Lifestyle‎ > ‎

Designers show their green side on the eve of London Fashion Week

posted 14 Sept 2012, 02:01 by Mpelembe   [ updated 14 Sept 2012, 02:02 ]

Designers showcase their sustainable dresses at London's Somerset House, ahead of London Fashion Week.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 13, 2012) (REUTERS) - Designers showing at this year's London Fashion Week showed off their sustainable designs on Thursday (September 13) at the headquarters of the British Fashion Council.

The event fused fashion and film culminating in the creation of eight eco-friendly evening gowns by designers including Stella McCartney, Jonathan Saunders, Alice Temperley and milliner Stephen Jones.

It's all part of an initiative co-founded by Livia Firth, wife of Oscar winning actor Colin Firth.

Firth is regularly spotted on the red carpet alongside her actor husband wearing ecological and sustainable designs, she now hopes to change the entire Fashion industry with her message that sustainability can be stylish.

''Gowns made of plastic are incredibly beautiful, you know to prove that sustainability doesn't mean ugliness that you can have the most stunning gown ever and made in a sustainable way,'' said Firth wearing one of her own creations made from organic wool and recycled leather.

Speaking about the recent fire at a garment factory in Pakistan where more than 200 people were killed, Firth stressed the importance of ethical work practices in the fashion industry.

''We have a designer that has made a stunning dress with taking into consideration this very, very important health and safety regulation in his workshop, and you can prove that things can be done differently and they're important,'' added Firth.

Through the Green Cut Firth in collaboration with American Express set each designer the task of creating a dress made in a sustainable way. The designers were given a film to re-interpret, with Alice Temperley's film being Velvet Goldmine, Philip Treacey was given My Fair Lady and Jonathan Saunders was set the task of re-interpreting The Red Shoes.

Despite each of the designers being well established in their field, some did say the task was a challenge, with some facing problems finding ethically sourced fabrics.

On the fringe of the photocall, British designer Alice Temperley said it's 'fast fashion' that is the most 'damaging.'

''There's things that will never make fashion particularly green, and I think the most important thing is to make collections that are timeless and pieces that you can wear over and over again, that are pieces that are sort of collect them, they're not too trend driven. They're basically made, you're celebrating a craft and they should be pieces of treasure, that you know you collect and wear years later. And I think fast fashion is probably the most damaging, delivering things, making things, there's waste delivering those things and made in bad conditions and hundreds of thousands of garments and people buy four or five of them and then dispose of them and that is the worst, fast fashion is the most damaging,'' said Temperley whose designs are worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton.

Designers trumpeted the importance of the green side of fashion, with milliner Stephen Jones saying he initially started out by reworking hats found in charity shops.

''I was thrilled, actually you know when I started that's how I made my first hats, I recycled old hats from Oxfam. And so recycling within millinery and making things green is something that we do, and I think it's really important,'' said Jones, who crafted a hat for the project made from recycled polyester.

Award winning Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders whose known for his use of print and colour said the challenge set by Firth and her partners didn't limit his creativity.

''What this project has enabled, enabled designers to do is to express themselves and using those materials without it even becoming an issue and you know it isn't even a compromise as such, and I think that it's important for us all to associate things like that with luxury, you know. Because I think in the past it hasn't been and I think it's important that the two can work hand in hand,'' said Saunders whose catwalk show takes place on Sunday (September 16.)

Saunders is among dozens of designers who will be showcasing their collections at this year's London Fashion Week which kicks off on Friday (September 14).

Vibrant creativity, daring designs and bold style statements are expected be on show at London Fashion Week, as the city prepares to wow the world with yet another event on its social calendar this year.

But for now people can catch a glimpse of the sustainable evening gowns at the British Fashion Council where they will be on show at the sustainable initiative Estethica.