LFW: Estethica

London Fashion Week’s Estethica is renowned as one of the greatest mainstream exhibitions of ethical fashion worldwide, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. Our UK Correspondent Rachel Manns had the privilege to head along and see some of ethical fashion’s pioneers – and the variety of design and craftsmanship was astonishing.

Joanna Cave‘s jewellery designers are wonderful. Made from 90% recycled sterling silver, they’re ethically produced in Greece (the homeland of Joanna’s mother), and the pearls used are sourced from ethical suppliers in Japan. The designs are romantic and feminine, with hints of Greece’s ancient culture. We especially adored the Yoko bracelets! You can purchase her items online or from Australian stockists Imago and Legacy of Epocas.

Pachacuti have been impressing us with their sustainable hats since Carry Somers founded the label in 1992. Meeting Carry in person was wonderful; her background is so inspirational, and the work she’s done in South America is revolutionary. The label’s SS13 collection features hand-woven and hand-embroidered hat ribbons, and their famous Panama hat is made from organically grown carludovica palmate on a community-owned plantation which encourages biodiversity of plants and animals. Nothing is wasted – fibres not suitable for hats are used for roofing. The collection itself combines a range of styles and colours, and was presented beautifully at Estethica. You can buy Pachacuti hats from their online store.

Copenhagen-based label MAXJENNY make long-lasting garments out of fabric from recycled water bottles. They collaborate with different artists using wonderful eye-popping prints, and make their clothes with as few seams as possible, even using innovative fabric patterns to minmise cut-off waste.

Mich Dulce‘s sustainable millinery collection looked incredible. She is widely acclaimed as one of the most original and important Filipino visionaries in fashion today, and we could definitely see why. She even won the top prize in the 2010 International Young Creative Fashion Entrepreneur category at London Fashion Week. “It isn’t enough to just make pretty things. The fabric and craft employed in making my hats are an essential part of the heritage of the T’Boli culture, a tapestry of the tribe’s own history and traditions, I want to show this to the world whilst remaining creatively engaging”. Crafted from a sustainable fibre, her hats are distinctive and original with a classic twist that we couldn’t get enough of. She currently stocks in Pela in Canberra and is hoping to gain more Australian stockists soon.

Junky Styling is one of the key players when it comes to sustainable London-based fashion. They’re a big name with heaps of personality. London’s fashion scene has a huge soft spot for them, and it’s clear why. The garments are made from the highest quality secondhand clothing, which is deconstructed, re-cut and completely transformed. The New Yorker described it as ‘an eccentrically chic line of mutant couture’. Their SS13 collection Interchange is influenced by the interchangeable weather conditions that we now live alongside and the line includes Wraps and Waists for the cold and Loose and Breezy for the heat. Introducing this season’s shower proof snow print, Interchange is produced out of rain macs, desert shirts and, of course, their trademark fine suiting – they definitely have most forecasts covered then! (This one’s for you Melbourne). Items are available from their online store here.

Carla Fernandez‘s colourful exhibition really caught our eye. Inspired in the Yucatan Peninsular, Carla’s SS13 Mayaland takes us to unexplored, colourful and wild places. A combination of pre-columbine and contemporary Mayans together with techniques that include hammocks, palm, rebozo, embroideries, wood turning and silver and gold filigree make up this amazing and lively collection. Using mainly linen, cotton and silk with some additional accents, they base their collection in the colour palette of the tropical environment of the jungle using red, aqua, hot orange, jade – as well as some classical shades like navy blue and beige. Prints are inspired by the remains of this ancient culture and Mexican fauna, and they work with various artisans around the peninsular, using different techniques to make the most of the artisan’s knowledge and input. They’ll be stocking this collection at Legacy of Epocas in Sydney and Melbourne. We love it.

{Guest Post and Photography by Rachel Manns}