Masters Of… Driving Change
Guided by Good On You - our partner and source for all sustainable fashion brand ratings - we’re shining a spotlight on a selection of names in our community who are driving change and making a positive impact. The good news for those of us on a path to eco-consciousness? With SS21 comes an abundance of noteworthy collections that are not only working hard for your wardrobe, but the world too.
Steeped in storytelling and nostalgia, each of Emily Bode’s one-of-a-kind men’s and women’s pieces are inspired by her childhood love of collecting. “I always made miniature dioramas and vignettes of landscapes and domestic spaces. I would turn each shelf in my bedroom into a different world with my miniatures - most of which were antique or handmade.” In her clothes, antique fabrics such as Victorian quilts and bed linens are given a second life, transformed into unique wardrobe artefacts by skilled New York artisans using quilting and embroidery techniques.
Aesthetically, BODE presents a fresh twist on traditional American workwear, offering luscious silk shirts, patchwork jackets and patterned trousers in boxy silhouettes and electric colour palettes. From being the first female designer to show at NYFW Men’s in 2018 to today, the popularity of Emily’s consciously-minded vision is confirmed by her ever-growing list of fans (Harry Styles and Raven Smith to name but a few.)
Evoke warmer climes and a sustainable state of mind all year round by diving into TRUE TRIBE’s edit of warm-weather essentials. Dedicated to the wild at heart, collections draw influences from nature and encourage us to reconnect with our natural surroundings. As such, their T-shirts and shorts can be worn while you’re working out, swimming or just hanging out in The Great Outdoors.
Expertly designed in Paris, each piece is then crafted in their Karachi workshop, a spacious villa with a garden which provides clean and comfortable working conditions for its employees. Made predominantly from ECONYL® and recycled polyester (made from recycled plastic bottles) TRUE TRIBE’s pieces are committed to reducing marine plastic waste. What’s more, the label supports NGO Survival International, an organisation which protects indigenous people around the world.
Self-care is even more enjoyable when the products are 100% recycled and have Mother-Nature’s seal of approval. Whether you’re partial to a ‘green shave’ or a clean shave then you should add HANDLE to your daily grooming regime. The beauty brand’s individual sets include a hairbrush and mirror, or a razor and toothbrush, but if you’d like them all, then the full grooming kit is perfect for you.
Whilst offering stylish grooming solutions, HANDLE also takes aim at the beauty industry’s reputation as a major plastic polluter, collecting unused packaging from salons, barbers, and beauty and hair care brands. They then either return these to the packaging manufacturers, or breathe new life into the materials to create their own products. Founders Steve and Tom can’t tackle these big problems all on their own, so they’re asking us all to work together to get a handle on the situation. We’re in, are you?
The past meets the present at Walid Damirji’s namesake label, where fragments of history are woven into modern silhouettes, allowing an intergenerational collaboration between craftsmen and artisans from different eras. Through his one-off masterpieces, By Walid brings a whole new meaning to the old adage of ‘history repeats itself’, bringing you wardrobe heirlooms with rich heritages to pass down for generations to come.
Renowned for his use of repurposed textiles, the former Creative Director of Joseph creates sustainable couture pieces from patchworks of rescued antique fabrics sewn together. This season you’ll find jackets meticulously handcrafted from intricately embroidered Chinese silk, as well as hats made up of patchworks of repurposed shirting and bags showcasing 19th-century embroidery.
This season also sees the brand launching homeware . Decorative pouffes and cushions showcase 17th, 18th and 19th-century Victorian and Flemish tapestries, and chairs echo the intricate patchwork designs that the brand is renowned for. Whilst we’re all spending a little more time at home, there’s no better time to invest in By Walid’s soft furnishings and furniture.
Calling all eco-conscious sneakerheads! Veja are serving up retro-inspired, sustainably-made sneakers with soul. Childhood friends Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion sit at the helm, united in their desire to create coveted kicks that respect the environment and the people at every point in the supply chain. Their journey started in 2005, when the best friends decided to travel around the globe discovering their prospective production line first hand. From nuclear plants in China, to solar panel specialists in South Africa, to organic cotton growers in Brazil and Amazonia, and finally ending at a rubber cooperative on the border between Bolivia, Colombia and Brazil.
Each pair is crafted from upcycled plastic bottles and raw materials sourced from organic, fair trade farming. In organic cotton and vegan leathers with fresh, minimalist hues, this season’s iconic V-logoed styles offer endless styling opportunities.
Designer Bethany Williams was busy during lockdown, designing and producing her whole SS21 collection from her East London flat. She also held virtual drawing sessions with mothers and children via non-profit organization The Magpie Project, whose sketches form the centrepiece of her SS21 collection, transformed into textiles by illustrator Melissa Kitty Jarram.
Empowering the people she works with at the London-based charity - which supports mothers living in temporary accommodation with young dependants - Bethany’s ‘All Our Children’ collection is inspired by their lives. Speaking to Vogue, the designer explained: “‘All our children’ is a phrase that says we have a collective responsibility for our next generation. It’s looking at how the world is borrowed from our children; thinking about that in a sustainability sense, but also in a human sense.”
Not only an advocate for humanitarian aid, Bethany was also granted the 2019 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in recognition of her support for sustainability. Coats are crafted from vegan leather, whilst jackets, jeans and shirts feature recycled denim, and T-shirts are woven from organic cotton. Spearheading the campaign for a brighter future for all, this driving force for change is certainly one to keep a close eye on.
The path to eco-consciousness is a stylish one. Case in point: these SS21 collections. As Bethany Williams stated in a recent conversation with Vogue: “People are giving back, it’s been a time of coming together. A lot of younger designers are thinking about their imprint on the people and planet.” Let our driving forces of change be your guides whilst looking forward to a brighter future.
Words by Sophy Davis Russell
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