No plastics, synthetics, fossil fuels or electricity were used in the making of Angel Chang’s latest zero-carbon womenswear collection.
Though the clothes appear quite simple in form, the collection and setting for the preview held at Chelsea’s Pace Gallery in New York City Thursday was sure to cleanse the palate from the usual thumping music and overstimulated nature of New York Fashion Week. The emphasis was on leisure suits and chore jackets in naturally dyed hues (sun-bleached stone, yellow, orange and a washed-out indigo) paired with wide-fit sandals.
To miss the inspiration behind Angel Chang’s latest presentation “Weaving the Future With Indigenous Textiles” is to miss thousands of years of technique. Chang’s own ancestral roots trace back to 14 generations of Chinese herbalists, and her artisans — ethnic minority grandmothers in Guizhou Province, rural China — espouse a similarly focused craft. The manufacturing process takes a minimum of six months (from growing the cotton to the final sewing of the garment).
As for how Chang is slowing down the pace of the rapid-set fashion system? It takes diligence.
“For my collection, I follow a zero-carbon design approach that I created for myself. My zero-carbon design philosophy follows three core tenets: no electricity, all-natural, locally made,” Chang told WWD. “By following these rules, the collection is made without plastics, synthetic chemicals or fossil fuels. It’s made hyper-vertically in one location using in-season raw materials and creating local jobs in rural communities. Each piece is 100-percent handmade seed-to-button, starting from the native-seed cotton that we grow in the ground to the hand-spinning, hand-weaving, dyeing and sewing.”
By staying the zero-carbon course, Chang is able to made amends with today’s industry norms.
“For me, I feel it’s easy to be part of the fashion system because that’s where I received my training,” she said. “I know what the industry can and cannot do and the levers to push it forward. For being more sustainable, my advice would be to reconnect with nature and learn how clothing was made before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. Clothing has historically been made in a sustainable way, and we can revive these traditional practices that are healthier for ourselves and the planet.”
A Champagne reception followed the presentation as Chang — celebrating a decade in business — is one of the designers participating in Cartier Women’s Initiative.