When it comes to promoting sustainability on the international fashion stage its hard to top London Fashion Week. This year the British Fashion Council’s every-growing Estethica showroom was busier than ever. The showroom set up six years ago supports the work of eco-sustainable designers and is curated by the British Fashion Council and Orsola de Castro, creative director of From Somewhere and Reclaim to Wear. Estethica’s most anticipated collection this season was that of Liora Laselle, this years winner of the Re-Source competition. A recent graduate of Central Saint Martins, Lasalle came up with a lively up-cycled capsule collection made from luxury reclaimed fabrics including lace and jersey, combined with high-vis jackets, as well as a recycled jeans collection now available on yoox.com.
Other notable designers included Katrien Van Hecke who describes her work as ‘modern artisanal luxury’ and believes that sustainability is the new high fashion. The young Belgian designer from Antwerp works with high quality natural materials and designs silhouetted garments from silks that have been hand printed with natural dyes. She also has a selection of jacquard coats made from recycled French wool. Van Hecke recently featured in the High Fashion, Low Countries Exhibition in Amsterdam and Paris. The following presentaion of Kathrien’s SS13 collection was shown as part of the Estethica Film Showcase.
Alongside the ready-to-wear lines was jewellery by Rudá Rings. These “wearable sculptures”, as founder and designer Janice Perez describes them, have been created from reclaimed noble woods that were originally pieces of furniture. The wood is sculpted, polished and then topped with raw stones such as hematite, pyrite, vanadinite, uvite and lapis lazuli to striking affect. These rings are for customers “who believe that beauty should be linked to sustainable values” says Perez.
Also in attendance for the first time at Estethica was accessories brand Bottletop founded in 2002 by Cameron Saul and his father Roger, founder of Mulberry. Based in Salvador, Brazil, the company adds recycled bottle tops to the seams and surfaces of handbags and accessories to add colour and texture. The Bottletop workshop offers employment to women in the area and funds a health and education foundation that offers support to over 35,000 children and teenagers across Rwanda, Malawi, Brazil and Mozambique.
On the main schedule again this season Christopher Raeburn continued to show the rest of the fashion industry that beautiful clothes could be created with ethics and sustainability in mind. His collection found its inspiration in WWII sea forts, where utilitarian outerwear gives way to feminine silhouettes, prints and colours. There was also a strong emphasis on graphics that went down the runway in the form of body-con dresses that were remade from Russian Breton striped jumpers. Pencil skirts and tailored trousers emerged alongside cropped biker and bomber jackets in steal grey wool covered with lace prints. Bright pinks popped under black mesh and quilted bronze. Utilitarian duffel coats in grey wool took on the appearance of an ocean that dazzled with flecks of blue and bronze. This collection was all about detail and tailoring, and it demanded attention. This is a collection that’s complete and slick in its execution. It’s wearable, functional and feminine with ethics and sustainability at heart. Alongside the designers at Estethica, Raeburn is proving to be a pioneer as well a designer, leading the charge on the main stage in ethical and sustainable production practices. This is the future of fashion design and it’s looking green, desirable and stylish.