Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 items of clothing are sent to the landfill every five minutes in the UK alone. The spotlight is now on the fashion industry to fix the error of their unsustainable ways.
In the first digital fashion week in history, designers showcased their work in a variety of mediums. Some compiled the collections into short artistic films while others had installations. From this we can see how some designers are turning ‘one man’s trash into another’s treasure‘.
A recent MA graduate from University of Westminster and a finalist for the 2020 LVMH Prize. Priya Ahluwalia pulls from her culturally rich Indian-Nigerian heritage and combines this with vintage and deadstock clothing. These influences as well as her London background leads her to reimagine them into streetwear for a new generation.
However, instead of delivering a collection she took a different approach. In her virtual-reality exhibition, she showcased her book “Jalebi” a homage to Southall London and the people who reside in the area. This was a collaborative piece with photographer – Laurence Ellis. Together they captured her ideas and curated them into vibrant and powerful imagery. She eloquently tells the story of the largely Punjabi community and her roots with the photos. This approach of a gallery instead of a collection focuses on the design process itself. By looking at the primary source instead of the final collection, we can form our own interpretations instead of them being given to us. Through this, she is shedding light on the unseen, celebrating multiculturism, diversity and turning it into treasure.
Helen Kirkum, the designer behind Helen Kirkrum Studio uses old components to collage them together to create new shoes. Each pair of shoes has its own character and aesthetic. They have that personal touch as clients can incorporate treasured items into a pair of shoes. This is something that is refreshing to see as shoes are often forgotten about when sustainability is being discussed.
You can see from the shoes the craftsmanship; the footwear has a unique aesthetic with patchwork layered and stitching over the top. They tell their own story of the consumer. It’s a refreshing look from the futuristic kicks fashioned today.
Bethany Williams uses her practice to amplify the voices of charities while being sustainable and innovative with manufacturing and materials. The collection that she showcased was in collaboration with the charity “The Magpie Project”. A charity that aids mothers and children who are placed in temporary accommodation ensuring that it is not a damaging experience to the children involved.
The collection is also in collaboration with illustrator – Melissa Kitty Jaram. The artist uses the experience and the relationship between mother and child, and expresses this in bold illustrations. These illustrations are then used as a print throughout the collection. In addition, we can see the upcycling of materials used to create uniquely crafted pieces. Bethany Williams really highlights the narrative between these mothers and children by using UK toy factory and blanket waste and weaves them into new fabrics. She marries these two together to create a thought-provoking collection that opens up conversations to the issues she is addressing.
Despite going digital, these designers still managed to create a sustainable collection. By turning one’s trash into treasure, they all encapsulated pre-loved or undesirable into their shows, and interpret them in their own unique ways.
Words by ARIELLE
Disclaimer- all images used within this article have been sourced from London Fashion Week’s official website and social media. Ragged Culture Publishing Ltd. does not own the copyright to the images within this article. All rights reserved.