Ethical intelligent fashion for the Woman who knows what she wants and is concerned about supporting NZ Made Fashion and looking after the environment. Sustainable boutique designer women's fashion clothing designed in New Zealand.
Our new manufacturer allows us to make knitwear with some of the softest knit textiles we've ever used.
Our new stylized gratitude sign knitwear was designed to wear our gratitude on our chest with either beautiful delicate applique (sewn on) or intarsia (knitted within) in comfortable styles for smart casual looks.
Whether you are after a layering turtle neck merino or a versatile warm knit dress for winter you'll find a piece that lasts for many seasons with our latest merinos. Every design is just that little bit different unlike your basic chain store buys. Or products are guaranteed ethically made and chosen for their sustainable wearability.
RESOLVED KNIT - Luxurious merino knit in pale grey marl with a bright blue gratitude symbol intarsia on front chest. Loose fitting v neck jumper with a long sleeve that is ribbed. Sleeve and body all in one. Maybe machine washed and lay flat for drying. However it is best for the life of the garment to hand wash and rinse in tepid water.
PERFECT DRESS - Striped 100% merino dress in navy and mauve. Dress has pockets in side seams and contrast navy rib trim at neck and sleeve edges. Has shoulder contrast in navy rib. Ideal layering piece.
CHAMPION MERINO - 100% Merino top with long sleeves and a frilled cuff. Has a high neck all in one. Available in black and french navy.
OPTIMIZED MERINO - Relaxed fit black 100% merino with 100% off white merino neck trim and gratitude symbol appliqued on chest. Has a grown on sleeve and cuff. Covers the hip area with a rounded hem and side splits. Slightly longer at the back.
ENHANCED V DRESS - Soft cosy smart casual sweat dress in Italian 96% Viscose / 4% Elastane with 100% Merino rib neck and cuff trim. Knee length with long v neck and a mesh insert. Has balloon stretch mesh sleeves in 90% nylon / 10% spandex that hold the warmth with elegance. One to wear dressed up or casually.
Rather than an entire wardrobe overhaul, we believe that a handful of simple tweaks to your existing closet can provide the difference between looking current and feeling a little dated. Being stylish is a life-long project, and it's okay to make mistakes or feel distinctly "un-cool" for any given period of time, but there are certain fall-back tricks one can rely upon.
It might seem obvious to those mavens out there with an innate sense for looking tip-top even on a 6 a.m bus journey, but the rest of us occasionally have to double-down and get back to basics in order to feel new and fresh and fashionable again. So rather than start the year with the sense that you can only be fabulous if you buy a heap of brand-new items, or paused because your in a mid season rut, read the below tips for a quick refresher. Much of the advice will prove to be light on your energy - both your time and wallet - the ideal combination when we're wallowing in the depths of those wardrobe blues. Of course, you can always check out our sale to find a great item to fill the gap.
See the ways you can look more stylish from this very instant.
Find your accessorising comfort zone
Whether you're an über minimalist and happiest in a set of stacked rings and a simple leather belt or a supreme magpie who likes to stack it on - I believe that looking stylish is all about being comfortable with what you're wearing (and what you're choosing not to wear). So, if you're not the kind of girl who wants to go down the Gucci route of wearing accessories by the truckload, don't go there! I'd recommend that you experiment a bit in the mirror, opting for colour-matched accessories to start the process off.
Pull out the item you always feel great in and wear it!
Everyone has their feel-good fashion buy that work season after season, year after year and day after day and they'll never be the same for any two women. So, if you have a pair of snazzy sunglasses that make you feel like a boss or a dress that does all the right things to your figure, then don't ever feel like you can't put it on just because you "wear it all the time". Those are the winning items and the ones that I'd suggest repeat buying or snapping up in different colourways so you can keep them on rotation forever more.
Experiment with some basic layering techniques
Complex layering scares even the most talented stylists when it comes to their own wardrobes, but there's something to be said for looking like you know your stuff when you just delve into a subtle layering technique or two. From wearing a knit, as a scarf for the cooler part of the day (yes, that's really a thing at the moment) to popping on a plain roll neck under a summer dress, for the change of seasons.
Swap anything scruffy or overly casual for smarter options
It's all too easy to fall into a throw-whatever-is-comfortable-on pattern of behaviour, but if trackies or looking grunge-y isn't your natural, happy place then it will drag you down eventually. The cycle doesn't have to be hard to break—just get that iron and ironing board out, put on something crisp and clean and sleek. Tailoring often does the trick, even if you're making something like a posh skirt look more laid-back with a slouchy jumper. You'll feel instantly more sophisticated by just leaving the lazy clothes for at home.
When in doubt, wear one colour head-to-toe
You know deep down when you've found "your" colour, which would probably make it easy to dig into your wardrobe and find enough items to pull of a head-to-toe tonal look. For me, I'm sure I could uncover a sufficient amount of red items to make it work. Whatever's your jam, just choose your favourite one spectrum of shade never fails to look elegant and super elongating on the figure. Of course, you could take the ultimate timeless fashion-editor route and just opt for black.
As part of the liann bellis sustainable intent, we have designed a specific LBD initial range available specifically for online.
With a focus of eliminating manufacturing wastage, we've put together a made-to-order range of cute, comfortable styles that every woman needs. Using gorgeous abundant fabric and simplistic pattern styles this range will have regular mid-season drops to watch out for as Leanne's creative mind wonders between seasons.
Keeping the garments locally made promises the turnaround is efficient for all sizes.
With less overheads to produce the LTD range ensures the price is kept low for you, be assured the liann bellis standards around producing quality garments that last the distance is still of upmost importance.
If you have never tried liann bellis designs then a LBD piece may be your Initial start.
Check out the LBD initial range of mid-summer garments below order your size now.
Where are my clothes made and who makes them and were they happy?
Whose hands have helped design, cut and sew the clothes that I purchase for my family?
How exactly do I know if my clothes are ethically made?
While it can definitely be challenging to tell at first glance, the following 5 questions will help you discover if your clothes are made in an ethical manner.
1. Is the brand transparent on their website?
Look at their “about” page. See if you can trace the item of clothing back to the source. Do they have information on the fabrics they use? Can you find information on where the product is sewn?
2. Is the brand promoting and marketing ethical or sustainable practices? Clicking through a brand's products and looking over the product descriptions is another great place to find out essential information. Do the brand's social media outlets specifically emphasize how their clothing is ethically made? If the brand is sharing their process then they are proud of how they make their clothing.
3. Does the brand support and create sustainable jobs? Most ethically made brands are well informed about the factories and facilities through which they source their products. Conscience brands definitely want the consumer to know how their clothes are made, who touches the clothes and what makes them ethical.
4. Is the brand focused on their values and look beyond profit and losses? Core values can centre a brand and drive a company forward in making decisions. Brands that have a clear focus on what they want to achieve, whether it be through giving campaigns, empowering women or practicing fair labour, show that they are focused on putting the wellbeing of others first.
5. Is the brand doing something that is considered radical? The fashion industry is historically known as an exploitative industry. Brands showcasing that they are well informed in their industry and strive to set a new standard is a sure indicator that your clothing will be made ethically from start to finish.
Did you know, according to Business Insider, only 1 percent of the fashion industry is made up of ethically made clothing? We are talking about a very small slice of a $1 trillion global industry. At liann bellis we have a passion for knowing our manufacturers and producing inspired, quality, ethically made clothes.
We're thrilled to have partners like Kerilin Fashions in Auckland, Shanghai Brothers in China and now our wonderful new partner Apricot Clothing in Noida India that help us produce Fair Trade GOTS Approved clothing.
Ask these questions to find out if your clothes are ethically made, don’t rely on a more than likely nondescript tag. If you are ever unsure, ask questions.
Changing the standard begins with a consumer’s decision and their voice to say that unethical, unsustainable fashion is unacceptable.
“For me, sustainability is being mindful. It is about creating a product in an ethical and sustainable manner, or recycling and reusing if not. I also want to make sure that everyone in the production chain is being rewarded fairly for what they do, without being exploited.” - Leanne Greaves
5 must have looks for summer! If these aren’t in your wardrobe then you may not be that cool after all. If you care about that sort of thing. These are trends but they will be worn for a few years to come so have fun shopping for them.
This chic and simple style is perfect for keeping you feeling cool and looking effortlessly elegant this summer.
A white button-up shirt is one of the hottest trends this summer. Even better is a shirt dress. It can be worn with jeans, open with shorts, skirts and dresses. White is perfect for enhancing the appearance of your glowing summer tan.
Whether you’re heading into the office, out for evening drinks, on the beach or to your favourite cafe for brunch, a shirt dress makes an excellent outfit choice.
Check out our Make your Soul Happy Linen Shirt Dress
As worn by Rachel Hunter
There’s something so refreshing and chic about wearing white in summer. So, instead of dark colours, opt for white instead. Whether you like your pants straight, flared, wide-leg, cropped or made of denim, white can make a seriously stylish choice. Our You Have Purpose white pants are seriously comfortable and cool and they won’t cling to your bum promise.
A striped T-shirt has long been a summer staple. The nautical inspired navy and white design looks perfect when paired with jeans or denim shorts. For our range we have opted for touches of striped detail adding interest without being too overwhelming. It is also incredibly flattering beside a solid block colour like our Rise with the Sun dress and You are Fabulous top.
Pops of red
Lady in Red… is there anything more show-stopping to brighten up any dull day? True red is a great colour that suits many people. They say it attracts abundance, well how can it not when you look this hot? Don’t forget the bright red lippy and go easy on the eye makeup keep it light.
Featured top – Grateful heart top
Midi dress or skirt
Forget the mini, summer’s new skirt staple is the midi. No lady-like sitting in this comfy style that we all love. Wear it with sneakers during the day and strappy heels at night.
To save you money, time and energy before shopping it is important to consider a shopping strategy before approaching the summer shopping crowds. Trust me - your body, purse and planet will thank you for it.
After your wardrobe audit is done >> see my last blog. << You would have worked out what your wardrobe is lacking. Now look at garments that may have been favourites (which is why you’re hanging onto them) please ask yourself why do I like them so much? What has made me wear it so much?
Now you have all this clarity, the next step is the fun bit - the shopping!
Here are some things to think of when shopping.
Quality of the fabric
Fabric is one of the key considerations to quality. A good quality fabric will last much longer and look better when worn. Fabrics that are made from acrylic are just not worth your money. They pill quickly and look worn and old so fast. Early synthetics look very different to today’s synthetics. Today’s synthetic fabrics can be carefully blended to make them more serviceable and therefore some are more sustainable than natural fibres.
Is the garment well made? Check: what do the seams look like, are they holding together well with a good stitch tension or are they grinning? Do the seams look even and neat or shoddy? Are there threads hanging off? Are the buttons well attached give them a little pull? Is it lined? All these elements of construction are important when purchasing a garment, so be sure to test them.
It is important to find a shape that fits you well, so you feel comfortable and empowered in the garment. There is nothing worse than a dress that is poorly fitted so that you can’t walk confidently into a room. As we change with age maybe it worth the little extra cost to get a seamstress to tailor certain aspects to your body. Alter those trousers or skirts to a flattering length or adjust the darts to accentuate your curves.
Does it suit your personality?
It’s worthwhile every few years revisiting who you are as a person and how you want to be perceived. What is the message you want to communicate to the world about who you are today? What are your values? How are you expressing the authentic you through the medium of your outfits and accessories?
Is the garment a fad, a trend or a classic?
There are fads that last a season or maybe two at most. They are generally not a shape or colour that is flattering to a wider portion of the population. There are trends which last 2 -5 years in fashion and classics that last up to around 10 years. Classics do still change, for example: the blazer shape of the 1980s was not the blazer of the 1990s, nor is it the blazer shape today. Subtle changes in the design are made sometimes, but still enough that draws attention to the age of the garment. The fabric alone can date a garment and make it look out of fashion.
So unless you are vintage maven, I’d guess that you want your wardrobe to look current and modern? In this fast-paced, ever-changing world in which we reside, you’ll need to be aware that communicating that you are keeping up with all this change is a very positive attribute.
Are you ready for a new wardrobe? Well it’s all about fit. First answer these questions:
Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes that you wear but don’t love?
Do you have a closet full of worn out damaged clothes?
Do you love some of your clothes, but many others are just “meh”?
Do your clothes make you feel gorgeous, confident and express who you really are?
Do you want a wardrobe where you love the clothes and they love you back? The perfect wardrobe for you.
We are all very time poor these days, but it is important to take the time to consolidate your wardrobe for more effective sustainable shopping.
Buy fashion that fits:
Fits Your Body
We often keep clothes because how we felt when we wore them, the emotion they created. But do your clothes fit the body you have today?! Not yesterday, last week, last year or last decade. There is no point holding onto clothes that don’t fit the body you have today in hope that your body will revert-back. We all know our bodies change shape due to hormones and aging. Childbirth can change our waistlines, lovely menopause is also another time that changes where you carry your weight, you may lose it from your hips and thighs and it make move upwards onto your torso - everyone is unique.
The question you should be asking yourself when you try something on is 'does this fit my unique body shape, proportions and variations and flatter them?’ Manufacturers cannot design clothes to fit you exactly, so there are so many fit points in a garment. Don’t expect that you will be able to walk into a store and have everything fit you or anything for that matter. But some garments will fit better than others, so you may likely to need an alteration here and there to create a good fit for your unique body. Tailoring is key in having a wardrobe full of clothes you love. If a garment doesn’t fit well, you’re never going to love it and it certainly isn’t loving you back. It maybe worth the investment paying for that little extra alteration, rather than searching far and wide using energy to find that perfect garment.
Fits Your Lifestyle
How you spend your time will influence the kinds of clothes you need. Many of us keep clothes that no longer fit the life we have today. There have been many a corporate suit in the now wardrobe, of the mum that doesn’t need it. And quite possibly very dated by the time they may or may not go back to work. Spend some time figuring out what you do in your average week. How do you spend your time? What kinds of clothes do you need to look and feel appropriate?
You may want to break down your clothing needs into level of refinement:
Sporting or hobby wear
Then you can add percentages of how much time you spend in each category of clothing. This will give you an idea of how much of each type of clothing you need in your wardrobe.
Have a look in your wardrobe, see if you have more than you need of any of the categories above, or nowhere near enough. The percentage of time you wear it should reflect the percentage of clothes you own and wear. There’s no point in having a huge casual wardrobe if you spend the majority of your time in smart casual clothing.
Work out what you really need as far as your current lifestyle, then start working towards having your wardrobe reflect this.
Fits your Personality
Clothes communicate. Do your clothes fit your personality? Or are there just fads that you saw in a magazine on a trending celebrity?
They communicate with their line, colour, detail and design. They also express our personality traits, so think... are you conservative, bold, approachable, rebellious, sophisticated or nurturing and the list goes on… So consider how you want to be perceived, who you are, what you represent, your ideas, beliefs and your values, your clothes should be telling the world these aspects of who you are. If you’re an inspirational, bold extrovert, but wear head to toe black apparel then you may fade into the crowd and that is not who you are now is it?
If your clothes don’t reflect who you are as a person, you may be sending mixed-messages. Ask yourself the question - do the clothes in your wardrobe represent you right now? Who are you today? How do you want to be perceived? Maybe this has changed over time too.
If they don’t fit your current personality and what is important to you – then should you be keeping them? Your clothes should be loving you long term like a great husband - not a bad boyfriend.
Let's be honest none of us are buying fashion to save the world. We buy fashion because it makes us look good or we love the colour. Our fashion choices are about how it makes us feel. If this is true of the majority of us, how do we as an industry create change in how people shop?
Is it possible to do well, by doing good?
As consumers we have a conscious choice in how we invest money in our fashion purchases. If we as buyers of fashion shift where we spend our money, we shift the industry. Our choice has the power to influence the fashion industry to give us more sustainable choices.
It's a massive task. It means as a fashion designer you can still create the perfect, desired fit in that irresistible sexy dress, but still make it in a sustainable manner. And give back choice to consumers.
I wish it was just up to us, the industry. But some of us do all we can then just wait with bated breath when it hits the shelves to see if people will choice our designs over other’s. You, I and everyone at home plays a role in this pivotal change towards a better world.
As a consumer, the power is in your hands. You have the power to read the labels, ask the shop assistant about the garments, find out where they are made and what they are made from. This makes you purchase transparent, so you make an informed choice.
It takes making a conscious, intelligent choice to buy an ethically sustainable garment rather than the cheaper, fast fashion item, especially if it costs more. But, it sends a powerful message to the fashion industry, and has the potential to make a global difference.
For many years sustainable fashion was just a concept. In my eyes, today, it’s a necessity.
Statistics around the use of cotton, for example, makes for interesting reading. Even organic cotton takes just as much of nature’s vast water resources as regular cotton to create. The main difference being it doesn't have the pesticides.
But cotton is not the only fabric we can choose from, and many more sustainable options exist. There are fabrics made from the surplus food, from primary products such as milk and corn. And in general only 35% of fabric is used in making a garment so leftover fabric can be collected and ground down to make new fibres and therefore completely new fabric.
And these are just a few examples; there are so many more... I could go on and on.
As consumers and designers, we must also consider how we use the fashion we buy. How much we wear it and what we do with it when we are done with it.
The sustainable story of fashion doesn’t stop with the designer and manufacturer. In the lifecycle of a fashion item, consumers control more than 40% of the environmental impact by how much we wash, dry, iron or dry clean our clothing. As with many things in sustainability, minimising these activities is the environmental choice.
We need to flip the switch on how we view garbage too, so that its regarded as a potentially valuable resource and not merely a waste product.
It starts with us. We can look for opportunities in our own neighbourhoods for our unwanted items of clothing, giving them a second life by popping them in a clothing recycle bin or delivering them to a second hand store.
And of course you may ask yourself what difference is it going to make if I make small changes? And yes, sometimes the concept of sustainable fashion can be overwhelming. But I do believe that we as a whole can make a huge, lasting difference.
We just need to look at ourselves, see what we’re doing, and make little but powerful changes in our own lives. Collectively we can make a difference. And it can be really can be easy and even fun.
My ambition is to use fashion as a communication tool to contribute to developing a better world. Let's create intelligent fashion, the little things do matter. It is never too late to do well, by doing good.
Majority of you have started recycling your plastic bottles, you may even have a compost, if so go you! But did you know how you buy fashion makes a huge difference to the world. If you haven’t thought about how your clothing is produced before well there is no time like the present.
We are noticing more and more consumers are starting to ask some hard questions about how their clothing is made. They want to better understand the (lack of) transparency, sustainability, and ethics of the global fashion industry and how it impacts the environment and people around the world. But most consumers simply didn’t know where to start, and may feel overwhelmed by the opaqueness and complexity of global supply chains.
It’s important to learn about the differences between ethical or sustainable fashion and fast or mainstream fashion. Similar to the slow food versus fast food movement, There are many overlapping terms to describe ethical fashion: sustainable, organic, fair trade, etc.
Sustainable = the designer has thought about where the the garment is manufactured, what it takes to be manufactured eg how the production affects the environment, including transportation and packaging. They are also thinking how long a garment will last and where needed using blended fabrics that improve the life of the garment.
Organic = This means no chemical dies or sprays were used in the production of the fabric. For instance when using natural fibers such as cotton, a huge amount of harmful pesticides are usually used to grow the cotton.
Fairtrade and ethically produced = there is still a huge amount of manufacturing that is happening around the world that is classed as slave labour, with an ever-increasing competitive environment such as fashion the focus on the consumer is to get the best deal. We need to be aware of what that $30 t-shirt costs to another human being. Fairtrade means it is proven to follow the global standards of Fairtrade Practices Act and being ethically produced means the business has looked into how their choices affect others, they are owning their responsibility as a business owner.
Fast fashion/ Slow fashion = Fast fashion is the fades the chain store production of things that are in this season. Slow fashion means the designer has thought about whether the garment will be worn for many seasons. This makes a huge difference to the sustainability of a garment.
Your 3 step guide:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Knowledge is queen, so start understanding your favourite designers, spend some time researching your options here are some questions to think about:
Who are your favourite brands? What does it say on their websites about where and how their garments are produced?
What do they do with their excess garments or fabrics, do they give them to charities or local schools?
Do they give back to their community?
Is the fabric they are choosing sustainable and hard-wearing?
What brands in NZ yell from the rooftops that they care?
Once you’ve researched your favorite fashion brands, you have an opportunity to use your voice to make a change. We are buying more than our closets can fit and our wallets can support. This is where buying less and buying smarter come in. The only way to make a dent in our over-consumption of fashion and its subsequent consequences is to not only buy less, but also buy smarter. Sometimes this may mean paying more upfront for a higher quality garment, yet the cost-per-wear typically is lower in the long-run for those much-loved pieces that don’t unravel after a few washes.
Conscious consuming checklist:
Check in with your emotions, are you going shopping for the right reasons?
Go shopping for a purpose, too many 3 for the price of 2 deals are being purchased because we are being influenced, you don’t need 3.
Check your wardrobe, what is it lacking? What can you team differently for new looks?
Is the item comfortable, does this item fit well? If it doesn’t you won’t wear it as much and it will sit in your wardrobe.
Check the quality of a garment does it look like it will pill or go out of shape after a few washes?
Choose fashion designs that you can layer up trans-seasonally or that are timeless to keep bringing out for a few years.
WHAT TO DO WITH UNWANTED CLOTHES.
One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. You may find people in need that would love something that you don’t care much for. Think of what it takes to produce all those cleaning cloths that you use.
Sell clothes online
Swap clothes with friends, maybe host a tea/wine and swap party.
Donate to charity shops
Get creative with clothes by wearing things differently or transforming items eg. making dresses into skirts or pants into shorts.
Old t-shirts make great cleaning cloths, give old shirts to creative kids groups for painting.
Be sure to share the love by recommending designers and manufacturers that produce garments that actually care about the planet and her inhabitants. Make a stand on those that don’t by talking to them. The more awareness created, the more likelihood of change.
Leanne answers a few questions about what it's like to be a designer today, what we have to look forward to for next season and her favourite winter pieces.
What do you think has changed in fashion since you started your business? I think that social media has had the biggest effect on fashion globally, there a re now more influencers in fashion. There is also a push towards caring about where and how garments are produced for ethical and sustainable reasons.
Who's your favourite global fashion designer and why? I love Haider Ackerman. His use of colour and fabrics is unquestionably surperb.
How do you continually come up with fresh new ideas? More like I can’t get them all out of my head and onto paper. Only to be somewhat frustrated by what fabrics are available. This often is the deciding factor as to what is economically viable.
What's your biggest inspiration? Exploring different shapes, lengths and practical aspects of a garment. What do you love most about your work? Every day, is a new challenge and the creative process is exciting. When you see it all coming together, it’s a real sense of satisfaction. Why have you chosen to do such a large range of sizes? New Zealand woman are constantly changing. Our medium size now is a 14/16. Styling has also changed a lot so sometimes garments are in a S, M L, XL. This combines two sizes together. I want to cater for every woman.
What do you think your biggest point of difference is to other brands? Our styling is based around quite a few aspects; quality, comfort, serviceability. The sustainability and ethical nature of a garments manufacture.
What have we got to get excited about for the upcoming season? Our S18/19 It’s a Good Day Collection is based around a feeling of Gratitude. A lot of the names of the dresses etc are phrased with a feeling in mind like ‘Smiles are Contagious Dress” or “Keep Looking for Sunshine Dress”. There is a lot of floaty, draping and off set angles to the styling. Lovely printed floral chiffons, crisp optic white viscose crepe prints, drapey knits, & fun layering pieces.
What's the story around the liann bellis name? Bellis is a previous surname. As a child my father wanted my name spelt Lianne (the French way) and my Mother wanted Leanne as it is now. I was previously married and when I started my children’s clothing line in the 80’s the brand was called liann bellis. The liann had the "e" dropped in honour of my father and of course a spin-off of my real name at the time. Having been away from the clothing game for a while; I began to redo the children’s clothing until the recession hit and I decided to continue with liann bellis. Having changed to women’s clothing we simply kept the same name as a brand.
What is your favourite item of clothing in this winter fusion collection and why? I have just been loving the Alliance sweat pants and the beautiful Cashmere/ Wool knits as it has been a much colder winter this year so far.
What words of wisdom have you got for women buying fashion for spring/summer? Firstly it is most important to take the time to go through what you already have and sort out what to keep and what to eliminate. Find out what is missing when you have finished. Look to replace those items that you need then buy a few new fun highlights for the season. Sometimes changing a few accessories can make all the difference. It's important to think about these things before shopping otherwise we end up with too many clothes that aren't versatile. Not good on the pocket or on our environment.
What is the best advice you have ever got from your mother? Find your passion and follow it. And it is thanks to her that I have.
What do you wish to bestow upon your daughter? Be true to yourself.