This is the first in a series of features intended to change the way you think, buy, wear and discuss fashion; a bold statement, in fact bordering on evangelical but we’re starting from a place of ambition, working on the principal that if you really believe something yourself, you’ve got a better chance of winning others over.
i-D has always strived to celebrate individuality and counter-culture, questioning the essence and influence of fashion. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion – our partner in this collaboration – performs a similar function but filtered through a very different lens. Essentially this project will lay out a kind of manifesto; we’ll try not to be too worthy and to be realistic and make sure we always keep the i-D wink in there! There’s twelve months of i-sustain to come, so keep coming back for more! This project is about showing how beautiful clothes can also carry a positive message. Like it or not, what we wear is never just about the function or form of a garment, it’s also a statement of who we are and how we do or don’t fit in. Dress is the most obvious tool we have for self-expression, so what is it we really want to express? The world is changing and uncomfortable or inconvenient as it may be, we need to start doing things differently. Fashion moves so fast that sometimes it’s difficult to stop and take stock; new trend, new face, new shop, new me? No, same me different clothes, but better, more sustainable product.
This is how we do it; each month we’ll showcase a different designer and then use their work as a platform to explore how clothing and accessories can be created, acquired and worn in a way that ensures our ‘passion for fashion’ doesn’t come at too high a cost. Some of these designers are very conceptual, some are very commercial, some are committed to ‘the cause’ and others are just trying to make a decent living and do what they love. Collectively, they have all engaged in a process of re-thinking the way they work. That process deserves recognition and it also presents a real opportunity to show everyone who reads this that there are people out there, who can, in a credible way, combine substance, style and of course sustainability. It may seem incredible but it is not impossible to design clothes and run a business in a way that is creatively inspiring and responsible.
This month we’re exploring Borders & Frontiers! For the first issue of i-sustain, we’re starting with a brand whose product and ethos is simple, beautiful, and accessible…
Two years ago Andrew Stevens and Karoline Stromme decided to tap into the burgeoning cult of fashion bloggers and persuaded the likes of Tavi and Susie Bubble to collaborate with them on designing a range of T-shirts. Drew and Karoline both have a strong interest in environmental issues and so decided to use only organic cotton tees for the project. It was this unexpected meeting of fashion’s fastest medium and the slower concepts attached to sustainability that worked so well. The range was a big success and sold in retailers from ASOS and Urban Outfitters to Parisian fashion mecca Colette. Extending their collaborative concept, Borders & Frontiers recruited a select group of Scandinavian artists, photographers and graphic designers to produce a set of eight prints, seen in this month’s shoot, all inspired by the simple brief Natural Wonder. The prints are replicated across three products, a classic dress, a T-shirt and two sizes of scarf. Bucking the need for constant re-invention, the ‘Natural Wonder Collection’ is trans-seasonal. Launched at London Fashion Week for spring/summer 11, the products will continue to be available for autumn/winter 11 and beyond. The range explores unusual materials from tencel (eucalyptus) and organic cotton, to ahimsa (peace) silk. The prints are arresting, evocative and speak of the beauty and endless surprises of the natural world. What more can we say? Material and message, a great place to start!