The economic climate hasn’t improved much since 2008 and doesn’t look like it’ll change during 2012. Thinking about how we shape the future will become ever more important. In 2012, we will all have to be more responsible, both socially and environmentally, than ever before. Fashion is very much a part of this bigger picture.
The prices of many materials used in our clothing are set to have a volatile year – especially cotton. With many countries now passing or proposing “green taxes” and fees for waste, everything is set to become much more expensive. However, the prices we shoppers demand are fairly inflexible – we want cheap, cheaper and impossibly cheap. While we do too love a good bargain, we can’t help but ask ourselves… at what expense?
The good news is that ethical fashion designers have really made their mark throughout 2011 and even many long-established brands have picked up the momentum on environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
Launderette has picked out our top 10 designers and brands we expect big things for in 2012. This year is going to be all about back-to-basics and innovation. Here we go!
Afia is a marriage of the traditional, vibrant West African aesthetics and urban American trends. All fabrics are sourced from small producers and sewn by expert seamstresses in Ghana using age-old techniques. Afia also ensures that the business process is helping to build sustainable livelihoods for the producers.
The collection is fun, vibrant and flirty and works for all shapes and sizes. We can’t wait to see what they conjure up for 2012!
Ajna, named after the third-eye chakra, is the zen of fashion – it’s not just clothes, it’s an entire philosophy. The design is based on the interconnectedness of all things and a non-interference with the natural course of events. Whilst it all sounds a bit hippie-dippy to us, the important part is that the clothes are actually really great.
Brooklyn-based designer, Beryl Man, has worked for the likes of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tse Cashmere and Hussein Chalayan. The woman knows how to design. Expect perfectly draped and luxuriously comfy woolly jumpers and silky dresses in organic fibres and wild silk.
Andrea Crews is hard to describe. It’s more of a conceptual collective than a straight -forward fashion brand. Their shop in the Pigalle Neighborhood of Paris is an experimental laboratory where eccentric artists, stylists, DJs and videographers meet to create their fantastical conceptions.
Andrea Crews itself is a fictional alias (half man, half women) dreamed up by owner/designer Maroussia Rebecq to represent the eclectic group of creators unified by their conceptual approach to design and active stance on human rights and environmental concerns.
Their fashion collection, which uses second-hand clothing as well as end of roll and off-cut materials, embraces the nu-rave, club kid feel with its vibrant patterns, neon space shapes and 3D comic strip prints. This is not for the boring!
Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Carrie Parry epitomizes sophisticated, tailored cool and with an appreciation for luxury and simplicity. It’s all in the details, from intricately textured fabrics to whimsical touches and fastidious workmanship. Designing with careful consideration of social and environmental impact, Carrie Parry produces ethically and locally in the New York garment district, sourcing environmentally conscious materials whilst supporting artisanal communities worldwide. We think it’s the perfect label to wear to work!
Launched in Los Angeles in 2008, Hillary Taymour’s label Collina Strada is a line of handbags that truly stands out from the rest. Focusing on texture, sharp details and unique shapes and inspired by both the vintage and the modern, each handbag is handcrafted in New York City using vegan-friendly, eco-conscious materials. Already stocked in Urban Outfitters, Fred Segal, Kaight, ShopBop and many, many more, 2012 is going to be a good year for Collina Strada.
Andria Crescioni was born and raised in Los Angeles and the dynamic landscape and ease of the west coast resonates in her designs. Her aim is to promote and sustain traditional crafts in her collections and to act as a liaison between artisans and consumers. She also focuses on the handicrafts of batik printing in silk, handweaving with salvaged leather, and metalworking using reclaimed steel. Her first collection is absolutely stunning – ethereal, romantic and effortlessly easy to wear.
Giulia Mazzer’s architectural background is clearly visible in the perfection of her cuts and the accuracy of her details. Giulia rien à mettre was born from the will to demonstrate that ethics, the environment and social responsibility are at the core of the refined art of living.
Every garment is made in Italy with eco-friendly fabrics and supports the principles of fair trade to maximize benefits to people and communities and minimize the impact on the environment.
The design oozes elegance and chic refinement. These are clothes that will definitely get you noticed.
LAVUK is sweatshop free and made locally in Los Angeles with sustainable materials such as organic cotton, tencel, hemp and dead stock silks. The aesthetic encompasses classic silhouettes with a slight futuristic twist. The result is timeless but fashion-forward clothes in simple, comfortable materials and a fresh, bold colour palette.
After six years as Head Menswear Designer at Armani Exchange, Lucio Castro is about to launch his first very own collection of menswear with an emphasis on sustainable fabrics and artisanal techniques. Most fabrics are Japanese and organic, whilst cut and sewn by a few artisanal groups in Sri Lanka. All the trim is being produced by small fair trade organisations: coconut buttons in India, hand-made metal buttons in Nepal (with very low nickel levels) and Tagua nut buttons in Ecuador.
Castro’s debut S/S 2012 collection is called “Nature is a language, can’t you read?” after a Smiths’ song and inspired by French filmmaker Fernand Deligny’s concept of “elevated simplicity.” The result is beautifully crafted, clean cut and sophisticated menswear – such a breath of fresh air!
Netherlands/Kathmandu based label Studio JUX is all about marrying commercial design with social and environmental responsibility. They use organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp and bamboo. Each garment is constructed by master tailors in Nepal, who are ensured fair labour conditions. The team at Studio JUX believe that big brands cannot ignore these ethical issues for much longer and that they will be on the forefront of a new way forward.
We think you’ll agree that their menswear is particularly strong!
Here’s to a happy, prosperous and forward-thinking 2012 from Launderette!