20 February 2013
by Fanny Usher
Displayed in the beautiful and archaic stairways of Fashion Week HQ Somerset House, was the work of the designers from Netherlands and Belgium. The designers involved are Pauline van Dongen, Katrien van Hecke, Natalie de Koning, Lena Lumelsky, Celine de Schepper and Jantine van Peski who all showcased at ‘High Fashion Low Countries’ exhibition last year.
There is one theme that runs through the whole of this showcase and it was perfectly elocuted by Natalie De Koning; fashion should be “sustainable as standard”. All the designers, in their own unique styles, seemed to have this strong and united ethos, which was refreshing to hear in the crazy and sometimes vacuous world of fashion. To sum-up the work as a whole the words that come out top are ethical, experimental and thoughtful.
They all experiment with unusual materials (wood, plastic, glass, diamonds, metal) and techniques (macramé, parquet flooring methods, jacquard weaving), combining them effortlessly in to successful and surprisingly wearable garments.
The sustainability of the pieces are not just an added element to the work, the ethics are woven in to these pieces in a thoughtful and considered way. They see this way of thinking as a starting point and a base from the beginning of the design process, they are thinking about their natural surroundings and finding new ways of using the materials available to them, using new technologies and creating novel ways of implementing them in to modern design.
This is an encouraging step forward for the future of fashion, it goes to show that you can still be creating modern and effective designs whilst maintaining a sustainable and principled edge.