Sustainability and London Fashion Week – both subjects close to my heart for many years, however, not obvious bedfellows.
A fashion design team that are doing both, well, are Vin + Omi.
So I was delighted to be invited to their AW20 ‘RESIST’ catwalk show at the Savoy, which kicked off with an exciting party-like atmosphere on Valentine’s night.
Leaders in thought-provoking sustainable design, this season sees the continuing collaboration with Highgrove, Prince Charles’ estate – Vin + Omi have taken a range of waste garden products from Highgrove and recycled them into textiles for the catwalk.
Teamed with my client Po-Zu trainers, the models took to the runway with gusto and aplomb wearing Vin + Omi’s garments made from waste plastic bottles collected during a Brighton beach clean, and upycled materials from Team GB sail boat sails, and Olympic fencing kit. And I was intrigued by the ‘wool’ garments created by using pet animal hair, here clipped from the Highgrove House horses for comfort reasons.
However, how are the rest of London Fashion Week designers doing? Are they too heading in the right direction?
No – Not all of them and No not yet…
The fashion industry is changing but its footprint only grows
Remember how in 2019, Stockholm startled the fashion industry by cancelling their fashion week? Copenhagen Fashion Week introduced environmental and ethical standards for its participating brands, following the lead of Helsinki Fashion Week. 56 companies entered The Fashion Pact, agreeing to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.
Climate action group Extinction Rebellion think London should be acting too, and delivered a letter to the British Fashion Council (BFC) earlier in February demanding the cancellation of September 2020 fashion week and an emergency action plan that supports BFC’s stakeholders through transition into a new format: one that directly addresses the underlying issues of obsolescence, overproduction, and exploitation.
Professor Dilys Williams FRSA, Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion, a research centre based at London College of Fashion, University of The Arts London, joined the campaign, saying: “We ask all involved in fashion to place earth and equality first, to respond to XR demands and to recognise those designers and fashion practitioners who create prosperity in social, ecological, cultural and economic dimensions.” read more here
But whether it is fast fashion on the high-street, or luxury fashion paraded at global fashion weeks, the desire for constant newness that fashion promotes is fundamentally unsustainable.
Government failure to hold the industry to account for its true environmental and humanitarian cost results in ongoing overconsumption and waste.
We need more brands like Vin + Omi to make a statement regarding Sustainability and London Fashion Week – both subjects close to my heart for many years, however, not obvious bedfellows.. Their shows are always incredible spectacles, my client Po-Zu’s shoes have featured previously on their runway (click here to view on The Dots) and gain coverage on platforms such as Vogue, Getty Images, and billboards around London and other major UK cities. (see above – spotted at Westfield shopping centre, sandwiched between ads for Waitrose and the races…)
Read more here on Safia Minney’s website.
And see further photos of the Po-Zu shoes on the runway here
Read about how sustainable fashion brand Palava re-purpose their organic cotton offcuts here.