Brighton Fashion Week begins this week and we’re very excited to be attending, and to be hiding in the VIP goodie bags. Brighton Fashion Week is quite special and different from the others. At NYFW we had the likes Alexander Wang, as well as Ashley Graham strutting her stuff. LFW was equally celebrity-filled and we saw some amazing stuff from Vivienne Westwood and Gareth Pugh. Paris Fashion Week was, as always, a huge event, with many of the biggest houses showing there.
Brighton Fashion Week is different. Founded by Lizzy Bishop 11 years ago as a one-off show for a friend, it has since emerged as the UK’s pre-eminent showcase for sustainable fashion. New York, London, Milan, Paris: Those are really for people with a lot of money and resources to flex their muscles. Brighton Fashion Week is about emerging and innovative labels, a new generation of designers making beautiful, sustainable collections. It shouldn’t really come as much surprise that wonderful, vibrant Brighton, with the only Green MP, should be host to the only Fashion Week that really puts sustainability front and centre.
Brighton Fashion Week is important because so many people still put sustainable and ethical fashion in a box. So many think it’s still all hemp dresses or boring t-shirts. But, as we know, sustainable fashion is so much more than that and it can be very, very beautiful. Conscious fashion also changes the design process. Not using exploitative systems challenges designers to think differently. This is where we see some incredible innovation with upcycled materials, and designers working with materials and fabrics that they really like and care about.
It is extremely difficult to narrow down who we’re looking forward to seeing, but these four designers give an indication of how times really are changing in fashion.
One of the brands that we’re most looking forward to is Hellavagirl. Hellavagirl is a womenswear label founded by Helen Woolams, an award-winning designer. She makes three collections a year with this label as well as designing freelance for others.
Helen is producing an exclusive, upcycled collection for the Zeitgeist show on Friday. Helen has “no rules in her creative process. More often than not she cuts straight into cloth, and shapes and creations are born and develop organically.” It’s that kind of boldness and creativity that we love at DFYnorm.
Her pieces are complex and beautiful. There’s an extravagance about them that really has a little of the touch of McQueen. Really, you should check it out.
We’re excited to see Isaac Raymond’s shows for a number of reasons. Firstly, he’s a fantastic designer. Secondly, he’s only 17 years old! Thirdly, we really admire what he’s doing in terms of raising money for autism and anti-bullying charities.
Isaac started designing five years ago, when he was 12, after watching Lady Gaga perform at the 2010 VMAs. His designs have attracted a lot of attention, and he’s been mentored by the founder of Brighton’s Fashion School.
Isaac is also showing a new, upcycled collection for the Zetigeist show. What sounds so fascinating about his collection, though, is that it’s inspired by being bullied at school. Isaac, who has Asperger’s, has called his new collection ‘Revolution of Bravery’, which aims to raise awareness around young people’s mental health.
Revolution of Bravery is also being filmed for a BBC documentary. We’re very excited to see this immensely talented young designer’s newest collection.
Bourgeois Boheme have made the first vegan shoes I’ve ever really, really, really wanted. They believe in making their (absolutely gorgeous) shoes absolutely eco friendly and animal-free, which is something very important for the world. What we especially like about Bourgeois Boheme, though, is their dedication to craftsmanship and quality.
Like us, they’re very familiar with the people actually doing the making. They use highly skilled artisans to make their carefully designed shoes. The shoes are, importantly, built to last.
Another company that is really challenging the perceptions that people have of vegan and sustainable clothes. Looking closely at their impeccably produced shoes really makes you wonder why we aren’t moving a little faster towards a future of leather-free footwear.
Angus Tsui is another very talented young designer. He, like us, is utterly opposed to being involved in the fast fashion cycle of clothes produced exploitatively and ending up on a landfill.
Angus has had his own label since 2012 and is showing on the Sustain runway on the 16th. We have much in common in terms of ethos, and we’ve written about it plenty before. Really, we just really love Angus’s stuff.