Ethical fashion is the buzz word behind this Yorkshire collaboration, reports CATHERINE TURNBULL

Photos: Andrea Denniss of Pink Lily Photography

CONTINENTAL chic and fair-trade cashmere from Nepal were the stars of a photoshoot to showcase exciting new looks for autumn.

Clare Morris of Copper & White opened her home in Pocklington to team up for a shoot with Maxine Brown of AmaDablam and her ethical and fair-trade cashmere from Nepal. Joining them was handbag designer Julie Austin-Lee of the Yorkshire Handbag Company. All three will be collaborating for York Fashion Week next year.

“I’ve worked with both companies and have built up really strong friendships with Maxine and Julie,” says Clare, who runs an online store and sells on Tuesdays to Fridays at York’s Shambles Market.

“Maxine’s products are mainly ponchos and scarves and they look brilliant with my Spanish collection. I love working with Maxine as her items are produced fairly and as ethically as possible - for example the fur trims are made from fur that has moulted from the animal, so nothing is killed to produce the fur.

“I believe it’s really important to start thinking about ethical fashion, so this is a great starting point for Copper & White. Her cashmere is also so beautiful and a lovely quality that it fits perfectly with the brand.”

Clare says Julie’s handbags are superb quality and she plans to stock them at Copper & White.

The trio put together a capsule collection for this photoshoot that can be dressed up or down. “The tops, shirts and jumpers can be worn as standalone pieces with a pair of jeans for a day out shopping or lunch with the girls,” Clare says. “We have some matching trousers which take the outfit up a notch to perhaps a meal out or trip to the theatre, especially if you popped on a necklace.

“The trousers can also be worn as standalone pieces and when styled with one of our jumpers they create more of a daytime look. We also have some beautiful faux fur coats and jackets in shades such as wine, cream, navy, black, grey and leopard.”

Clare says the coats are great for winter and will look fabulous for a day out with the family, or with friends. “When the party season comes, they will be amazing on top of party wear as they look so glamorous. We also have some shorter length jackets too which will be great for autumn weather and could also be worn with party wear.”

Her exclusive Spanish collection from Compañía Fantástica has pieces from under £20. Clare also has an environmental conscience and aims to supply fashion that is enduring.

Julie, who like Clare is a former teacher, began to sell handbags at house parties and small events. “Five years on I am designing my own collections, have a website, attend major events and am building a collection of stockists,” she says.

“I am proud of my brand and it certainly resonates with the people who see and buy our handbags. The real focus is that they are real leather for real women with real lives. Most can be worn across the body or as back packs, allowing busy women to carry on with their busy lives. This makes them great for work, travelling, shopping, any time that you need your hands free. However just because they are practical, they can still fun and feel great when you wear them. Our use of colour updates any outfit, our colour pop collection makes women smile.”

Maxine is based in Linton-on-Ouse, just outside York. Her aim at AmaDablam is to provide traditional and modern pure cashmere products, while ensuring every step in the production is sustainable, ethical, and transparent to help improve the lives of children in rural Nepal.

“I joined a group of international travellers and trekked to Semjong Primary School in Central Nepal,” she says. “Semjong village school was completely destroyed in an earthquake and once the school was built there was still a need for similar projects and we decided the ideal way to support some of these would be to sell Nepalese cashmere and other traditional Nepalese products and return some of the profit to help support rural education - and AmaDablam was born.

“With a background in travel, and not fashion, collaborations, such as the one we are lucky enough to be part of with Copper & White, are essential to our success,” Maxine says. “Clare has encouraged us to consider jumpers as well as ponchos and travel wraps and guides us in choosing colours ahead of the season. I am really excited to partner with Clare next year for our first York Fashion Week to bring ethical and fair-trade cashmere to York.”


Make-up: Enya O’Brien from Holy Beauty

Models: Annie Stirk, Carolyn Amos and Elisa Winstanley.