Listings

    No events to show

Follow

Twitter

|

Facebook

|

MySpace

|

Last.fm

RSS

Subscribe

Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Showroom Review: EcoLuxe

Eco Luxe is a luxury ethical fashion showcase which occurs twice a year and corresponds nicely with London Fashion Week. It has doubled in size since last year with an impressive collection of talented, ambitious designers all slightly squished under one roof. With illustrations by Andrea Kearney, Faye West and Fritha Strickland.

Written by Hannah Bullivant

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly.

I am not a big fan of all black outfits so a show entirely consisting of unrelenting black is unlikely to be a winner with me. The Samantha Cole A/W 2011 collection Above and Beneath the Definitive Structure was all about black, illness black, price black. Black in differing fabrics with differing reactions to light, but nevertheless black.

A succession of models – sporting futuristic up-dos and violent black eye make-up that stretched from lash to eyebrow – slowly filtered past us in the upstairs salon of Freemasons Hall. This might not have been so noticeable had the majority of us not just come from the Bunmi Koko show, where models had been sent down the catwalk at breakneck speed. People could be seen shifting in their seats, checking their watches, unused to this sudden slow down in a season of warp speed catwalking.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

The first models wore abstract linear prints etched onto squared off one-shoulder minidresses and boxy shapes that stood proud of the body. Leather crunched unforgivingly in all the wrong places and harsh catwalk lighting rendered black leather a pallid grey against the darkness of light absorbing black velvet. This had the air of clever ideas lost in translation.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Much more successful and flattering were form-hugging knitwear and velvet fabrics that wrapped sexily around bosoms and hips, a giant head-swallowing Elizabethan ruffled neckbrace and the last outfit of the show – an intriguingly cut maxi length dress, draped skirt swinging from a high waistline shaped away from the body. She only showed one dress that featured her unique signature shape – exaggerated 3D hips.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Samantha Cole is known for her desire to clothe the strong and empowered female, and we’ve previously interviewed her about some stunning work, and Matt Bramford was rightly impressed with her her show as part of On/Off a year ago. It’s clear that despite the copious use of black Samantha has some wonderful ideas, but sadly this collection was not as fabulous as it could have been.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As our applause died down we could hear loud whooping as the models headed backstage. Three giggling ladies popped out to take a bow, followed by another lady on her own. Which one, I wondered, was the real Samantha Cole?
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly.

I am not a big fan of all black outfits so a show entirely consisting of unrelenting black is unlikely to be a winner with me. The Samantha Cole A/W 2011 collection Above and Beneath the Definitive Structure was all about black, this black, buy more about black. Black in differing fabrics with differing reactions to light, look but nevertheless black.

A succession of models – sporting futuristic up-dos and violent black eye make-up that stretched from lash to eyebrow – slowly filtered past us in the upstairs salon of Freemasons Hall. This might not have been so noticeable had the majority of us not just come from the Bunmi Koko show, where models had been sent down the catwalk at breakneck speed. People could be seen shifting in their seats, checking their watches, unused to this sudden slow down in a season of warp speed catwalking.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

The first models wore abstract linear prints etched onto squared off one-shoulder minidresses and boxy shapes that stood proud of the body. Leather crunched unforgivingly in all the wrong places and harsh catwalk lighting rendered black leather a pallid grey against the darkness of light absorbing black velvet. This had the air of clever ideas lost in translation.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Much more successful and flattering were form-hugging knitwear and velvet fabrics that wrapped sexily around bosoms and hips, a giant head-swallowing Elizabethan ruffled neckbrace and the last outfit of the show – an intriguingly cut maxi length dress, draped skirt swinging from a high waistline shaped away from the body. She only showed one dress that featured her unique signature shape – exaggerated 3D hips.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Samantha Cole is known for her desire to clothe the strong and empowered female, and we’ve previously interviewed her about some stunning work, and Matt Bramford was rightly impressed with her her show as part of On/Off a year ago. It’s clear that despite the copious use of black Samantha has some wonderful ideas, but sadly this collection was not as fabulous as it could have been.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As our applause died down we could hear loud whooping as the models headed backstage. Three giggling ladies popped out to take a bow, followed by another lady on her own. Which one, I wondered, was the real Samantha Cole?
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly.

I am not a big fan of all black outfits so a show entirely consisting of unrelenting black is unlikely to be a winner with me. The Samantha Cole A/W 2011 collection Above and Beneath the Definitive Structure was all about black, patient black, black. Black in differing fabrics with differing reactions to light, but nevertheless black.

A succession of models – sporting futuristic up-dos and violent black eye make-up that stretched from lash to eyebrow – slowly filtered past us in the upstairs salon of Freemasons Hall. This might not have been so noticeable had the majority of us not just come from the Bunmi Koko show, where models had been sent down the catwalk at breakneck speed. People could be seen shifting in their seats, checking their watches, unused to this sudden slow down in a season of warp speed catwalking.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

The first models wore abstract linear prints etched onto squared off one-shoulder minidresses and boxy shapes that stood proud of the body. Leather crunched unforgivingly in all the wrong places and harsh catwalk lighting rendered black leather a pallid grey against the darkness of light absorbing black velvet. This had the air of clever ideas lost in translation.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Much more successful and flattering were form-hugging knitwear and velvet fabrics that wrapped sexily around bosoms and hips, a giant head-swallowing Elizabethan ruffled neckbrace and the last outfit of the show – an intriguingly cut maxi length dress, draped skirt swinging from a high waistline shaped away from the body.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi.

Strangely, she only showed one dress that featured her unique signature shape – exaggerated 3D hips.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Samantha Cole is known for her desire to clothe the strong and empowered female, and we’ve previously interviewed her about some stunning work, and Matt Bramford was rightly impressed with her her show as part of On/Off a year ago. It’s clear that despite the copious use of black Samantha has some wonderful ideas, but sadly this collection was not as fabulous as it could have been.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As our applause died down we could hear loud whooping as the models headed backstage. Three giggling ladies popped out to take a bow, followed by another lady on her own. Which one, I wondered, was the real Samantha Cole?

Fair+True and Reluxe illustration by Andrea Kearney

The EcoLuxe exhibition was held at the ultra chic One Aldwych Hotel, about it just across the road from Somerset House. Fresh from Esthetica, view I wondered if the designers holed up over at One Aldwych would be able to compete with the level of talent I’d witnessed over at Somerset House, discount but my questions were quickly forgotten as I descended the staircase at the hotel and saw the stalls.

Inevitably, there were a few brands and designers showcasing work that didn’t really float my boat, but I also saw some beautifully crafted clothes that really excited me. Here are just a few of my favourites.

I was excited to see that Fashion Conscience, my favourite ethical online retailer, had a stand. I got chatting to their PR rep about how to encourage more mainstream use of ethical design principals and how to close the gap between the high end ethical and the affordable everyday ethical. Fashion Conscience, in my humble opinion, are beginning to fill this gap, but there is still some way to go. The Fashion Conscience stall was showcasing the work of two of my favourite labels, ReLuxe and Fair+True:

Reluxe oozes cool. The designs are fresh, colourful, relaxed and crucially AFFORDABLE. They use recycled fabrics which means many garments are completely unique, or in limited supply due to the limitations of the fabric. I have fallen in love with this slightly bonkers neon striped skirt and am just waiting for pay day to purchase it (don’t beat me to it!) Brands like Reluxe and Fair+True (below) make me excited and hopeful that ethical businesses CAN make it in to the middle market mainstream, can be affordable and can have mass appeal. YES.

Knitted Skirt by Reluxe. Photo via Fashion Conscience.

Fair+True are a brand new Fairtrade company that also make lovely, brightly coloured sporty brights that I would love to wear. All pieces are fairly made in the UK or Africa or created from sustainable and organic fabrics. LOVE.

Fair + True illustration by Fritha Strickland

I hadn’t  heard of Lowie and I’m most disappointed by this because I  loved their stuff. Their AW 2011  clothing and hand knitted accessories were brightly coloured and gorgeous. I adored their Turkish socks, ear muffs, cloche hats and cardigans. Their SS 2011 collection was also beautiful with some really interesting shapes and details.


Turkish socks by Lowie. Illustration by Faye West

I liked the moody colours, tailoring and detailing of HEMYCA‘s clothes. Their focus is on fine tailoring, with an emphasis on the waist, which I always love. Ethically, HEMYCA has an ‘Organic Tailoring’ range and manufactures all their garments in London, promoting local businesses and cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions.

AW 2011 preview. Hemyca

I briefly saw Sanyukta Shrestha’s wedding accessories and dresses. However, it wasn’t until I saw models wearing the dresses online after the event that I truly appreciated their beauty. In fact I had a mouth a-gape, heart a-flutter moment when I saw this floor length, pleated dress with low cut back. It’s made from 100% organic silk and organic fair traded cotton sateen. If I could get married again (to the same man, I hasten to add!) it would be in this dress. Oh my. Head. Over. Heels.

Sanyukta Shrestha Wedding Dress illustration by Fritha Strickland

I always expected to be impressed by Esthetica and Eco Luxe, but I didn’t expect to be blown away, but I was.  I left both the show rooms with my brain whirring, a bag stuffed full of promo material, a camera full of more images than I knew what to do with and having talked at a million miles an hour to so many interesting and inspiring people. Eco Luxe has doubled in size since last year in what I assume  is a reflection of the increasing acceptance and awareness of ethical design. As ethical design and shopping with conscience become more mainstream,  I hope that ethical clothing designers wont be sectioned off in their own separate rooms. Instead they will be showcasing alongside all the other  London Fashion Week designers; proving that fashion with a conscience is not the exception, but the norm. One day indeed.

Tags:

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply