By Nastassja Salem
Fashion Week is all about observing what’s coming down the catwalk with an eagle eye to try to determine what’s coming up. And what did I note this season? Shimmery metallics, voluminous silhouettes, floppy shoe bows…and sustainability.
Although there was no shortage of designers at London Fashion Week taking a sustainable approach to their designs, this was, however, no umbrella event to unite these agents of change.
Well, Eluxe is here to fill that gap. Here, we gathered a few of London Fashion Week’s ethical highlights.
Following last years Elephantasia collection at London Fashion Week (where 24 designers interpreted the African Elephant to shine a light on the elephant poaching crisis), the FFC are back at it again. This years’ catwalk features designers’ Rene Garza and Kalikas Armour interpreting the Amazon rainforest in a bid to raise awareness of the urgency of our dying forests. The AW18 show also featured a zero waste collection called “Impermanent Flora”, an avant-garde rainforest-inspired collection made from deadstock textiles and upcycled clothing.
“It is not enough to just create pretty fashion campaigns and couture collections,” stated Nazanine Afshar, Fashion for Conservation co-founder and former Conde Nast director. In organising the event, she was joined by Conservationist Samantha Zwicker of Hoja Nueva, and Fashion Week Producer Ava J. Holmes to continue to fund conservation through fashion with this innovative project.
Part of Fashion Scout’s “One to Watch”, Maddie first showed her eco-friendly collection at last years’ Graduate Fashion Week in June, winning the Catwalk Textiles Award. At the tender age of only 22, she has already attracted attention for her ambitious collection championing feminism and sustainability. Her AW 2018 collection is an extension of these concepts, featuring rubbish sacks and other unorthodox materials. She took inspiration from ancient fertility figurines like the Venus of Willendorf, and boldy placed a fang motif over the vaginas of her models as a ‘raised middle finger’ to the Ancient Greek playwright Menander, who said: “To give a woman an education is to give a serpent fangs,” suggesting a woman with an education is poisonous.
As Suzy Menkes of Vogue has put it in the past, Christopher is “always with sustainability at the heart”, and this collection did not disappoint on that front. For AW18 he draws inspiration from the beauty and fragility of our oceans. Aptly entitled IMMERSE, the collection offers a visceral call to responsible design and sourcing. The collection is the result of a new collaboration with water surf brand Finisterre, of shared minds and principles to fabric development and innovation to execute on his vision.
Creative Director Amy Powney draws from a broad line of very British references for Mother Of Pearl, ranging from the notion of a Victorian picnic in the countryside, to the works of Yorkshire-born poet Simon Armitage. Combining green processes with high design is the concept behind this luxurious brand, which was last year’s winner of the British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2017 award.
Shoe bows, fabrics with a gossamer touch and comfortable shapes were all featured in this show, which was was staged at Newport Street Gallery, a space that houses the private collection of Damien Hirst, ex-partner of Mother of Pearl’s original founder Maia Norman.
The artist and design duo are all about conceptual fashion – after all, for 11 seasons, their collections have only been produced to sell textiles to fashion industry buyers. Until now, that is! This AW18 collection is the first to go to market, serving courageous, conscious and creative women. The vegan-friendly show featured a range of eco-textiles including a wool-like material, textiles made from plastic recycled from river and ocean clean-up projects, faux leather made from plant sources like chestnut, and Latex made from sustainable rubber.
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