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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The Ethical Fashion Forum’s Innovation Winners 2009

London , September 2009

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft

The Ethical Fashion Forum has been popping up all over the place at here at Amelia’s Magazine. Back in June we covered the first section of their biannual competition established to reward good deeds regarding sustainability in Fashion. Titled PURE, the winners – South African designer Lalesso and Malawi designer MIA- would display their designs at the PURE tradeshow. Yesterday in the rather lovely setting of the Hospital Club, the EFF announced the second half of their competition, the Esthetica awards. Judged by Dolly Jones from vogue.com.

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MIA

As the crowd waited perched on sofas, leaning against walls as we huddled round the catwalk Dolly Jones announced the winners: Mark Liu, Henrietta Ludgate (who was championed by Amelia’s Magazine earlier this year as a one to watch), MIA and Lalesso (both of whom you will have noticed were mentioned earlier in reference to winning the PURE awards in June).

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MIA

After the announcements, the catwalk begin to sounds of bouncing pop and the models began to work the room. Each designer sent two designs down the catwalk, as teasers for their entire line. I would have loved to have seen more of the collections. Especially as the majority, if not the entirety, of what was sent down the Innovation catwalk was jump-off-the-catwalk-and-onto-my-back wearable.

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Lalesso

To accompany the catwalk, the Ethical Fashion Forum provided recycled cardboard handouts detailing the reasons behind each designer’s selection. Mark Liu for developing a pattern cutting process that minimizes the amount of waste material produced by each garment, helping to “pioneering Zero Waste Fashion”. This made me think instantly of the “A-POC” line by Issey Miyake or taking it out of the acronym; the A piece of cloth project. From which the wearer is able to create endless items out of a single well-cut piece of fabric. Myakke is said to be continuing to develop this idea after becoming concerned about the impact of textile waste on the environment. It’s great to see young and established designers tackling the industry’s waste problem and turning it into a conceptual wearable idea. To compliment Liu’s pattern cutting he uses organic fabrics, low impact dyes and water based pigments. The two dresses, sent down the catwalk, were reminiscent of Peter Pan or an elfish child as they hung playfully off the models. Perfect for a summer’s day in the park.

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Lalesso

Henrietta Ludgate worked with Osman Yousefzada after graduating from St. Martins and is now starting her own label. Ludgate’s philosophy lies in the maintenance of British craftsmanship. All the materials are sourced from British Mills and the collection is made entirely in a traditional Scottish crofting village. Her dresses really intrigue me being a combination of what appears to be felt and fleece. The pieces (not shown on the catwalk, but worn by members of the audience) had a similar feel in their shapes as Matthew Williamson’s graduate collection at St Martins. The new collection contained a wearable jersey dress with interesting piping detail to structure the back. Alongside a maxi dress which appeared to be an extended bankers shirt.

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Henrietta Ludgate

Lalesso creates women’s wear out of traditional East African Fabrics, which translate perfectly for a Saturday spent walking around town and sitting in parks. The bold floral patterns were instantly eye catching.

MIA’s recycled fabrics and traditional Malawain textiles produced a refreshing take on up-cycling old urban sportswear into summer dresses.

The Innovation competition is importantly drawing attention to the numerous ways new designers are tackling challenges of sustainability that the fashion industry faces as a whole.

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Henriette Ludgate

MIA is tackling craftsman’s jobs lost through the abundance of cheap second hand clothes on Malawi’s market stalls by employing local people in the process of up-cycling. All profits are put back into the community support, as well as buying equipment and training to maintain market access and community livelihoods. Furthermore (thanks again to the cards handing out by the Ethical Fashion Industry at the show), Lalesso recently founded SOKO – an ethical and eco fashion production plant in Kenya. Offering opportunities for other design companies to produce collections with the profits and increased job market to benefit communities in Kenya.

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Mark Liu

The Ethical Fashion Forum and Innovation are proving not only that designers are environmentally aware when making their clothes and considering waste. But importantly they are using their businesses to recreate jobs and a skill based workforce in local communities effected by both the waste and desire for Fast Fashion.

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