Having been working away for a few years, the weight of my wardrobe has been on my mind. I have been simultaneously stressed at the thoughts of all the clothes at home that are not being worn, and also at the amount of clothes I have been dragging across the globe. It transpires that whilst I am very good at packing, I am very bad at doing this lightly. Whilst I was living in Budapest I decided to try a new way of clothes shopping. I am actively trying to be mindful with clothing, and for many years now I’ve opted to buy less and buy better – choosing higher quality, more expensive pieces and ignoring high street fads and fast fashion. In reality? I ended up buying expensive clothes that I didn’t wear – and spending more, thus feeling perpetually guilty at my failure to save money. I’m not a millenial so saving’s not in my DNA, right? Right.

Time spent solo in Hungary did lead me to explore Instagram – and discover a revolutionary way to crush on clothes in the current climate of fast, disposable, oversaturated fashion. I came across a simple idea again and again: the concept of aspirational labels – often French and female-run – offering a limited number of pieces, all cut from a single piece of fabric.

The first such brand I fell for was Maison Cléo: the brainchild of Marie Dewet (Vestiaire Collective). The Maison Cléo e-sales open at 6.30pm Paris time every Wednesday, enabling you to choose your size in the styles available that week. Next, Marie’s mum Nathalie sews the pieces in her atelier in Lille. With each item made to order, delivery is generally in under two weeks – and fans include Leandra Medine and Emily Ratajkowsi. I have several pieces, including the ubiquitous Anita shirt in white cotton, the dramatic, show-stopping Appoline shirt in black velvet, and the cutest skirt made from a green, embroidered linen.

There is a grown up, classy feel to Maison Cléo‘s designs, and they are beautifully made – often in remnants of couture fabric. The brand is also part of the #nochangenofuture idea, supporting handicrafts and minimal wastage via a made to order system. And they display their pricing with full transparency so you can see exactly what you are paying for – and the costings are beyond reasonable. The Maison Cléo ladies always add a free scrunchie in with every order, so that you can match yours to your shirt, just like Nathalie used to in her youth. C. H. I. C.

Another label working in a similar way is Aurore Van Milhem, with limited edition pieces available to buy online until they sell out. The brand’s designer Mélanie posts images of the creation of each piece – with adorable Instastories showing them being stitched and packaged up. She also shares ideas for new designs, asking followers for feedback and whether to make them available to buy – the answer is invariably a unanimous YES! Each order comes with a hand-written postcard of thanks and along the way you receive personal emails from Melanie telling you when she’s expecting to sew them, when she’s posted them and so on. The process makes you feel special and exclusive, at the same time as building a wardrobe no one else has and no one else has even seen.

Essentially my entire summer wardrobe is Aurore Van Milhem this year; featuring gorgeous lightweight white cotton camisole tops made from YSL fabric, sexy broderie anglaise shirts, cute floral voile mini dresses and my bag of the moment – The Gabie. Made from either velvet or a summery fresh yellow gingham with silver and gold ring handles and a drawstring closure reminiscent of old fashioned shopping baskets this gorgeous bag is vegan, unusual, and ever so chic. My Gabie was photographed and complimented by an entire table of fantastically stylish women at dinner last night, so I am happy to help the #vanmilhemchicks movement gain momentum every outing. And when Marie Dewet posted a picture of herself in one of Mélanie’s designs, I lost my mind with excitement; that’s some incredible girl fan cross over.

There’s an exciting revolution in footwear on its way come autumn by superstars Bionda Castana – which is beyond exciting. The talented women at BC will be offering their favourite styles from over the years as limited runs called The Icons #BCIcons. Releasing four of their iconic styles once a month using fabrics left over from their previous production runs launched on to their e-shop, and you can order your choice with your shoe size within the three day sale window and they literally manufacture them for you. Follow Bionda Castana’s Instagram as they post inspirational images of women in and out of their icons to whet your appetite. I am not sure life can get too much chicer than made to order footwear, especially not when its the sexiest, coolest shoes that have ever been, and when you know the is zero wastage in the production, you can be smug to boot.

Ultimately what I love about these business models is that even if you do let someone into your secret, they are unlikely to be able to get exactly the same pieces in the same fabrics as you, so even when fan-girling with your galdem, you still get to be individual. For so long fashion has been been impersonal, and this interaction with the makers is bringing the focus back to the humans who are personally choosing the fabrics, buttons and ribbons and also physically constructing your clothes, often in their own homes. It makes you feel part of the journey and conception, and makes your clothes all the more special when they arrive. Like the Guinness adage of old, good things come to those who wait…