Betty On the Scene: London Fashion Week!
Fashion Week in London has just started, and we’re giving you the deets!
-Kathryn H. Cusimano
Greetings from London! I’m officially an expat in the UK now, and I had the opportunity to attend London Fashion Week–lucky me! First, let me set the scene: London Fashion Week is held at Somerset House, a 16th Century former royal palace on the northern bank of the River Thames, just a short stroll from the Houses of Parliament. The main runway is housed in a tent in Somerset House’s courtyard, while the Exhibition and lounges are set up throughout the House itself.
I had the pleasure of attending a brunch to celebrate London Fashion Week’s annual ethical fashion initiative, Estethica. Estethica is sponsored by Monsoon, one of the UK’s top high-street retailers. While I sipped champagne and munched on a bacon roll (how terribly British), I had the opportunity to speak to a handful of innovative designers who use sustainable and production practices to make fashions that are beautiful, on-trend and kind to the planet.
The first on my list of must-know designers is Lost Property of London, a company that uses discarded fabrics to create original handbags. Old coffee sacks and previously used leather feature heavily in the collection, which includes totes, clutches and travel bags. My personal favorite is the Belmont bag, made from an old coffee sack with buttery leather trim. It retails for £185 (about $290) and is sold on yoox.com. LPoL products are also sold at Debut in New York City. They definitely top my list of ones to watch.
Another favorite is Goodone London, another company that specializes in “up-cycling.” The designers behind Goodone use reclaimed fabrics to create beautiful new clothes, including gorgeous silk dresses and cozy sweaters. Prices start at around £35 ($55), and you can buy everything straight from their web site – and yes, they do ship internationally. Goodone will even tailor your pieces directly to you! Go to Goodone.co.uk to find out more.
Of course, I can’t talk about Estethica without mentioning one of the event’s most vibrant designers–Henrietta Ludgate. A graduate of the famed Central Saint Martins School, Ludgate designs minimalistic, eco-friendly clothes made for girls who love to have fun. Her dresses are pricey (the striped dress on the model retails for £380, or nearly $600), but deliciously fun to wear. Ludgate has already developed a celebrity following – Colin Firth’s wife Livia is a big fan, and even wore one of Ludgate’s dresses to meet the Queen! Go to HenriettaLudgate.com to find out more.
I can’t complete my wrap-up of Estethica without mentioning a few other ones-to-watch. Michelle Lowe-Holder creates bracelets, headbands and other statement accessories from recycled materials. Watch out for her collaborations with i-D magazine and Topshop. Partimi was founded by Central Saint Martins alum Eleanor Dorrien-Smith, who creates whimsical, sustainable ready-to-wear clothes and has even done capsule collections for Anthropologie. Joanna Cave’s recycled silver jewelry was another one of my favorites, along with the designer t-shirts from the Environmental Justice Foundation. Last but certainly not least, watch out for Rajkumar, an Indian producer of eco-friendly, rubber coated, waterproof fabrics. Raincoats made with Rajkumar fabrics can be found at LakelandElements.com. The website may be stuck in 1994, but their raincoats are surprisingly elegant – who knew rubber could do that?
Well, that’s all from London for now. I’ll be back with another update tomorrow. Cheerio!
Kathryn Hayden Cusimano is a London-based writer and web producer.