Danish designer Peter Ingwersen is the mastermind behind two seminal collections Noir and Bllack Noir that demonstrate how “sexiness, luxury, fashion and corporate social responsibility can work beautifully together in harmony”. Judging by the Spring/Summer 2010 Lookbook and his conceptual presentation at Berlin Fashion Week, I couldn’t agree more. This collection was clearly made for a rock ‘n’ roll girl who possesses heaps of sass and carefree attitude all whilst not forgetting her political and ethical convictions (aka, me!) Think sleek leather trousers, gun-metal grey blouses that drape in all the right places, gold chain adornments, and an all-around gothic colour-pallette.
The mission of Noir is to, at a minimum, ‘do no harm’ and at a maximum, ‘do good’ for the communities, cultures, societies and environments in which the company operates. His production method pays special attention to supporting environmentally-sustainable materials and processes as well as trying to provide a model for sustainable, socially-aware business. Manufacturers,on every level of production, are chosen based upon their commitment to these objectives and are audited on a regular basis.
As part of his Illuminati II project, the cotton used in Ingwersen’s collections are grown organically by Bo Weevil, a cooperative of 16,000 farmers in Uganda known for excelling in crop rotation methods of production and also for its strong commitment to paying Fair Trade- certified wages. The cotton is then spun locally in Kampala and woven in Turkey before being using in Noir and Bllack Noir garments.
Ingwersen is hoping that his ethical commitment sparks a trend in the fashion industry, “I hope naturally it will be a trickle down effect from the opinion leaders to the mass market, that’s how every trend starts, and this is probably what’s also going to happen to the ethical trend. It’s going to start up here [trend forecasters and fashion journalists] and down here [subcultures of committed designers and consumers] and will squeeze into the middle [mass market and high street shops]. We’ll see a massive, massive difference” he explains in a documentary on his website.
I share the same hope. It’s about asking three simple questions: where does this come from, how was it made and who is it made by?
The best part is that Ingwersen’s garments are expertly-tailored with a strong and luxurious design aesthetic. Not only that but his fashion week shows are highly creative and conceptual proving that ethical fashion has moved far beyond ‘hippies in hemp’. I definitely want to be part of the Noir girl gang, what about you? I’ve simply got to get my hands on the leather trousers.