Fashion Re-Think: Sustainable Innovators
Words Sammiey Hughes
This September fashion month of womenswear Spring-Summer 2021 presentations is not a typical one. In a post-covid world, fashion has had to reflect in order to stay afloat, address the political climate and be able to present itself in new ways. This new era has forced us to interrogate the industry and the future and culture of fashion – in practice, representation and sustainability. How can we build a better world and better industry?
As many brands look to virtual, digitised presentations this fashion season, we wonder what the ‘new normal’ within fashion will be. At minimum, I believe it needs to continue to become universally conscious and recognise the issues at hand of both ethics and sustainability – on a human and planetary level. Whilst simultaneously making super-chic clothes that defy the boundaries of the traditional ‘season’.
Instead of looking to the *virtual* runway for the upcoming season, we present to you the brands truly creating a difference behind the scenes. We celebrate twelve trailblazing global sustainable womenswear brands, -who pre-covid were already intent on shaping a more conscious industry – and question how turbulent times have shaped them, current and new seasons, and the meaning and future of fashion to them moving forward.
Paris, FR / Los Angeles, US
“For Baserange overall, the future of Fashion is tied to the essential movement towards more sustainable practices; from the raw materials to the delivery of the final product and all of the touchpoints in-between. The future and sustainability are impossible to separate as topics at this time.
Other movements – inclusivity and community are becoming increasingly important and impossible to ignore. Truthfully the focus on these values isn’t a change for Baserange- they have always been central values and beliefs, but now they are ESSENTIAL for everyone.
For Spring 2021 we are embracing connection and positivity. This collection was shot during quarantine under social distancing rules – highlighting the traditional ideas of caring and connection.”
Blandine de Verdelhan + Marie Louise Mogensen, Founders
Stockholm, SE / London, UK
BITE Studios Prefall 20
“We at BITE are working with great ambition and vision to become the top driving force of sustainability within the luxury segment. You can expect us to push our design agenda further, challenging the perception of what sustainable fashion looks like. Constantly promoting a modern way of consuming design.
We were used to working remotely and digitally even before the pandemic, with creatives in London, New York and Head Office in Sweden. Like all luxury brands we have faced difficulties so it has been a lot of re-planning and hard work this spring and summer. Sustainability was the key factor from the start and will always continue to be the key focus for us, since we believed the industry needed to change, but also because we personally would never have started a label that did not care for the environment in a time when this is one of our most important crises to solve collectively.”
William Lundgren, CEO of BITE Studios
CAES Edition 02
“We believe sustainability is no longer an option, but a requirement.”
“I wanted to create a sustainable label in all aspects of the business. In my opinion, the world needs to shift from consumerism and being only profit-driven to a more caring place. Care for each other and for our planet. Besides the right materials, sustainability to me is also about working with people who truly care. Not just in production, but every person you encounter along the supply chain. We are working with some amazing companies that are continuously working on improving their processes and making better choices.
It’s an ongoing quest and can be challenging at times, but we are committed to do our part. At CAES we believe sustainability is no longer an option, but a requirement. “
Helen De Kluiver, Founder
Maggie Marilyn AW20
“We are guided by our mission of transparency, circularity, regeneration and inclusivity. 2020 has been a year of reflection and for my team, this has meant focussing on what is required to truly uphold our values and what this looks like for our business moving forward. It has meant questioning everything and re-aligning to ensure we stay on course. We have some exciting news to announce in answer to this in the coming months so stay tuned!”
Maggie Marilyn, Founder
New York, US
“The last 6 months forced us out of our comfort zone and ultimately pushed us to implement changes that we had been discussing for years. We are finally able to truly focus and put into motion “buy now wear now” collections, reshift our internal calendars and get off of the archaic fashion calendar, examine and adjust our price points to offer more accessibility, re-evaluate and push into our size offerings and shift our business in the direction of a direct to consumer model. We believe in a seasonless approach and putting pieces out there that you will wear for a lifetime. I think that other brands will take a similar approach as we try to move forward as an industry. Creating beautiful things is who I am and what I do down to my core. But, it is important to me to put that same love and attention into the pieces that you can wear every day of your life. SS21 is a continuation of that story and is a collection of utilitarian, thoughtfully made, seasonless garments.”
Mara Hoffman, Founder
“The concept of our SS21 collection is a story about lifecycle. Everything fades away and then comes back to life after a while. We attempted to show this cyclicality using different tools, such as colour palette and materials.
This season, we feel that people will urge for the feeling of comfort and care. In the collection, we present a new cotton block of pieces dedicated to this idea. The precious part of the new collection is a collaboration with four year old artist Sara. She painted foxes for us that are now prints on jumpers and shirts in the collection (above). This came from the idea to show the world through children’s eyes; the charm and innocence of childhood, where there are no judgments, pure joy, and where fantasy-like dreams exist, qualities which hold a significance now more than ever.”
Yana Olēnich, Owner + Designer
“We all need to RE-think our approach to consumerism and climate change”
While starting to work on SS21 long before even the start of the current pandemic, RE-thinking our spring summer collection was the first thing I did. That led me to explore the concept of RE and consequently other RE-s that are important and interesting to me: RE-cycling, RE-purposing, RE-positioning, RE-imagining, RE-wilding. The closest RE to my heart is the concept of RE wilding: “restoring an area of land to its natural uncultivated state”. My dream is one day to get a piece of land and restore it to its original primeval state as nature intended. The RE concept now fits perfectly during these post-pandemic times, when we all need to RE-think our approach to consumerism and climate change. A quote I saw recently by Andy Warhol sums this up: “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.”
I really hope more designers will focus on sustainable ways of creating fashion and help educate more people to buy consciously. We as the human race, just can’t afford to pollute the planet with throw away fashion and non-sustainable ways of producing every single ingredient of a fashion item.”
Oyuna Tserendorj- Designer + Founder
A Coruña, ES
“Our SS21 collection is entitled and inspired by ‘Small Pleasures’. A slower pace of life has afforded us to have an appreciation of small pleasures; how they come at random into our lives, how we we savour them for a moment and then they’re gone. Strangely simple, we don’t think about them enough, or understand their therapeutic potential as insights into ourselves.”
Patricia Gutiérrez Monllor, Co-founder + creative director
“We are are optimistic for the new season and the new, more conscious world we inhabit.”
SSONE Hereafter Collection
“The new season feels positive. Our new collection is entitled Emergence and is focused on the feeling of having come through great challenges and feeling ourselves rise again. Without our challenges, we may never grow and explore who we truly are. Taking time to look to nature encourages us to become aware of this desire to move our lives forward and upward – like the seed pushing up out of the earth towards the light. It also encourages us to look at where our roots need tending too.
We are are optimistic for the new season and the new, more conscious world we inhabit.”
Caroline Smithson, Creative Director
“The sentiment of agility feels like it will be the defining piece throughout the coming seasons”
TOVE Studio SS21
“For SS21 we wanted to inspire a feeling of optimism throughout the collection and this is reflected in both our fabric choices and our colour palette. Our focus on sustainability continues through our use of organic cottons, recycled fabrications and British heritage tweeds. Our colour palette for the season feels hopeful and full of joy: a sensibility that feels appropriate given the current global situation. At this time more than ever, it feels as though the role of our industry should be to use its creativity to transport and transform.”
Holly Wright, Co-founder
“We have made a conscious shift to slow down so that we can continue to approach everything that we do with consideration. We are now showing two larger collections a year as opposed to four, allowing us to spend more time looking inward. Challenging our practices, honing our craft and reviewing how as a brand we can do more from a conscious perspective. Remaining attuned to our woman and responding to the ways in which her life is evolving throughout this time feels even more pivotal than ever. This sentiment of agility feels like it will be the defining piece throughout the coming seasons.”
Camille Perry, Co-founder
#alsoloves slow fashion.
Shop Oyuna + CAES at The Maiyet Collective, a sustainable pop-up in London, UK. Net-A-Porter, Browns Fashion, MATCHESFASHION.COM all offer conscious edits where you can shop the above designers and many more sustainable brands.