The organic food industry has never been as rapidly growing as today. There has never been as many eco friendly cars on the planet and there has never been this much talk about going green ever in history, and for good reasons. It is not only ethical to be good to mother earth; it is trendy. In fact it is fashion; green fashion.
Three years ago The British Fashion Council founded “Estethica” to showcase the growing movement in London of cutting edge designers devoted to working in an eco sustainable way. Now in its seventh season, it has evolved to become the epicentre for London’s ethical fashion industry, and I can see why.
It was more than a refreshing experience to walk into a room with so many talented and energetic designers clearly genuinely passionate about using environmental sustainable materials. One of the people I met in this room was brand and business developer Beate Kubitz at “Makepiece”. She tells me how she 5 years ago was working in a city corporation living an unsustainable lifestyle and just feeling tired all the time. She needed to do something meaningful and exiting and so she quit her job, moved back to Yorkshire where she grew up and started to spin sheep wool for fun. She then met young designer Nicola Sherlock who shared the same thoughts as herself to an extent it was almost scary. A year later they started to work together and put up a small firm.
“All our clothes are made from British farmed wool, alpaca and mohair, and are manufactured – from flock to frock – in the UK. We even keep our own sheep”
Kubitz reveals as she laughs. Additionally she explains that to her sustainable lifestyle and being eco friendly is to buy less and value what you have.
After walking around in this very boutiquey showroom at the Mayfair hotel wanting everything that was being displayed it was finally time for the announcement of the designers selected to receive support from industry mentors. Six lucky designers were picked out, and Ashley Ashby at “The North circular” was one of them.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be one of the six to have been selected by the industry’s professional”, Ashby says with sparkling eyes.
Ashby graduated last year from Central St. Martins and together with her model friends Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton they joined forces with Isobel Davis (founder of Izzy Lane sheep sanctuary) to produce a range of 16 knitted pieces.
“The garments are made using ethical wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep, housed at the sanctuary in North Yorkshire. We use hand-knitting-experts in the age 21-91 and if you like you can create your own piece in choice of five naturally dyed colours. This season we have created a ski-wear-collection where we have also used ethical jewellers”, Ashby says exited.
Even though green is the future “Esthetica” mentor Baroness Lola Young says that it will take time to fully change people’s way of consuming.
“It’s all about strategy approach and changing how people think, so it is not a short-time strategy but the medium and long term-strategies”, Young says.
Simon Ward Joint CEO at BFC says that although there are many more obstacles for an ethical designer and even if it will take some time to change people’s way of consuming, ethical fashion will be the normality and not the difference in the future.