Assemble by Louise Tracey: ethical, sustainable Irish fashion


' Assemble by Louise Tracey: ethical, sustainable Irish fashion' is a sponsored post, in collaboration with Assemble I've been thinking, for a while now, about ways to shop more ethically – and where to buy sustainable fashion – so when I was asked to collaborate with Assemble by Louise Tracey, a new Irish fashion brand that promises just that, it was a done deal.

I'll be totally honest – I wasn't exactly sure where the "ethical, sustainable" side came into it. For a couple of years now, we've seen high-street brands come out with collections that make these kinds of big claims. When you do a little digging, you discover that the items come from the same sweatshops, just using fairtrade cotton. Or that they're hemp, or that there's no bleach involved – but when you step back a little bit, there's very little change to the status quo.

With that in mind, I was a little suspicious that Assemble by Louis Tracey would be more of the same – fashion that nods to sustainability and ethical manufacturing, while putting very little of it into practice.

Assemble by Louise Tracey: the Adelphi collection

Assemble by Louise Tracey ethical fashion

But I was pretty much immediately proved wrong when I talked to Louise about the line and saw the pieces in the flesh at the launch in House. Exquisite's Aisling O'Loughlin, jewellery designer Melissa Curry, the McGinn sisters (or, at least, two of them) and Louise's family and friends toasted the Adelphi collection, the first from Assemble by Louise Tracey.

A slow fashion movement

You see, she disarmed me immediately by going for the jugular. Assemble by Louise Tracey is a tiny collection, all in limited numbers. Louise explained: "We don't need a neverending supply of clothes – I wanted to reflect that." The official term is, of course, "slow fashion". The exact opposite of fast fashion, slow fashion asks the consumer to respect the garment. It asks us to make considered purchases that will stand the test of both time and trends.

Assemble by Louise Tracey ethical fashion

On the latter point, Adelphi – the debut collection – will most certainly outlast any fleeting trends. It's a minuscule collection – small enough to call capsule. Two dresses, two tops, a skirt and a waistcoat. Louise describes it as "deconstructed menswear for ladies".

Each item is handmade by Louise using ethically sourced fabrics from – for now – Italy and Japan. And the collection is inspired by men's tailoring, with nods to 1990s grunge. That red check fabric reminds me of My So-Called Life, in the best way possible.

Limited numbers – because fashion is not limitless

There are five of each size, in each style. "By limiting the number of items in each collection I hope to bring a bit more awareness to the work that goes into the making of clothes," said Louise. "Fashion is not all about instant gratification, you don’t need a new dress for every time you leave the house."

Of course, the real draw of the Assemble by Louise Tracey is the adaptability of the pieces; I have my eye on that grey dress, for example, which you could wear open, as a waistcoat. In the summer months, I'd wear it on its own, with a pair of Converse and a red lip. In colder weather, I'd layer it over a polo neck and maybe cinch the waist in with a skinny belt.

Assemble by Louise Tracey is not cheap; kimono-style knit tees start at €100, and that pinafore dress I love will set me back €250. But our clothes shouldn't be cheap – in price or in the way we respect them. The price tag on these, I think, reflects the fact that they're made with love, care, skill and a serious consideration for the world we live in – and that's something worth paying for.

Shop the Adelphi collection on and get 10% off your order with the promo code ROSEMARY*.

This is a sponsored post, in collaboration with Assemble by Louise Tracey. I will always disclose if a post is sponsored or contains affiliate links; for more, check out my disclaimer.

*One use per customer, limited time offer.