By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Hemlines may go up and down, silhouettes may change from billowy to bodycon, but if there’s one perennial favourite in fashion, it’s got to be the colour black. From employing it in the legendary little black dress to supersized sunglasses destined for celebs, the beauty of black is never lost on designers, who embrace its messages of power, independence and self-control. Not only that, but of course black goes with everything. Oh, and it’s slimming!
If you’re working with a palette of basic black, the clothing needs to be outstanding – it should feature a unique design, precise tailoring, exotic fabric selection or a combination of these. We’ve found a selection of talented Sustainable Fashion Designers whose work is distinguished by their superlative designs – and dark materials.
When it comes to Gothic glam, few are as cool as Alexandra Groover. The Californian designer moved to London to study at Central St. Martins, but it seems the UK’s lack of sunshine has made a positive impact on her style, too. After cutting her teeth at the studios of Alexander McQueen and Zandra Rhodes, the Alexandra Groover brand came to life in 2008 with a monochromatic Black Label collection that enhanced the sculptural and textural manipulations of fabric.
Today Alexandra is in her 12th season, and uses films and performances to launch her new collections, collaborating brilliantly with artists from diverse creative fields. For one of her most recent projects, she worked with internationally renowned illustrator and tattoo artist Rafel Delalande to launch a capsule collection of printed scarves, T-shirts, shawls, and hoods called La Voisin London, all of which had an enchantingly eerie allure. Conscious of the environment, Groover uses organic fabrics and vegan leather in most of her collections.
Finland’s Mert Otsamo is increasingly eco-conscious, and as such, he has created a design that’s a dozen dresses in one: his Multi-One Dress. Created alongside with a similar jumpsuit design as part of his debut ready-to-wear collection, the dress is made from durable heavy weight jersey that stretches, folds, wraps or knots in your chosen style. The dress can be short, long, sexy or subdued. It’s really the only dress you need in your wardrobe! The talented self-taught designer has received attention and praise for both his original and distinguished style, as well as his skilful tailoring that accentuates the dramatic contrasts of the human figure.
One of our favourite designers here at Eluxe is dark enchantress Titania Inglis, whose philosophy is to choose minimalism as the core principle of her brand, in terms of both aesthetics and environmental impact. Based in Brooklyn, Titania grew up among the woodlands and waterfalls of Ithaca, New York, and refined her dark, streamlined taste while living in Denmark and the Netherlands. Her conscious designs are visually striking, yet easy to wear. Each garment is sewn in a small, family-owned factory in New York from high-quality, low-impact fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, Italian vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from the local garment industry.
Beyond clothing, Titania Inglis has engendered multidisciplinary creative collaborations with members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, jewellery designer Bliss Lau, and Zola Jesus.
This darkly dramatic designer loves textured silhouettes and androgynous pieces that are timeless in their urban elegance. She takes great pride in rating her collections according to sustainability criteria. She bases her collections the most ecological and least polluting and recycled materials possible, and uses cutting techniques that minimize waste. She also encourages her suppliers to use RSL testing (control of reduced chemical waste). All textiles used are approved by Oeko-Tex, who test them for harmful substances both for health and environmental reasons – this is particularly important when dealing with black dyes, which tend to be amongst the most toxic.
An avid animal lover, Gongini also supports animal welfare, using leather and fur that are 100% bi-products from the food industry or wastage of commercial material.
Main image: Tatian Inglis