A new breed of fashion is making its way onto the radar, with new young designers leading the way. Ethics and sustainability is an issue not often talked about when it comes to fashion, with many designers not catering to the need of eco-friendly fashion enthusiasts. However, several of the brightest up-and-coming designers have decided to tackle this issue head on, by raising awareness of the problem and designing their own pieces based on eco-sustainability.
Faustine Steinmetz first taught herself to weave in an attempt to create material that didn’t feel like any ordinary material. Upon launching her very first collection in 2013, the designer expressed how her passion started when she decided she wanted to design clothes which didn’t feel like any other item of clothing already on the high street. And as a result, Faustine created a name for herself as being an eco-friendly designer. Although this wasn’t the original goal, she is determined to live up to her name.
“When people talk about us and sustainability, they say it’s because we hand weave and we don’t use electricity. For me it’s more promoting the idea of making clothes that take a long time and that you keep a long time. Our overconsumption is the worst thing that’s happening on the planet right now. From the moment you choose to produce a piece of clothing it isn’t sustainable itself. Nothing is 100% sustainable, but you can just try to do the best you can.”
Since her initial release in 2013, Faustine has teamed up with Spanish denim factory, Royo, an eco-sustainable company. With the aim of replacing leather on our clothing items, Faustine has been working on designing accessories coated in denim, hoping that this alternative will soon catch on. But for now, she’s spreading the word on buying more thoughtfully. “It’s a new way of buying. It just makes you happier because you buy something you really like instead of going to Primark and buying loads of little things you don’t really like. People have lost the idea of saving money to buy nice clothes.”
Another new designer who is passionate about creating more sustainable fashion is Katie Jones. In the past, designer Katie has spent up to 80 hours working on just one jacket. Katie started her fashion journey using upcycled leather and denim to create the most beautifully unique patchwork designs. She now owns a studio in East London with her mum, Annie, continuing this trend of upcycling used material to make something bigger and better. “We each have our specialism,” she says. “My favourite pieces are the denim and the leather pieces, which are hand punched and crocheted into and joined together. I’m in my element and at my happiest when I’m doing my crochetwork.”
Graduating from Central Saint Martins with an MA in knitwear in 2013, Katie has learnt not to let any material go to waste. With a combination of skills including knitting, hand dyeing and embroidery, the designer goes out of her way to use up leftover wool and second hand clothes. Soon to be releasing her spring/summer 2016 collection, the designs will be a reflection of Katie’s work on creating sustainable clothing.
“You pick a couple of battles when working with sustainability and decide what you want to target,” she says. “The one we tend to focus on is reusing all waste – how you can make something new but without having to use any new fabrics – or if I do purchase anything new it’s from British manufacturers where you know the supply chain. I also love the bespoke and handmade element. When you know who made it and the piece itself, it is less likely to be wasted.”
So is it possible to save the planet whilst being on trend? Although we have a long way to go, it’s looking more likely with every fashion season.