she aims to reduce any harm fashion has on the planet.
The talented Megan designs all of her garments herself and makes them in-house with the help of her small team. She encourages customers to take measurements at home for the perfect fit (but will also take standard UK sizing orders) and offers guidance on how to do so before ordering.
Nova Broderie Anglaise Blouse, £145 – buy now
Laura Red Gingham Midi Dress, £160 – buy now
Olivia Rose The Label
Olivia Rose Havelock started Olivia Rose The Label in 2017, sewing made to order garments in her studio in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Her designs are ultra-feminine, with many featuring exaggerated sleeves, frills and jacquard prints. Olivia offers made-to-measure sizing at no extra cost, catering to any size, and only takes orders of 7-14 per week to keep things ‘slow and special’.
Rose Oversized Blazer in Ivory, from £300 – buy now
Manon Dress in Pink Floral, £270 – buy now
Faith Rowan Leeves
Faith Rowan Leeves’ clothing brand is one of the only positive products of the Covid-19 pandemic I can think of.
The crochet designer started selling her jumpers and dresses during the first UK lockdown from her studio in Brighton, UK, and unsurprisingly, it took off. Her crochet jumpers fit beautifully, with frills in all the right places and big balloon sleeves.
She makes the garments to order and they can be made-to-measure too, providing customers with the perfect fit.
Hybrid Luna Dress, £325 – buy now
Peggy – Forest Green, £280 – buy now
Elisa Jaycott started working for a fast-fashion brand after graduating from University, but after realising just how unsustainable it was, she launched Before July.
Elisa finds inspiration for her designs from street style and the ‘Instagram generation,’ with dresses and crop tops reminiscent of the 90s. She releases 1-2 new collections per year and hand makes all items herself.
The Delilah Jumpsuit, £160 – buy now
The Daphne Dress, £160 – buy now
Molby The Label
Molby The Label is best known for their double-gingham dresses, which spent the summer permanently on our Instagram feeds.
It-girls of the ‘gram were wearing it in various colourways, such as Olivia and Alice’s contrasting dresses [above].
These dresses come from a little studio located in the Wirral, where Molby create long-lasting and timeless pieces to order. They’re more than happy to adjust designs to suit customers and open their online store every Sunday for new orders.
Tilda Dress, £140 – buy now
Co-ord Shirt, £105 – buy now