Fashion. Clothing. Extended representations of who we are and who we aspire to be. The clothes we wear are external examples of what inspire and visually appeal to our characters, along with how we wish to be seen by those around us.
Now, I am the first to admit that I notice clothes more so than the physical features of another person. Ask all the people who know me. A typical scenario on a night out, for example, would be my friend asking if I noticed how attractive the man who just walked past us was, to which I would respond with a simple ‘no’ but, that I in fact noticed his shirt, the fit and the style. Okay… so I’m a little odd, but let’s be honest, it’s hilarious how oblivious I am and my social ineptness has now resulted in me being able to tell you about a clothing line that I’ve recently come across. Also just so you know, I’m not being paid for this. I’m simply rambling on about a few of the things about this brand that I actually find rather appealing and happen to own products from.
So whom exactly am I harping on about? The brand is Blue Penguin London. From what I can tell, they are an increasingly popular London-based set-up (yes, I know the clue is in the name…) and that they are a menswear brand. So what on earth am I doing talking about them? Well… they are quirky, different and most intriguingly, ethically and environmentally aware.
The latter is what I wanted to focus on. Can the fashion industry be ethical? As a society, we are slowly coming to the realisation that the way in which we are living our lives will have a dramatic effect on the future. Our extensive use of non-renewable energy resources and the ever-increasing speed of the melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming are just two examples of an ongoing conflict to preserve our planet. We are also recognising that the desire for cheap, fashionable clothing correlates to an underlying social justification and acceptance of the terrible conditions and maltreatment of workers within textile factories throughout the world. So in a society where being fashionably moral is far easier said than done, Blue Penguin London are finding a way to break this boundary.
Blue Penguin’s new collection includes a variety of one-off pieces – a mixture of t-shirts and hoodies – that not only design products using environmentally friendly fabrics, but also use garments from suppliers that are part of the Fair Wear Foundation. This is a foundation that follows a social responsibility criterion, which includes no use of child or forced labour, safe and healthy working conditions and a fair living wage, among others. Their Earth Positive range of t-shirts use organic cotton and bamboo viscose fabrics, while being manufactured solely using renewable green energy from wind and solar power. The brand then prints their original designs onto the t-shirts and hoodies.
This in itself has led me to hold the brand in quite high regard. What I also respect is that they are actively creating stylish and fashion-forward pieces. Most of the time, when a clothing brand focuses on being both ethically and environmentally aware, they often lose the characteristic of their products being aesthetically pleasing. This is basically why we shop.
What I also like about the designs is that they are, as I mentioned earlier, unique. They reflect an almost ‘Downtown LA’ vibe and much of the promotional work that appears on their site and their Instagram reflects this. I think for men, this range is definitely up and coming, with a lot of potential.
As to whether their main driving force is ethical clothing or if this is a lucky coincidence, I’m unsure. However, their creations, so far, prove that it is possible for companies to be more socially conscious and yet still be on-trend. It also allows shoppers like us to become more mindful too, when before we might not have been.
Blue Penguin London’s products can be found here: http://www.bluepenguinlondon.com/