Elevating Ethical Style with SKYE Clothing
A quiet coffee shop counter. She is positioned on a tall stool, head down, digging into her tote bag. Backlit by a large window. The winter sunlight is grey and soft along the contours of her warm layers, which are neutral and oversized. Her silhouette is shapeless, rounded, like elegantly draped blankets. Adorned in hues of grey and beige and the most delicate of millennial pinks. I am transfixed. I stare at her outfit, study it. Her look seems simultaneously adventurous yet restrained, elegant but edgy.
Yes, I decide in an instant. I would very much like to dress like that. I lean back from where I had been peering at the computer screen. It's a photograph of a blogger I follow religiously, the only one I really kept up with at the time. Her outfit was one of my first tastes of slow fashion. I had never seen clothes like that before – shapeless and neutral and high quality. Different, but not garishly so.
This fashion aesthetic spoke to me, and I was ready to transform my wardrobe to echo it. All within a matter of seconds. Which is not an unusual occurrence for me, but I digress.
Long before I knew what ethical fashion even was, I became obsessed with minimalist style thanks to this blogger’s influence. Beige linen culottes, boxy oversized sweaters, grey cotton shirtdresses. Pieces that could mix and match with the least effort. I was building a capsule wardrobe without even realizing it.
When I finally did discover ethical fashion and all that it meant, you can likely guess that I felt right at home. In early 2017, shapeless minimalist styles were still very much the dominant offering in the realm of sustainability. At least that’s how it appeared to someone just dipping their toes in. Everlane still mostly had plain neutral basics, and Hackwith Design House tunics and Elizabeth Suzanne pants were all the rage. I was perfectly fine with that.
Fast forward to the present-day. As expected, my aesthetic tastes have shifted – as has the collective taste in the ethical fashion community, it seems. That’s not to say that minimalist jumpsuits and monochrome outfits are all but forgotten – certainly not. I’ve hung on to many of my “plain” pieces, because they can be dressed up in a pinch with a good bag or fine jewelry. But as outside influences begin to penetrate the tightly knit ethical fashion sphere, our tastes have also gradually expanded, and we’ve begun to expect more from our favourite ethical brands beyond basic linen tees.
Enter the fascination with Parisian and, more generally, “romantic” style (which I, admittedly, have also succumbed to). There’s a large facet of the social media sphere dedicated to sunlight and floral dresses, elegant folds and shimmering silk – visual love letters to Paris’ sartorial past, and a startling return to femininity. Prints, ruffled blouses, lacy dresses, quality handbags. I think we’re discovering that timeless dressing doesn’t necessarily mean we must only wear solid colours and plain silhouettes (my past philosophy). Now, I’m drawn to polka-dots and buttons, interesting details on sleeves and asymmetrical pants. Beautiful cuts and styles that are current but subdued, not overly trendy – a modern take on classic. It’s fresh and inspiring.
Now, I tend to keep an eye out for brands who are pushing the limits of what “sustainable” can look like. I certainly still appreciate an ethical brand that can craft a good solid-colour jumpsuit (we all need one), but if we’re going to convince the world that ethical can be just as exciting as what they’re already wearing, innovation is key. Cutting edge. Enjoying and exploring the art of fashion without sacrificing humans or resources in the process.
All of this to say, I’m thrilled to be partnering with the ethical slow fashion brand SKYE clothing.
One glance at their collections, and you can tell that they’re different — true fashion enthusiasts. I remember the first time I browsed their site, I found myself double-checking that they were actually a sustainable brand. They certainly didn’t look like another Everlane — they looked like the work of a high end designer.
They claim that their pieces are for the “modern minimalist,” but shapeless linen rompers they are not. After all, as they state on their About page, “a curated closet should still be fun and exciting!” I heartily agree.
The quality and craftsmanship is immediately evident in each piece. The details are thoughtful and surprising — delightfully unexpected. From intentionally mismatched buttons to removable pockets, drawstrings to intricate gathers, each piece is subtly ornate and meant to turn heads. And for the price of each unique piece, which is extremely reasonable compared to other ethical brands (whose offerings are usually much simpler), I think you get more than what you pay for. I’ve already received so many compliments on the pieces I’ve chosen, something I’m not used to hearing when wearing my more basic ethical ensembles.
For our collaboration, I chose to test out the Lyon Dress in white, the Asymmetric High Waist Pants in navy, and the Chloe Pearl Earrings. The dress, because I was sorely lacking for summer dresses, the pants because I’ve recently fallen in love with the timeless elegance of navy pants (who could say no to such high waisted, flowy beauties?), and the earrings, because pearls + gold are everything.
From the moment I lifted this garment from its box, I was sold. It’s weight and quality brought a smile to my face. Even in the ethical community, I’ve come across my share of flimsy, somewhat hastily-constructed dresses. This dress is quite the opposite, with sturdy material and attention to detail. It features feminine semi-sheer panels, delicate eyelet-style cutouts, a removable self-tie for the waist, and a partial inner lining of 100% cotton to keep the torso area opaque.
I cannot wait to continue wearing this dress on beautiful spring and summer days. It looks artfully edgy paired with black shoes and a black purse, and a bit Parisian paired with sneakers and a straw bag.
I’m wearing a size small.
Shimmering a deep, iridescent indigo as you walk, these stunning pants move and drape like liquid. The waist is a true high rise, which I appreciate, because being slightly above average height means that most “high waisted” pants of today sit just at or below my belly button. The front waist is eye-catchingly asymmetrical, forming two overlapping flaps that can be left as-is or folded down to reduce the high-waist effect. Either looks amazing. They also include a skinny self-tie belt to accentuate the waist.
Non-restrictive and perfect for the office or the weekend, these gorgeous trousers pair beautifully with a variety of tops. I’m wearing them here with a leather purse and cream blouse, but they also look wonderful with a white tee and woven bag.
I’m wearing a size medium. (I can usually get away with a small in pants, but the small felt more like an XS, so take note — you may want to size up). Made with 54% viscose, a fully biodegradable and compostable fibre.
18-karat gold-plated hoops studded with shining pearls, these earrings are elegantly bold and instantly elevate any outfit. They look incredible paired with the Lyon Dress, but I enjoy using them to dress up a more basic outfit as well. The pearls are simulated organic man-made pearls, and the posts are a hypoallergenic sterling silver.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to leave me a suggestion of future blog posts I should write or brands I should review!
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