Now in its 25th year, London Fashion Week is as creative and future-facing as ever with the usual big names showcasing their collections alongside emerging bright young things. Two that fall into the latter category – Tanya Ling and Rachael Cassar – stood out for me as both their collections are based on ethical/sustainable principles.
Tanya Ling’s collection for Vertya was simple yet girlishly charming and made all the sweeter given that The Vertya Foundation is a charitable organization raising money for underprivileged Indian schools (50 per cent of the Vertya’s profits and 10 per cent of sales go straight towards combating poverty).
It helps that Ling has some serious fashion kudos, admired for her gorgeous fashion illustrations (see below), and happens to be pals with some fashion big wigs. Indeed, her involvement with The Vertya Foundation began following a personal invitation by none other than Yves Saint Laurent’s Stefano Pilati, and his friend Filippo Binaghi who are the co-founders of the charity.
On the whole the collection was subtly luxurious but Ling’s artistic roots were certainly detectable in some of the splashes of colour and paint splotches (they looked better than that sounds – see below) that appeared in amongst the swathes of silky cream and black.
The second designer that caught my eye this week was Rachel Cassar who makes her dramatic garments from 90% recycled materials. As the designer herself says “each piece reuses existing ‘waste’ to create new looks. From pre-loved garments to antique finds, these carefully selected fabrics are transformed into cohesive, sustainable ranges, without compromising style or stifling the imagination.”
She’s certainly right about the imagination part. From what I’ve seen, Rachael Cassar’s semi-couture designs are highly original and imposing, breaking down any lingering stereotypes about eco fashion being a bit mousey and boho. It’s not surprising then that she has been nominated by WGSN (the global trends and analysis and forecasting resource) as one of the 12 new designers to watch in 2009.