Tis the season of international Fashion Weeks.
New York, London, Milan, Paris.
Always a stunning showcase of months of hard work by designers and manufacturers, always an outstanding new level of creativity and always inspirational.
We’re only halfway through and I’ve been even more excitable than usual as this year sustainability and ethics have been subsumed more than ever.
In case your 9-5 got in the way of you following AW16’s key collections, here’s my top 4 fair fashion designers so far:
1. Philomena Zanetti: transit of flora and fauna from nature to threads
Julia Leifert’s collections are always fully sustainable, even down to
vegan Dr Maartens her models wear on the runway.
Julia’s inspiration comes from a love of the environment, she combines her inspiration from nature with a love of German and New York fashion. All garments are made with the prevention of social and environmental exploitation in mind; most of her fabrics are made in Europe and have the international sustainable GOTS-seal; and items are produced in German under fair and transparent circumstances.
2. Beth Ditto: vintage, sustainable, plus-size
Making a transition from punk singer to designer, Beth Ditto has inspired many over the last 12-18 months. She walked for Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week last September, distracting from the stereotypical model appearance and has followed it with designing a collection for fuller figure women that doesn’t curtail style in any way.
Not only that, the collection is as “uncompromising” and “unapologetic” as she promised. The garments are classy statements made by a small company in the USA to be affordable, basic and ethically made. The pieces are designed to last years through superior craftsmanship and careful consideration.
3. Maiyet: fusing international artisanal design with luxury decadence
Maiyet work with individual artisans and small boutique designers and creators in India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, Bolivia, Japan and Thailand, bringing culture and style from these countries to their New York studio.
The key to the intricate, simplistic yet exotic garments that Maiyet produce is the partnerships in their open source supply chain. Each partnership is committed to by both parties for the long-term to induce economic stability, self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship for the sourcing communities and in return Mayiet receive high quality ethical products.
4. Brother Vellies: durable, deliberate and desirable
The sustainability and ethics credentials of Brother Vellies are outstanding and an example of how all fashion companies should be operating.
Aurora James founded the company with the goal of introducing her favourite footwear to the rest of the world, and in doing so has created sustainable and secure jobs in Africa. As well as creating many stable job opportunities, Brother Vellies know all their farmers, use a specialist leather which is a byproduct of other industries, use vegetable dyes, hand-make products to reduce energy and improve quality, use natural products to make beads such as ostrich egg shells and sea shells, use brass from recycled padlocks and keys for buckles and fastenings and reduce, reuse and recycle throughout the whole manufacturing process.
If footwear like this can make it to the catwalk, the others really have no excuse.
London Fashion Weekend is in full swing and Milan Fashion Week is kicking off so keep your eyes peeled over the next two weeks for more sustainable style.
Remember that shopping with a conscience isn’t hard, and that every time you do you’re encouraging brands to reform and make sustainability the norm.