Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in which case I commend you for your eco friendly living arrangements, then you will be aware of one of the largest fashion events that hits London twice yearly – London Fashion Week.

esthetica[1]London Fashion Week is the international showcase for one of the UK’s most important creative industries, and this year it has returned to the beautiful Somerset House, in the heart of London, where over 170 designers are showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2011 collections.   Never failing to impress, London Fashion Week presents an innovative and diverse schedule to an expected audience of over 5,000 buyers, T.V. and radio crews, fashion editors and writers, with emerging talent showing side by side with iconic British designers and brands.

As I teeter my way around the exhibition in my newly acquired sky scraper heels, sipping my complimentary glass of champagne, I am blown away by the sheer size, but also the uniqueness of each of the designers’ displays.  Feeling rather like a kid in a sweet store (or, in these shoes, a bull in a china shop) I am fascinated with the realms of luxurious and breathtaking jewellery, footwear accessories, and ready to wear garments.

Keeping with the ethical ethos of Hello Eco Living, I honed my attention on the twenty two ethical fashion designers whose brands were on display in the Esthetica part of the exhibition.  For those of you who aren’t au fait with what Esthetica is, here is the low down:

The British Fashion Council founded Estethica, sponsored by Monsoon, five years ago to showcase the growing movement of cutting edge designers committed to working sustainably.  All Estethica designers adhere to at least one of the three Estethica principles of fair-trade/ethical practices and organic and recycled materials, and are selected for both their ethical credentials and design excellence.  The success of this initiative, the internationally strongest of its kind, is evident in its rapid growth from its first season of 13 designers to over 20 for AW11’s Esthetica Collective.

For the tenth season Estethica is forming a significant part of the exhibition at London Fashion Week at Somerset House, and the BFC is delighted that designers showcased in Estethica are now seen alongside mainstream collections in leading retailers worldwide.  Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC commented, “The Estethica initiative goes from strength to strength reflecting the fashion industry’s appetite for sustainable product and collections. The variety of collections – encompassing ready to wear, jewellery, millinery and other accessories – and the diversity of the designers’ methods of production and use of materials is truly inspiring. Estethica continues to lead the way in showcasing ethical sustainable fashion.”

Now if the thought of sustainable fashion and recycled materials conjures up images of bin bag bandeau dresses and shawls made of sweet wrappers, get that picture out of your head now, because I can assure you that the collections in the Esthetica exhibition in no way compromise on style or quality.  Plus, in an age where it is more crucial than ever to live sustainability, raising consciousness of sustainability in fashion, one of the main areas of consumerism, is vital.

Anna Orsini, one of the exhibition’s curators commented, “Everyone involved in fashion, whether high end designer or high street, needs to address the issues of ethical trade asking searching questions as to the provenance and the lifecycle content of the clothes produced and sold in the UK and globally.”

Along with Anna, the other curators of the Esthetica exhibition, Filippo Ricci and Orsola de Castro, all continue to drive Esthetica forward by bringing in new designers and supporters, ensuring eco fashion is recognised on an international scale.
Over the course of the next few days, I will be catching up with some ethical fashion designers to ask them a few questions on their products and on ethical fashion.

The Estethica exhibition is taking place in The Embankment Galleries, Level 1, at Somerset House, Strand London WC2 from Friday 18th February to Tuesday 22nd February 2011, 10.00am – 7.00pm.