The Linen and Cotton Edit
My absolute favourite Spring/Summer materials! The vast majority of my wardrobe is cotton and linen and I've spent many an hour searching the internet for brands that focus on these materials, as well as the ones that are made well.
Why Cotton and Linen?
They're both natural fabrics so let moisture (ie sweat) through them, so it helps to keep you cool unlike polyester which keeps your sweat hangin' around. Deeelightful. Cotton and linen are often more sustainably sourced and, if opting for organic cotton, it means those who process it aren't exposed to extra chemicals and it produces less carbon emissions too. Linen comes from a flax plant which is no-waste as every part of it can be used, and, depending on where it's grown in the world, there isn't need for extra water or fertilisers/pesticides as the plant grows very well.
Due to the nature of these fabrics, they tend to last longer too as they hold up better in the wash (as long as you wash them correctly, that is). I do find you may have to pay slightly more for these materials, but in the long run the cost evens out and you'll have pieces for a much longer time.
I have a rule that my clothes have to be a minimum of 70% cotton, but to be honest I tend to look for 100%. I do allow myself one or two trend pieces, but try to stick to natural materials if I can. If I'm purchasing something with a lining or pyjamas, then that has to be 100% cotton for me to buy it. Similarly with linen. The more natural fibres in my clothes, the better.
Brands To Look Out For - High Street
I love Weekday for their basic pieces as they're well made and 90% of their cotton items are organic or recycled. They also state that 68% of their items are made from sustainable materials. I think their tshirts and denim are great fits and affordable, too.
Now, we all know H&M are peak fast fashion, but they have tried with their H&M Conscious collection and it's certainly a step in the right direction. A lot of the items are linen or cotton, as well as a lot of pieces from their main range. I tend to search 'Cotton Dress' for example to narrow it down, as the H&M range as a whole can be overwhelming to search through.
A bit fast fashion (as they claim themselves that 18,000 garments are designed annually - madness!) but they also claim that 44% of their entire range is made from natural materials. They do have a lot of cotton and linen, as well as their 'Committed' range which has organic pieces. So, if you want to get a nice linen dress for Summer, then Mango is a good place to look for one.
& Other Stories
I couldn't leave these guys out. I love looking for Summery pieces in this store, as they tend to be pretty good quality and nice materials too. Their denim is especially good too!
Brands To Look Out For - Premium
Toast has the chicest range of staple dresses and, well, pretty much every other clothing item you may need. The vast majority of the site is cotton/linen too and I know people rave about the quality. I've got a huge wishlist so maybe I should pick up some pieces soon...
I know Everlane are on everyone's list, but they do have a great range of cotton and linen pieces. They're also known for being a sustainable brand and I hope they come to the UK soon!
A new find, but one I am obsessed with! They're an Australian brand that employs women from Bali and pays them a fair wage, while allowing them to work from home so they can look after their family. Their clothes are absolutely beautiful!
If you want to go really high end, the likes of MaxMara have great staple pieces in and Burberry cotton trench coats are timeless.
More independent luxury brands include Mara Hoffman, Doen and Eileen Fisher who are all making huge strides in using natural fabrics that are sustainably sourced.
There are plenty of brands out there to consider if you want to opt for more cotton or linen in your wardrobe. As sustainability and being eco-conscious is more of a hot-topic (and rightly so) at the moment, it's nice to see some expanding their ranges of natural materials and making more of an effort in regards to the planet and those who make the clothes too. I know some are prone to a bit of green-washing, but hopefully it's all a step in the right direction and I think retailers are very aware of how conscious their consumers are about these things.
I'm at the very, very beginning of my journey with understanding sustainability and where my clothes come from, but opting for better materials from better sources is the first step I think!