WHEN it comes to eco-friendly fashion, Beate Kubitz is the best baa none.

For the Todmorden sheep farmer uses wool collected from her own flock to create a clothing range.

Along with business partner Nicola Sherlock, Beate runs fashion label Makepiece, which specialises in unique and feminine natural knitwear.

The journey from sheep to chic all takes place locally, with the wool being spun within 20 miles of their studio in the centre of Todmorden and knitted in East Lancashire.

The pair will unveil their latest autumn/winter collection at an Eco Chic fashion evening being held at Velvet boutique tomorrow night.

“Clothes are really important to us, but it's also important to ensure that our love of fashion isn't making a negative impact on someone else's life,” said Beate, 37.

“Disposable fashion is a big market nowadays but it's a much healthier approach to save up for an investment piece and to wear it longer than to buy lots of cheaply-made things and throw them away.”

Beate, a former campaign organiser for Amnesty International, moved to Todmorden in 2002 after working in London for 10 years.

“I wanted to live closer to my native Bradford and I was looking for a simpler way of life than I'd had in London so I bought a farm in Todmorden, which was the perfect choice,” she explained.

“I spent a couple of years wondering what to do with my life.

"I got talking to a lot of farmers who were still recovering from foot and mouth.

"I kept asking ‘Why can't you do this or that?’ and, being farmers, they were inclined to say to me: 'If you think it’s so easy why don't you do it yourself?' That's how I ended up with the sheep.

The inspiration for Makepiece came from Beate's own difficulties experienced in finding eco-friendly clothes.

“When I lived in London I couldn’t buy clothes I felt comfortable in,” she said.

“I was working in human rights at the time and worrying that the clothes I was wearing were contributing to the problems I was campaigning against.”

In 2004 Beate met business partner Nicola and Makepiece was founded to produce beautiful clothing that is sustainable, low-impact and eco-friendly. All the clothing in the range is made using natural yarns, spun locally and knitted in the community, using a minimum of chemicals.

Every year Beate and Nicola make a line of clothing using the wool from Beate's flock of 70 Shetland sheep, chosen for their high quality wool and range of colours.

Juggling the two very different worlds of farming and fashion means Beate's life is often somewhat of a juxtaposition.

One day she could be on the phone to suppliers, or arranging her latest catwalk show, the next she will be single-handedly shearing her sheep.

“My life now is totally different from the 10 years I spent living in London,” she said.

“It's a much simpler and quieter existence and it feels so much healthier to spend time outdoors.

“Every morning I go up to the sheep in the pasture and look at the view across the Calder Valley and it’s just glorious.

"Even when there's sheets of rain coming down it’s beautiful. I feel like the luckiest person alive in those moments.”

l Beate will be speaking about sustainability in fashion at the ethical fashion event being held at Velvet, King Edward Terrace, Barrowford, on Thursday, September 10, from 7pm.

Makepiece has a shop/studio in Dale Street, Todmorden, and an online store at the address below.