• 1. fig leaf dyed itajime vest and aprons
  • 2. fig leaf & woad dyed crop vest with fig & woad apron under canvas double apron
  • 3. fig leaf and weld dyed ombre sleeve t-shirt with canvas apron
  • 4. nasturtium print & aqualeaf indigo dyed t-shirt
  • 5. canvas pinafore with fig and woad dyed pasties
  • 6. smoke tree dyed knickers with fig leaf dyed apron
  • 7. weld & woad dyed vest with fig leaf dyed vest and canvas double harvest apron
  • 8. fig leaf and woad dyed accordion pleat apron with lavender and woad vest-dress
  • 9. fig leaf and woad dyed chevron crop vest and open 2-piece knickers with canvas apron
  • 10. weld, rhubarb leaf and woad itajime dyed vest with canvas double harvest apron
  • 11. indigo and weld itajime dyed t-shirt

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