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April 13, 2012
Fashion designers are often hesitant to utter the word sustainable or eco-friendly when talking of their collections. It almost automatically lands them in the coffee bean sack dress and tree hugging category. But if you haven’t noticed, in recent years there seems to have been a huge shift of attitude to a less selfish and more considerate approach towards helping the environment, especially within the fashion industry.
Many new and well established high fashion brands are beginning to pride themselves in creating collections with a moral conscience. They are breaking the boundaries and shifting the connotations typical sustainable fashion designs by introducing a refreshing style of sustainability which considers the environment, the wearer and importantly the manufacturers.
Recently established label Partimi presents its current collections offering 100% sustainable fabric sourcing and production methods with her garments. By having the clothing created from recycled and organic fabrics and made in the same country as they were designed, the brand are able to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. By creating fresh, modern printed designs, Partimi’s collections are a far cry from the typical tragic plastic bag ensembles accossiated with ethical fashion; they are catered for stylish men and women who simply care for the earth’s well-being.
Another brand which has embraced the sustainable fashion production route is Laurence Airline – a youthful, fresh and vibrant brand which features bold, geometric construction in their designs. The brand was created to promote employment and education. The brand was based in the Ivory Coast with the intention state of limited education. The designer herself often teaches some of the workshops to aid the garment makers in their learning and development.
Other high fashion and luxury brands including Christopher Raeburn (who uses re-appropriated military fabrics in his collections), Emesha, Pop-Up Shop, Noir and Honesty By (who offer the consumer a completely transparent production process) have all jumped on board the sustainability train, and by doing so have helped raise awareness of the mass production methods used by large fashion brands and the negative effect it is having on the earth. As well as these designers, i-D Magazine recently collaborated with The Centre For Sustainable Fashion to launch the i-Sustain campaign in order to change the way we as consumers think about, buy and wear fashion and to show how beautiful clothing can also carry a positive message.
Nike have also recently launched ‘Nike Better World’ which celebrates helping the world through the production of their sportswear. They have recently began using environmentally friendly rubber, water based cementing and recycled polyester in the making of some of their shoes in order to leave as small environmental footprint as possible. Nike have also started recycling old plastic bottles into new football jerseys, which has helped shift more that 13 million plastic bottles from landfills.
Ten years ago consumers were unaware about where their clothes came from, or that ‘fast fashion’ was produced by overworked and underpaid workers, some of them underaged children working illegally. But recent campaigns and documentaries have enabled consumers to have an insight into to the exploitation of not only the factory workers but also our environment through the production methods used by these big fashion companies. Consumers are beginning to understand the brutal effect that some aspects of the fashion industry is having on our world. They are realising that not only the way our clothes look is important, but so is the moral message we give off through wearing them. Could this new, sustainable approach be the end of fast fashion?