I love clothes shopping and have quite the collection, but buying clothes now is very different from a few years ago. These days, I have to admit, I do a lot of online shopping. It is quick and easy, and fits in with my hectic lifestyle. Then, I feel guilty when I see items on the news detailing the closure of yet another local independent. It appears we are now less likely to shop locally and our high streets are dying. So, I have made a bit of a promise to myself this year, to shop locally more, and to give business back to my local community.
*Calm Amongst The Chaos ~ Ringwood Store
Still, its not very often that I find a shop that absolutely delights me, one that not only carries styles that I love, but is also a company committed to another of my priorities this year, that of buying only sustainable and ethical fashion.
This morning, hurrying back to work from an appointment, I came across Calm Amongst The Chaos, a beautiful little boutique nestled in the sleepy streets of Ringwood, on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. Almost as soon as I opened the door I was hooked!
Calm Amongst The Chaos opened their lifestyle shop in the summer of 2017 and have evolved into a design store, creating sustainable hand made collections evocative of a minimalist lifestyle. Colours and styles are edited seasonally, for the S/S collections in April and the A/W in September. They are passionate about comfortable clothes with muted, natural textures and oversized silhouettes.
“Inspired by one of our favourite designers Yohji Yamamoto, we often think of the silhouette the garment will make on the body rather than the shape of the body itself when designing.”
Not only is it a beautiful environment in which to browse, there is also a fully working studio onsite in which they design, cut and make every item. It means that customers can see straight into the studio looking around the shop, and experience how ‘hands on’ the process is. This is a huge part of the appeal of what they do and is testament to how proud they are of bringing such a traditional trade back to local shopping.
But, it is the ethical side of this brand that stands out most for me. Chaos fully support “Slow Fashion” in that buying timeless pieces created from sustainable materials that last, (and yes, perhaps cost a few pennies more) is more ethical than buying lots of “throwaway” cheap clothes that are discarded after a few months of wearing. Cheap clothes that may well have used exploitative methods in their production.
*Pictures above show Potter Linen Top £70
I love the idea of Slow Fashion, promoting good quality pieces, a sustainable environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers. I also like the idea of buying a few timeless pieces each season, instead of armfuls of cheap clothing that are only worn once. Chaos uses high quality fabrics that are naturally sourced and practises the least wasteful cutting methods where possible. All the fabric that is left over in their processes is donated to local charity stores.
“Part of our business is also making to order rather than making excessive stock which would be a waste of resources; fabric, time and money. This has proved one of the most successful points of the Chaos brand as customers receive orders made for them with care rather than mass produced garments that compromise quality. When garments are made to high quality they are more likely to last and longevity in garments is one of the main ways we can fight fast and harmful fashion. If our clothes are better quality they will last longer, and if they cost more initially (due to the handmade nature) we are more likely to care for them properly which in turn increases their lifespan. Washing garments correctly, on a low heat and not too regularly, and repairing them when necessary are also practices we endorse at Chaos.”
*Picture above shows Jackson Jeans Scuttle Denim £130
Finally, Chaos aims to be responsible in its use of materials and their recycling and reuse. They use Flax and Linen which are both eco friendly and healthy for the planet. All of the orders sent out are packed into a compostable envelope, inside a recycled potato sack that is sewn up rather then using tape.
I bought 3 pieces today on my initial visit (*as you can see in the pictures), but I can’t wait to go back and see their new Spring collection next month.
If you do have a minute, please check out their website Calmamongstthechaos.co.uk
.. And if you are lucky enough to live anywhere near the New Forest in Hampshire, please visit the shop. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. ❤️
*Picture above shows Black Linen Turner Trouseers £75