The dawning of October saw the fashion world descend on Paris to experience what is arguably the most highly anticipated of fashion weeks.
With highly influential and renowned designers: Lanvin, information pills Givenchy, and Chanel showcasing their collections for SS10, you would be forgiven for thinking that Paris was only about the ubiquitous fashion houses. Whilst the presence of big name designers and celebrities alike was a mathematical certainty, thankfully there was one big ethical reason to keep an eye on Paris.
For the sixth successive year The Ethical Fashion Show teamed up with Institut Français de la Mode to present a four-day trade fair exclusively devoted to the cause of ethical fashion. Held in the famed Tapis Rouge (Red Carpet; A Parisian department store dating back to 1784).
The event showcased the cream of ethical fashion on the catwalk whilst looking to raise awareness on sustainable fashion through lectures, workshops and networking events geared towards professionals, students and members of the public.
Supported by the French government, and brands as varied as La Redoute and LVMH, the event oversaw the important Ethical Fashion Show award ceremony. Deserving winners for 2009 were Le Racines Du Ciel and Deux Filles En Fil. Closing with a special auction of designs by Satya Joti, and the Ethical Fashion Show, the event raised €2,670 towards building a health centre in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, India.
Among the 100 strong designers there was the great discovery of Brit, Ada Zanditon, who founded her self titled label last year, and showcased at the 2008 Ethical Fashion Show. Winning an award for the creativity of her debut collection. Greatly inspired by modern architecture and art, Zanditon’s SS10 range is titled ‘The Colony’.
A smart and sexy collection, ‘The Colony’ combines heavily structured pieces such as the conical patchwork dress, with super feminine silhouettes such as the pillar-box red cut out asymmetric mini dress. Zanditon’s aptitude for sharp tailoring is visible in the navy blue jumpsuit. With her unique ability to balance proportions, Zanditon’s designs are beautifully crafted, modern and chic making her a key eco designer to watch.
Moreover, for those who like their ready-to-wear fashion on the quirkier side Dutch label Studio Jux specialise in affordable fashion which is fun, playful and most importantly sustainable.
Designed for both men and women by Saskia Boekraad and Jitske Lundgren; Studio Jux aim to create fresh, comfortable garments that feature a signature twist, created by playing with the shapes and constraints of modern fashion.
A quirk that sets Studio Jux apart is the accompaniment of each garment with a numbered label corresponding to the specific tailor behind the construction of the item. The tailor can then be identified through their website. An act displaying the brand’s commitment to their Nepalese tailors who are paid by the hour as opposed to per garment. Studio Jux are deeply committed to the environment by only using eco fabrics that are certified by an International Standard. All product packaging is environmentally friendly and they pay airlines a premium on the transport of their goods. This premium is used by the airlines to plant trees on Studio Jux’s behalf, to help offset their CO2 emissions.
Their SS10 collection,‘Fresh Green Shoots’ features a wide variety of natural fabrics from certified organic cotton, bamboo, hemp to linen. Comprising of chic separates for men and women, each garment is simple in its design, with subtle details such as screen prints, ruching and draping helping to give the garments personality. As a 100% fair-trade non-profit company, Studio Jux is one label that is selflessly fighting the ethical fashion cause that will go from strength to strength. ? ?
A personal favourite was OBA , the edgy French jewellery and accessories design team founded by Ana Paula Freitas. Inspired by the creativity and originality of Brazilian heritage and culture, Freitas’ team comprises of several Brazilian artisan associations such as Cia de Lacra, who work together to use production methods which promote a socially responsible attitude to fashion and the environment, whilst generating social benefits and integration in rural areas where traditional craft workers are prone to exploitation.
Dedicated to sourcing renewable materials OBA use old ancestral techniques juxtaposed with urban methods, combining recycling with organic materials and fibres from sustainable sources. Knitting and crochet are inherited techniques commonly used when making local handicrafts. OBA utilises these techniques by weaving ring pulls from aluminium cans creating a sleek, modern and versatile accessories collection which is 100% ethical.
OBA’s work captures the contrasts and vibrancy of Brazil which is reflected through the vivid colour palette and the range of textures visible in each piece. Stand out accessories from the collection include the chunky ‘Kingston’ bracelets, the futuristic ‘Neide’ ring pull clutch and the ‘Cora’ ring pull shoulder bag.
Each of the designers exhibiting at the Ethical Fashion Show represent the versatility of eco fashion from across the globe, uniting to highlight the grave importance of the fashion industry’s treatment towards its craftsmen. By joining forces on the international stage the Ethical Fashion Show is proof that companies can be profitable without destroying ecosystems.
Whilst pioneering fair-trade and eco friendly techniques the main message emanating from the Tapis Rouge was an appeal to the fashion industry. An appeal to work with a stronger conscience to decrease the environmental impact of the textile industry. Whilst preserving local skills by ensuring the fair trade of goods for everyone, not just those fortunate enough to be living in the Western world.
For further information on the Ethical Fashion Show please visit:
- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Ada Zanditon
- Michelle Lowe-Holder: the ethical designer who is reinventing the fashion accessory
- LFW 09 – Fashion Scout – Ones to Watch
- Camilla Norrback: the Scandinavian ethical designer talks Sustainability
- Lu Flux: playful upcycled ethical fashion design