Barbara i Gongini isn’t your typical designer, and her Nordic avant-garde fashion label based in Copenhagen, doesn’t take a typical approach to design.
The Gongini collections, made for both men and women, employ on the highest quality silk, wool and leather and recycled fabrics acquired from a sustainable production chain. For example, Gongini has used discarded packaging to create bold accessories, such as plastic vests and towering, Masai-style coiled collars. Speaking to Glass magazine about the difficulty of being environmentally friendly in the fashion industry, she says: “We implement the sustainable elements that we can. Some seasons we manage to be about 60% sustainable, this season we are all the way up to 80%. The production companies we use are also fair trade.”
She also worked with Next Generation Bright Green Fashion’, an organisation of designers from Denmark and Berlin that aim to learn how to achieve 100% sustainability in their work. “We have been working a lot with designers from Berlin to make a creative forum for the whole sustainable issue, discussing how to get it out of this very boring place and make it really funky and sexy,” she enthuses.
Her approach to ethical fashion earned Gongini a nomination for the Ethical Award in 2010 by the Danish Fashion Award Committee, but this innovative creator is also takes her environmental message to a broader cultural audience via her close collaboration with various artists in film, music and photography, and with their asymmetrical forms, suggestions of bondage and submission, the Gongini line was selected fro the exhibition ‘Fetishism in Fashion’ at the Fashion Biennale, Arnhem. The show emphasises the most dramatic pieces in the range, such as leather caged headgear, skirts with explosions of silk tulle, and leather-spiked shoes, all of which highlight the relationship between art, culture, fashion and design.
Although based in Denmark, the Barbara i Gongini online shop allows access for worldwide lovers of conceptual fashion to access these uniquely ‘green’ designs. The designer will also show in Vogue Italia‘s collaborative fashion show with the Dubai Mall this October in Dubai, but whether her fetishistic, futuristic take on fashion will be a hit in the conservative Arab country is anybody’s guess.
Chere has always loved writing, fashion and languages, and holds degrees in Psychology and Art, and postgraduate degrees in Applied Linguistics and Education. Her long career in journalism spans several continents: she’s edited and written for prestigious magazines in Toronto, Dubai, Paris, London and Buenos Aires. Learn more about Chere’s extensive career on LinkedIn.
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