In addition to the networking event and talks by experts in ethical and sustainable fashion during Brighton Fashion Week, we were treated to two fashion shows on the Friday evening. While many of the designers showcasing their collections during the evening were British, some travelled in from around Europe as well as Hong Kong to change perceptions about sustainable fashion. The first, The Sustain Show, focused on (as you would imagine as the name implies), emerging sustainable fashion labels. There were a few collections throughout the show which were very much what we would usually think sustainable fashion would look like (reclaimed fabric patches sewn into clothing, for example) there were some standouts in the show that proved wearable designs can be good ethics and good for the environment. First up to walk down the runway were the designs by Novel Beings. The collection was a considered mix of muted colour tones with bold, bright prints Our favourites, and most commercial pieces, from the collection were the knitted kimono cardigans.
Next up was Gwen&Syd, the London-based label by Eve Tokens. The collection, Shinigami, was inspired by Japanese painting and had a bit of a deconstructed appeal. The all-white collection made from organic cotton had almost a stranded on a desert island and still fashionable look with mainly oversized dresses, skirts and separates.
We really enjoyed the bold use of bright floral prints on the next label to walk the runway, KellyDawn Riot, which focused on menswear and tailoring (though we could have done without the bug embroidery on the trousers).
Following KellyDawn Riot was Kitty Ferreira and while the pieces to walk down the runway were very ordinary (completely commercial, don't get us wrong) we were impressed that all of the garments were dyed with natural elements, including onion skins and pomegranates.
The next designer to impress us down the runway of Brighton Fashion Week was Tiffany Pattinson with her collection Digitaldelia which had completely wearable silhouettes with impressively bold digital prints in purples and blues on a white canvas.
One of our favourites was Angus Tsui from Hong Kong. The theme of the Hong Kong skyline in the form of a print recurred in every piece yet almost every silhouette was completely wearable. Overall, the designers we highlighted above have built their brands on sustainability yet showed how this can live hand in hand with completely commercial, wearable fashion.
The second, the Zeitgeist Show, placed the focus on emerging brands who are already a bit established who have now pledged to move their businesses to a more sustainable footing. First down the runway was Fanny Holst. With a dark colour palette, these designs were right up our alley! While the designs were not the art one usually sees on a runway, we could easily see Fanny Holst in any fashionista's wardrobe.
Isaac Raymond was another of our picks from the crowd. At only 17 years old, Isaac has a very bright future ahead in the fashion industry. This collection The Revolution of Bravery was inspired by the struggle to overcome mental illness and, contrary to Fanny Holst, this was exactly the kind of art a runway expects. Standing with shoulders tall, or rounded, squared off or peaked, the models walked in designs with a nod to Lady Gaga, Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan.
Rozanna Walecki then showcased her Black & Blue womenswear collection, which was mostly black to be honest, which had the definite air of minimalist high-end luxury pieces.
The final designer of the evening was Hellavagirl and the Diary of a Lost Girl collection. Every piece in this collection was a showstopper. The use of materials ranged from delicate yet destroyed chiffon to sturdy yet flowing polyurethane. Everything was overstated like the coat in the image above to the bow on the dress here. Every piece is handmade in a London studio and you can truly see the care and attention that does into every garment. Hellavagirl was an amazing way to close the evening.
Brighton Fashion Week was our first foray into the world of sustainable fashion and we were so pleased to see so many labels which challenged our notion of the definitions of "sustainable" and "ethical" in the context of fashion. We believe in the slow fashion movement and that the move to sustainable fashion needs to be design led; we need to love the clothes we wear. The designers we highlighted above prove that fashion and conscience can go hand in hand.
Make sure to click on the names to explore each designer.
Photos provided by Brighton Fashion Week.