Oversized cocoon coat, £185, aligne.co (tip: buy a size down)
More than that, Sézane, the French fashion brand du jour, has just achieved B Corp status. B Lab, a non-profit organisation, certifies companies based on how they create value for non-shareholding stakeholders ie their employees, the local community and the environment. It puts people and planet on an even keel. Nowadays long-term gain does not just mean someone getting rich. There is a seismic shift going on. Stakeholders want greater performance in terms of a clear demonstration of values and best practice. The application process is lengthy and not to be undertaken lightly. (The current review time for a B Corp applicaton is six to 10 months.) You have got to be genuinely committed to even start this journey. But ultimately it provides you, the customer, with a greater awareness of the kind of brand you are buying into. Greenwashing (conveying a false impression that a company’s products are more environmentally sound) is rife. Every brand I now research has a sustainability tab on its home page. It’s a bandwagon everyone is jumping on – even if their real drive and motivation to do good is almost non-existent. So I take my hat (or beret) off to Sézane.
Really, I can let the clothes speak for themselves this week. Big, bold, hugely comfortable, a talking point, a point of difference, a spring in your wintry step. I actually recommended the pink coat by Aligne to a client last week. She had spent, wait for it, nearly £2,000 on two coats she now didn’t like. She had fallen for them after seeing them promoted by an influencer. We’ve all been there. I told her to sell the coats on eBay, give up on the guilt and find something that worked for her budget and lifestyle (children, constant drop-offs, “everyone out the door now” type of pace).
This pink coat is magic for the simple fact it’s a colour we don’t see often in winter. (Please note I’m wearing a sample here; I advise buying down a size). Aligne have thought outside the box and got it right. It’s 70 per cent recycled polyester. I asked Dalbir Bains, its managing director and founder, for greater clarity on recycled polyester as this has been bugging me in my research. She was direct and clear: “The production of recycled polyester requires 59 per cent less energy compared to virgin polyester, and it’s estimated that recycling polyester fibre lowers 75 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions when compared to the manufacturing of virgin polyester.” My advice? If you really love this coat, and you are sure you will love it (and take care of it) for a good, lengthy time then allow yourself a closer look. Otherwise you’ll find a host of other coats on Aligne and Sézane’s websites. Do start reading your fabrics. Think of them like the ingredients of a balanced diet. You are what you eat… how about “you are what you wear”?