The second instalment of the 'Curated By..' series is here! We love to know what people look for when they shop, and this time we have the pleasure of presenting Bel Jacobs' favourite pieces on Mamoq. Former fashion editor for Metro, Bel Jacobs is an ethical fashion journalist and blogger. She runs two websites: beljacobs.com and hownowmagazine.com and actively campaigns against the exploitation of animals in fashion and beyond.
Voilà! Here are the four pieces that stood out to Bel most, and a few lines explaining why. The following are her words:
I love the energy and vibrancy of African prints - even more so when they’re actually produced in Africa, rather than re-imagined by some high street chain. The fabrics used by Mayamiko are handpicked from local street markets in Malawi, and then made (on demand to cut waste) in a solar powered workshop just outside of Lilongwe, by specially trained, fairly paid Mayamikan tailors. I couldn’t love this brand more if I tried. Plus, for all the authentic kick of the prints, the silhouettes are spectacularly versatile for Western shoppers. The piece of the season? The Lamia Kimono style jumpsuit in Lotus Pond.
Anyone following my work will know that animal rights feature highly in my priorities. I can’t even begin to comprehend the abuse beautiful, intelligent creatures endure at our hands. So my picking PETA-approved, cruelty-free watch brand Votch as one of my favourite labels will hardly come as a surprise. No leather is used and 10 per cent of profits go to a different animal charity every season. Plus, the designs - created to be worn by both men and women - are gorgeous: classic but never boring; streamlined but not dull. Check out the silver faced edition with the powder blue strap for inspiration.
It’s the aesthetics that drew me first to the work of Elsien Gringhuis, clean minimalist designs in a soft muted colours: costumes for the 21st century Left Bank intellectual. It’s how I want to dress. Factor in the way the brand only uses natural and sustainable materials, and that everything is made by hand and made-to-order to cut down on excess in their own studio in the Netherlands and we know we’re onto a Good Thing. Local tailors and craftsmen get work and all that shipping to-and-fro of raw materials and products that characterises mass production is done away with.
I have a soft spot for kids' drawings which feel very elemental and honest to me. Kipepeo pays the school fees of children in Tanzania by putting their art, often made in class and incredibly moving and beautiful, on organic Tanzanian cotton t-shirts. If a class is learning about ‘animals of the Serengeti’, for example, Kipepeo will use their drawings of elephants and giraffes - sometimes with misspelt words scratched out and written again correctly. The children obviously have a strong connection to the animals. The cuts are classic but it’s their graphics that make the label. All production and manufacturing takes place locally, giving work to the community. A brand to warm the heart.