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Festival Fashion at its Finest

Summer festivals are just getting under way with the biggest ones happening in only a few weeks time. Besides loud music, too much booze, a cheeky puff a whatever’s passed your way and the anticipation of snogging a least one musician,  festival fashion has got to be quite carefully selected. You’ve got to look cool, stand out from the crowd, and be at least somewhat sensible given the likeliness of erratic weather patterns, penchants for spilling drinks and precarity of the port-a-loo situation.

It may seem like too much to weigh in the ethics of your festival fashion but here are suggestions from Launderette that will ensure you’ve made your fashion mark on the festival scene – here come the “street” style bloggers now!

DAY 1GET YOUR STRIPE ON

The ASOS Africa collection is produced in collaboration with SOKO and several small communities in Africa, enabling underprivileged communities to establish sustainable business through their local craftsmanship.

This season sees the ASOS Africa collection look to traditional East African fabrics, including Kitenge and Kanga prints and hand-woven Kikoy, reworking them with a modern sporty aesthetic in a punchy acid colour palette.

This striped dress / parka combo emanates coolness with close to zero effort. Easy-to-wear, flattering on nearly any size or shape. The stripes on stripes is bold but the soft colours make it more approachable.

BAGGU make high quality, durable and reusable bags. This backpack is made from 100% recycled 16 oz cotton duck. It comes in myriad colours and patterns, but this cobalt blue one is both eye-catching and easily conceals spilled drinks and dirty counters. It’s also lightweight and has got several ways to secure your personal belongings. A practical person’s dream!

Melissa shoes are always a good selection for a festival as they are waterproof and virtually indestructible. These hot yellow platform wedges with the tassel and patterned sole will give you just the height boost needed to see your fave band from anywhere in the crowd.

Melissa shoes are made from Melflex plastic, a patented, hypo-allergenic, recyclable, and extremely flexible PVC. The shoes are totally cruelty free and devoid of animal products, so vegans can be rest-assured. The Brazilian-based company recycles 99.9% of factory water and even recycles overstock styles into next season’s collection.

DAY 2FLOWER CHILD

ASOS Crochet Village collection supports women in the Bangladeshi village of Chonpara, enabling underprivileged communities to establish sustainable business through their local artisan craftsmanship.

This dress has the perfect festival vibe – California bohemian flower child. Sexy and demure yet comfortable, a notoriously difficult combination to execute. And the price!

As featured in the likes of Grazia and Vogue, the FAIR + true African inspired short jacket with puffed sleeves is an easy and completely on-trend piece to throw on when the nightly festival breeze rolls in.

FAIR+true is produced in the UK, Kenya, Malawi and Vietnam using Fair Trade standards as minimum and with special efforts made to support local communities.

FAIR + true Fair Trade African print round neck jacket - £75

FAIR + true Fair Trade African print round neck jacket – £75

Fashioning Change is an innovative retail tech startup that has built a platform which helps shoppers easily make purchases from socially responsible brands without changing existing shopping behaviour. Similar to a Netflix-style recommendation, Fashioning Change takes information based on the big, well-known brands you love and introduces you to the “do-gooder” or “green” alternative. It lets shoppers select name brands, or filter based on certain products, at which point the recommendation engine serves eco-friendly and ethical alternatives, based on price point and style. Genius!

Available on Fashioning Change, Replay Vintage sunglasses from Hollywood, California specialises in sunglasses from the 1970’s, and these pair are simply sublime. Tortoise shell means they’ll work well with any outfit.

Raven + Lily is a socially responsible brand dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships and sustainable economic opportunities. This piece was produced using recycled materials and made in Ethiopia by women living with HIV.

This gorgeous piece has a rather long chain and the pendant itself is quite sizeable – definitely a jewel to get you noticed.

Founders of vegan and ethical footwear brand, Cri de Coeur, Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow both joined the fashion industry after attending Parsons New School of Design in New York in the hopes of making a difference in the world for both the style-conscious and the animals.

No compromise on style here! Rock chicks, eat your badass heart out.

DAY 3 – Ziggy meets Iggy

She Died of Beauty, brainchild of longstanding friends supermodel
Erin O’Connor & stylist Kate Halfpenny, has a close working relationship with SEWA, a women’s charitable organisation based in India. Each product is lovingly created with a sense of purpose using ethically and organically sourced materials: “ after all there’s no reason why style and conscience can’t co-exist!” say Erin & Kate. This tank top says it all really.

Evgenia Tabakova and Pedro Noronha-Feio are the innovative Russian-Portuguese design duo behind White Tent, founded in 2007. Through their exploration of exciting design concepts, such as laser cutting, and their pursuit of sustainable practices, this is one up and coming label to watch.

These silver metallic lurex shorts are totally Iggy Azalea meets Ziggy Stardust. So much fun!

Gucci has just announced the launch of Sustainable Soles, a special edition of eco-friendly women’s and men’s shoes designed by Creative Director Frida Giannini and part of the Prefall 2012 Collection. The mission is to interpret in a responsible way the modern consumer’s desire for sustainable fashion products, all the while maintaining the balance between the timeless values of style and utmost quality with an ever-growing green vision.

The California Green sneakers – in a low or high top version – combine bio-rubber soles with the upper part in genuine vegetable tanned black calfskin, biologically certified strings and rhodium-plated metal details. Additionally, the green Gucci logo has been designed on a recycled polyester label.

LUST!!!!

This quirky but incredibly on-trend black leather baseball style cap from Finland’s Costo is made from recycled leather and lining fabric is viscose – for the less adventurous, the blue fuzzy bobble is detachable.

Stay tuned for more summer fun from Launderette!

 

Otherworldly Eden Diodati

Launched in March 2012 by former lawyer, Jennifer Ewah, luxury label Eden Diodati brings its wearers to another planet where women look like sophisticated galactic glamazons.

The collection represents a global collaboration of cultural influences, achieving designs with a stunningly creative edge. The idea of Humanity inspired the East African-style metal cuffs for the wrist, neck and waiste. The idea of Creation resulted in the galaxy motif used in several of the digitally-printed silk dresses. The idea of the Sculptor gave rise to expertly tailored and structured dresses, capes and accessories. And the idea of the Garden of Eden infused the collection with a strong femininity.

But there’s more to the label than just beautiful, ethereal dresses and intricately tailored suit-capes, it’s also set up as a social enterprise.

Eden Diodati is almost entirely produced by artisans working at the Cooperativa Rinascere, an Italian non-profit cooperative near Vicenza, that provides employment, training, and support to disadvantaged women from local communities – those touched by physical and mental abuse, trauma and disability.

This is the same cooperative where pioneering ethical brand From Somewhere manufactures its upcycled creations. Founder Orsolo de Castro tells The Telegraph: “All our clothes are made in the Cooperativa Rinascere in Vicenza which helps rehabilitate disabled people and people with mental health problems. My seamstresses used to work for top fashion houses before they got ill and it’s been hard for them to re-enter their profession. One, who has clinical depression, was denied custody of her daughter a few years ago. Partly because of working for us she has now got her back.”

Eden Diodati founder, Jennifer Ewah’s ethical approach to manufacturing is helping to deliver opportunities for these marginalised people to re-create their own futures.

Eden Diodati will also donate 10% of its dividends to Médecins sans Frontières in efforts to address human fragility on a global scale, this should amount to about £8,000 in the first year alone.

The label is one of the Ethical Fashion Forum’s 500 Fellows around the globe. Fellowship 500 has been launched by the Ethical Fashion Forum with the aim of taking the fashion industry to tipping point – the point at which sustainable practices by fashion businesses become the rule rather than the exception to it – from field to final product.

The good news is that you can buy the whole Eden Diodati collection online here. We know exactly what we’re wearing to our next red carpet event…

Can’t get enough of FAIR + true

Everybody is talking about FAIR +true, with particular plaudits for being recently featured in the likes of Vogue and Grazia. FAIR + true is one of the few Fair Trade brands getting it right. Trend-led designs, perfect prints, bold colours and appropriate, desirable use of African-inspired details.

FAIR+true is produced in the UK, Kenya, Malawi and Vietnam using Fair Trade standards as minimum and with special efforts made to support local communities.

This Fair Trade jacket has been getting a lot of press and for good reason – it’s lush! With jeans or over a fancy gown, this can work in so many situations. And at only £75, it’s a total steal too!

These upcycled platform espadrille-style sandals are hand-made in Vietnam from disused local and traditional fabrics. These are what we’ll be wearing to every summer festival.

Printed leggings are a must-have. Not just for this season – but for life! Comfy, good for traveling. You can style them a million different ways, even when leggings are no longer acceptable to wear as trousers. (Although don’t see this trend ending anytime soon). This pair is great! Lovely pink colour without being overly girly. Plus, they’re made from eco-friendly material Modal, manufactured in the UK. Only £35, move over high street!

FAIR + true also does really great blouses. This brown/blue/pink colour block one is a bit weird but in a really good way. Again, so many different ways this can be styled. And just to add, it’s made using end of roll materials, sourced and manufactured in the UK.

Visit eco e-tailer, Fashion Conscience to check out FAIR + true’s full range.

Appreciating Artisans – well crafted fashion for the future

My mom has always influenced the lens through which I view the world – that’s largely what mothers do. My mom is a costumier, working tirelessly behind her various sewing machines for 16 hours a day (everyday, not exaggerating!) creating tiny dance outfits for bedazzled children. Her one-of-kind creations are meticulously crafted using unconventional, eye-catching materials such as faux fur, feathers, sequins, rhinestones, tassels, fringe, you name it – the more intricate and outlandish the better! This doesn’t mean that I see the world through disco-themed, Lady Gaga-inspired eyeglasses (although sometimes I do!) – but it means that I carefully consider and appreciate the way that things are made. With love, careful deliberation, fastidious attention to detail and skills that have been perfected over the course of many hours, many years, many generations.

There isn’t really anything more special than something that has been handcrafted by an expert artisan – someone whose skills have been built up and passed down over generations. Like my own mother (who learned how to sew from her mother and has spent years fine-tuning her own approach and style), there are communities across the globe that are creating the most beautiful, detailed, high-quality textiles and garments the slow way – with their own hands, traditional expertise and a lot of love. Here’s a few of my favourite artisanal techniques and chosen brands striving to keep tradition alive and to improve livelihoods for artisans that live in many of the world’s most impoverished locations – you’ll be inspired too!

MAIYET

Maiyet marries old world traditions with new world design to create womenswear that is uniquely inspired.  Maiyet partners with companies and artisans in Colombia, India, Italy, and Kenya, and marks a return to the roots of luxury while elevating an emerging generation of master craftsmen.

Maiyet works with Nest, an independent nonprofit dedicated to training and developing artisan businesses to promote entrepreneurship, prosperity and dignity in places that need it most.

The brainchild of Kristy Caylor, formerly of Gap Group, Levi’s, Nordstrom and ex-COO of Band of Outsiders, together with two human rights- committed social entrepreneurs, Maiyet spent 6 months traveling the world finding the most remarkable craftspeople and sophisticated levels of skill. Their travels lead them to hand-loom silk jacquard weaving in West Java, Indonesia; lost-wax cast jewellery from Medellin, Colombia; poured brass & carved horn & bone jewelry in Nairobi, Kenya; and carved-block printers in Jaipur, India (see video below to their amazing work in action).

MAIYET | India Hand Block Printing from M A I Y E T on Vimeo.

SS12 MAIYET PARIS Debut Collection

SS12 MAIYET PARIS Debut Collection

AW 2012 MAIYET (photo from ecco*eco)

AW 2012 MAIYET (photo from stylerumor.com)

AWAMAKI LAB

After Machu Picchu, the first image that comes to mind when visualising Peru is the amazing, colourful and ornate traditional clothing of the Quechua people. Traditional handicrafts are an important aspect of material culture. This includes a tradition of weaving handed down from Inca times or earlier, using cotton, wool (from llamas, alpacas, guanacos, vicunas) and a multitude of natural dyes, and incorporating numerous woven patterns (pallay).

Quechua style clothing

Quechua style clothing

Awamaki is a Peruvian non-profit working with indigenous Quechua women weavers to improve their skills and increase their access to markets, thereby revitalizing an endangered weaving tradition while affording Quechua women a reliable source of income.

Awamaki Lab is a four-month fashion design residency that gives young designers the opportunity to develop a capsule collection in partnership with Awamaki and its weavers’ association. Fashion designers taking part in the residency have included: Nieli Vallin under the mentorship of Study NY‘s Tara St. James for SS 2012; and Andria Crescioni with Courtney Cedarholm for AW 2012.

Sold through the Awamaki online store and an inaugural pop-shop in New York City, the profits of the collection produced are reinvested in the Awamaki Sewing Collective. The collective uses the money to teach local women how to sew, use patterns and to encourage designing in order to diversify the labor market – all in hopes of empowering a new generation of Peruvian artisans.

Awamaki Lab F_W 2012

Awamaki Lab FW 2012

Natural  D.I.Y – ing

Seems like everyone I know is hopping into the garden and giving a go at concocting their own natural fabric dyes. The majority of natural dyes are derived from plant sources –roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood — and other organic sources too such as fungi and lichens.

Throughout history, people have dyed their own fabrics using common, locally available materials – those derived from invertebrates, Tyrian purple (extracted from sea snails) and Crimson kermes (created with dried bodies of the female insect), became especially highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world. Plant-based dyes such as woad, indigo, saffron and turmeric were raised commercially and were important trade goods in the economies of Asia and Europe. Cochineal and Logwood were brought to Europe by the Spanish treasure fleets, and the dyestuffs of Europe were carried by colonists to America. Batik, a wax resistant dyeing technique is an ancient art form and has been common across Africa and Asia for centuries, which is now being mass-produced on the whole but with several communities trying to keep the form true to its traditional roots.

There are several workshops that teach you all about creating natural dyes at home with what is locally available. NYC’s Textile Arts Center is currently preparing its new project called ‘Sewing Seeds‘- a community supported agriculture initiative fully dedicated to natural dyes. Starting this summer in Brooklyn on an abandoned lot on the corner of Bergen and 4th Street, Sewing Seeds will transform 596 acres into a place for community members to grow their own seeds – providing members with plants to be used as natural dyes, as well as recipes and workshops how to create their own dyes.

Sewing Seeds Natural Dye Garden from TAC on Vimeo.

Here Today Here Tomorrow, a boutique meets workshop in London’s Dalston neighborhood, hosts an innovative evening called ‘Dinner to Dye For’. Dinner guests learn how to dye with seasonal plants and create a silk scarf as well as experience a colourful and delicious menu crafted from the same ingredients.

Dinner to Dye For from Cora Foxx on Vimeo.

Lemlem

When supermodel Liya Kebede discovered that traditional weavers in her native country of Ethiopia were losing their jobs due to a decline in local demand for their goods, she decided to do something about it. Recognizing the beauty, quality and historic significance of their work, Liya started Lemlem in 2007 as a way to inspire economic independence in her native country and to preserve the art of weaving. All Lemlem products are handmade in Ethiopia using natural cotton.

Lemlem handwoven process

Lemlem handwoven process

For AW 2012, Lemlem is stepping into new territory – the Ethiopian team are weaving Italian wool to make winter-ready pieces.  Lemlem is also making shoes for the first time by sending Ethiopian fabrics to Guatemala where each pair will be handmade.  Expanding the scarf range, the Lemlem weavers will also begin working colorful block printing into scarves and skirts.

Kiya Lebede in Lemlem

Liya Kebede in Lemlem

MAKI OH

“It’s sad that we allow cultures to die,” Maki Oh designer Amaka Osakwe says tells The Fader. The Lagos-based designer uses traditional, local techniques in modern ways to create a collection that could appeal to women across the globe. “It’s my only way of keeping my heritage alive, by making it relevant,” she says. The luxurious textures of the collection are created using age-old methods, such as hand-stitched calabash pieces and hand-painted fabrics using local cultural motifs.

Plus, her aesthetic is truly international and as a result the garments are completely wearable for a variety of locales, events and personal styles. It’s no surprise she won ARISE magazine‘s “Designer of the Year” award this season in Lagos.

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Maki Oh AMFW 2012 (photos from BellaNaija)

Fashion’s True Cost of Oil

It’s Sunday morning and our ritual is to wake up, brew a cup of Fair Trade earl grey and watch whatever is new on TED Talks – a bit of stimulation and inspiration to start off the new week. Today’s selection of talks included ‘The True Cost of Oil‘ from landscape photojournalist Garth Lenz, who has captured some truly beautiful and disconcerting images of environmental degradation. His most recent project explores the impacts that oil mining has had across Canada, and it really got the brain cells going.

When we think about oil, fashion is not the first thing that springs to mind. Usual associations generally have to do with transport. But little do we know that fashion and oil are much more connected than we would imagine. In fact, can you guess what the fundamental basis of polyester is? Yes, crude oil. And with more than 39 million tonnes of polyester produced for textiles alone every year – that’s a lot more crude oil than we realise. We did some statistical sleuthing and can estimate that for every 1 kilogram of polyester, it uses 1.53 kilograms of crude oil.  Your average t-shirt weighs 0.15kg, which means there’s about 1/4 cup or 223g of crude oil in one 100% polyester shirt. We’re no mathematicians, so please don’t quote us – but it does give you a pretty good picture.

And this is just the beginning, oil is also used in manufacturing processes – turning the fabric into a garment, transport of products – often shipped all over the world many times over and in product packaging, particularly those using plastics.

One of the reasons many clothing brands use polyester is because of its strength and tenacity – i.e. it holds up in the washing machine and doesn’t really need ironing. It also withstands manufacturing processes quite well and can imitate many other fabrics, which means it’s quite versatile as a fabric.

Not only does polyester use a significant amount of crude oil but it’s also energy intensive and is not biodegradable – so once you throw it out, it goes into a landfill forever. Also, beware – a lot of brands tend to blend natural materials with polyester, which means they become unable to biodegrade and off to the dump indefinitely they will go.

The good news is that there are loads of alternatives to polyester that are just as strong, tenacious and versatile but also much more eco-friendly. What you should be looking for when you are shopping is fabric made of cellulosic fibres, meaning plant or plant-based materials. Modal, made from the reconstituted pulp of birch trees, and Lyocell, made from dissolved wood pulp, are two excellent options.  Both of these types of fibres are soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles. They can be machine- or hand-washed. They drape well, can be dyed many colors and can simulate a variety of textures such as suede, leather and silk. Viscose, often referred to as “artificial silk” is another cellulosic alternative to polyester; however, the chemical process used in its production  is much more polluting than Lyocell or Modal.

Milk fibres are also gaining popularity as they’re perfect for skin sensitivities. Milk fibres share the same pH balance as humans. This synthetic fabric is also biodegradable and renewable making it a much more environmentally friendly. However, it’s not quite as durable or wrinkle-free as Lyocell and Modal.

And there’s also newer and less commonly used (thus far) poly alternatives such as Seacell®, which derives from seaweed and is mostly used in underwear, and Ingeo™, which is made from plant starch and is good for keeping moisture away from skin.

So what are some brands using these alternative fabrics in their collections?

Swedish label – House of Dagmar uses quite a lot of Lyocell jersey which feels like a slightly more robust silk jersey. Love this brand – arty, intellectual chic. And although they don’t market themselves as ethical or sustainable – they almost exclusively use environmentally responsible fabrics and focus heavily on handmade garments using traditional techniques and high-end craftsmanship.

House of Dagmar - S/S 2012 (Photo: Pierre Bjork)

House of Dagmar - S/S 2012 (Photo: Pierre Bjork)

Lemlem, the brand founded by supermodel – Liya Kebede uses a cotton/lycocell woven blend. This means the fabric is entirely biodegradable. The brand was borne out of  Liya’s desire to promote and create a market for traditional weavers of her native Ethiopia – thereby helping “to preserve the art of weaving.”

Lemlem - Handmade in Ethiopia

Lemlem - Handmade in Ethiopia

German label, Mademoiselle Chi Chi uses milk fibre for its entire collection. The fabric is the first in the world to be manufactured without the use of any chemicals. It feels a lot like silk and can be washed just like any other fabric.

Mademoiselle Chi Chi

Mademoiselle Chi Chi

Japanese designer, Ryota Shiga was the recent winner of textile manufacturer Lenzing and Tencel ® Award  at The Ethical Fashion Show in Paris and uses Modal material in much of the collection. And it looks absolutely luxurious too!

Ryota Shiga - S/S 2012

Ryota Shiga - S/S 2012

On your next shopping excursion – whether online or in the store – make sure you look closely at the label and think about its true cost of oil!

2012 – ‘The’ Year For Ethical Fashion?

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.

Ajna A/W 2012 (photo from Ecco Eco blog)

Ajna – A/W 2012 (photo from Ecco Eco blog)

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:

Artist & Revolutionaries A/W 2012

Artist & Revolutionaries – A/W 2012

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.

The Sway

The Sway – A/W 2012

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!

Charini A/W 2012 (Photo from Treehugger)

Charini – A/W 2012 (Photo from Treehugger)

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.

Henrietta Ludgate - A/W 2012 (Photo from Share It Wear It)

Henrietta Ludgate – A/W 2012 (Photo from Share It Wear It)

Transparent Fashion – Introducing Honest by

The secrets of fashion are being revealed – every thread, every button, every process. Launched just last week by Bruno Pieters, accomplished fashion designer and Creative Director at Delvaux, Honest by is the first company in the world to share the full cost breakdown of its products, including store mark-up calculations. It’s truly one of the most exciting and insightful new fashion paradigms we’ve seen in decades. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about what we wear.

In 2010, Pieters took a sabbatical from the fashion industry to travel across the developing world. Honest by was conceived during his time spent in southern India, an experience that made him reflect on his own personal ethics and his thinking around the whole system of fashion.

The word ‘honest’ refers to the way in which the brand operates, with an 100% transparency policy. It offers fashion designers a public platform to share their own design processes, utilising Honest by’s extensive research on organic fabrics and suppliers. Honest by looks for IVN, GOTS, JOCA, Oeko-tex, SACL and other similar internationally recognised certificates, endeavoring to explain what each certificate means in the ‘Materials Information’ section of the website.  All collaborators are required to share their personal production information from yarn and button origin to fabric and manufacturing details – for every single garment produced!

In communicating all information regarding a garment’s production process, Bruno Pieters hopes to shed light on the questions: where are our garments made and by whom?

Honest by also chooses not to distribute leather goods or clothing that is made or trimmed with fur, shell or horn. The only animal products garments contain are wool and silk. However, the wool and silk are either certified organic, recycled or sourced from selected farms in countries like the UK, where laws on farming ensure the welfare of animals.

Not only this but Honest by seeks to challenge the traditional two-season fashion model. Instead, timeless trans-seasonal garments are offered all year round to accommodate the different climates and seasons across continents and regions. This is slow fashion at its finest.

And there’s no compromise on design. This is top notch luxury fashion – streamlined, minimalist, textural. The Antwerpen influences are more than obvious – it’s a city long known for it’s radical approach to fashion. Honest by joins the ranks of the famous ‘Antwerp Six’ in breaking the fashion mould.

Photos courtesy of Honest by PR

Photos courtesy of Honest by PR