London Fashion Week is without a shadow of a doubt the most interesting thing to happen in February. Fashion weeks have a reputation for being a treat for the eyes, but as always, we want to delve a little deeper and investigate the ethical credentials of the clothes being strutted down the catwalk. For #LFW, we sent Bianca from Beyond Skin’s offices to Snapchat designers with a conscience. Here we talk about who we’ve found, what makes them ethical, and discuss some issues with designer fashion for the compassionate fashionista.
Kicking off first thing on Saturday at was Shrimps. This cruelty-free faux fur brand had a huge success at London Fashion Week, described in Huffington Post as faux fur heaven. Designer of Shrimps Hannah Weiland says she wants to prove that faux can looks every bit as luxurious as the real thing, which chimes exactly with our ethos at Beyond Skin. She says: “it’s lovely to have a guilt-free conscience” with her designs. We are mighty pleased to see her celebrity-attended shows making such a splash in the papers, spreading the message of luxury faux fur even further.
There’s certainly a discussion to be had about whether vegan brands should create replica faux materials or shun any material even resembling the real thing, whether that be faux leather, fur, shearling or silk. We’ve written before about our philosophical wrestle with this dilemma, as it’s quite a tough one to chew over. We concluded that it really does come down to your own personal decision as to whether you wear imitation materials or not, as it’s a bit of a grey area. What we do know for sure is that using 100% vegan materials made without the involvement of any animals at all is certainly a good thing, so that’s exactly what we do.
Also, the real fur on the catwalk can’t be ignored. There are a multitude of reasons to shun fur, with animal cruelty being the most self-evident, of course. Also, a recent study from the Bremer Umwelt Institute in Germany documented dangerous levels of nasty chemicals in fur-trimmed clothes used to prevent it from decomposing naturally. This new research adds a new environmental dimension to fur as well as the welfare, treatment and slaughter of animals in the industry. PETA’s recent headline-grabbing campaign at London Fashion Week highlighted this issue, with models wearing gas masks (and little else) to make the point that fur is toxic. We hope that with more trailblazing brands like Shrimps at London Fashion Week, more will see that real fur is totally unnecessary.
One of the most prized values of the ethical fashion movement is transparency; all shoppers should be able to find out all the details about the materials used in their clothes and shoes so they can make an informed decision about which brands to favour. When researching what materials were used in this season’s collections, however, we found this information hard to find. Fashion websites typically don’t go into details, so it’s curiously rare to see a caption describing the composition of catwalk clothes.
To remedy this, we’d like it to be more fashionable for high end fashion brands to talk about the materials they used, like the little placard next to a painting hanging in a gallery. And this is exactly what brands like Shrimps does, bucking the trend of mystery materials. Her faux fur coats are made using modacrylic, acetate, viscose and polyester, with the exact figures being on each product page on her website. We heart Hannah Weiland. Lots.
Another vegan-friendly brand Bianca found is Nicola Brindle, who showcased her ‘Fine Dining’ collection as part of the Fashion Scout show at London Fashion Week. She says that she uses cotton and polyester to create offbeat graphic prints, combining bright colours to create a unique look. The designs are inspired by the 1950s, which is a period in fashion we’ve also taken inspiration from (great minds, huh!). Here’s a shot Bianca took over the weekend, right at the heart of the global fashion industry…
Moon Lee by Injoo Lee uses organic fabrics to create vivid statement pieces with block colours and varying textures. Whilst we’re waiting for confirmation that this brand is vegan friendly, we do know the fur is totally faux. This brand is seeking to create fashion that is wearable art, for fashion lovers and art patrons alike. As this brand was launched in 2015, we love that new designers like Injoo Lee are steering clear of real fur right from the off.
Stalwart of the sustainable fashion movement Christopher Raeburn makes his designs from re-appropriated military fabrics, and sews them in England. We can sure get behind his passion for bringing the ever-present issue of sustainability to a mainstream audience, as his designs prove that all you need is unbridled talent to create high end clothes out of any material.
The Future of London Fashion Week?
Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, our very own shoes will be strutted up and down the catwalk at London Fashion Week, and the use of leather in fashion will also be brought under the spotlight…
Follow us on Snapchat at @beyondskin for live updates on our gorgeous shoes, vegan eats & ethical fashion finds!