RE-USE, REDUCE: “Eco-centricity” was the buzzword at an event hosted by Matchesfashion.com during London Fashion Week to mark the launch of an exhibition, which runs until March 2, put together by creative director and TV personality Jaime Perlman, stylist Alex Carl and More or Less Magazine.
The show, featuring work by 11 designers, was designed, according to Carl, as a “shout-out against this kind of urge for newness all the time. Everything goes so fast now and sometimes you need to look around you to find inspiration rather than look ahead.”
The bespoke pieces proved that sustainable fashion can be vibrant and experimental.
From Erdem’s dazzling sequined trousers to Louise Grey’s acid-toned patchwork creation and Simone Rocha’s black lace dress with a doily bra, designers served up an assortment of color and dramatic forms, that captivated guests including Adwoa Aboah’s parents, Camilla Lowther and Charles Aboah, Wilson Oryema and Henry Holland.
The Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu said the design process was an exciting journey of freedom and experimentation, “a chance to use old things that we kept. It was quite fun to make because I didn’t have to think about it being sold. It was more of a creative process.”
The intimate display highlights the changing conversation around sustainability that industry figures are beginning to pay attention to. According to Grey, people are still cautious in approaching sustainability issues despite the fashion industry being one of the biggest contributors to pollution.
“People are scared to talk about sustainability, lots of people don’t like that word, lots of people don’t want to think about it because it makes them think about themselves,” Grey said.
Designer Phoebe English, said she is confident that the industry can contribute positively. “As designers, we are problem solvers, it’s in our nature. I have a lot of faith we can design ourselves out of the mess we’re in.”
English added that she has taken a huge step forward for fall 2019, reassessing her label’s carbon footprint, using eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo and incorporating buttons made from dairy protein.
She revealed she has been working with the U.K. government’s environmental audit committee in a bid to help it identify where legislation can help make the British fashion industry more sustainable.
While sustainability is clearly having a moment, being green does not necessarily translate into making money, and younger labels are still struggling to turn a profit.
Grey thinks she may have the solution. “Designers don’t necessarily make money selling clothes anymore, which means you can make a body of work for a different reason and you can use it to promote yourself or your ideas and get different work off of that.”