i-Sustain comes to a close this month after an amazing year of beautiful beaches, windswept moors, freezing rock pools and rivers, collapsing cliffs, sun drenched meadows and shadowy midnight forests. We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country in April heat waves and October downpours to explore and capture new fashion landscapes. Our mission: to encourage you to think about, buy and wear fashion with more consideration for people and planet.
Click images to enlarge.
We’ve used pictures and words as tools to create a unique world each month that enchants and excites, celebrating the diversity and individuality that fuels fashion, whilst always stopping to ask the bigger questions. Is fashion making us feel empowered or inadequate? Are we buying and buying indiscriminately to chase a mirage that always eludes us?
We wanted these big questions to come to light through personal stories of unsung fashion heroes, their commitment, interactions, and ideals; by reminding ourselves and everyone else that even the most simple and basic clothes take creativity, skill and hard work to achieve; by remembering that every choice we make effects the lives of others in some way and by celebrating the immense satisfaction that can come from choosing well.
So in order to help you choose well, in this our final installment, we’re concluding our year long ‘manifesto’, not with an exhaustive set of rules, or an overblown design for life but simply with questions and considerations that sum up all of our musings from the last twelve months. On the whole, the fashion industry doesn’t want to give you the space to be inquisitive or to actively engage your imagination; it wants to keep you on the buying treadmill, breathless with no time to ask why? We always want you to ask why and not just why, also where, who and how; so here goes the final parting shots from the i-Sustain team.
Do you ever question the people from whom you’re purchasing; wouldn’t you expect them to know where the things they’re selling came from and how they were made? Start asking and people will have to start answering.
Look at your clothes, hundreds of people’s lives and livelihoods are contained in every garment; the farmer, the spinner, the weaver, the knitter, the dyer, the printer, the seamstress, and the list goes on. Would you want to share their lives or survive on their livelihoods?
What do you value – quality, detail, heritage, performance, durability, uniqueness, flamboyance, frivolity? Take the time to seek out designers and brands whose work aligns with your sensibilities and support them.
Here’s an irony, whilst millions of clothes are discarded each day, the fashion industry expends vast amounts of energy and resources on making new things look old. How about this; if you want something that looks worn, buy something worn, there’s plenty to choose from! If you want something ‘NEW’ buy something new and wear it in yourself!
Acquiring something ‘NEW’ should be a mutual commitment; the seller/giver should be promising you the best experience possible and you should promise to live that experience to the full; look at what you own, has everything been lived in to the full, if not why not?
Too much stuff just clutters up your life and overwhelms your head, have a physical and emotional clear out, not so you can buy more but so you can see what you have and what you really care about.
Ask yourself why certain things are precious to you? Is it because the thing itself is particularly beautiful or functional? Is it because of the time or place you were in or the person you were with when you were given/bought it? Understanding why you treasure the things you do, might help you to choose and use with more care.
Be part of a new fashion tribe, one that respects balance as well as excess; one that acknowledges collective responsibility alongside individual freedom and one that seeks out and celebrates fashion that truly challenges the status quo.
Thank you to the i-Sustain tribe, particularly Kerry Dean and Sam Willoughby, for leading by example, giving your time, energy, commitment, creativity, trust and patience to a difficult but totally worthwhile task; we hope everyone whose followed the series continues where you’ve left off.
Text: Alex McIntosh
Photographer: Kerry Dean
Stylist: Sam Willoughby
Retouching: Russell @ Daybreak Creative
Hair: Stefano Mazzoleni @ JS|TheStudio using Shu Uemura Art of Hair
Make up: Shama Sahzayasin @ CLM & Celia Burton @ CLM both using Bobbi Brown
Stylist’s assistant: Esther Taylor
Photographer’s assistant: Chloe Coates
Models: Sophie Bailey @ Boss & Thomas Penfound @ D1
i-Sustain is supported by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion www.sustainable-fashion.com
Look 1: Trousers William Richard Green. Make up Shama. Look 2: Dress Omer Asim. Coat Issey Miyake. Boots Beyond Retro. Make up Shama. Look 3: Jumper Christopher Raeburn. Skirt Omer Asim. Boots Beyond Retro. Make up Shama. Look 4: Shirt Matthew Miller. Boots Beyond Retro. Make up Shama. Look 5: Dress Partimi. Jacket Issey Miyake. Necklace Michelle Lowe-Holder. Make up Celia. Look 6: Printed Dress Partimi. Knitted Dress Martina Spetlova. Jacket Christopher Raeburn. Make up Celia. Look 7: Shirt and trousers Matthew Miller. Necklaces Michelle Lowe-Holder. Boots Beyond Retro. Make up Shama. Look 8: Top Martina Spetlova. Skirt Christopher Raeburn. Shoes Beyond Retro. Make up Shama.