Fashion

People Tree x V&A collection: The bits we’re buying from the sustainable fashion collab


Sustainable fashion is quite the buzzword right now, with many of us looking to shop less, buy better and consume in a more environmentally friendly way. But, getting your head around it can feel like a minefield with countless companies overexaggerating their sustainability claims in a trick commonly known as greenwashing.

So, even when you think you’re being a conscious consumer, thanks to good old tricks of the trade, that may not be the case. Luckily, there are some brands out there who are actually true to their word, spending years developing business models that work with the planet, not against it, to create fashion that literally doesn’t cost the earth. And People Tree is one of them.

Founded in 1991 by Safia Minney who literally wrote the book (plus several others) on sustainable fashion – including Slave to Fashion (£11.19, Ethicalshop.org), Fashionopolis (£8.28, Amazon.co.uk) and Regenerative Fashion (£29.99 , Waterstones.com) to name but a few – the brand is now in its third decade of trading and has been a pioneer in the eco-friendly fashion space.

Five core missions make up the brand ethos, from protecting the environment and supporting suppliers to providing customers with high-quality products, all while setting an industry example. And it’s racked up some great certifications too from the World Fair Trade Organisation and Soil Association to help solidify its credentials.

But, while all of that is fantastic, it is ultimately a fashion brand, so the products have to look great too. Cue the seasonal collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, and we’re treated to exclusive prints and patterns from the historical archives in dresses, blouses, skirts and more. Keep reading below to see what we’ve got our eye on for autumn.

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(People Tree)

Although we haven’t tried any of this range out for ourselves just yet, we did name the brand’s Lea dress the best sustainable option in our summer dress round-up. Our tester raved about the quality, so we have no doubt this range will be the same.

Inspired by a furnishing fabric featured in the V&A’s collection, the Glendale print was created by artist-designer Sidney Mawson in the 1920s. Updated into a more modern autumnal colour scheme, the finely drawn pattern reflects the Arts and Crafts Movement’s interest in native British wildflowers and woodlands in a beautiful way.

Falling just above knee-length with long sleeves, a button-up front and a deep V-neck, it’s sure to be flattering and work well for work, parties and dinners out. For those after a longer-length dress, this print is also available in a maxi dress style too (£185, Peopletree.co.uk).

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(People Tree)

Made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton and eco-friendly corozo buttons, this blouse is sure to see you through many years to come no matter the weather. Based on a floral wallpaper designed by Kate Faulkner, a member of Morris & Company’s design studio , the monochrome palette is again floral-focused. A ruffle trim collar and puff sleeves finish off the design allowing it to be paired with skirts, jeans and even under dresses for a very versatile piece.

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(People Tree)

Again in the deep red Glendale print, this near ankle-length skirt can either be paired with the matching shirt (£109, Peopletree.co.uk) or with a tonal jumper or T-shirt and boots as pictured. Made from Tencel branded Lyocell fibres – an extremely eco-friendly material that comes from responsibly sourced wood pulp – it’s said to be silky soft while still durable, and we can’t wait to try it.

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(People Tree)

Another piece in the Kate Faulkner print, it’s easy to see the William Morris influence on this design. In a relaxed cut, the midi dress falls at mid-calf length with a pleated skirt giving lots of volume. The round neck and three-quarter length sleeves add to the design, lending it an almost Victorian-era style with a more modern update.

Again, made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton, it’s also made from a more environmentally friendly material without the use of damaging pesticides. If you love this print, it’s also available in a waistcoat, skirt and knee-length dress options too.

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(People Tree)

For anyone who loves this collection but is looking for something on a slightly smaller budget, then there are still a couple of last season’s collection pieces left, including this waistcoat. Now with over £100 off, the summer-ready print was inspired by a furnishing textile from Miles & Edwards, featuring colourful blooms on a cream background. And it’s also reversible with a block cream inner for more subtle style too.

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(People Tree)

Another oldie but goodie, this blue-hue skirt is another summer piece now in the sale. The blue and white ditsy print design is inspired by a pattern from Miles & Edwards, whose Oxford Street store sold fabrics to prestigious clients in the early 19th century – so, if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for us. Pair with a simple white T-shirt for a more tonal look.

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