A few months ago Launderette introduced you to Max Osterweis’ Suno, the fun and colourful collection of printed dresses, playsuits and bikinis made of vintage Kenyan textiles. This season Osterweis has teamed up with the fashion veteran, Erin Beatty, on a massively successful debut at New York Fashion Week. With many of the leading style critics raving about the SS11 collection, Suno has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with.
This season, the duo has taken its inspiration beyond trips to Kenyan with nods to traditional silhouettes of garments from India and Turkey as well. Far from being labelled an incongruent mash-up of style (see: choose an example), their amalgamation of cultures has culminated in a collection of interesting and joyful sleeveless shirtdresses, slouchy drawstring trousers and ruffled circle skirts.
Even better, Suno collaborated with Loeffler Randall on a collection of covetable printed fabric shoes. The flat sandals and sky-high wedges perfect the head-to-toe bohemian meets tropical elegance look. This is exactly what every woman should be wearing on balmy evening in the tropics or maybe just a summer night out on a rooftop in Brooklyn.
Edun has been at the forefront of ‘ethical’ fashion for years, so it’s unsurprising that this season is one-to-watch. Not only that but with such heavy-weight backers as Bono and his wife Ali Hewson, Edun can certainly be expected to have a top notch design team.
Founded by Bono and Hewson in 2005, Edun was established on a commitment to encourage trade with Africa. It began with 80% of Edun clothing being manufactured in Africa, specifically Tunisia, Tanzania and Kenya with the remaining 20% being produced in Peru and China. Since being bought out by fashion supergroup LVMH and in reaction to production problems such as late deliveries and quality assurance issues in Africa, manufacturing has moved predominantly to China.
This is obviously a disappointing reality but we still hope that Hewson can get the label back to its orignal mandate – Africa. “In every country, the first industry that really takes off is the clothing industry, and that is so important for trade and ultimately, lifting people out of poverty. If fashion can trade in a very responsible, careful, and thoughtful and committed way in those communities, then those communities can really improve.” Let’s hope she puts her business back where her mouth is.
Nonetheless this season’s collection presented lovely metallic dresses, loose-knit sweaters and masculine-cut trousers designed by newcomer and former Louis Vuitton designer – Susan Wauchob.
A recent Launderette addition, the caribbean-inspired collection of Auralis made a huge splash at this season’s edition of The Green Shows at NYFW. The showstopping piece was a glorious silk marigold coloured dress with the season’s latest sleeve trend – the dolman. This dress is worthy of any spring-time garden party, but I would choose to pair it with elbow-length black leather gloves and sky-high black wedges for a more gothic approach.
LA-based label, Ashton Michael teamed up with seattle-based company Rethink Fabrics on a collection made from recycled bamboo, PET bottles, cotton and coconut fibres. Although this is only Ashton Hirota’s first foray into the world of sustainable fashion, this project is worth noting as it illustrates how even those from the fashion mainstream are becoming more aware of social and environmental sustainability. In efforts to keep it local, the entire collection was sourced and produced in the USA.
His spring collection is a gothic melange of Morrissey and Ministry entirely in black and white. His garments are torn, tattered, draped, braided and textured. Androgynous rock n rollers, eat your heart out!
Sparking a new fashion genre ‘Recycling Couture’, Paris/Berlin based designer, Stephan Hann, was a pinnacle of the most recent edition of The Ethical Fashion show in Paris. Hann’s creations are first and foremost about artistic creation in the manner of Hussein Chalayan or Paco Rabanne. Although he is not fundamentally interested in critiquing consumerist throwaway society, his creations show the possibilities of turning seemingly worthless materials into amazing, design-lead garments.
Hann became a prominent costume atelier in the 1980’s for the Deutsche Oper, Deutsche Theater and Berliner Ensemble. Since then, he has exhibited his creations in museums around the world and now works has a designer for Swarovski.