You know how the promise of summer feels: days are a little longer, the temperature slowly gets warmer, once every few days we have a teasingly perfect day followed by a colder one…It’s not long now before we can spend summer days on a beach or exploring new cities in floaty frocks and light fabrics.

Sitting Pretty’s new spring/summer collection is a visual interpretation of these feelings; with garments named after beautiful holiday destinations.

Emma Longden says that as her collection was developing, “I definitely imagined what I would wear in some of these breathtaking places, and everything just grew from there. We kept our ethos of creating classic pieces that transcend trends with our boho-chic style. I had a lot of fun with lace and this collection shows a bit more skin than usual, but subtly. One could say it alludes to sun-kissed summer skin after a holiday.”

Although the collection has minimal monotone hues, there are pops of cobalt and red, and some luxurious and interesting fabrics.

“The styles have more drape so linen, rayon and cotton dominate the fabric selection of the collection – and being natural fibres, they breathe well in summer. Our Lamu dress is made in hemp as this style leant itself to the fabric. We love working with hemp as it wears well and becomes softer with time.”

Staying true to Sitting Pretty’s environmental awareness, ethical trading and integrity, you’ll see a fair amount of linen, which is made from flax. Growing flax requires relatively less water, energy and pesticides than cotton: linen is more sustainable fibre than cotton. The Gili wrap dress and the Venezia trousers showcase how well linen works for summer.

Emma has recently changed her viscose supplier, so this collection features a higher quality viscose fabric. “Fabric is always a challenge, I’d love to get closed-loop viscose as it’s a much better choice environmentally. Tencel and lyocell, both viscose-type fabrics, are processed in a closed-loop system to avoid toxins from entering the environment. Tencel, a sustainable step further, is made from fast-growing trees, not from endangered or ancient forests. But Tencel is not often available from the suppliers here. So it only features in a handful of the garments in this collection.”

With fabric being an ongoing challenge, how does Emma approach the development of her collections?

“Generally, I design first and then look for fitting fabric…and sometimes change the design if I find fantastic fabric begging to be a frock. A beautiful fabric definitely influences the process, but most often it’s the other way around as I feel we are quite limited with fabric availability here.”

There has been a great response to Sitting Pretty’s accessories collection, and Emma loves to please her customers. In this collection, you’ll see some classic styles, and another version of her leather shoulder bag – including an option in hemp – as well as a basket bag which is essential for summer.

Emma says, “My favourites item in the collection is the Milan jumpsuit. In my opinion jumpsuits are so easy to wear and this particular one is very versatile for work, day or evening. Then the Calabria dress is so pretty and great for the weekend. And of course, the Venezia pants and Attica top are also versatile and I love the cotton/linen blend fabric.”

Sitting Pretty will be introducing more styles to its online store and stockists as they are ready. Keep a look out and follow Sitting Pretty on instagram @sittingprettySA.

If you’re in the Johannesburg area, Sitting Pretty and a selection of other locally and ethically produced brands will be at The Ethical Market (THEM) from 25 to 29 October. Upstairs @ Bamboo Centre, Melville.

Images: Supplied