London Fashion Week: Highlights from Esthetica

Esthetica is the British Fashion Council‘s programme that highlights a new wave of ‘ethical’ designers producing high quality fashion whilst sourcing newly re-engineered fabrics, organically farmed fibres, or recycled and up-cycled waste materials to create luxuriously and impeccably designed garments and accessories.

As more designers are beginning to work in more ethical ways at the foundation of their collections, Esthetica is working to raise the bar in design and branding by nurturing and promoting new designers committed to changing the way the mainstream fashion industry works.

Top Highlights from Esthetica:

London Fashion Week, 23 February 2010, Somerset House


Goodone is so cute that I want to hug it, squish it and never let it go.

Goodone’s AW10 collection takes cues from a luxe-sports feel with its usual sexy and colourful bodycon elements. However, this season’s collection has taken a welcomed turn of sophistication with a more subdued colour palette of midnight blues, heather grays and soft, pale yellow.

Goodone is the design brainchild of Brighton University graduate, Nin Castle. Her main mission is to show how much can be achieved using recycled textiles in ways which don’t make garments look obviously recycled – in other words, they are ‘upcycled’.

Goodone also works with the HEBA Women’s project in east London to manufacture its garments, which is done in hopes of promoting locally and fairly manufactured garments.

As every Goodone piece is deconstructed and reconstructed using sustainable sourcing and production, it is able to create a limitless amount of new clothing from old, which, dependent on the combination of coloured, patterned and textured fabrics chosen, will inherently always remain unique. This translates into the ability to mass-produce that amazing ‘one-off” piece.

This little gem is definitely going to be a staple piece of my AW10 wardrobe:

Goodone 'Hip Dress' AW10

Goodone ‘Hip Dress’ AW10

Henrietta Ludgate:

Two words: Sculptural Skirt.

I am completely swooning over Henrietta Ludgate’s curious skirts. They make me imagine Judy Jetson as a ballerina going to a mod-themed club night in Dalston. Her designs are definitely not for the shy.

Henrietta Mackay-Ludgate, a Central St. Martins graduate, started her career as a costume designer and has gone on to work for the likes of the visionary, Osman Yousefzada.

Ludgate launched her namesake label with the mission to carry on the legacy of the Scottish textile industry by sourcing fabrics within the British Isles and producing every piece in her native Scottish Highlands. She hopes that by conducting all of of her business locally, the brand is helping to provide skills, training and employment for her community. She believes that this artisanal approach results in clothes that are excellently constructed and that will last a lifetime.

She draws her inspiration from Elsa Schiaparelli, which is evident by the way her clothes so architecturally and theatrically connect to the frame of the body. She tends to chose minimalist silhouettes that distinctively play with sculpture and form. While not all of her designs are particularly my taste, these short dresses are absolutely spectacular:

Henriette Ludgate AW10

Henriette Ludgate AW10

Nina Dolcetti

Nina Dolcetti is the luxury ‘upcycled’ shoe collection of Italian born and London based, Elisalex Grunfeld de Castro. Her signature style is a unique curved wedge based on the reverse instep, which encourages exploration in form and structure. Her designs are highly architectural, almost nearing the avant-garde yet provide lovely, feminine lines that elegantly showcase the sensual curve of the leg.

In regard to massive waste in the fashion industry and the environmentally unfriendly effects of chrome tanning, Nina Dolcetti shoes are constructed using unwanted pre-consumer waste, reuse cut-offs and ethically sourced vegetable tanned leathers. The heels are made of sustainably sourced cork and wood with recycled leather, and every pair is handmade in small family run factory in East London.

The AW10 collection was inspired by the British Museum’s Garden and Cosmos exhibition and the Maharaja exhibition at the V&A Museum. Her influence was evident with the ‘little sweets’ that decorated the the tops of the toes. However, my favourite are Nina Dolcetti’s classic, sleek duo-colour wedges:

Nina Dolcetti Duo Wedge

Nina Dolcetti Duo Wedge


KAYU is a range of sunglasses handcrafted from organic bamboo, which grows twice as fast as a tree and restores itself in five years without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilizers, making it one of the world’s more eco-friendly materials.

Committed to eliminating preventable blindness, KAYU also pays for one sight-restoring surgery in the developing world for every pair of sunglasses sold. While 80% of blindness is curable or preventable, the life expectancy of the blind is usually less than half that of someone with eyesight of the same age. This is both devastating and unacceptable. I’m excited to purchase a pair for this reason alone, but they also happen to be be incredibly chic, impeccably designed and totally affordable.

KAYU is the creation of American-based, Jamie Lim, who inspired by the poverty and inequality that she witnessed during her time in East Asia, decided to establish an ecological and ethical line of accessories.

I’m giving the gift of sight to someone this season with this lovely pair:

KAYU bamboo sunglasses

KAYU bamboo sunglasses


4 responses to “London Fashion Week: Highlights from Esthetica

  1. Abbey Bentley

    Henrietta Ludgate’s skirts! Amazing!

  2. Love the Dolcetti wedges!

  3. Pingback: SS11 Fashion Weeks – The ‘Ethical’ Fashion Highlights | Launderette: Cleaning up dirty fashion

  4. Pingback: Minimum Waste, Maximum Design – Interview with Ada Zanditon | Launderette: Cleaning up dirty fashion

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