Happy June 1st and welcome to our new June issue of Calendar. We’re manifesting sunny days ahead here and bringing you all manner of summertime joy – from our sustainability-focused sunglasses edit to some circular summer fashion inspiration from the newly launched Selfridge rental platform, as well as the inside track on the brands we’re loving right now at Calendar. Meanwhile our fashion features editor Emma Sells interviews the trailblazing creative forces Duran Lantink and Sindiso Khumalo, as well as iconic designer and original sustainability activist Katharine Hamnett. And for feel-good beauty pointers, Anna-Marie Solowij will be talking you through her pick of the best summer fragrances and cult beauty brands you need to know. On the travel front, as the world slowly opens up, we’ll be showcasing dream destinations in Iceland, Madagascar and (closer to home) Somerset, brought to you by our travel editor Susan Ward Davies. We’re also thrilled to welcome our new contributing wellness editor Aicha McKenzie, whose joyful and uplifting content you need on your feed right now; and, for further inspiration, we’ll be showcasing some brilliant seasonal gardening tips from Stina Hasan a.k.a The Hackney Gardner, as well as some beautiful ideas for your home you’ll want to explore. And in other exciting news our website will be launching soon. Head to www.thecalendarmagazine.com to sign up and join our journey. Look forward to seeing you there!
Beauty Brand We Love
When pharmacist and homeopath Margo Marrone opened the doors to her organic health and beauty emporium on the King’s Road 20 years ago, she heralded the beginning of the wellness movement. Since then, a steady trail of savants have sought out The Organic Pharmacy for its combination of topical and ingestible products and expert advice from alternative and orthodox health specialists.
Now, the culmination of all that knowledge and all those years comes together in the first of an international chain of concept stores at 51 Marylebone High St, London, that is truly holistic, uniting health and beauty services with retail, interactive experiences, a juice bar, florist, yoga studio and event space. There’s even a dedicated area for dogs, with organic biscuits, water and a Fido-friendly social media wall.
It seems Margo has thought of everything, but then she always did, making the connection between inner health and outer beauty long before her emulators. As she said recently: “The past year has shown us that if we don’t have health, we don’t really have anything.”
Now, the brand that began with a balm cleanser (Carrot Butter Cleanser – still a best-seller today) has morphed to include a market-leading range of performance-driven organic formulations for inner health and outer beauty that fuse herbal, homeopathic and pharmaceutical knowledge. Best-sellers include The Detox Kit, £175, and Volumising Balm Gloss Sparkle, £25 – a plumping, non-drying shimmery lip balm. Newer additions to the lineup include Advanced Retinoid-Like Body Oil, £55, with Ayurvedic and TCM ingredient Bakuchiol, as well as a range of new facial serums for targeted care. Glow Serum, co-created with beauty journalist and diversity activist Ateh Jewel @atehjewel, combines hyaluronic acid with vitamin C, aloe and shimmering bronze pigments for natural radiance.
Anna-Marie Solowij, Calendar Beauty
With the rental revolution in full swing, the joys of chopping and changing your wardrobe can now be realised at Selfridges. Launched with a retro-inspired campaign featuring the likes of Lara Stone and Bimini Bon Boulash last month, Selfridges Rental sees seasonally curated edits put together by the brand’s buying team made available for returnable short-term wears. Think: low-commitment, high-impact dressing. With standout pieces from Selfridges’ best-loved brands, including Simone Rocha, Jacquemus, Cecilie Bahnsen and Prada, it’s a collection you’ll want to dive head first into. And, powered by wardrobe-sharing expert Hurr, the brand behind Selfridges’ 2020 rental pop-up, every piece is scrupulously dry-cleaned between wearers to ensure complete freshness. Check out an item for up to 20 days, and easily switch it when you fancy a style swap. “Rental offers me exciting interventions that up the ante on an everyday ensemble,” says writer Raven Smith, who featured in the brand’s launch campaign. “There’s no time to get bored of a garment because back it goes like a library book. Renting feels better for everyone.” Available on selfridges.com, prices start at £20 for a four-day rental. Wardrobe updates just got a whole lot easier… HB
The Calendar Edit
While some may dismiss sunglasses as a minor detail, others see them as small but mighty. Unsurprisingly, we sit decidedly in the latter camp. As accessories go, a brilliant pair of shades makes for high-impact dressing at its most user-friendly. With summer finally blasting its way through this year’s skies of lockdown-grey, now, more than ever, it’s time to find our perfect pair.
In this line-up, we’re bringing you our Calendar edit of summer shades from the classically minimal to the wonderfully eccentric, all selected with the principles of sustainable and slow fashion in mind and all guaranteed to give you standout appeal. So whether you opt for off the shelf options, ideal for a speedy summer buy, or custom pieces that offer a truly collaborative experience, each pair is a go-with-everything face-framer you’ll never want to be without. HB.
Photo by @gilles_bensimon
World Environment Day
The past year has seen our connection with the natural world blossom. Whether you’ve sought solace in rewilding your city garden, or found yourself craving a brisk walk somewhere green, our reliance on the transformative power of nature has never been stronger. On World Environment Day, we’re feeling admiration for our natural world, and taking inspiration from the fact that, with small yet powerful actions, we can all do our bit to keep its beauty alive. HB
Be In The Now
This month, team Calendar has chosen Bharti Kher (b. 1969), as our Artist of the Month. Based between New Delhi and London and equally well-known for her mammoth sculptural works, Kher’s paintings are some of the most mesmeric we’ve seen. Challenging social taboos, her signature circle motif is inspired by the bindi – a cultural representation of traditional womanhood in India. These numerous circles of coloured felt are concentrated on painted board and transformed into a subversive riot of colour. HB
Website Coming Soon
Happy Monday – and the countdown to our Calendar website launch is on!
World Ocean Day
Happy World Ocean Day. Today, we’re feeling inspired by this wonderful image by @cococapitan. The beauty of what lies underwater is celebrated in all its mesmerising splendour – just one more reminder that our oceans, with their uniquely wonderful ecosystems, deserve our unconditional protection. Head to our stories for more inspiration. HB
Object of Desire
While geometrically exact jewellery has its place, Completedworks founder Anna Jewsbury favours organically abstract shapes. Made from sculptural looping gold wires, Completedworks’ ‘The Lure of Civilisation’ hair pin is a pleasingly delicate example of Jewsbury’s unique design philosophy. Set with a row of freshwater pearls – all with varying profiles and sizes – the style references ancient, museum-worthy shapes, while simultaneously exuding an air of modern originality. When delicately woven through the hair, its glistening form will gently peek out, no matter your style or texture, to add a wonderfully subtle flash of gold. With a sustainable ethos at its core, the brand’s entire collection is made from recycled and Fair Trade metals. Its expert makers use gold vermeil to craft each of the brand’s signature hair pins – created using recycled silver, which reduces CO2 emissions by two thirds compared to mined silver. Handmade to order in Completedworks’ London studio, it’s a keep-forever embodiment of wearable art. HB
Gold Vermeil and Pearl Hair Pin, £385, available at completedworks.com
Katharine Hamnett didn’t have to care about making fashion sustainable. The iconic London designer founded her label in 1979 and, by the late 1980s, she’d built up an extraordinarily successful business: she’d created the still-instantly-recognisable Choose Love slogan tees, was stocked by 700 stores in 40 countries around the world, and worn by everyone from Princess Diana and George Michael to Madonna and Mick Jagger. But then she commissioned a report into the environmental and human impact of the clothes that she was creating – confident that it would find next to nothing – and the evidence that came back was devastating. Confronted by the consequences of everything from pesticide poisoning to the vast water use involved in cotton production, she determined to make a change.
Fashion has been dispiritingly slow to catch up with her. Hamnett shuttered her label in the early ’90s in the face of overwhelming resistance and reluctance to do things differently from every area of the industry, only relaunching it in 2017 when enough fabrics and practices had evolved for her to produce her clothes responsibly. But even though so little has changed after 30 years of campaigning and conferences, Hamnett still has the tenacity and passion to really care about saving the planet. Her life-long love of nature endures – she chalks that up to her grandmother, the first woman in England to get a science degree and doctorate, who had an orchard that she would walk Hamnett round when she was small to stroke the flowers and see the bees. And she’s determined to educate the rest of us about how damaging the choices that we make can be – and how we can do better. She’s an inspiration, a fearless revolutionary – and, of course, she was right all along.
Emma Sells, Calendar Fashion
Be In The Now
Friday inspiration courtesy of Jean Cocteau.
Greenlisted Iceland, with all its geothermal power plants, natural hot springs, large wilderness areas and renewable energy policy that supplies almost every house with clean (and cheap) electricity and hot water, is one of the most environmentally switched-on countries on the planet. If you have been there already, it’s a safe bet you will have wallowed in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon and slathered yourself in silica mud, a potentially epic experience if it weren’t for all the other tourists doing the same thing.
Far better, now, to check out its brand new rival, Sky Lagoon, also just outside Reykjavik, with its 70-metre geothermal pool set among the rocks, with an infinity edge that seems to blend into the North Atlantic ocean. Here, you can try out their traditional seven-step bathing ritual, a mix of hot and cold experiences, including the intriguing-sounding ‘cold fog-mist space’, and the sauna, with its huge window showcasing sea and mountain views. Book a time slot on skylagoon.com, and either a basic Pure Pass (from around £34), or upgrade to the Sky Pass (from £58), which gives you private – and fancier – changing facilities.
You can’t sleep here, so take a tip from us and head to Torfhus, just under 90 minutes’ drive east – an eco-retreat powered by more geothermal energy, with its luxury cabins built of reclaimed wood and living turf roofs.
Book through discover-the-world.com, which promotes responsible travel and recommends carbon offsetting with @worldlandtrust
When artist and designer Sophie Wilson transplanted her life to The Fens in Lincolnshire, moving from her long-time home of London, she unwittingly stepped into a new era of inspiration. Setting up home in a hauntingly beautiful dilapidated manor house, dating back to 1551, she began producing a collection of wonderfully purposeful ceramics – each with a meaningful story.
@1690works was the result – a stunningly detailed range of terracotta dishes, handmade to order by founder Wilson at her Fenland kitchen table. Simple in form, it’s the detailed illustrations painted onto Wilson’s creations that have become her specialty. Incorporating enchanting figures, botanical patterns and bewitching text, every dish tells a unique story. Available via @cutterbrooksshop, each piece is as beautifully decorative as it is deeply thought-provoking. HB
Brand We Love
While some believe shoes should be quietly understated, @callaparis founder Calla Haynes emphatically supports the opposite view. And Haynes’ eponymous brand is testament to her colour-loving philosophy. After finess-ing her creative flair at Rochas and Nina Ricci, the Parisian designer started her somewhat unexpected solo venture in 2015. While silken evening wear and pin-sharp tailoring may have been a natural path, Haynes’ own brand is all the more joyful. Think: slippers, but not as we know them. Inspired by the shape of the classic Moroccan babouche, Haynes’ styles are elevated with a wonderfully yeti-like coating. Made using upcycled vintage Berber rugs, each pair is one-of-a-kind, with just a few unique slippers emerging from every carefully regenerated carpet. Each shoe is expertly crafted in the souks of Marrakech for total individuality. The result? Happy feet: riotously colourful, light-hearted outfit accoutrements that are guaranteed to make you smile. HB
Duran Lantink was 15 when he started making clothes by cutting and splicing existing pieces together, taking apart a pile of old Diesel jeans that his stepfather was throwing out, combining them with a tablecloth of his grandmother’s and making them into skirts. Instantly hooked on the process, he’s been repurposing ever since, building his label by collaborating with luxury brands and stores who hand over their deadstock and archive clothes for him to whip up into capsule collections of incredible, meticulously composed hybrid pieces. And while upcycling may be a buzzy, of-the-moment approach, for Lantink it’s instinctive; the sustainability an added bonus rather than the main motivation – his creativity is simply sparked by the challenge of working with existing rather than raw materials.
Lantink was never sure that he wanted to create solo collections but, thanks to the slow-down of the past year, he and his assistant found themselves in his Amsterdam studio, surrounded by a wild assortment of spare sleeves and discarded off-cuts left over from all his previous projects, and the time to play around with fitting them together in unexpected combinations. Unveiled with a drone-filled show at the former palace of Holland’s royal family, the collection is filled with the most revealing clothes that he’s ever created, his riff on the idea that sex sells.
Every piece is a one-off and he wants to make sure you want to wear them forever; so, buy a slinky dress or puffa coat and if, in a year or two’s time it doesn’t feel quite right in your wardrobe, you can return it to the studio to be refreshed and repurposed into something new, eventually creating a whole family tree from the original. “The moment you buy a piece, we’re connected, and we’ll start building a relationship to make sure that it’s always relevant for you to wear,” he says. “It’s kind of a jewellery approach: you get an heirloom, you pass it on and melt it and turn it into something new – but you always keep it in the family.”
Emma Sells, Calendar Fashion.
Object of Desire
From that orange box (even this smallest version, made from recycled cardboard, oozes cachet) to the signature scent of sandalwood, arnica and angelica developed by Hermès nose, Christine Nagel, Rose d’Éte Rosy Lip Enhancer, £58, is truly lust worthy. In its Pierre Hardy-designed pink, gold and white striped tube to the protective canvas pouch (this is one lipstick you won’t want getting knocked about in the bottom of your handbag), to the pretty pink, matte balm effect, every beautiful detail has been considered. And because it’s refillable (for £33) there’s no guilt, it’s all pleasure.
Anna-Marie Solowij, Calendar Beauty.
When heritage craftsmanship meets contemporary design, we’ll always be excited about the resulting collaboration, so it comes as no surprise that Mulberry’s new handbag partnership has piqued our interest. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the leather accessories stalwart has joined forces with award-winning designer Priya Ahluwalia. Known for unlocking the hidden potential of vintage and second-hand clothing through her eponymous label, Ahluwalia has reimagined Mulberry’s classic Portobello silhouette, elevated with innovative colour and print placement – featuring Ahluawalia’s repeating waved motif. Incorporating Mulberry’s signature leather, as well as denim and embroidered patches, it’s a dreamy collection of bona fide mini masterpieces. Available from mulberry.com. HB.
Originally launched in 2014 to celebrate Italian label Marni’s 20th anniversary, Market Marni became such a destination for fans of bold homeware that its unmissable events have popped up regularly ever since. The latest venue? 5 Carlos Place, home to @matchesfashion. This purveyor of design inspiration has teamed up with Francesco Risso’s label for an interiors extravaganza that will satisfy even the most colour-craving of aesthetics. Expect cheering hand-woven furniture, summer-ready striped basket bags, and decorative rugs, cushions and sculptures to suit every room. With each product made by Colombian artisans – a long-standing partnership for Marni – every item on the Market’s metaphorical shelves is expertly curated and one of a kind. Prepare for a visionary take on contemporary colour. HB
Be In The Now
We’re delighted to introduce Aicha McKenzie as our new contributing wellness editor. As CEO of BreatheByAMCK and with a background in dance, Aicha’s mission is centred on the power of purposeful breathing, channelling your inner joy and being in the now. So, take a moment, get your dance mojo on and prepare to be inspired.
The Farmyard, Somerset
You’re going to have to be quick if you want to get in here, as everyone’s going to be scrambling to book this much-talked-about launch. The new addition to The Newt in Somerset, the Farmyard opens on June 1st, hidden away behind the cider orchards (or ‘cyder’ as they like to spell it). The 17 bedrooms and suites – along with a games room, pool and bar – are housed in converted honey-hued limestone buildings: Farm House, Cyder Mill, Apple Loft and Cheese Barns. These originally made up The Newt’s neighbouring Shatwell Farm, which Johnny Depp was rumoured to have had his eye on before The Newt’s South African owners – former Elle Decoration SA editor Karen Roos and husband Koos Bekker – snapped it up.
Named for the 2000 or so great crested newts that live there (and had to be protected during the six-year construction), The Newt is all about the orchards and their 260 apple varieties, the lakes, woodlands and landscaped gardens. To operate The Newt and the Farmyard as sustainably as possible, they use electric vehicles, and run the heating from a woodchip-fired biomass boiler – but most of their eco credentials come from what they have done with the land: planting extensive orchards, creating an organic kitchen garden and installing beehives.
The current incarnation of the spectacular gardens are the work of French architect Patrice Taravella, the talent behind Roos and Bekker’s first venture, Babylonstoren, the heavenly Cape Dutch winelands farm hotel 33 miles east of Cape Town that should be on everyone’s South African hit list.
Rooms at the Farmyard may be all laid-back rustic luxury but you’ll still want to be mostly immersing yourself in all things horticultural and outdoorsy, whether spotting deer, checking out the captivating Story of Gardening Museum, or taking a Bee Safari (yes really) though the ancient woodlands with resident beekeeper Paula Carnell. We can’t wait.
The Farmyard, The Newt Somerset, thenewtinsomerset.com. Two-night stays (minimum) from £850 for two people, B&B.
Be In The Now
We’re celebrating Pride Month at Calendar with this beautiful image lensed by pioneering American photographer Donna Gottschalk. Love is all we need.
We’re delighted to introduce the brilliant and inspiring Noëlla Coursarsis Musunka, founder and CEO of Malaika, as our Love Forever guest for June.
Noëlla is wearing her beloved pink and red Gucci bag, gifted to her by friends, and a piece that she plans to wear and cherish forever. She says:
My beloved Gucci bag was given to me by a dear friend and his wife who live there, it was a beautiful act of kindness for no particular reason. I’ve had it for about 5 years now and I’ve worn it to so many different events. I love the colour so much and I wear vibrant colours and patterns, so it goes with a lot of my own wardrobe. I will cherish this bag forever and the memory it conjures up of New York.
Brand We Love
When reworked pieces look this good, we start to wonder why we’d ever need to buy new. With her signature bright smocked dresses, shiny pastel puffas, and quilting galore, Freya Rabet has exploded the world of pre-loved fashion. Previously lead designer at sustainable womenswear brand Omnes, Rabet uses her creative know-how to craft wonderfully cheering garments under her freshly-launched label @freyasimonne. Deconstructing everything from second-hand clothes, to vintage quilts and curtains, she sees hidden potential in discarded items – and transforming them with her unique silhouettes. All made with a decidedly zero-waste approach, Rabet handmakes each one-of-a-kind design, even saving the thread from offcuts to use in future projects. Plus, having quickly grown a legion of devotees, Rabet launched an exclusive capsule collection on rental platform Hurr earlier this year. The chance to dose up on her joyfully colour-filled collection is yours. Available via @freyasimonne and @hurr. HB.
Sindiso Khumalo’s dresses are centred around the women that make them. True, it’s those vibrant colours and intricate block prints that draw you in (a former architect turned textile designer, Khumalo is all about fabric and craft) along with the nostalgic silhouettes – all gathered waists and puffed sleeves inspired by enigmatic photographs of Black women from the 1800s. But these are pieces that you’ll want to get up close and personal with, made with love and care by the seamstresses in Khumalo’s Cape Town workshop, the artisanal weavers in Burkina Faso, and the farmers growing her ethically produced cotton. “The muse speaks to the shape and then the women speak to the cloth,” says Khumalo. “I always start designing a piece by thinking about how many hands we can have making it.”
A Central Saint Martins graduate who started her fashion career printing T-shirts and selling them at Camden Market, Khumalo considered setting up her eponymous label in London. But, thanks to the enduring influence of her grandmother – a pattern-cutter who worked in factories during the apartheid era – she has a fierce sense of social justice and passion for activism. So, she returned to South Africa five years ago to start a label that, as well as creating thoughtfully designed, beautifully made pieces, could help the local community, support artisans and empower women by teaching them embroidery and sewing skills, all while offering them a safe, secure working environment. The resulting clothes have all the sartorial appeal that you could want – the label was nominated for the 2020 LVMH prize and is part of the current crop of NET-A-PORTER’s Vanguard mentorship initiative.
The sustainable credentials stretch beyond working conditions, too – they minimise waste by making to order and recycle anything they can’t reuse. Most importantly, though, Khumalo’s dresses are the antithesis of fast fashion: these are future heirlooms, designed to spark joy every time they’re worn, to be treasured and handed down. You’ll never want to let them go.
Emma Sells, Calendar Fashion
Beauty Brand We Love
Milk was inclusive pre-cliché, a brand for all-comers, all colours. Its sass and attitude resonates across generations bored with the platitudes of beauty marketing. The result is a range of 27 makeup items and 28 skincare units with best-sellers including Sunshine Oil, a roll-on hydrator; Kush High Volume Mascara with cannabis seed oil, and Vegan Milk Moisturizer, a blend of ‘mylks’ with hydrating and moisturising benefits. In prototype-style packaging that appeals to function freaks as much as design nerds, it’s no wonder Milk Makeup is as popular with Boomers as Gen Z.
Born in 2016 out of Milk Studios, New York’s leading creative space for shoots, shows and parties, Milk Makeup took inspo from its clientele and was shaped as a brand by beauty and fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi with creative director Georgie Greville.
Milk was among the first to tout ‘clean beauty’ formulas, omitting questionable ingredients, and that list now numbers nearly 100 (for context, the US Food and Drug Administration has just 11 banned cosmetic ingredients, while the EU and UK take a more precautionary stance with 1,300 restricted or prohibited ingredients). The brand, stocked in Sephora in the US, carries the Clean Seal, the retailer’s strict formulation charter.
As it is for many brands, packaging is a work in progress: orders are shipped in sustainable, recyclable boxes and bags, minus leaflets and outer packaging where possible. They’re working towards making refills – Sunshine Skin Tint SPF30 refill reduces plastic by up to 66%, while replacing virgin plastic with post-consumer resin across as many products as possible is in the works. From its see-through packaging to online full-disclosure stance, transparency isn’t just a token gesture for Milk Makeup.
Available at cultbeauty.co.uk
Madagascar, the world’s oldest island, may still be on the Amber List but Tsara Komba Luxury Beach and Forest Lodge is such a shining light of how to do hotels sustainably, and in a community-minded way, they deserve an early shout-out before we can actually go there. The ethos behind this luxury eco lodge on Nosy Komba (a little volcanic island off the north west of Madagascar), is sharing luxury: they believe you shouldn’t build a five-star hotel in a one star location: you should level up the area first, and they really put that into practice.
They provide free healthcare for staff, have built 25 new homes, an infant school, and have funded access to clean water for the local village, and started a nursery for the conservation of indigenous baobabs and pachypodiums (a type of succulent).
Many luxury hotels privatise beaches but, here, they share with the locals, so children can walk along the beach in front of the hotel to school, as they always did, but guests are screened by the trees and shrubs to ensure privacy. They run on solar power, use biodegradable detergents, have no phones or TVs, and ensure strict recycling compliance. Water comes from the spring, not pumped but driven by force of gravity, fish served in the restaurant has to be line-caught, they grow most of their own food, and employ almost 100% local staff.
The eight luxury lodges, built sustainably of local wood and ravinala leaves, are hidden among the papaya and mango trees between the forest and the white sandy beach. This is a gorgeous and really inspirational example of tourism for good, and we can’t wait to check in.
Tsara Komba Luxury Beach and Forest Lodge, Madagascar, can be booked through luxtripper.co.uk, experiential luxury holiday specialists who offset with @trees4travel, from September 2021 onwards.
Sue Ward Davies, Calendar Travel
Be In The Now
This month our resident gardening expert Stina Hahsen @thehackneygardener talks tips on how to save water when the temperatures rise, why you should be using peat free compost and everything you know to need about taking cuttings. Happy summer gardening!
June gardening jobs…
In midsummer when temperatures are high, it is important to keep on top of watering. But remember that water is a valuable resource and use it in a responsible way. The key is to give plants a really good soak once or twice a week instead of a sprinkling of water every day. It is the roots that need the water, so imagine it has to go way down into the soil, making the roots reach further down for a drink. Pay attention to the weather forecast and only water if you really need to. Water early in the morning when it is cooler to avoid evaporation. Put some buckets out to capture rainwater during heavy summer downpours and keep it to use on dry days.
The best compost is homemade but, in reality, few of us have the space for this and need to buy our compost. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the compost you buy is peat free. Peatlands are really important wildlife habitats that store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests, yet they have been heavily harvested over the years for compost production. The sale of peat-based compost is set to be banned by 2024, but let’s make the change now to protect the environment.
Increasing your stock of plants by taking cuttings really makes you feel like a proper gardener. It is also the most sustainable way to fill the garden, as it involves no transport or packaging. Snip the top five centimetres of fresh new growth from a plant. Remove the lower leaves, leaving only a couple of pairs at the top. Push the cutting into a small pot of compost mixed with grit. Water well and keep moist. When you see roots poking out from the bottom of the pot, your new plant is ready to move to a bigger pot – or you can plant it straight out into the garden.
The Calendar Edit
Summer scents with sustainable credentials
Fragrance is nature, bottled; it is portable therapy, triggering memories and emotions, enhancing moods and altering minds for millennia past – and to come. Unlike makeup, perfumery sales remained buoyant during the pandemic – fragrance brand Floral Street saw a 300% uplift in web sales, citing the feel-good, mood-boosting power of perfume.
The current mode in perfumery is indie, eccentric, outsider and, while embracing tradition, is mindful of modern consumer requirements for chemical-free, sustainably sourced and consciously packaged scent. Desirable new standards include vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, organic, biodynamic or wildcrafted with creative, sustainable and non-toxic packaging solutions. But don’t expect all of these in one go: the responsible approach to fragrance production can be paradoxical with the repercussions of so-called ‘cleaner’ alternatives potentially more harmful somewhere else along the line.
It might, on balance, be better to buy a fragrance created using a synthetic (chemical copy) of the scent of a rare and exotic flower, than harvesting the plant itself, processing it to extract its aroma and shipping that around the world, especially if the grower is not part of a fair trade or sustainable coalition that promotes respect along the supply chain from grower to consumer. Or if you don’t want alcohol – the ingredient in which perfume oils are suspended – then you might choose a roll-on perfume oil, or a solid, but neither will deliver the sophisticated level of evaporation of a mist; with scent, it’s sometimes a case of ‘swings and roundabouts’. Also, different things matter to different people: you may prefer plastic packaging, especially if you use scent while on-the-go and have had a beloved handbag ruined by a broken glass bottle (me!). Making an informed choice is key to a successful outcome, so here are some fragrances for your further consideration:
Brand We Love
Founded by husband and wife duo Saeed and Katy Al-Rubeyi in 2013, Story mfg is the epitome of fashion as social activism. Working from an atelier in India, its talented team of tailors, embroiderers, weavers and dyers use old-school, small-scale artisanship, with processes inspired by those of vintage workwear, to individually craft garments intended to last a lifetime. Every element of Saeed and Katy’s production process is precision-planned for maximum circularity – from collecting fibre offcuts for jacket linings, to priorising recyclables. As for design aesthetic, theirs is a rare breed of covetable effortlessness. Perfectly imperfect block-printed tees, characterful handmade knitwear, and brilliantly oversized staples make up the bulk of the collection – peppered with floaty, summer-ready dresses that sing with could-be-vintage charm. A recent sell-out footwear collaboration with @reebokclassics under its belt, we’re anticipating Story mfg’s next steps with the utmost enthusiasm. Available from storymfg.com and matchesfashion.com. HB.
Be In The Now
Thank you for joining us on our June journey and we’re signing off with these inspiring words from Stella McCartney. “Everyone can do simple things to make a difference, and every little bit really does count.” We couldn’t agree more.