LFW: Ethical Fashion Doesn’t Have To Be Tatty
Spectacular runway shows set the bar for next seasons trends, luxe high end designs and artistic pieces carefully mastered with expert skill- but who’d have thought that the high end fashion industry cared about being ethical?
Ethical fashion is often pigeon holed as being vintage or recycled scraps of material that have been amalgamated to create something new, and although this is still a trend, the designers have proved that ethical fashion doesn’t have to be tatty.
London Fashion Week donned a huge exhibition, showcasing innovative designs by an array of ethical designers. From futuristic one off garments to breath-taking hand made jewellery, ethical fashion is leading the way…and even carrying high end price tags!
I’ve shortlisted my favourite ethical artists from this fashion week, prepare to be stunned…
Michelle Lowe-Holder (images by Polly Penrose)
Michelle Lowe-Holder’s AW11 ‘Flock & Fold’ collection is an accessories only one- both ethically produced and sampled in the UK. The bases are hand cut or crocheted and interlaced with off-cuts of previous collections, end of line ribbons and cuttings from local factories. This season’s collection boasts a vibrant, colourful mix of textures including velvet, metallics and ribbons hand folded into geometric shapes.
The pieces are neat, structured and include that striking one you know you’ll wear with EVERYTHING! Prices start at around £25!
This season Dr Noki launched his very first menswear collection titled NOKI-NOIR-POUR DANDY. The collection has a very different feel to his womenswear, the bold graphic prints, manipulated branding and cartoon characters have been replaced with a mature focused colour palette of grey, navy and black, with a punch of colour and famous pen work only on braces. This collection is all about silhouette. High waisted trousers and knee length shorts paired with bike courier bondage leggings, sharp shirts buttoned to the top with huge hip-hop sleeves covering the elbow and redesigned New Era caps. Often regenerating vintage pieces or dated clothing, Noki Noir is the epitome of ethical-art-fashion.
PARTIMI is a luxurious ethical fashion line founded by Central St Martins graduate, Eleanor Dorrien-Smith. The first full PARTIMI collection was exhibited in Estethica at London Fashion Week last season and the Spring/Summer 2011 collection, ‘Dieu Bleu’ attracted the attention of Young British Designers, who have a new online store and are supporters of up-and-coming talent. The collection will also be stocked in the new Broadway Market boutique, ‘69b’, which will be launching during London Fashion Week. Two specially commissioned pieces inspired by the collection will also be stocked with the U.S. retailer, Anthropologie in April 2011.
PARTIMI began when Eleanor’s work was spotted at the Central Saint Martins degree show and she was subsequently commissioned to create a capsule collection for Anthropologie. The six piece collection named ‘Newspapers & Plastic Bags’ was then launched in stores across America and online under the brand name PARTIMI which stems from the architectural term, ‘parti’ – being the conceptual starting point of a design project.
Her pieces are beautiful, wearable, sustainable and ones you’ll keep until they’re vintage and wear them all over again. Now THATS ethical!
Also exhibition at Esthetica this fashion week was Fiona Paxton who is a London-based designer that creates striking hand-beaded necklaces, earrings and cuffs in geometric patterns. Her pieces have a high end, boho- ethnic feel which are wearable on any occasion, with pretty much any outfit at any time of day. The AW11 collection is absolutely fabulous and makes an understated statement with bags of appeal!
Scottish luxury womenswear label, Henrietta Ludgate, has already garnered an impressive number of awards and built a formidable reputation amongst high end retailers.
In her first appearance at London Fashion Week (LFW) Henrietta was awarded the (EFF) Ethical Fashion Forum’s ‘Fashion Innovation Award’, for London Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2010.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Central St. Martins graduates Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Matthew Williamson and Christopher Kane- Henrietta’s flair for structural design, the minimalistic form and her uncanny ability to design with a real sense of her Scottish Heritage make her one of the most unique and inspirational designers of her time.
An ethos of supporting Scottish craftsmanship is central to her work, with fabrics sourced from within the British Isles and all pieces produced locally.
A champion of slow fashion, Henrietta’s minimalist silhouette remains hauntingly elegant and distinctive while at the same time retaining an undeniable modernity. She draws inspiration from Elsa Schiaparelli, and her vision of fashion as architecture; that clothing should be ‘closely connected to the contours of the body’.
Her futuristic and edgy signature styles remain this AW11 however, with a punkier edge, with some heavy square pyramid silver studs- keep your eyes peeled later this year!
And there you have it, a round up of some of the best ethical designers of London Fashion Week AW11. There were many, many more equally as unique and fabulous- a true homage to high end, to vintage, and to the future of fashion.