Partimi by Joana Faria.
I probably shouldn’t do this because I actually don’t believe the ghettoisation of ethical designers is a particularly good thing, but for ease of storytelling in the grand scheme of things it makes sense to cover the interesting stuff I came across at Esthetica altogether. This is by no means all the stuff I loved, but I’ll be covering others in my upcoming book Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (with an ethical bent) so for now I’ll just stick to a few that may not have been covered on this blog before….
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion were promoting the work of Martina Spetlova, another MA graduate of Central Saint Martins who has a first degree in chemistry and has set up a fair trade embroidery network between women in Pakistan and designers in the UK. She creates clothes made of interchangeable panels and her recent collection features some interesting garments sponsored by waste from the YKK zip company. She is currently building relationships with mills to use more end of line products that are well suited to the small runs of high end designers, but I do wonder what happens once all that waste has been scooped up.
Martina Spetlova by Octavi Navarro.
Little Glass Clementine
I was really pleased to see my friend Clemmie from Little Glass Clementine exhibiting at Esthetica for the first time. We’ve covered Clemmie before, both for her work drawing attention to the imperilled island of Tuvalu and for her beautifully made jewellery.
I feel quite proud that her necklaces, constructed from found objects and lovingly sourced vintage items, are now finding a much wider audience. Read an interview with her here.
All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Over in the Scandinavian corner I was most intrigued to discover the finely detailed work of Sägen, also showing at Esthetica for the first time. This is upcycling at it’s best – taking shards of old porcelain and reinvigorating them for a new life as a piece of delightful one off jewellery.
Choose from twee rose patterns or more modern classic Scandinavian leaf designs, all set in nickel free silver. One massive downside: the website does not seem to cater to the English speaking customer, so one can only hope some UK based buyers have bought into the range.
Sägen by Katie Harnett.
I tried on a pair of Nina Dolcetti bouncy platform shoes at Esthetica, and instantly fell in love… perhaps I could even ride a bike in a pair of these?? Inexplicably the head designer is not called Nina Dolcetti. Elisalex de Castro Peake is a Cordwainers graduate who launched her first upcycled shoe in September 2008 and the brand name Nina Dolcetti – meaning Little Sweets – comes from a combination of her nickname and her grandmother’s maiden name.
All shoes are made in a small factory run factory in East London from off cuts and pre-consumer waste, and she utilises only vegetable tanned leather and sustainably sourced cork and wood. So want a pair to bounce around in, but they’re a leetle bit pricey for me. Well worth it if you earn a decent wage though: I urge you to check them out.
Nina Dolcetti by Chris Morris.
Partimi and Joanna Cave
I love Partimi’s clean simple designs. Designer Eleanor Dorrien-Smith named her label after the architectural term parti, meaning the conceptual starting point for a project, and she makes beautiful wearable dresses adorned with simple graphic prints.
Partimi by Emma Block.
This season she paid homage to costumes from Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes that her mother had collected at auction. I particularly loved her collaboration with ethical jewellery designer Joanna Cave, and am lusting after a pair of graphic cut out dangly earrings.
Partimi by Joana Faria.
This jewellery range is the baby of creative duo Tania Kowalski and Synnove Saelthun, who have worked in the jewellery industry for a combined 25 years. Increasingly concerned wih the social and environmental impact of mining they created Oria in 2007 with an intention to make the supply chain transparent.
They source from fair-trade companies, all materials are traceable to point of origin and then the jewellery is made in their London studio. I love the delicate dangly cutout earrings featuring bees and birds.
Oria by Faye West.
I knew Michelle Lowe-Holder as a clothing designer, but after a break from the industry she’s decided to make a come back as an accessory designer. This was prompted by the realisation that she was always most interested in the details so she decided to be more sustainable and make use of the oodles of waste fabric from old collections – that she still has lying around in her studio – to create some stunning accessories: giant arm, neck and leg pieces are stacked to create dramatic silhouettes.
Michelle Lowe-Holder by Michelle Urvall Nyrén.
From Somewhere has been upcycling waste luxury materials since 1997, and as a bastion of sustainable fashion it was to designer Orsola de Castro that the BFC came when they wanted to set up Esthetica in 2006.
Orsola de Castro.
This season she has been working with offcuts from Speedo to create a lovely limited edition capsule collection.
Speedo From Somewhere collaboration by Alia Gargum.
Having just returned from a Fashion Business Club get together with the unexpectedly lucid Laura Bailey I thought I would also mention Made, a jewellery brand “by the people for the people” that is reasonably well known thanks to some high profile branding and wide distribution. They are big on their “designer” collaborations, though not designers I’ve ever heard of: since when was Laura Bailey a jewellery designer anyway? Boy do I want her job. I’m not a massive fan of a lot of their stuff (looks wise), but they do undeniably good things by providing trade for impoverished communities in Africa.
Made by Natsuki Otani.
Alia Gargum, Central Saint Martins, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Cordwainers, Ecofashion, Elisalex de Castro Peake, Emma Block, esthetica, ethical design, Fashion Business Club, Faye West, From Somewhere, jewellery, Joanna Cave, Katie Harnett, Laura Bailey, Little Glass Clementine, MADE, Martina Spetlova, Michelle Lowe-Holder, Michelle Urvall Nyrén, Nina Dolcetti, Octavi Navarro, Oria, Orsola De Castro, Partimi, recycling, Sägen Butik, scandinavia, shoes, Speedo, sustainability, Synnove Saelthun, Tania Kowalski, Tuvalu, Upcycling, YKK
- Marina Spetlova: creating fabulous upcycled fashion garments from zips
- Nina Dolcetti: an interview with ethical shoe designer Elisalex Grunfeld de Castro
- Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration is OUT NOW!
- Martina Spetlova: New S/S 2012 Season Interview
- New S/S 2013 Season Interview: Martina Spetlova