Fair Fashion

The Perfect Maxi Dress: How I Wear Eco Fashion


First of all, the Nomads clothing origin story is pretty romantic!

Duncan and Vicky met while backpacking around India in the late 1980s. With only £200 left in their pockets, they used the money to fill up a trunk of wonderful ethnic clothes and head back to the UK.

They soon returned to India with the profits they had made, mixing business with pleasure; staying at Buddhist retreats, discovering crafts at local markets and picking up gorgeous handmade fabrics along the way. A shared love of India and its culture inspired them to start up their own clothing company.


I recently took Nomads’ gorgeous organic cotton, Azo-dye-free Rosewood Maxi Dress  for a spin on the beach at Cape Lookout in Oregon (read our travel article on this incredible natural area!), a huge beach that requires a bit of a hike to get to. The dress was the perfect weight for a maxi—thick enough that it was totally opaque, and had a nice drape, and with a full skirt perfect for swirling, and a lovely stretch that made it perfectly comfortable.


Nomads has been making fair-trade, ethical clothing since 1989, which means they have tons of experience, and it shows in the breadth of their designs. That isn’t just lip-service—the company has a fair-trade policy which includes the following for the people that make their clothes:

  • Employees are working of their own free will.
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
  • Providing safe and clean working conditions.
  • No children under the age of 16 make our products.
  • Paying a fair wage to workers that is either at or above the national average. Paying producers in advance so that they do not go into debt buying materials.
  • Providing regular breaks and holidays.
  • Equality for men and women in pay opportunity.
  • Providing regular work as established by national law and practice.
  • Not tolerating harsh or inhumane treatment.
  • Increasing awareness for the need to shop responsibly and to push the multi-nationals into working towards Fair Trade on a global level.

Go Nomads! That is an awesome list.


Give people more than a two-minute walk from the parking lot to the beach and you’ll find that the popularity of the beach drops off pretty quickly, no matter how beautiful it is. Seems a bit sad, but it’s also such a delight to have a beach mostly to yourself in the middle of the summer.


It was a perfect midsummer’s day on the Oregon coast (which rarely gets very hot); in the lower 80s, a breeze was blowing the Pacific waves into shore.


Of course, Nomads makes plenty more than dresses; their cardigans and shoulder-warmers are particularly interesting (and diverse), and some oh-so-pretty patterned skirts. I just love all their prints; if you like the one on my dress, above, you’ll love Nomads others.


Nomads is having a big summer sale right now, so you can get ethical fashion pieces to enjoy for the next three months at a sweet discount.



Read more about the Escape to Cape Lookout, Oregon here!

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.