Sustainability is for life, not just for fashion week
For our alternative fashion week takeover, The Gallyry is spotlighting sustainability in the fashion industry, from inspiring creatives and designers, to innovative organisations and brands.
By now we’re all aware that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world. Fast fashion is getting (shock) faster and the environmental damage is growing as the industry does. Even if fashion week contributes to the hype and constantly changing nature of the industry, some designers are trying to make an impact from the inside out. By bringing more eco-conscious designs to the runway, we can only hope that others will start to follow suit. Here are some designers who are taking the planet seriously, not just for one season.
What does up-cycling actually mean? Just look to the work of French designer Marine Serre to see how recycled materials can be transformed with biodegradable thread and the recognisable crescent moon print. Fighting against the throwaway culture of fashion fashion, Serre is also adamant that clothes should not just be for one season – I wouldn’t mind wearing Serre’s prints for life.
Bringing sustainability to streetwear, British menswear designer Bethany Williams is championing ethical consumption and production, from the materials used to the people crafting the clothes. Williams’ commitment to social change also goes beyond the garments themselves, as she collaborates with environmental charities to promote their work. Working with centres for women’s crisis, rehabilitation, and people with disabilities, Williams’ work is not only setting a good example, but making a real impact in peoples’ lives.
Taking a zero waste approach to fashion really is the only way forward and this is exactly what Lydia Bolton is doing. Using unwanted, second-hand garments, Bolton re-images these items into the up-cycled outfits that bring sportswear to another (more frilly) level. Even the brand’s manifesto enforces Bolton’s vision for sustainability, committing to make sure the clothes are not perpetuating the fashion industry’s harmful impact on our environment.
We Are KIN
Slow fashion is (slowly) starting to make its way into an industry dominated by fast fashion brands. Although it might take a bit longer for larger brands to make the sustainable switch, fashion labels such as We Are KIN, helmed by Ngoni Chikwenengere, are making sure their garments are both wearable and timeless, and reduce waste where possible. This is done by using end of line fabrics, sustainable fabrics, and a whole lot of consideration for the environmental impacts a fashion brand can have.
Creating “Handmade Artisan Basics” is the tagline for Faustine Steinmetz’s eponymous label. Using thrifted and hand-woven materials, Steinmetz has been doing her bit to make the brand as sustainable as possible – although she acknowledges this is a work in process. Known for her innovative reworking of denim, I’m keeping an eye out for what Steinmetz does next.
Through a desire to create clothing using conscious design methods and minimal waste, Elliss Solomon’s brand ELLISS was born. With organic and recycled materials at the heart of every piece, you know you’re getting clothes that aren’t out to get the environment. As a London-based brand, having a manufacture in London is also an important step that allows them to be involved and informed from the beginning.
The São Paulo designer Renata Brenha draws on both her Latin American heritage and collaboration with local artisans to create clothes that are reinventing how up-cycled garments can look. Alongside Renata’s plant-based food company Cocina, her eponymous label takes a similar plant-based approach in picking materials and being resourceful all the way through the production process.
When Natalie Boulous and Georgie Charalambous decided to create Neoss the brand, they made sure sustainability was at its core. They continue to work hard to minimise their carbon footprint by working with dead stock fabrics and making conscious decisions about the environmental and social impact of their clothes. Alongside this, they also run the inNeoss store, which is the cutest space in North East London for other eco-conscious designers to come together.