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Estethica Showcases New Sustainable Fashion Brands

Published 25 April 2010

An ethical awareness in the fashion industry is growing in the world with London as its headquarters. British Fashion Council’s Estethica shared with the press its new collection of talented designers with a single message: You can look stylish, casual and sexy with upcycled garments, so go for the eco-labels.

Looking stylish, casual or sexy with garment made with recycle bits. That is the aim of a new wave of designers and brands sharing an ethical and eco-friendly tailoring production.

Keen to develop such a sustainable movement within the fashion industry, the British Fashion Council’s sustainable initiative, Estethica, hosted their 2010 Press Day at Somerset House on the Strand.

The event showcased a new world for fashionistas where reused and recycled bits of fabric, wool and other textiles was a common source of inspiration, upcycled to create fashionable and trendy clothing.

An exhibition of a new wave of sustainable designers was the core attraction on this press day. They represented 30 new fashion labels that have an eco-friendly foundation as their ethical credential.

It was a friendly showroom and most of the designers were there openly talking about their work.  As a whole, the selection of ethical fashion brands made by Estethica reflected the wide range of alternatives that exists, suiting all kinds of tastes and occasions.

It included the luxury womenswear labels Henrietta Ludagate, Ada Zanditon, Beautiful Soul and By Stamo;  casual labels such as Junky Styling, Emesha, and Makepiece; and the stylish including From Somewhere, Ivana Basilotta, and Maxjenny, among others.

One-off wardrobe

Estethica also targeted women’s accessories. In the strand of an ethical production were Oria Jewellery, Joanna Cave’s recycle silver-made jewels and ISSI, a label of handbags made of waste silk and leather.

There was also a room for uniqueness. Vintage-look Tara Starlet advocates its production to recycling buttons and trimming from the golden-era of 1940’s and ‘50s in its jumpers, shirts and dresses.

Menswear design was highlighted by award-winning Christopher Raeburn’s lightweight collection of jackets, parkas, and coats made from re-appropriated military materials such as decommissioned parachutes and battledresses.

Lu Flux’s collection stood out from the crowd with its refashioning of waste textiles into fun and colourful garments, which are based on British folklore styles.

For those seeking casual wear with proper ethical credentials, the designer organic cotton T-shirt collection for the Environmental Justice Foundation is the answer. Renowned designers such as Jenny Packham, Richard Nicoll, Ciel and Alice Temperley donated their exclusive print to build the collection in support of the campaign of ending forced child labour in the cotton industry.

Sustainable awareness

Estethica curator Orsola De Castro share her views on the complex issues of marketing sustainable fashion with Baroness Lola Young, ex-Vogue editor Charty Durrant, model Laura Bailey, Grazia magazine fashion editor Melanie Rickey, G2 planning director Verra Boudmilija, and fashion consultant Yasmin Sewell on a Q&A panel.

Key points were the attempt of bringing the sustainable brands into the retail market.

Charty Durrant called for a “revolution in attitude” as a way to fight back against the trend-led shoppers. Baroness Young encouraged designers to target high street stores with all-ages wear. All agreed on on the urgent need to trigger sustainable fashion awareness among the teenage demographic, as they are more likely to shop according to a use-now mentality and buy throwaway fashion.

Price versus quality was another point in the discussion as part of an education effort to make consumers quit from shopping for the consumption sake.

One step to the future

Most of these sustainable labels are available online through their own brand websites. However many have contracts with exclusive fashion stores and concessions in leading department stores.

By now you may think all these brands are unaffordable, but that’s not the case. Most of the sustainable labels are inexpensive and available in some of the high street shops. A noteworthy mention is Goodone, an eco-friendly label that use upcycled fabrics from used, second-hand garments. These includes end of roll cashmere and British knit. Goodone’s designer Nin Castle just closed a contract with Tesco. In addition, she is working on a new collection using surplus fabrics from the Arcadia Group for TopShop.

More pictures from the Esthetica Press Day 2010:

Article written by Murielle Gonzalez.