We’re not known for compromising on sartorial matters, and ethical fashion has too often suggested the sort of sacrifices we aren’t prepared to make. It turns out however, that that going eco can mean acquiring clothes and accessories that are more interesting and of a higher quality than those you had before. Our quest for stylish, ethical dressing took us to Mexico, where designers are not only showing concern for the environment but are also strengthening the fair-trade network.

Mexican fashion designers

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Perhaps most impressive of all is Carla Fernandez, who this year won International Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year at London Fashion Week for her work as founder of Taller Flora, a fashion label and mobile laboratory. Fernandez travels through Mexico visiting communities that specialise in handmade textiles and then works with them on a fair-trade basis to create her highly personal collection.

Glass specialist Valerie Florescano, meanwhile, uses artisanal techniques to translate Mexico’s rich glas stardition intovery contemporary accessories. Her handmade jewellery is inspired by everything from ancient quartz pieces to 1940s glasswork by architect Luis Barragan and designer Clara Porset.

Two other Mexican fashion designers that similarly caught our eye with creative designs are bag company Nahui Ollin and fashion designer Alejandra Quesada. At Nahui Ollin, designer Olga Abadi uses the ancient Mayan technique of bending everyday materials to make bags. They range from tiny purses to large overnight carriers (all of which are complete one-offs) and have been such a success the organisation now trains and employs craftspeople across Central Mexico. Alejandra Quesada, on the other hand, takes inspiration from Mexico’s strong connection with embroidery and has worked traditional bold stitching into her delicate spring summer 08 collection.