This is possibly the waftiest of wafty dresses I’ve seen all summer. Spotted at a local market in south London, it belongs to a small fairtrade company called Cotton Conscious. The co-founders are husband and wife team Lisa Galibardy and Blue Philpotts who spend half the year in London and half the year in India. Rishikesh is on the banks of the River Ganges in the Himalayas; it’s where the Beatles went in the 1960s to meditate and where the Cotton Consious team ended up by accident. ‘It’s a really beautiful community,’ says Lisa, ‘We didn’t intend to stay but I got sick and we extended the visit, and thank god we did because it’s changed our lives.’

The 42-year-old entrepreneur (and model, in these photos) struggled to find anything to wear in Rishikesh that was practical, stylish and covered-up. Inspired by traditional Indian dress, she started designing her own clothes. ‘I’m always trying to keep it together while I’m travelling, I wanted something that you don’t need to iron, that dries quickly and still looks nice. I guess it was vanity that drove me to it but when people kept asking me about my clothes, we decided it was a good way to help the community.’ Cotton Conscious aim to create sustainable jobs and create a cycle of self-sufficiency in the town – 10% of profits from every sale are donated to charities and Ashrams supporting underprivileged women and children.

And, Cotton Conscious coincident: I was at Graduate Fashion Week yesterday and noticed one of my very stylish university colleagues in one of their jumpsuits. ‘These are hardwearing clothes that we hope people will love and have for a long time,’ adds Lisa. The Khadi scarves are spun on a traditional wheel and patterned cotton dresses and jumpsuits are block printed. ‘I love the littleness of everything In Rishikesh. The man at his sewing machine, the mill where we get our fabric, it really is back to basics…’

Cotton Conscious will be at Northcross Road Market next Saturday, they have literally just started out so what they have is what they have, things are available to buy online and the pair are planning to ‘open the smallest flagship store in the world,’ in Rishikesh this autumn.

There’s a Vogue feature HERE on some other new sustainable fashion brands.

18 thoughts on “Made with love: Cotton Conscious

  1. What a great way to stay cool in the summer yet still look great!!
    It reminds me of the broom handle skirts that my mom (the 70+ model on my blog) had a ton of years ago. Since she doesn’t throw anything out—I bet I can find them in her closet, and have her wear them again!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    1. Hello Mary, Cotton Conscious are a tiny company and have literally only been going a few weeks. I think they are planning to increase the offer when they get back to India, later this year.

      1. I wrote to them about the dresses and they changed the sizing description since it seemed to me that the dresses are one size fits all. This isn’t true of all their clothing of course, but certainly it seemed those dresses fit more than just customers who are the size of the model.

  2. I couldn’t read this fast enough Alyson! It’s so on my radar to find brands like Cotton Concsious. Love their ethos as much as the designs, that first dress instantly had me the moment I layed eyes on it. Equally I adore a summer scarf so I’m up for adding this beautiful print to my collection. Great post, thanks mate x

  3. The floral dress picture is a great example of how I style soft summer clothing — the boots offset the softness of the floral. To satisfy my desire to be relevant, I strive to wear more than just “sugar & spice. Thanks for listening…

  4. This summer I have bought lots of Ace & Jig, which is a bit similar. I really like this look at the moment.

  5. I’ve had a look and the sizing is a bit limited. The sun dress is huge and floaty, at a size 18 I would look and feel like an unmade bed, but belted it would look and feel bunched up. They had a lovely dark blue shirt dress, but only sizes 8 – 12. The scarves are gorgeous, beautiful colours, cool, light and big enough to wrap myself up in when it gets a bit parky, (as it tends to do during the summer in the Highlands!)
    I fully understand they are a very new company, so I will keep an eye out and see how they evolve.

  6. It is so great that small brands are valued here. Cotton Conscious is a small endeavour still – but that does not mean it won’t grow to success with time. I think cotton clothes or shoes with an individual touch deserve to be worn and touch a desire of many people.
    Love, Veronica Maria Neubauer
    SchuhXL Schuhe in Übergrößen
    http://www.schuhxl.de

  7. I love it! I bought it! Red is not available at this time, but felt the navy would be very versatile with jeans and in early fall with boots.
    Thanks for sharing this company with us!

  8. Thanks so much for drawing my attention to this, Alyson. I loved the shirt illustrated and ordered it together with a blue scarf. The order arrived two days later beautifully packaged in little cotton bags and I love the material and design – the shirt even has dinky hidden side pockets. Great product and well-run company, delighted to give them my money.

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