WASTE NOT: “I want to make the most glamorous pieces out of trash — it’s almost like a joke to the industry,” said Kevin Germanier of his fashion creations. His label offers an alternative approach to luxury and what is considered to be waste.
A Louis Vuitton alumnus, Germanier is known for his exuberant, heavily beaded creations made from materials that would otherwise be discarded. He produced his graduate collection using multicolor beads he found in the outskirts of Hong Kong that would have been thrown away because they were slightly faded.
He built on this approach for a collection for Matchesfashion, which debuts Thursday to coincide with London Fashion Week, delivering skirt suits, sculptural tops and denim, covered in multicolor beads. Everything is a one-off piece. No collection, he said, can ever be planned, as it’s entirely dependent on what materials he can source.
“I see limitation as my friend and draw inspiration from these fabrics,” said the young designer, explaining that even though this is a completely new way of working that doesn’t suit the traditional fashion schedule, he is determined to find solutions — and he’s finding kindred spirits online.
“It’s very 2018. People reach out on Instagram, saying ‘I have 10 meters of black organza, do you want it?'”
Germanier’s London Fashion Week debut will be sold on the Matchesfashion Web site and at the retailer’s Carlos Place townhouse — taking over the retail floor from Prada — as part of its ongoing Innovators program.
The program is also set to spotlight the jewelry brand Ingy Stockholm this season, created by Ingela Klemetz-Farago.
During a sustainability talk at the townhouse, Farago gave more details about her approach to raw materials and design, which is representative of a new attitude among young designers.
A former model, musician and Chanel stylist, Farago collects dead wood that she then hand-paints to create one-off pieces of jewelry that double as pieces of art.
“The commitment to sustainability came naturally to me because I love nature. The idea is to give a new life and a new context to something that would have passed away. I think that’s beautiful and it’s not like I’m plucking things from trees — it’s dead debris,” she said, adding that she intends to keep her collections small, producing only 50 to 60 one-off products a season.
Their talk was one of the first gatherings at the Mayfair townhouse, and brought together the designers, alongside Livia Firth, of the brand consultancy Eco-Age, and Natalie Kingham, the retailer’s fashion and buying director.
“The Innovators started as a project to support creatives working outside the normal fashion remit,” said Kingham, who has in the past promoted the likes of Charles Jeffrey, Matty Bovan and Edward Crutchley through the initiative.
“I’m especially happy with the Innovators this season and the fact that they are all dealing, not just with sustainability, but with waste. They’re raising awareness of what we should be doing with clothing and objects to bring them back to life and make trash the most glamorous thing that there is. It’s about product first, which I find a really innovative approach.”