By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The Italian fashion capital Milan is one of the favourite destinations of fashionistas, so it was unsurprising that this was the city chosen for the 4th edition of Green Fashion Week.
Representatives from The United Nations, the Allcot Group and Plant-for-the-planet gave a press conference to discuss how we can become more responsible consumers through slow fashion. Eco-advocate Daniela Christiansson, model and founder of GreenModelMe, was the Ambassadress of the event.
After an evening of fun and food at the iconic Pirelli building, a gathering prestigious guests – including we here at Eluxe – met at the wonderful Westin Palace hotel to view eco-fashion shows by these emerging brands.
Founded by Danish designer Victoria Ladefoged, this brand’s history is fascinating – her fabrics are sourced from those most utilitarian of institutions: hospitals and restaurants, where she upcycles sheets, waiter’s aprons, tea towels and pillowcases. Victoria is particularly enamoured with these materials because they’re baby soft against the skin and drape beautifully after having been washed literally hundreds of times.
The Royal College of Art graduate then dyes the fabrics naturally, tailors them into somewhat androgynous garments, and sells them at the online store Sort Slips Hvidt Slips in the heart of Copenhagen.
All of Victoria’s products are ethically hand-made in Denmark from recycled materials. Her designs have their roots in Danish craft traditions with an added playful element, and her goal is to create high-quality fashion products in a sustainable manner.
This designer may be Italian, but her heart is firmly in Japan. The master embroiderer is clearly obsessed with the Land of the Rising Sun, and it shows in her stunningly detailed kimonos, blouses and Samurai skirts.
Silvia is also highly eco-conscious, and this is manifested in her fashion in various ways. For example, her clothes are non-seasonal and multi-functional: belts can work as scarves; kimonos can be worn open as jackets or robes or closed as dresses, and she uses only:
- Certified organic fibers (linen, silk, cotton) and ecological fibers (hemp, soy, corn, milk)
- Natural dyes (dyeing plants like gardenia berry, campeche wood, turmeric…)
- Vegetable tanned leather (from food processing waste)
What really blew us away was her attention to detail: her kimonos are lined with exquisitely printed fabric and the embroidery on her pieces is painstakingly handmade. It is so beautiful, it’s worthy of framing and hanging on a wall!
Elsien Gringhuis is a Dutch eco-luxury label with a focus on the essence of clothing. To stimulate local craftsmanship, every single piece is produced in the Netherlands and the outcome is timeless, chic and minimalistic. The innovative twist of this brand is the way it newly designs the storytelling of slow fashion through “books.” The literary term represents the basic collections that are regularly built upon by new elements, i.e. “chapters,” so that individual items remain as long as the fabrics continue to be available.
Gringhuis’s label coalesces understated finesse with firm construction by using sustainable fabrics like bamboo, wool, and pressed silks. The story of man and the environment blend in each collection, showing how the human drive for dominion can be overpowered by the beauty of nature.
Based in land locked Switzerland, it seems ironic that Royal Blush is best known for its eco-leather accessories made from vegetable tanned and dyed fish skin. But there’s something for vegans too, in the way of floaty fashion pieces made from cotton, wool, and peace silk, using socially sustainable manufacturing and handcrafting.
Founder, Jana Keller brings ‘Positive Luxury’ through her simple, well draped designs, along with the exhibition platform she launched with designer Magdalena Schaffrin: the ‘Greenshowroom Berlin’.
In fact, Keller has gained worldwide recognition for her noble-artistic ventures. In 2010 she was selected by the fashion magazine SI Style to the ‘Top 30 Green Women’, in 2013 she was nominated for Generation Future’ by Swisscanto and in 2015 she was awarded with the ‘Who is Who’ in Basel, Switzerland. And she deserves these accolades: from womenswear to accessories, from jewellery to espadrilles, Keller’s label instills sophistication in eco-fashion.
If you are fond of eccentric British creativity, Nelly Rose will be just your cup of tea. This London based fashion textile designer heightens the artistry of artisanship specifically through print.
Her label blends contemporary art and fashion with a distinctive illustrative abstract style, channeled through sustainability. Her brand supports communities and their local techniques, such as Batik, Songket weaving and dye processes in Indonesia, which she combines with graphic prints and abstract typography.
As a socially conscious activist, Nelly Rose, uses her blog to report positive discoveries and explore cross platform social campaigns through a variety of media. Her jocund taste and good ethics make her whimsical collections the utmost fusion betwixt modernity and traditional cultures.
Daniela Masias, aka Danehli, is a young fashion designer born in Lima, Peru, a country that inspired her love of nature and the desire to pursue a career in fashion with a sustainable focus. Her brand’s respect for people and the environment is evident in her Im(perfect Soul)utions capsule collection which uses unfinished hems to represent the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, which sees beauty in imperfection and impermanence.
The collection utilises all natural materials like hemp, peace-silk and ramie fabrics that were sourced from certified producers, whilst the sewing and embroidery were made with full attention to detail. The designs feature asymmetry, textured surfaces and simplicity in their simple, unobtrusive, un-dyed charm.
Daniela Masias’ opposition to fast fashion is epitomised in her delicate creations that show how environmentally-conscious fashion can provide an ethical value to an aesthetic element of creativity and functionality, as well as change the habit of consumers, making them more responsibly in their choices.
‘Glamorous’ and ‘feminine’ are just two words that define Krie Design, an established Croatian fashion brand founded by Kristina Burja. But we could also add ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ to that list, since organic and recycled cotton, organic silk and recycled polyesters are all used to make her slinky, sexy dresses that come in rich, jewel-like tones. All clothing is manufactured in Croatia in a development-focused working environment that ensures a stable work-life balance for all employees.
Krie Design’s portfolio consists of more than evening gowns– Burja creates stylish t-shirts and tunics, trousers sweatshirts, dresses and skirts, jackets, coats, beachwear and accessories too. The brand’s main partners are producers and factories from where Krie Design buys leftover fabrics that would otherwise go to waste.
Green Fashion Week is already laying the groundwork for the next edition in Los Angeles in March 2017. We’re looking very forward to seeing how this event – and the designers it is promoting – develops.
All GFW Photos by www.vittoriolafata.it