Estethica: Showcasing Sustainable and Exciting Brands at LFW

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    On Friday the 14th of September, Urban Times went to the first day of London Fashion Week to have a look at Estethica, the sustainable branch of LFW set up by Orsola de Castro.

    Junky Styling

    Auria x Margot Bowman

    Auria x Margot Bowman

    Auria is a London College of Fashion graduate who, working with illustrator Margot Bowman, exhibited a colourful swimwear collection as an an extended version of her graduate collection. The inspiration for the collection comes from the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis, and the swimsuits portray elements of her character, using fun and experimental graphics. The material used to create the swimwear collection is a brand new fabric made out of 100% recycled polyamide. Auria told us at Urban Times that she has always believed that sustainability is the future of fashion and she wants to be at the forefront of this. In the future she hopes to continue creating swimwear, but she would like to branch out into lingerie and a few ready to wear pieces as well .

    Honest by

    Bruno Pieters was the special guest this year at Estethica, showcasing Honest by‘s first collection that isn’t just online. The collection features gorgeous pieces, showing simple cuts with strong prints and colours. Speaking to Urban Times, Bruno told us that he has dreams of the business growing so that he can offer more democratic prices. The labeling on the garments is revolutionary in the fashion world. The labels on every piece display five different boxes: organic, vegan, skin friendly, recycled and European, and for each garment the applicable boxes are checked showing to what extent each product is sustainable. Another element to the label is the cost breakdown, which can be accessed via QR code, showing not only wholesale and retail mark-up values, but also the material, manufacturing, development, branding and transportation costs  for each garment. Talking to Bruno was very inspirational, he is so passionate about sustainable fashion, quite rightly saying that actually it is the unsustainable practices in the fashion industry that is the strange option. Why would anyone want animal cruelty and environmentally harmful processes and materials? He has high hopes for the world of ethical fashion, although he admits that it needs to improve, “This is the beginning of something, but it will be a success when it gets better.”

    Honest by

    Victim Fashion Street

    Mei Hui Liu of Victim Fashion Street

    Mei Hui Liu, the founder of Victim Fashion Street, started making clothing from old fabrics purely out of a love for vintage materials. It was through this that she stumbled upon the sustainability within her designs. Mei’s label has been around for twelve years now, creating eccentric upcycled and recycled garments. When she started out there wasn’t a platform for ethical fashion such as Estethica, and people didn’t understand that her garments were one-off and couldn’t be re-created. Estethica now allows sustainable fashion to gain more of a name for itself.

    White Tent

    White Tent is a very exciting brand; creating a cool, sustainable sportswear aesthetic for both men and women. With t-shirts priced around £30 and trousers around £45, White Tent’s comparably low price bracket is refreshing as it allows its sustainable designs to appeal to a wider audience. Urban Times spoke to Evgenia, one of the co-founders of White Tent, who said that she hopes that this collection will fill a gap in the market for affordable, well-designed, good quality, sustainable clothing. At the moment, their main focus has been incorporating sustainability within their manufacturing process. Having their own family run factory in Portugal, they see their suppliers more as partners, with the aim to develop a completely environmentally friendly fashion brand.

    Evgenia of White Tent

    Mich Dulce

    Mich Dulce

    Mich Dulce is based in the Philippines and works with the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, who focus on providing jobs for previously abused women. Mich teaches said women invaluable skills and provides them with work hand-making her hats. All of her pieces are made out of banana fibre using traditional Filipino techniques. Mich told Urban Times, “it’s all about heritage, but designed in an innovative way…”

    Christopher Raeburn

    Although Christopher Raeburn was not showing under the Estethica branch of LFW, he is known for using sustainable practices within his brand. All of his pieces are either made out of recycled military fabrics, such as old parachutes, otherwise he uses organic cotton and fabrics that are made in the UK. Trying to produce a minimal amount of waste, Christopher experiments with making adorable stuffed animals from the offcuts of the garments’ fabrics. This season he has produced a range of cute stuffed owls.

    Christopher Raeburn

    Joanna Cave

    Joanna Cave produces beautiful pieces of jewellery, all out of a minimum of 90% recycled silver, some of which has then been gold plated, rose-gold plated or oxidized. Other materials she uses include ethically sourced pearls and she ensures that her jewellery is made by people who enjoy their job and are paid fairly. The collection for Spring/Summer ’13 is inspired by the flora and fauna of Japan, showing a delicate intricacy in the design work.

    Joanna Cave

    Junky Styling

    The SS13 collection at Junky Styling was made out of German snow ponchos, military shirts and old macs. The collection is called Interchange, due to the changeable nature of the weather. The fabrics used are lightweight while also being waterproof. Working with accessories designer Rachel Clowes on the embellishments for their showpiece dress (below), such designs illustrate the wearability of each garment no matter the season. Made out of recycled snow ponchos, the delicate pieces on the breast of the dress are made out of gelatine, using peppermint as the green dye and wood as the brown dye. The idea is for the dress to be washed with the embellishments, so that the dyes will run into the dress and give it a whole new lease of life.

    Junky Styling Show Piece

    Lorico

    Jerome Lorico, based in the Philippines, wants consumers to think about the greater story behind his clothes. With all of his pieces being 80% handmade, Jerome is working hard to provide jobs for people in Manila. The fabric used in his collections are a hybrid mix of organic cotton and pineapple fibre. With the latter being a dieing industry in the Philippines, Lorico is intent on promoting it. His SS13 collection is called Virgins of the Sun, inspired by virgin sacrifices at Machu Picchu, and Lorico believes that we must still sacrifice some things for the greater good of humanity.

    Makepiece

    Makepiece create lightweight knitwear garments, made from the wool of their own sheep in a small town in Yorkshire. The SS13 collection is inspired by flooding, due to the floods they’ve had in their hometown this year. The collection shows a tonal palette of blues assisting in the portrayal of the fluidity in their designs, strongly influenced by their surroundings.

    Lorico. Makepiece. Maxjenny

    Maxjenny

    From Sweden and based in Copenhagen, Maxjenny employs innovative techniques when creating her garments; using sustainable fabrics such as a recycled PET plastic bottle material. The signature Maxjenny pieces focus on a reduced number of seams and the natural draping of the fabric against the body. One of the pieces from her latest collection is a dress which used the whole piece of the fabric, just cutting holes for the head and the arms producing minimal waste.

    Other designers that we saw included the fabulous designers previously interviewed by Urban Times: Ada Zanditon, Charini and Henrietta Ludgate. Charini has created beautiful Sri Lankan inspired underwear, with delicate detailing in gorgeous fabrics. Henrietta Ludgate, was showcasing her signature sculptural silhouettes in white and hot pink. Ada Zanditon with her Tiger inspired collection, exhibited her structural looks with sharp tailoring and billowing dresses and separates.

    In setting up Estethica, Orsola de Castro has ensured that ethical practices in the fashion industry are not only recognised but promoted and applauded. Sustainable fashion is certainly heading in the right direction, however, we can only breathe a sigh of relief once all designers exhibiting at LFW are committing to sustainable practices.

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