This project has two aims: to show that sustainable fashion using locally-sourced botanical dyes can be relevant and contemporary in today's society; and to advocate that natural seasonal cycles, rather than industrial demands alone, can profitably inspire the rhythm of fashion
The collection was created in East London; sourcing the dye plants was local, the majority within a radius of 15 miles. This area then became the artistic backdrop to the collection. This fashion collection, in its origin and development process, explores a vital tension that sustains fashion: the tension between commercial worth and a striving towards other, personal values. Such values are inherent to the artistic impulse in any age. In the 21st-century they are the zeitgeist, heralding an ecological vision — of clothing and identity, of personal autonomy and shared sufficiency, of personal aesthetics and wider commercial viability.
The point is that the vitality of this tension is celebrated in sustainable fashion.
Tension is equally apparent in the collection's aesthetics: in the contrasts between light silk and heavy canvas, clean lines and obvious handwork, and between dyed and un-dyed pieces. There is even deliberate naughtiness in the design of open two-piece knickers to counteract a perception that sustainable fashion must be wholesome or even rather puritan. Playful, sensual garments allude to the pleasure principles at the heart of the Slow Food Movement. Food is a continuing theme, explored through following the journey of re-dyed Japanese restaurant aprons to designing an original harvest apron worn by two people.
Photography: Agnes Lloyd-Platt
Images 1 & 2: art direction by Lily Silverton
Images 3 - 11: art direction by Thalia Warren