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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: KTZ

The fabulous KTZ brand is part the cult Kokon To Zai shop and it was the only catwalk show I went to on menswear Wednesday 22nd September 2010. Illustrations by Naomi Law and Aniela Murphy.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, diagnosis a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, buy information pills and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, no rx who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. My favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s what we do with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release at the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.
Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, mind a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. My favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s what we do with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release at the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, medical a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. My favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s what we do with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release at the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, capsule a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, pilule and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, online who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear but my favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s what we do with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release at the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, there a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, website like this and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear but my favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s how we deal with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release for the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Romina Karamanea skirt by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

For the past two seasons the good PRs for Romina Karamanea have ensured that there has been a ridiculously long queue of baying fashionistas gathered outside the venue before they will let anyone inside. And so it was that I found myself being battered around on the steps of the Freemasons’ Hall on Tuesday evening: it was late in the week and it wasn’t really what I wanted to deal with. My ex flatmate, sales a stylist that I used to work for at The Face – we fell out – elbowed her way through with a bit of a hissy fit. I was seriously considering just calling it a day and going right home. But then security announced that it was “too late for stars” meaning that the complex sticker system on invites was about to be ditched, dosage and the PRs next to me agreed that the most important people were at the front anyway – that would include me! love it when I feel less of a pleb – and it all looked good to go.

Romina Karamanea pants by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

Ushered into one of the gorgeous upper halls I was seated only three chairs down from my nemesis, who of course refused to acknowledge me. Which is just fine, our relationship never recovered after she moved out of my house and refused to pay her outstanding rent. But it did make me smile. Oh happy days. A funny little girl in latex stockings was placed between us and quickly presented me with her card and a badge. I had to spend the whole show trying to take photos around her as she leaned into the catwalk to take hers, but in the grand tradition of fashion week poseurs she sure was good at attracting attention.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

For this season Greek born, Central Saint Martins trained Romina looked to abstract expressionism for inspiration, though as her press release cheekily says, basically “the designer had popped to see her artist friend Hermes for a glass of wine.” Three colour stories of white, bluey green and red explored passionate brush strokes and the patterns of natural phenomena and geology. Opposing structures morphed into one garment, voluminous swathes of chiffon colliding with cleanly structured tailoring. It was a big collection that included a smattering of menswear but my favourite pieces were undoubtedly the final ones, glorious rich red undergarments topped with sweeping patterned dresses. Utterly divine.

Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria
Romina Karamanea by Joana Faria.

I wasn’t aware that Romina Karamanea was an advocate of sustainable design until I found a leaflet featuring her work in the basement at Esthetica, where the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a corner stand showcasing some of the designers they work with. This organisation was set up by the London College of Fashion, with the aim of “challenging and provoking the established fashion system to work towards the goals of promoting human well being and respecting nature’s limits, whilst creating beauty and style.” Fashion designers are invited to attend workshops and one to one mentoring sessions about how to implement sustainable design practices and apparently Romina is one of their ambassadors, which is very exciting news.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina-Karamanea-by-Lisa-Stannard
Romina Karamanea by Lisa Stannard.

But a line in the first paragraph of her blurb immediately made my heart sink just a tiny bit. And not just because of the bad grammar. “Each piece is designed to be loved and kept forever getting better over-time, hopefully like the wearer.” Along with the notion of upcycling (now a far trendier way to say recycling in fashion circles) and making the most of factory waste – both of which I hasten to add are admirable choices when it comes to making fashion – creating clothes to be worn for a long time has become a bit of a get out quick clause for designers. It’s an easy statement to trot out because high fashion is invariably all about luxury and has a price tag to match. Not many people who invest in designer pieces are likely to throw away their purchases every season.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

But let’s just stop and think a bit more here. The reality is that these designers continue to show new collections, and we are inevitably urged to delve deep and create ourselves a new wardrobe each time a new season comes around. I only very rarely buy new clothes myself but I can’t claim to be completely removed from the process because I also get really excited about new creativity on the catwalks. It’s an innate human excitement that you can’t take away, but it’s how we deal with that feeling that counts. Of course I am against throwaway mass produced fashion, but sustainability cannot be achieved merely by saying that people should treasure clothes forever, not whilst producing a new collection twice a year with no deeper links to sustainable practice.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Reading on, I applaud Romina Karamanea‘s efforts. She is careful to fully research her supply chain, reduce fabric waste, utilise low impact digital printing techniques and organic cottons. She’s an edgy designer with a big following who can really affect people’s perception of working in a sustainable way. But it’s interesting that none of this information was on the press release for the catwalk show, or on her website. It says a lot about how we still perceive an ethical imperative in design.

Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romina Karamanea SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

naomi-law-ktz
KTZ by Naomi Law.

Kokon To Zai is the cult Soho shop from whose loins the catwalk brand KTZ has sprung. Because I have been somewhat out of the loop I hadn’t actually connected the two together until I found KTZ on the stands in Somerset House. But suffice to say I used to borrow quite a lot of clothes from Kokon To Zai when I worked as a stylist so it was with somewhat excited anticipation that I made sure to attend just this one show on menswear Wednesday.

KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

aniela murphy ktz
KTZ by Aniela Murphy.

Well, online I say menswear Wednesday, more about but quite a few designers slipped a fair amount of womenswear onto the catwalk, more about and so it was with KTZ which seemed to be almost half and half. Though hard to tell, what with the inclusion of some gorgeous long haired male models.

KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ by Aniela Murphy
KTZ by Aniela Murphy.

The show was a whistlestop tour through monochrome and gold printed opulence, styled with golden crowns and huge colourful gems stacked across both male and female hands. Blazers met bodycon met baggy hoodies, just the kind of wearable bling that has me salivating like a hungry pug.

KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
naomi-law-ktz
KTZ by Naomi Law.

Sometimes I wish I was still a stylist just so that I could book these clothes out and have a play‚Ķ but then I remember what the job really entailed: long hours of packhorse like drudgery. Maybe not then, but I’d love to sink my chops into some prime KTZ.

KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
KTZ SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

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