Estethica at LFW

Whilst New York creates the classics, Paris is chic and Milan has the glamour, London Fashion Week is all about pushing things forward… and when it comes to sustainability and responsibilty, boy does the fashion industry need a push! Thank goodness, then, for Esthetica – now in its fourth year at London Fashion Week.

Sponsored by Monsoon, this showcase of ethical design talents started out as a small initiative designed to shake up things at fashion week and get industry folks thinking about their ethical commitments. Going from strength to strength with each season, the trade exhibition has now grown to house 36 fair-trade and environmentally responsible designers working in ready-to-wear, jewellery and accessories.

Favourites of mine include Lu Flux, Ada Zanditon and, of course The Environmental Justice Foundation (who have featured in Uplift rather a lot for their fab designer tees) but this year I was able to add a few new favourites to my list! I’ll be blogging about them soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Estethica is always a joy to peruse at fashion week; It’s inspirational and encouraging to see how different creatives are tackling the problems that lie within the process of garment creation. As you can see from the diagram below (by Burak Cakmak of Gucci Group and www.made-by.org) there are plenty of places to slip up! But it’s great to see designers take up the challenge and work at making fashion fairer for all. Let’s push things forward!

By: Sarah Barnes, 22.09.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , ,

eveRy body counts!

Okay, so you lot may not be quite as excited to see this as I was… but, nevertheless, I thought I’d show you the snapshot taken of me at London Fashion Week by the people at All Walks Beyond The Catwalk. I wrote about the campaign, which seeks to diversify the shapes, sizes, ages and races of models in the fashion industry, here soon after I had my picture taken – but the pics have only just been published, which gives me a great excuse to bring up the work of All Walks once more!

Posing the question “Does current fashion imagery reflect individuality?”, the All Walks team set up a make-shift studio in Freemason’s Hall to capture a true collection of stylish individuals. The result is a lovely set of expressive and fun images that delivers a pretty clear answer of, ‘No, this is individuality’ – as well as showing just how many people support the idea of diversifying the modelling industry. See the images here and here.

This blog post is brought to you by the letter ‘R’!

By: Sarah Barnes, 13.04.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

All Walks Beyond The Catwalk at London Fashion Week

Running around London Fashion Week last week there were plenty of fantastic collections to write up (something I’ve been doing here)… but very little in the way of feminist happenings to report on. That was until I bumped into the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk campaign in the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue at the opulent (and slightly creepy) Freemason’s Hall. In a little make-shift photography studio the All Walks team were snapping away at willing participants, each holding a letter that would later spell out ‘Every Body Counts’. (more…)

By: Sarah Barnes, 01.03.2010 | Comments (1)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fashion and The Female Personality

I read with interest (and not just because she’s a friend, honest!) Esme Benjamin’s take on the new French Connection adverts. Writing over at the Fashion Editor At Large blog, where she and Grazia’s Melanie Rickey pour out their fashionable thoughts, Esme loved the brand’s post modern approach to winning over the public.

What I love about this ad campaign is that it cheekily mocks (and yet, still obviously loves) the pretension of editorials and the fashion image whilst simultaneously making us as viewers aware of the way the fashion ‘dream’ is delivered to us. And the most interesting thing, I think, is how that ‘dream’ is all tied up in defining a particular gender in a romanticised and precise manner. So, from the video campaign (that deliciously sends up French art-house cinema), we understand the Man is ’strong, virile, a brute’ and the Woman is highly desirable, yet independent.

What I find especially exciting about this campaign is that it gives a personality to the ‘dream’ woman in the campaign, and acknowledges that French Connection customers also possess personality… and a sense of humour! With this in mind, I was interested to read BitchBuzz’s latest fashion report that, when presenting their AW10 collection this London Fashion Week, Antoni & Alison chose to go over-the-top in their openness about the kind of woman they designed the pieces for.

As the lovely editor of BitchBuzz Cate Sevilla writes, the presentation (which had clothes for the writer, the country girl, and those ‘very good at maths’)was essentially about how Antoni & Alison have created a collection that tells women that they can do anything that they might deign to turn their hand to… or dress appropriately for. It’s an interesting idea. Is this fashion coming round to the idea that women actually have lives and do stuff when they are wearing clothes, rather than being passive clothes horses? Or is this yet more pressure for women to ‘look the part’ and play at dress-up (if she dresses like a martial artist, does it follow that she can perform the perfect judo-chop? Did she earn her black belt, or simply buy it?) I think the aim was for the former, and it was great to see Antoni & Alison picking up on the interests of women, and not simply labelling them ‘the sex-kitten’ or some other tired cliche.

Whilst the marketing idea of having a ‘Woman’ that a brand designs for has been around for donkey’s years, I think this new mini-trend for turning the notion on its head is a rather fascinating one… and I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more examples of it in the future.

By: Sarah Barnes, 24.02.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eco chicks! Pop out to EJF’s Pop-Up Shop!

EJFf SS 2010 TeeShirt collection

Today sees the Environmental Justice Foundation -or EJF for those short of time and breath- open the doors of their pop-up shop in Kingly Court, Carnaby Street. They will be selling preview samples of their  organic and fairly traded cotton tee shirts, printed (using organic certified inks, naturally!) with the S/S 2010 exclusive designs by Jenny Packham, Alice Temperley, Richard Nicoll and Ciel (all above).

EJF is a UK based charity who work internationally to empower the people who suffer most from environmental abuses and help them to find peaceful ways of preventing further devastation in the future. One of the EJF’s primary concerns is the human rights abuses and environmental destruction linked to the production of cotton. It is for this reason that they began the Pick Your Cotton Carefully Campaign. (more…)

By: Sarah Barnes, 17.11.2009 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oxfam DIY at London Fashion Week

Oxfam DIY Flyer

Estethica has been providing otherwise blinkered fashionistas (myself included!) with an environmental eye opener at London Fashion Week since 2006. The Estethica exhibition brings together an exciting bunch of ethically sound, fair trade and environmentally friendly fashion labels and charities so that they may showcase their work, infiltrate the mainstream fashion industry and get noticed by the press.  This year Oxfam was there and grabbing a piece of the LFW action… (more…)

By: Sarah Barnes, 04.11.2009 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,