Pardon the absence post fashion week, a combination of exhaustion, deadlines and illness has conspired to keep things quiet here for a few days. Got a couple more preview images from our favourite labels to put up plus a great new discovery.
All up, the sustainability focus at RAFW wasn’t as strong as one would hope. In fact, it was fairly non-existent. Compared to, say, London Fashion Week where Estethica, the event’s sustainability initiative is now seven seasons old and 28 designers strong. New York debuted the rather dryly-named The GreenShows last year which was successful enough to continue this year with ten designers. There were the requisite gowns made from old newspapers and carry bags—which quite frankly seems gimmicky, unnecessary and unlikely to advance the cause of sustainable style—but also some quality looks from labels that incorporate desirability with sustainability.
In both cases, it’s great that eco-ethical fashion is taken seriously enough to warrant special attention, although there is a whiff of segregation in the air (I’ve not attended either so there is a whiff of speculation here). If you’re green you’re welcome but sit at the back of the bus, please. In the case of New York, that’s understandable as, from what I gather, The GreenShows are organised and run by a separate entity to NYFW and at a different venue. At least Estethica, although separately branded, is actually part of LFW and supported by the organisers, the British Fashion Council (BFC).
In fact, London is the place to watch for bringing sustainable fashion out of the fringes. Just last week, Vogue.co.uk ran a story on Harold Tillman, chairman of the BFC, campaigning for tax breaks for eco-ethical designers (thanks for passing on, Emer). “[It] needs to be more than just personal choice, it needs to make sense for businesses and consumers,” he said. This is something we’ve long called for: making sustainability affordable and attractive for all. With a high-profile advocate like Tillman, Britain is in a fortunate position.
As for RAFW, I don’t think a separate event or showroom is the answer. That only serves to marginalise labels and scare off well-known names who fear being labelled ‘green’ rather than ‘fashion’. Sadly it seems that distinction still exists. And it’s the established names like Kate Sylvester (above, at RAFW last week) that have a good case for leading the acceptance of sustainable thinking. After showing on schedule for a decade or so, Kate wouldn’t take too kindly to being relegated to a bit part at the event simply because she tries to think outside the square.
- Matt muses… front row at RAFW
- Matt Muses…on fashion and ethics
- Matt Muses: Retail madness
- Matt muses: Future fashion
- Matt muses: Resolutions