Fashion's Ethical Revolution

...and St Andrews' part in it If you're jetting off somewhere exotic this summer, bear in mind that what may seem a traveller's paradise can be very different for the locals who have to earn a living there. The standard of living is often incredibly low and education and jobs relatively scarce, so workers' rights are regularly abused.In a popular backlash against this exploitation, there has been an increased demand for clothing with a conscience. The ethical fashion movement began several years ago, but it's only recently that the big fashion names have really taken notice. Fashion with a conscience has never been more en vogue: even regular high street shops such as Monsoon and Topshop have started to produce some ethical basics. Unfortunately, their more seasonal fashion lines are rarely made in fair trade cloth. This makes it difficult for the ethically conscious fashion follower to stay on trend and not compromise their principles.Luckily, some brands are trying to change this; ASOS have introduced an African range using bright colours and fair trade cloth which manages to be ethical and on trend. Their sleeveless blouse with a cute cut-out detail at the back is beautiful and perfect for the summer. This range is only marginally more expensive than the brand's standard offerings, and worth paying the slight premium for. Advances in fair trade fashion could also not be discussed without mentioning People Tree. The popular brand who collaborate with Emma Watson use both organic and fair trade fabrics and are revolutionising fair trade fashion with their dreamy summer prints and light cottons, moving away from standard fair trade basics into beautiful style statements.Réfèt Afrique have their finger firmly on the fashion pulse: preparations for next year’s show are already underway with a new committee anxious to make changes towards a more sustainable outlook on fashion. The director Monika Richter told The Tribe about her concepts: “Amongst other ideas, we are planning to focus more on fair trade and ethical fashion as well as on incorporating other forms of African art to broaden the scope of our work. Our progress in the past month has been highly promising and I am looking forward to working with an incredibly enthusiastic committee to bring St Andrews a fashion show unlike any that has been done before”. This statement says it all really; fair trade ideals are filtering from the specialist into the mainstream and this student mentality shows how such values are important to young people today. Clothing can still be chic and have a conscience. Charlotte LlewellynImage: Tam McTavish

Spring Fashion

A student's guide...

Once again, a new season has arrived, bringing with it a whole host of new colours and trends to liven up our wardrobes. From romance to modernism, this spring has styles to suit every taste. One of the most prevalent themes seen on catwalks from Marc Jacobs to YSL is the Seventies. They’re back in full force: bright colours, vivid prints, high waists and loose blouses were seen at nearly every designer this season, with the most on-trend item perhaps being the palazzo pant. High-waisted with loose legs and reminiscent of French Riviera glamour, these are a wardrobe investment for spring. But be warned: they look best with heels (the higher the better), not the most practical for lectures. The Seventies trend can be channelled more easily with a pair of high-waisted shorts, which can transition from being worn with tights for cool spring mornings to bare legged for balmy summer nights. Chiffon blouses also feature heavily in the Seventies theme. As seen at Rodarte, they work with both the sheer romantic trend or tucked into a high-waisted short for Seventies allure. Purchase the delicate blouses in spring’s favourite nude palette, or a royal blue for added style.Further romantic influences can be celebrated with last season’s lace, which once again adorned models at Erdem. This season, go for sheer lace rather than Autumn's layering. Playful pleats and gathering also underlined the romantic trend, and were seen on runways from Chloé to House of Holland. The texture and movement of these pieces oozes femininity and is perfect for summer parties, but can be worn every day in a more structured fabric. Maxi dresses and low hemlines were once again all over the catwalks. However, this trend still lacks practicality, and often looks staid and dull at our age. The dullness has certainly been remedied by many designers showing far more revealing dresses, though the majority of those are still not practical, being very low-cut, sheer, or with daringly high leg slits. This look hasn’t quite hit the shops yet and unless you’re looking for a stand-out special occasion dress it’s probably best to invest in something a bit more wearable.Perhaps the most innovative thing about Spring/Summer 2011 is the use of colour. From brilliant whites to delicate nudes or bright neons, there is a shade to suit every taste and skin tone. The new deep royal shade of blue seen at Prada, Miu Miu and Mulberry, to name but a few, is almost universally flattering, and a perfect instant update to inject colour into a tired winter wardrobe. Whites were widely used to create a simple and elegant silhouette, though the anti-colour is tricky to pull off, and not the most practical. The tailored, minimal look, with clean lines and barely any detailing, is perhaps best left to young professionals rather than students. Bright colours, in contrast, are something we can definitely embrace. From all-over colour to clashing jewel tones, these hues are hot for spring.Charlotte LlewellynImage credits:Photographer and Director: Catalina Bas FlickModel: *Name Redacted*