Monday, January 31, 2011

Amsterdam FW: Elsien Gringhuis A/W 2011

Elsien Gringhuis A/W 2011

AIFW Green Competition Winner, Elsien Gringhuis, had her runway presentation yesterday at the close of Amsterdam's fashion week festivities. A minimalist to some, this bright young star has shed new light on chic green styling and sustainable fashion's future . Her brilliantly cut silhouettes are softened by a palette that magically transitions from earth to sky blue hues.
Elsien Gringhuis A/W 2011 (model: Emma de Valera)

Elsien Gringhuis A/W 2011 (model: Emma de Valera)

I have to add that I think that the colored eyebrows really suited this collection. The message seemed clear that green is an attitude beyond the donning of eco-friendly fabrics. It comes from within and almost permeates one's countenance and individual expression.

* images courtesy of Elsien Gringhuis and Peter Stigter for AIFW

Friday, January 28, 2011

Berlin Fashion Week Profile Videos

Strikingly talented Bulgarian designer (now based in Berlin), Vladimir Karaleev. Not a sustainable fashion designer, but  what exquisite hues and silhouettes for Autumn 2011.

Isabell de Hillerin, one of my absolute favorite designers in Europe. Read more about 'Patina' A/W 2011-12 here.

BLLACK NOIR, eco aware and basically sizzling.

MAICCO, the Georgian fashion label by Maia Samkharadze that is also not 'sustainable' but the innovative use of textiles and accessories is definitely alluring and globally fashion forward.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sehwege Handmade Wool Jewelry

Such serendipity to meet designer Catrin Schmid-El Gendi of Sehwege at THEKEY.TO Berlin showcase last week. This well-spoken anthropologist turned jewelry/accessories designer had the purest, most poetic wool jewelry pieces on display. I hesitate to refer to Sehwege as jewelry per se, as these designs are really more like modular pieces that you can interchange and add to according to your styling needs. The simple magnetic (closure) ends allow you to extend the length of a necklace or bracelet, for example, or combine various colors to your liking. All pieces are 100% wool and hand-crafted by the designer in Düsseldorf. 

Be on the lookout for more innovative ideas from Catrin. She is really into her craft as you can see in this energetic photo below.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amsterdam Fashion Week Begins Today

Design by Iris Van Herpen, a former Amsterdam Fashion Week participant

Amsterdam International Fashion Week begins today and tomorrow is the much anticipated Green Fashion Competition. Stay tuned for more details on the grand finale presentation tomorrow, including news on Eliza Starbuck's Bright Young Things design entry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reet Aus Launches 'Trash To Trend' Upcycling Platform

Reet Aus @ Ambient Space, London (photo by Gabriel Wood)
As announced at The KEY.TO in Berlin last week, Estonian ethical fashion designer, Reet Aus, has officially launched Trash to Trend, a new upcycling initiative which examines improved solutions for the use of textile waste.

"Reet and her team are building a new platform for the industry where manufacturers and shops can submit information on their industrial leftovers and unsold stockist. Sustainable fashion designers can then access this information and use desired raw material for their own collections. This way materials that otherwise would be considered as waste or end up in the landfill or burnt, shall have a new life. This platform will also serve as data source for fashion industry related background information."

Do not miss this preview of an upcoming documentary on Reet Aus and her textile upcycling crusade and life as an ethical fashion designer in Estonia and beyond.

Out Of Fashion -documentary trailer from Reet Aus on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2011 Report

ELEMENTUM by Daniela Pais A/W 2011-12

I am now settled in again here in snow-coated Sofia, but thoughts about Berlin Fashion Week are still swirling around after last week's excursion to review local and international fashion talent in Berlin's thriving art/fashion capital.
Humboldt University adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin

Berliners definitely love fashion, despite their beloved city's industrial gray palette and bone-chilling temperatures. There was not a single cab driver who did not have something to say about the sartorial goings on, and I adored that the organizers of the Lavera Showfloor Berlin runway events opened several of their shows to the public. This was such a great way to energize a city's populus in the depths of January.

THEKEY.TO showfloor from above (photo: Abigail Doan)

My principal focus while in Berlin was to attend the GREENshowroom at Hotel Adlon and THEKEY.TO's  ethical and sustainable fashion showcase. I was also fortunate to also catch Isabell de Hillerin's runway show in an amazingly renovated transformer station, as well as having appointments with several movers and shakers on the local scene.

ELEMENTUM permutations by Daniela Pais via Vogue Italia

I concluded a few key things during a three day span that seemed way too short to absorb the energy and creative spirit that was surely just revealing itself to me:

  • People love fashion, and we should not assume that they do not want to be a part of or participate in current initiatives. If we really want to create a 'conspiracy' in (sustainable) fashion, then we should continue to find revolutionary ways to democratize fashion and future fashion week events.
  • There are indeed new markets for creating pieces that do more, while also looking genuinely chic and original. The European-made label, ELEMENTUM by Daniela Pais, is proof perhaps that six pieces can indeed by cleverly transformed into totally wearable ensembles. One simply needs to take the time to play with and accessorize one's wardrobe. Garment construction that aims for zero waste can also be extremely sexy and performative, see video below.
  • In addition to recycling garments and textile waste materials, we have now entered an era where every single scrap counts. Designers can create the most remarkable and innovative designs out of seemingly useless bits and pieces that fall to the studio floor. This requires supreme technical artistry, though, not just a desire to be 'thrifty' or 'crafty'. The phenomenon of studio materials being factored in from start to finish is upon us. See my previous post on KM/A studio in Vienna.
  • As the conversation about storytelling in clothing and the development of personal style continues, sustainable fashion designers are increasingly thinking and working as modern day anthropologists who now consider every aspect of how their design is used, interpreted by the wearer, and then continually updated to fit with each person's lifestyle. As street style blogs also continue to proliferate (though perhaps they have reached their peak?), we are more than ever considering what impressions we make and what narrative journey we embark on as we walk out the door. Knowing and working with your personal style is as vital to (sustainable) fashion as knowing what options there are for environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible designs.
  • And perhaps this is obvious, but there is never a substitute for quality. Several of the designers at this past week's event have been working for years to create an ideal design equation that combines impeccable tailoring, innovative pattern cutting, attention to detail, the highest quality sustainable fabrics available, as well as a mission that addresses sustainable living and design. Collections by Camilla Norrback, Magdalena ShaffrinRianne de Witte, Isabell de Hillerin, and Reet Aus will never go out of style, and we should continue to support these refined fashion efforts and unique creative explorations. Fashion will reach the people if the story is a shared experience.
(ELEMENTUM video courtesy of Daniela Pais)

Berlin Fashion Week: KM/A at The KEY.TO

(polaroid snapshots by Abigail Doan)

Fiber and textile junkie that I am, I was completely smitten with the Viennese fashion design duo, Katha Harrer and Michael Ellinger of KM/A, during this past week's visit to The KEY.TO at Berlin Fashion Week. Their hand-crafted frocks and military style coats are impeccably crafted out of small scraps of 60's parachute material as well as used wool army blankets from various countries. KM/A's designs are true works of art, and create beautiful silhouettes, even on a hanger. Designed for both men and women, they are substantial sculptural forms that are quite wearable as well.

I love that the stitching on the surface of these garments creates such a gorgeous texture map. A mysterious journey into the life of the cast-off materials artfully recycled in each creation.

*Visit KM/A's website to learn more

Friday, January 21, 2011

Berlin Fashion Week: One's To Watch 'MAICCO'

Unfortunately, I am going to miss MAICCO's show tomorrow afternoon as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin comes to a close. How amazing is this tunic/frock, though? I cannot wait to see what Georgian fashion designer Maia Samkharadze has in store for A/W 2011.

GREENshowroom Berlin: CHRISTINA KRÄMER Collection

I loved this fresh and airy Spring/Summer 2011 'Awakening' collection by CHRISTINA KRÄMER on view at the GREENshowroom at Hotel Adlon Berlin. This Zurich-based fashion designer creates the most beautiful and wearable knitwear and GOTS-certified fabric designs. Her chic and spacious leather goods are vegetable-tanned with raw hand-stitching details. A perfect example of a designer who worked for ten years in the industry to refine her vision before launching her own sustainable fashion and accessories label.

The chunky knit scarves, shrugs, and capes, handcrafted out of the finest merino wool and cashmere, are truly eco-luxe and super soft. (If only I had had more Euro notes stashed in my bag).

One of my favorite designer discoveries during yesterday's visit to the GREENshowroom.

S/S 2011 'Awakening' photo credits:
photos: julia blank
model: rebecca / brodybookings
hair/make-up: sabine nania

Berlin FW: 'Patina' A/W 2011 by Isabell de Hillerin

'Patina': Can refer to any fading, darkening or other signs of age, which are felt to be natural or unavoidable (or both)
There was nothing fading or aged about Isabell de Hillerin's Patina A/W 2011-12 collection shown at Berlin Fashion Week last night. Perhaps it was the white stretch of runway tucked within a stunningly restored transformer station? This collection's hues were sumptuous and 'earth-friendly' and genuinely came to life when exposed to the air. Proof that there is nothing dull or safe about choosing a palette that compliments a woman's skin tone and translates well across seasons.
I have been a follower of Isabell's work for some time, particularly with her initiative to help preserve Romanian textile traditions and endangered fabrics with a story. It was exciting to see that she is still searching for ways to incorporate beautiful handwork and patterning details into designs that are sexy and versatile in their creative layering possibilities.
Testimony perhaps that the surface and value of fashion might be better understood when allowed to bask in the soft light of our environment over time. More on Isabell de Hillerin in my upcoming review of THE KEY.TO Berlin.

*top/runway photos by Abigail Doan/others courtesy of the designer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Berlin Fashion Week: 1.20.11

Augustin Teboul fashion presentation offsite at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin (1.19.11)
photo: Soeren Stache / EPA via Mish Whalen at msnbc

I woke up at 5:15am this morning due to a songbird outside of my hotel bedroom window. How completely lovely is that? A very busy day ahead visiting The GREENshowroom at  Hotel Adlon, where I hope to pick up a copy of Sass Brown's new book, as well as making the day's first visit to The Key (I will return after Isabell de Hillerin's show at 6:30pm).

Lucrecia Lovera/Platform for Textil Research: reTape innovation

Curious to see reTape's handbags crafted out of recycled film tape? This sort of looks like the coif above, no? How clever. You can join their page on Facebook here.

'From movie to thread' via reTape

See you in a bit to rewind the day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does Sustainable Fashion Need A Conspiracy?

"We cannot assume that the world will simply make a turn for the better. Just as we cannot count on the grey majority of the population to develop ethical and ecological awareness overnight.
We appeal to your bravery and your willingness to stand for the good things, to overthrow politics, and assume responsibility as a member of a global, sustainable, and rational consumer group.
To achieve this we must join forces and organize a conspiracy and spread the good in a Trojan horse of beauty."
The above quote is from THE KEY.TO's mission statement for the upcoming gathering this week during Berlin Fashion Week. I will be traveling to Berlin tomorrow to visit THE KEY as well as numerous fashion events and designer shows. As we look ahead to new and improved definitions for sustainable fashion and design during 2011, a 'conspiracy' might be just what we need, or at least some lasting goodness disguised as beauty. This is what I am searching for. Join me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Glamour To Dye For Ala Prophetik

Prophetik's silk hemp racerback 'Mayfair' dress

Prophetik's indigo plant-dyed hemp boot cut Sergeant Knickers

Livia Firth looking ravishing in her peace-silk gown by Prophetik. 
Congratulations to  the dashing Golden Globe winner Colin Firth as well.
(image via UK)

By now word has traveled around the globe that Prophetik's Jeff Garner created quite a show stopper at last night's Golden Globes Awards with Livia Firth's stunning peace silk gown. You, too, can don a bit of hand-dyed prophetik glamour with some of the lovely pieces above. How cool is it that indigo-dyed garments are the new luxury staple of 2011?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Youthquake Coat by Prairie Underground

I love this 'Youthquake' coat by Prairie Underground, currently featured on Beklina. Beautifully hand-crafted out of 100% organic cotton oatmeal voile (layers) with an organic cotton oatmeal body, it can be worn either buttoned up or open. A limited production item and exceptionally poetic at that. I love how it almost seems to be recycled from an antique prairie skirt.

By the way, what does the term 'youthquake' mean? Check out this

Diana Vreeland, you totally rock.

*images courtesy of Beklina

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Using One's Hands as a Way of Creating Connection

'Seasonal Shades' exhibited at The LAND gallery in New Mexico / Abigail Doan (2009)

I was recently interviewed by Amy DuFault, Fashion Editor for EcoSalon, regarding the mental and creative benefits of using one's hands in crafting, fiber work, fashion, and even domestic tasks. You should definitely read Amy's 'Using Your Hands To Soothe The Brain'/part 1 if you are in need of a 'mental vitamin' and some genuine inspiration in the depths of winter.

It is quite flattering to be featured alongside Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and Jill Danyelle of Stay tuned for part 2 of Amy's installment early next week on EcoSalon. I am now a regular fiber/fashion/textile contributor to EcoSalon as well.

*You can also follow my daily tweets @lostinfiber