I came across Beautiful Soul at the estEthica exhibition at London Fashion Week and got another look at the press day a couple of weeks ago.
Designer Nicola Woods only graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2008 and, after spending her summer designing for a Charity in South Africa, returned to the UK to establish Beautiful Soul in November 2008.
What she created is a fashion label that truly tries to bring an ethical vision to all areas of the business.
Nicola produces gorgeous feminine yet directional designs using Japanese vintage kimonos (dating back to the 1940’s), vintage saris, Ahimsa peace silk, Fair-Trade organic jacquard, handloom cotton, and bamboo jersey. All the embellishments and accessories she uses are hand-made by a small cooperative in South Africa that Beautiful Soul set up in 2008.
If that’s not ethical enough the garments are also produced in London by a registered Women’s project and Beautiful Soul is committed to providing “employment opportunities from a compassionate viewpoint; providing training and motivation within less privileged communities around the UK and the World”.
The current collection ‘Smallprint’ for Autumn Winter is available now on the Beautiful Soul website.
For Spring Summer 2010 collection is called “Miss Butterfly” and was inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madam Butterfly. The vintage kimono fabric used has obviously inspired the shapes, but without feeling like fancy dress.
The limited availability of each type of fabric means that the kimono pieces are all unique and only a limited number are available in any one fabric.
I also love the versatility in the collection: here the Mieka Coat/Skirt is worn in 3 different ways, as a coat, mini skirt and as a loose fitting overskirt with a dress for a very different look each time.
The Beautiful Soul debut collection for Autumn Winter 2009 can be purchased on the Beautiful Soul website now.