Warning: You’ll Be Touching Yourself All Day Because Of Alice Asquith
And that goes if you're running errands around the city or getting your Misty Copeland on at barre class.
Do you remember when leggings became a thing? Like a thing thing? And then when leggings became pants…and basically one-half of your wear everywhere, anywhere uniform? We don’t know about you, but finding the perfect pair of leggings or uniform for those don’t-care-not-leaving-my-bed-or-doing-my-hair-but-if-I-have-to-I’m-already-dressed days — soft to touch, fit like a eight layer of skin, made with a natural, chemical-free breathable material — is not for the faint of heart. Even harder? Finding comfy, stylish loungewear from a brand that doesn’t sacrifice ethics for aesthetics…or vice versa.
We love that natural is trending. Even though it’s not a trend to us, it’s great to see this wave of consciousness bloom and we hope it lingers longer than most trends. But one thing that makes us furtively send each other lines of eyeroll emojis is when we discover a brand who exclusively uses natural fibers, but also includes fabrics made from animal products like silk and wool and leather. All natural isn’t good natural. (And if you want to hear more of us ranting about why we can’t stand the hypocrisy of ethical fashion brands who use animal skins, go here.) Needless to say, we’re in love that Alice Asquith uses only organic bamboo and cotton in the street-to-studio pieces from her eponymous line.
Keep scrolling as we chat with Alice about taking responsibility for what you wear and how ethical fashion is “not all hemp sacks that are unflattering!”
It was love at first touch
“I come from a long line of creative women; my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all designed and made their own beautiful clothes. I launched Asquith as a ‘natural’ sportswear brand – all cotton. Then about 10 years ago I discovered bamboo bathrobes and they were so soft, absorbent and hard-wearing. So I researched fabrics fully and decided that I would make Asquith in environmentally friendly fabrics bamboo and organic cotton, kinder to your skin and kinder to the environment.”
Her interpretation of “ethical fashion”
“[Ethical fashion] is the opposite of fast disposable fashion. It’s taking responsibility for what you wear. It needs to be a fully opaque production process; the farmers are looked after and paid proper wages for growing crops, the environment isn’t harmed and your fabric is made, with or without pesticides, the factory it’s made in has a sound working environment and the makers treated well.”
On what made her delve into the world of athleisure
“Two things. About 18 years ago I had started practising yoga to help me relax and I couldn’t find anything to wear that wasn’t synthetic sportswear. Secondly, my sister was pregnant and complaining there was nothing for her to wear in natural fabrics and I saw a gap in the market. I researched the market thoroughly but saw that women really didn’t want to spend money on maternity wear. But, in my research journey I found a huge gap in the market for clothing for maternity and yoga, which was slowly growing in popularity. But the only clothing available was sportswear, which I thought was just too sporty and synthetic.”
To all the other ethical fashion designers and brands…
“Ethical clothing has to address the full supply chain. Not just in terms of fabrics but in terms of the factory and treatment and working habits of the people that make the garments. Companies need to be open and more honest about their complete supply chain.”
Why you won’t be able to stop feeling yourself
“We use sustainable and environmentally low-impact fabrics. They’re ideal for activewear as they’re naturally breathable comfortable and better for your skin. They wash well and wear well. We sell to a lot of yoga teachers who repeatedly wash them and wear them so they need to not only feel good but last. What makes them so comfy? The way they feel next to your skin. The way I design the clothes with all soft elastic, nothing to gape open and no styles that need pulling down. They’re all designed to be functional and fit for purpose.”
Bamboo might be the new black
“Bamboo is a sustainable and environmentally low-impact fabric which grows faster and absorbs more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees. It’s ideal for activewear as it’s naturally anti-bacterial, breathable and wicks away sweat. It moulds to the body, providing excellent stretch capabilities and is particularly good for sensitive skin.
Because it grows so fast bamboo is an easily renewable resource. It requires 1/3 the amount of water to grow than cotton and doesn’t attracts bugs and pests therefore doesn’t use pesticides for growing – unlike cotton which does require pesticides to aid and maintain growth. Bamboo plantations can also be easily kept organic and replanted every year.”
This is how things are done at ASQUITH
“We produce our activewear collections in sunny southern Turkey. The 50-strong team enjoy a lovely, family-run factory – complete with roof terrace where they grow their own herbs for cooking lunches in their canteen. Established 22 years ago by an amazing Turkish businesswoman (who runs mentor programs in Turkey and speaks fluent Italian, English and Spanish – not to mention Turkish!), it has now expanded considerably but is still privately owned. The factory has GOTS organic certification and is a great place to work. Everyone is very happy; all employees have 9-5 working hours, paid holidays and love working with Asquith. We recycle everything we can and package everything so that you can do the same. We do not use animal products and nothing is ever tested on animals. Our products are designed to be durable and will last much longer than high street versions – better for you and the planet.”
Her most-worn pieces from the collection
“Our Long Harem Pants and Be Grace Batwing are our most popular styles. They’re both incredibly comfortable easy to wear street-to-studio styles. Perfect for yoga and Pilates but great for travelling and just wearing around the house. And they’re flattering too.”
This is why her pieces are worth investing in
“Asquith fabrics are more expensive and the labor is more expensive. About 20% more. Our fabrics have to pass rigorous tests. It’s a challenge to find fabrics for fitness that can also be functional. I wanted to make a ‘performance’ fabric the wasn’t synthetic but had the same properties as a synthetic fabric and this took a time to research and develop. But two years about I trademarked and launched Bambor which is a blend of organic cotton, bamboo and a tiny amount of elastane (to provide additional stretch capabilities). It is super soft, wicks away sweat and molds to your body to provide unrivaled comfort and flexibility.”
She doesn’t stop at clothes in her personal life
“What you wear against your skin, put in your body as food and put on your skin are equally important. I wear all organic products. They smell nicer and feel fresher and I know they don’t harm me or the environment or get tested on animals. I’m currently using a brilliant skincare brand, Optiat, which is a face scrub made from recycled coffee grounds. It’s divine.”
Make sure you shop our favorite pieces from Alice’s beautiful collection below!
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