Styling during Commute Smart Week

Antithesis Capsule Wardrobe Metal zipper inserts allow attachments to change this classic mid-length dress Magnifeco contributor Susie Cole off to work The Rectangular Coat transforms into many different shapes

By Susie | Women
Posted Nov 15, 2012

To celebrate Commute Smart Week 2012 (11th – 17th November) Magnifeco has partnered with the U.K.’s Antithesis, a new slow fashion womenswear label with UK production to highlight that ethical, sustainable and stylish can go hand-in-hand. Antithesis use “multi-functional and modular design to lend versatility, functionality and longevity to beautifully crafted, high quality fashion garments.” Their Carry on Closet, is a 10-piece capsule collection aimed at responding to the hectic lifestyle demands of cosmopolitan commuting professionals. We asked Magnifeco contributor Susannah Cole to take some pieces for a test-ride.

Commuting to work is always a chore, even if you love your job and can’t wait to get to work. And as the days become darker, colder and wetter, the journey definitely gets harder.

The question is, how to make that daily commute more bearable? My answer: Cycling. (Even when it’s raining it still makes me cheerful – did I mention that it’s free transport and you burn calories?!)

Whilst I like to imagine that I cycle in a crisp shirt, sharply pressed trousers and a tailored wool blazer – on a gleaming sapphire-hued Pashley with a cream wicker basket – the reality is somewhat different. Padded, water-resistant Lycra features heavily, as do sweat-wicking tops. This is due to the fact that I change at work, and treat my commute as a race, with the sole aim being to get from A (home) to B (work) in as short a time as possible, thereby reducing the number of minutes I actually have to spend at my desk.

If I was prone to being on time, however, I’d cycle at a reasonable pace, glance at the sights (I pass Tower Bridge and Big Ben every day) and arrive at work looking presentable.

I doubt I’ll ever be that organised, but when the duo behind Antithesis offered to lend me a few pieces from their first collection to road test, I turned over something of a new leaf and looked presentable – albeit for a little while – dressed in The Two-Piece Blouse, The Anti-Blazer and The Rectangular Coat, from the Carry on Closet collection, all made in the UK.

Founded by Renée Lacroix and Zahra Ash-Harper, alumni of the London College of Fashion, the duo aim to create designs that are versatile and timeless, staples that work for both office hours and the weekend. Each of the 10 pieces in Carry on Closet has been developed to work with our busy lifestyles and long commutes, with clever details that mean the clothes are multitaskers – remove the sleeves to transform the blouse, unzip the blazer’s arms to reveal a chic waistcoat. In essence, Antithesis is something of an antidote to the “fast fashion” we’re so used to nowadays.

The clothes are beautiful, smart but not staid and really comfortable and flattering to wear. Plus they pack well, which is a must if they’re going into my panniers. I loved The Two-Piece Blouse (seen in both shots), which I have mentally paired with everything I own, and though I preferred the jackets without some of the extras, I can see how useful they are at transforming the garments.

The price point of these garments reflect the craftsmanship and luxurious fabrics (the duo source as many fabrics in the UK as possible, with the rest from Europe), small production levels, and Antithesis’ focus on social responsibility (they only work with local factories who treat their workers fairly). And as these are investment pieces that are meant to be worn forever, perhaps it’s worth jotting down that cost per wear calculation. For example, if a dress costs $100 and you plan to wear it at least 100 times, that would cost you $1 each time you wear it – totally worth it!


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