London – Now in its 12th edition, London Fashion Week Men’s is half way
into its long weekend of shows, with Italian ready to wear brand Iceberg,
currently under the creative helm of British designer James London,
officially opening the SS19 presentations.
At first glance the official calendar does not suggest much in the way of
sustainability, with no special mention or links to brands who produce
ethical clothes. Unlike the women’s fashion week in September, which has a
longer schedule and features more designers and brands, there is less
visibility and emphasis on ethically produced collections and accessories.
Perhaps because in menswear there is less on offer, although that seems
unlikely, or there are less men’s brands championing sustainability. Here
we scrutinise how ‘green’ the London Fashion Week Men’s designers are.
The stand-out British menswear label practicing sustainability is
Christopher Raeburn. Raeburn recycles and repurposes fabrics and garments
and each season surprises both the industry and his customers with his
vision to rework and remake these into distinctive and functional pieces.
His Remade studio, a platform open to the public with access to the
workshop and atelier, allows visitors to experience first hand the craft
and innovation behind making the clothes as well as the opportunity to
design and customise their own tote bags using off-cuts from the atelier.
Bethany Williams is taking the sustainability story a step further with her
‘Breadline’ range. Fully traceable for make and fabric, the 100 per cent
sustainable collection is developed in conjunction with the Vauxhall Food
Bank and Tesco, with 30 per cent of profits from the collection going to
charity. Williams believes social and environmental issues go hand in hand
and through exploring the connection between these issues we may find
innovative design solutions to sustainability.
Furthermore, each of williams’ garments is made in the UK, even down to the
buttons which are hand crafted in the Lake District.
For this Savile Row brand, sourcing and developing fabric is not
necessarily a sustainable act in itself, but E. Tautz takes great pride
making a large portion of its collections in Britain. It manufactures in
its own factory in Blackburn Lancashire, alongside sourcing from a small
number of mills and producers in the UK, all of which can be traced, such
as wool from Yorkshire, Cumbria and Scotland, hand-woven tweed from the
Isle of Harris and Lewis, and the silk and wool produced for its ties from
Sudbury in Suffolk.
Producing predominantly in Portugal and the UK, Oliver Spencer is a
formidably sized brand that observes the conduct and transparency of its
supply chain, however complex that is for a brand of this size.
Interestingly, the company is removing folding paper from its garments
packaging from autumn winter 2018. According to its website, this small
refinement has the potential environmental savings of 36,934kg of carbon
per year. To put that into perspective a London bus emits 20kg’s a day on
Fashion Switch to Green
Last year the BFC, Dame Vivienne Westwood and the Mayor of London joined
forces in a campaign encouraging brands to commit to switching UK offices
and retail stores to a green energy supplier or to green energy tariff
within the next three years.
“Transitioning energy usage into a renewable source can play an integral
part in reaching business sustainability goals and tackling climate change,
directly improving the health and wellbeing of our population and planet,”
the BFC said in a statement.
While London Fashion Week Men’s may not have had a very vocal and focused
sustainability platform for SS19, brands committed to switch to green
energy include Christopher Raeburn, E.Tautz, Harvey Nichols, Kering, Marks
& Spencer, Oliver Spencer, Positive Luxury, Selfridges, Stella McCartney,
steventai, Teatum Jones & Vivienne Westwood.
Let’s see how ‘green’ London Fashion Week women’s will be in September.
Photo credit: E. Tautz, Bethany Williams Breadline, Christopher Raeburn