Made-to-order fashion brands are having a moment. Could they be the answer to shopping better, less and more considerately? We take a look at some of the top labels on a mission to transform the fashion industry.
With an estimated 64% of the 32 billion garments produced each year going to landfills, an unquestionable climate crisis on our hands and the cost of living soaring, now is the time to start shopping our wardrobes more sustainably. There are dozens of brands creating incredible collections with sustainability at their heart. Not just sourcing recycled materials or using savvy tech to reduce water, but cutting out as much waste as possible by only making what is truly necessary.
Made-to-order brands start the production line when the customer checks out, creating considerably less waste, no unsold collections destined to be dumped and clothing that is special, slow and made just for you. Read on to find out more about the ones we rate…
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This lockdown success is the brainchild of Birmingham-based Chalsie Williamson, who started making a range of eclectic, vintage-inspired pieces in her spare bedroom.
Her designs are all handmade to order and have been spotted on some of Instagram’s coolest girls, from musician Louise Verneuil to model Emily Labowe.
If you love that early ‘70s hazy Jane Birkin kind of aesthetic, this is a brand for you – think ruffled sleeve blouses, high necks and pretty covered buttons. Divine.
Here’s a brand that brings together more than just fashion. Maison M, founded by two friends Mooi and Margherita, have curated and created a store showcasing everything from the most charming quilted bags to hand knitted jumpers, vintage finds to stunning ceramics.
Everything they make is handmade with love, which means it takes time, and thus, the collections remain small and limited. We’ve fallen hard for their quilted bags – most of which are now sold out so keep an eye out for newness, as well as their balloon-sleeve knits in the prettiest of pastel hues and their velvet bow bags destined to be your date to every evening event.
Founded in 2017 by Hannah Cawley, the designer’s eponymous label is all about creating “functional, timeless and lasting” pieces that will slip seamlessly into everyday life.
Each item is hand cut and made in London with fabrics sourced from sustainable mills using beautiful, quality materials such as linen, cotton and the most sumptuous sheepskin.
Speaking of, it’s Cawley’s outerwear that really stands out, from their cocooning Avis jacket in black sheepskin with detachable scarf to their caramel reversible gilets made for layering over warm winter cashmere.
As suggested by the name, all of Worme’s pieces are crafted from silk and lean towards that glamorous, Studio 54 aesthetic. Think Bianca Jagger and Elsa Peretti on the dance floor, wrapped in shimmering silky-to-the-skin gowns with glitter balls overhead.
Women’s silhouettes and colour palettes are timeless, minimalist and sitting just on the right side of sexy. We love the Fiora dress with its slinky bias cut, rich marigold hue and subtle cut-out side detail – the chicest way to show just a peep of skin after hours. Whilst the power pink Bianca jumpsuit pays homage to the effortless elegance and glamour of the 1970s.
Everything is made to order from 100% silk and will be delivered to your door seven to 14 days from purchase.
Slinky silk pieces inspired by the dance floors of Studio 54.
With features in the likes of British Vogue and Elle and Instagram fans such as Sara Louise Thomas, Before July are dedicated to providing an antidote to throw away fashion.
Headed up by designer Elisa Jaycott, the brand creates anti-trend, timeless pieces made from predominantly dead stock or end of roll fabrics. But they are full of fun, colour and print too, from puff sleeve dresses to cute ditsy prints and vintage-inspired all-in-ones.
Hero pieces include the ‘70’s inspired Delilah Jumpsuit and the puff-sleeve Precilia smock. Given the brand’s made to order nature, pieces go into production once purchased and will arrive in four to five weeks. Be sure to check their Instagram account for announcements on new collections.
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When Kendall Jenner wears one of your dresses, you know you’ve made it and when she was spotted wearing their now cult Hockney Lillipad number, House of Sunny understandably went viral. The Hackney based brand continue to make waves on the sustainable fashion scene, with a made to order system that means customers must purchases pieces before the product is ready to be dispatched. Releasing these limited runs of products in drops allows House of Sunny to work in a sustainable way, avoiding product pile up and material waste.
The vibe? LA via Hackney It-girl with quirky colourful knits, psychedelic prints, form-fitting midi dresses and retro sportswear-inspired co-ords.
It’s no secret we’re a sucker for a pretty blouse, be it with a romantic frilly neck, a sleeve adorned with covered buttons or nostalgic smocking details. If you’re on the same page, check out Andion, the mother-daughter duo creating stunning tops that will last a lifetime. They’ve been in production since 1975, crafting slow, thoughtful pieces full of love from the idyllic hills of Galicia in northeastern Spain.
Each piece is made to order and can be customised on the brand’s individual product pages, from size to colour, print and even sleeve length.
Favourites include the giant pussy-bowed Camilla shirt; the adorable Felisa blouse with it’s lace detailing and detachable generous collar; and the hand embroidered Matilda top with Borrower proportioned big buttons and puffy sleeves.
Lena McCroary has an impressive CV, from a degree in fashion design from the renowned Central Saint Martins to a stint on London’s iconic Saville Row. She now heads up her own label, Sanne, that plays more to her sartorial ethics and ideologies.
Noting that most ready-to-wear brands typically sell only 30% of their tenure stock each season and the impact that has on landfill, Lena took the initiative to create her own fashion house with a different approach. One that was still luxury, high-fashion but with a dedication to tackling the very serious problem of overproduction and overconsumption.
Sanne is a masterclass in modern couture.
The London-based label creates made to order collections with seasonal drops and their atelier creates each order as soon as it’s requested from the customer, with a typical turnaround of five to eight working days.
McCroary’s experience with tailoring doesn’t go unnoticed, the current collection comprises some seriously good blazers, impeccably cut with stunning details, from the hand embellishment of the Starry Night evening jacket to the nod to British heritage in the teal and orange blazer with colour popping tangerine piping. We also love the more casual pieces in the line, from silky pyjama sets too good to keep for bedtime to the Americana-inspired bombers with quirky, original illustrations emblazoned on the back.
If you’re a fan of the puff sleeve, romantic silhouettes and pretty prints, be sure to check out Olivia Rose The Label. The independent, British, slow-fashion label was founded in 2017 by Olivia Rose Havelock and the designer makes everything to order, sewing them herself one at a time.
As she puts it, it keeps things “slow and special.” It also means that each piece can be truly made to fit the customer – any shape/size/height at no extra cost – making Olivia Rose The Label one of the most inclusive around.
Olivia makes everything to order, sewing them herself one at a time, keeping things slow and special.
The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some of the products purchased through affiliate links.