For fashion’s new stars, planet comes first

A stitch in time: Marine Serre’s catwalk at the Paris Fashion Week featured dresses made from old bedspreads.   | Photo Credit: VALERIO MEZZANOTTI

A new generation of rising fashion stars alarmed by the plight of the planet are designing in a radically different way to their elders.

Some of the most interesting shows of Paris fashion week — once notorious for its decadence and waste — have come from millennials and Generation Z creators rejecting the over-consumption they were brought up with.

Marine Serre, whose last catwalk show featured evening dresses made from old bedspreads, warned this time of “the war on the climate destroying civilisation as we know it” with a collection created from upcycled and repurposed materials.

The 27-year-old’s brand is one of the fastest growing in France, with her sporty but fiercely feminine clothes and accessories snapped up as soon as they are made.

Sales have rocketed five-fold in a year.

Glamorous futurist

For Ms. Serre, who won the top LVMH prize in 2017, there is no choice but to change. “It is an enormous challenge to develop sustainably.

Berlin-based Ottolinger share a similar ethos and aesthetic. They recut existing clothes or surplus stock for their glamorous futurist evening and streetwear.

“There is so much overproduction and consumption, we cannot justify it any longer,” said Cosima Gadient backstage after the duo’s Paris show was cheered by critics.

“We have been doing this since we were kids. You have a favourite T-shirt or jacket and it is not working anymore, so you take it apart and you try to make something new.”

Swiss designer Eliane Heutsch is using tech and highly researched couture and revived ancestral techniques to reimagine existing clothing for her Savoar Fer label.

Established brands too are rejecting the throwaway clothes culture. Stella McCartney has built her fashion empire on ethical thinking and increasing use of recycled fabrics.

But fellow British designer Vivienne Westwood wants to go further, urging people to stop buying conventionally produced clothes altogether to shock both consumers and the industry into change.

Her Austrian-born husband Andreas Krontaller, who now designs their Paris shows, thinks fashion needs a reality check.

Mr. Kronthaler said he mostly works from surplus high-quality fabrics gathering dust in the vast warehouses that supply the industry.

“Recycled materials will soon be our normal but I am for using up what we have got first,” he said.

Putting the planet first is a given for this new generation of designers showing in Paris.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 6:14:41 AM |

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