A bit more than mid-way through the global fashion weeks, we thought it might be a good time to take stock of the ethical fashion highlights from both New York and London fashion weeks this season.
The presentation format was one of the most obvious trends for this season, with what seemed like fewer catwalk shows than ever. And even catwalk shows seemed paired down. Whilst street style has been arguably more ostentatious than ever, the concepts and backdrops for both catwalks and presentations were much more reserved.
However, it was a monumental season for sustainable designers presenting at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The Green Shows featured an unprecedented group of labels and moved into the official Lincoln Center location. For us in the ethical fashion movement, that’s quite big kudos! Finally, eco designers are being seen on par with your regular, mainstream names.
This season’s highlights included classic wooly knitwear from Ajna, a label using organic materials and artisan textile designers. Ajna has a knack for blending organically shaped construction with modern sculpted silhouettes.
Newcomer, Artists & Revolutionaries won over the crowds with their sophisto-biker chick creations – designed and created by John-Michael, utilizing repurposed leather, natural fibres and organic cottons. Seriously lusting over this jacket:
Venezuelan-born, Luis Valenzuela presented several truly awe-inspiring gowns from his upcycled“Art to Wear” collection.
And the absolute favorite has to be Brooklyn-based handbag and biker jacket label, The Sway. Each piece in the collection is made using high-quality excess leathers that are hand cut into new useable shapes to minimize waste. Excess leathers are sourced from a factory that makes motorcycle accessories which is powered using advanced natural alternative energy sources. A mix up of green ideals and rock n roll attitude, this is the epitome for this East London lodging lady from Launderette.
On the other side of the pond, Estethica was in its impressive tenth season at London Fashion Week. Alongside LFW, there were two other fringe events showcasing sustainable fashion – The Good Fashion Show and EcoLuxe London. (Although, sadly both events seriously lacked the slick, fashion forward standard that we should expect from any fashion event.)
Launderette was most surprised (pleasantly) with the array of beautiful, well-crafted lingerie that shined this season. Standing out above all was luxury lingerie brand, Charini. Sri-Lankan born, London-based designer Charini Suriyage comes with eight years of knowledge built working with Victoria Secret’s largest manufacturer. She clearly knows what it takes to make good quality, flattering and beautiful lingerie. Her second collection includes two distinct ranges, one more delicate and subtle in shades of ivory and the other much more daring and sensual incorporating lace, leather and intricate elastic detailing in blacks and bronze. Charini works closely with Sri Lankan communities to preserve the traditional craft of handwoven silk, handmade lace, and hand-crocheted buttons. She also refrains from using plastics, harmful dying and metal and uses elastic that would otherwise go to landfill. The boyfriend would vehemently approve!
Also impressive were two new brands from The Good Fashion Show – Who Made Your Pants? and In Bloom. Both brands excel in producing delicate, comfortable, flattering and ethically-made undergarments. Who Made Your Pants? runs as a worker’s cooperative based in Southampton, UK that trains and employs refugees from across the world. Such a beautiful mission and product!
In Bloom uses environmentally minded materials such as organic cotton and Tencel and produces everything in a small family-run factory in northern France. Check out their shop in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.
Having just opened her own shop in the Queensway area of London, Henrietta Ludgate knocked it out of the ballpark with this season’s collection – inspired by hurricanes, which lends itself to garments with seriously unique silhouettes. Topsy-turvy details, spirally skirts, sharp jagged collars and glow in the dark dresses comprise a collection full of dynamic disorder and creative chaos.
And of course, longtime Launderette favourite – Ada Zanditon, presented another stunning collection. Her intellectual approach to fashion fuses together ideas behind biodiversity conservation and desirable, wearable fashion. Seems like an odd combination but the result is sculptural, meticulously crafted and completely unique luxury garments. Clothes that make the woman wearing them feel both intelligent and fashion-forward. The AW 12/13 collection, SIMA MINERALIS, features original prints taken from her own drawings and paintings of animals and the natural world. The showstopping piece, inspired by the Silver Back Male Gorilla, is an expertly tailored tailcoat featuring a real human hair tail. Weird but in a good way.