MEET THE DESIGNER : UZMA BOZAI

We spoke to designer Uzma Bozai about finding inspiration for her eponymous label, watching her playful designs come to life and celebrating artistry. 

Uzma’s glitzy slogan sweatshirts shout out important causes like feminism, climate change and social justice in a fun and feisty way. 

The embellished pieces are created using traditional techniques, hand-finished by skilled artisans in India. It was during the summers Uzma spent here with her family that she fell in love with colour and embroidery. It takes up to fifteen hours to finish each piece yet it’s this meticulous attention to detail and celebration of time-honoured craftsmanship that makes the cool-girl designs truly stand out against a landscape of fast fashion. 

Uzma Bozai’s brand is known for its sassy statement styles in energetic colourways, meeting the current demand for elevated, fashion-forward loungewear. Hear more about how the label came to be.

WE’VE FOUND YOUR PERFECT SUMMER SHADES

Set your sights on a pair of sustainable sunnies from the award-winning and eco-conscious brand, Bird Eyewear.

A sibling-run label dedicated to being as eco-friendly as possible through trend-defying design and ethical practices, the team behind this B Corp eyewear brand say they are creating, “Better eyewear for a better world.” The carbon-neutral brand has been hailed as one-to-watch by the likes of Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and The Independent.

The timeless collection nods to vintage sunglasses design – think aviators, rounded shapes and tortoiseshell finishes – but the thoughtful styles look to a more sustainable future. Bird Eyewear uses mindful materials and dyes that are non-toxic, recyclable, biodegradable or compostable like bamboo wood, bio-based acetate, renewable cork and recycled aluminium. Bird also works to reduce global poverty and climate change; for every pair of glasses sold, it distributes solar lights to remote communities in Zambia and Malawi. 

It’s easy to see why this emerging, purposeful label should be on your summer style radar…

THIS LEATHER LABEL IS A MUST-HAVE FOR THE MODERN GENTLEMAN

If you are going to invest in one piece this month, look to a label passionate about handcrafting authentic leather goods designed to endure.

The Dust Italy takes a stand against throwaway culture, creating bags and accessories that they hope will be with you throughout all seasons of life.

Italian-made, the certified vegetable-tanned leather is treated in the traditional way and pieces only improve over time as the leather takes on a well-loved look that is wholly unique to you. The offering of work bags – think sleek briefcases and satchels – and casual bags – urban-cool backpacks and overnighters – keep to a classic palette with styles nodding to sophisticated and more rugged aesthetics.

The Dust Italy is inspired by the idea of the modern heirloom for a new generation who value exceptional skill and craftsmanship.

MEET THE FOUNDER OF EDITOR-APPROVED LABEL NRBY

Jo Hooper talks about her journey from buyer to founder, the importance of women empowering women and what she’s looking forward to wearing from the new collection.

Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and The Telegraph Fashion are just a handful of the publications that have fallen for brand-to-watch, NRBY.

NRBY creates simple wardrobe staples that prove clothing can be functional and seasonless without compromising on style. Jo was inspired by the concept of one-mile wear – the idea of clothes that can be worn, “For lazy days and doing days, and the days when you’re putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where life takes you.” The streamlined edit of slip-on dresses, casual tailoring, cashmere knitwear and dependable layering pieces are designed to slot seamlessly into your closet and have been seen on the likes of Alexandra Shulman, Lisa SnowdonJanet Street-PorterMary Nightingale and Marianela NunezThe collection’s fresh and feminine colour palette, feel-good fabrics and easy shapes are perfect for the everyday.

Naturally, we were keen to hear from the woman behind this fast-rising and universally appealing label. Meet Jo Hooper…

BEHIND THE BOUTIQUE : THE MERCANTILE

East London fashion hub The Mercantile is widely loved for its eclectic brand mix and friendly, knowledgeable team. Hear the story behind the Atterley boutique from owner and buyer Debra McCann.

In London’s vibrant Spitalfields area sits The Mercantile, a multi-brand boutique bursting with unique designer gems. From emerging sustainable labels to fail-safe favourites – think Stine Goya, Bellerose and American Vintage – The Mercantile’s offering is vast, varied and guaranteed to draw you in.

Owner Debra McCann knows her customers well. And, with years of boutique experience and trade show buying behind her, she’s a trust-worthy source for discovering smaller designers and brands. Fine-tuning The Mercantile’s offering has meant seeking out new labels she knows her regulars will love, and stocking the latest from those they already do. Hear from Debra herself about the boutique’s journey, its challenges and its exciting future.

THE VEGAN LABEL ON PETA’S MOST-LOVED LIST

Unreal Fur’s collection of vegan and cruelty-free outerwear and accessories is leading the charge in the faux-volution.

A winner of the PETA Fashion Awards 2018, Unreal Fur has been a firm favourite among ethically-conscious shoppers since launching in Melbourne in 2011. 

Unreal Fur is known for its faux fur and vegan leather coats, gilets, collars and scarves in a playful palette that mixes pastels, neutrals and eye-catching animal-inspired prints. The quality materials like faux suede – more durable than its animal-sourced counterpart – give the appearance and plush texture of fur or leather but ensure that you can shop with a clear conscience. 

A relevant offering of puffer jackets, trenches and more, shop investment buys that will work in your wardrobe for years to come…

BEHIND THE BOUTIQUE : RUSKIN

Combining an admirable ethos with a wholesome family atmosphere, Atterley Boutique Ruskin is a shopping destination with a difference. Whether you’re committed to sustainable style or keen to discover emerging labels, this Whitstable haunt is a boutique to bookmark.

On a quaint street by the coast sits a retail rarity: an independent business fully dedicated to ethical practices. Family-run Ruskin opened in 2012, and has since carved out a unique space in the world of boutique fashion. Husband and wife duo Shelly and Garrie Keeys found that this sustainable vision is what kept similarly conscious customers coming back to their shop, and have continued to seek out like-minded brands with traceable production lines. Most recently: Nula, a local label set on sourcing fabrics responsibly and creating garments with care.

Proving that sustainable style is anything but boring, Ruskin also stocks popular buys from international brands like Veja and Samsoe Samsoe. Like what you hear? Read on to learn more about Ruskin from Shelly herself.

BEHIND THE BOUTIQUE : ACCENT CLOTHING

Atterley Boutique Accent Clothing is a multi-award-winning independent retailer that first opened its doors back in 1984.

The multi-award-winning and family-run boutique opened almost 40 years ago, making it the longest established boutique in Leeds. Martin Schneider began the legacy with a small designer menswear boutique in the historic Queens Arcade. Accent has grown in the years since and he now runs it with his wife, Louise, and their two children, Jack and Becky.

Accent was one of the first places where people could access top-end designer clothing in the city and it’s become a much-loved shopping destination for men’s, women’s and children’s designer wear over the years. The team’s keen eye for buying informs a winning edit of both established and up-and-coming labels. Accent has curated an aesthetic where rock-and-roll meets heritage, mixing iconic British labels like Barbour and Belstaff with contemporary denim brands and their more directional womenswear collections. Accent has also made a name for itself as a denim specialist with a dedicated team eager to pair you with the perfect fit from names like Replay, Edwin, Armani and Scotch & Soda.

Atterley speaks to Becky, daughter of the founders, about her family’s award-winning fashion legacy.