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Brief Published: 25 Sep 2019

London Fashion Week: Setting Sustainable Standards


London Fashion Week may have ended with a funeral-themed protest by eco-activist group Extinction Rebellion, but behind the scenes, the city was striving to set sustainable standards for fashion weeks around the globe: pioneering biomaterials, using fabrics made out of waste, and calling on itself to take responsibility for its ecological footprint.

  • Curating Young Talent: Sustainable London-based influencer Trash4Gold was enlisted by the British Fashion Council to curate a showroom for emerging designers placing sustainability at the heart of their offerings. The space included the creations of recycled and reworked football shirt designer Sophie Hird, on-demand 3D headwear designer Leo Carlton, upcycled footwear brand Coup and Congregation Design – an anonymous collective disrupting creation, production and distribution processes.
  • Making Waste Work: London-based collective Vin + Omi made the most of an unlikely collaboration with UK royalty Prince Charles to produce their Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Aptly named Sting, the project took raw nettles from Highgrove Gardens to create fabric for garments, developing environmentally friendly processes to rework and reuse the plants that were set to be strimmed.
  • Centring Industry Accountability: Designer Phoebe English rejected a traditional show format for S/S 20, inviting guests to attend “a presentation of attempts at sustainability solutions” instead. The collection – featuring menswear and womenswear in the same show – was presented amid various mood boards featuring sustainable fabrics used by the designer, flowcharts of new production processes and handwritten reminders for the industry to do better. 
Phoebe English
Phoebe English

    Activist designer Katharine Hamnett turned her focus to sustainability this season, teaming up with artist and anti-fast-fashion activist Dr Noki to subvert her original designs. The two-day workshop saw Noki update Hamnett’s T-shirts to target fast-fashion pollution with new slogans, asking: “What will perish if 21st century change isn’t taken seriously?” 

For more on how London is taking sustainability seriously, see UAL Launches Compulsory Sustainability Education. For more on industry-wide eco advancements, see Sustainability Round-Up August 2019.