By Diane Small
Architecture has the power to inspire: the way it plays with light can shift moods; the way it uses space can direct movement. And sometimes, its aesthetic can provoke creation, as is the case for a few ethical fashion brands we love, Kowtow, Fabryan and United Nude.
Taking their cues from very different types of architecture, each of these brands has created collections based on the distinctive styles of very different, iconic architects, including Tadao Anda and Gaudi. Minimalistic cuts, complex constructions or riots of colour and organic forms–which do you prefer?
Fabryan: Gaudi on Silk
The colourful, irregularly shaped windows, organic shapes and explosively coloured mosaics of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona were the inspiration for Fabryan’s beautiful scarves.
The collection includes silk squares of all sizes, which can be worn as everything from sarongs and turbans to traditional neck scarves.
The brand combines high-end fashion with social development to embody a luxury brand with ethical values. Suppliers are chosen with care, and they source locally whenever possible, using only the very best fabrics. These stunning accessories are crafted from organic silk yarn that comes from mulberry trees that are free from any pesticide, and then the silk is then digitally printed using non-toxic eco friendly inks, to recreate the hypnotic effect Senior Gaudi’s architecture has on all who visit it.
Kowtow: Japanese Inspiration
Kowtow’s twelfth collection ‘The Silent Space’ draws inspiration from the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Ando’s architectural style is characterised by large open areas emphasising nothingness. Minimalist concrete interiors and empty space are used to represent the beauty of simplicity.
‘Tadao Ando’s themes resonate strongly within me. His minimalist design aesthetic and creating spaces purely for a calming affect has a non-commercial sense which I admire’, says Gosia Piatek, the brand’s Director/Designer. ‘Ando’s themes of meditation, peacefulness and Zen is something I strive for in my day-to-day life. Working on the collection for one year with Tadao as our muse resonated strongly throughout the entire workroom, and hopefully bought us some calm to the madness of the fashion world.’
The Kowtow design team has created another signature graphic all-over print for the summer collection. Inspired by Tadao Ando’s creative use of natural light, Kowtow has created the ‘Reflection Print’, a bold interpretation of light casting shadows, ever changing nature and reflections of buildings in moving water, which are recurring elements in Ando’s work.
Key colours are soft summery bone, lemon and light grey. These are contrasted with bursts of bright coral and classic crisp summer white, while chalk blue is a summer version of the more traditional dark Kowtow colour palette.
United Nude: Shoe Construction
Shoe design is often highlighted for its innovation, and shoe brands have paired up frequently with some of the world’s leading architects to create collections. For example, architect Rem D. Koolhaas teamed up with British shoemaker Galahad Clark to create a line of architectural shoes for their brand United Nude. United Nude is a brand that’s rather obsessed with how fashion merges with architecture, and often partners with major architects such as the late Zaha Hadid and designers like Iris Van Herpen to create limited edition collections. Their zero-waste, 3D designs are also revolutionary in the sense that their production processes are far less wasteful and polluting than say, leather shoe production.
Many designers site architecture as their main inspiration, but we love how diverse such inspiration can be–a diversity reflected in the differences between these three ethical brands.