This year's virtual #LondonFashionWeek will reflect an increased recognition of the need to embrace sustainability and other purpose-driven solutions
The next edition of London Fashion Week, taking place from 19 – 23 February, is placing itself at the forefront of sustainable and progressive fashion, describing itself as “a digital gender-neutral platform”, and achieving sustainability goals such as becoming the first major fashion week to go fur-free. It is clear that incorporating some of the many environmental, social and economic lessons learnt from the past year will be key to the future success of such fashion events.
Here at Springwise, we’ve been tracking the innovative and purpose-driven movements that have been shaping the sector for many years now. But with #LondonFashionWeek in mind, we’re taking a moment to highlight our top seven innovations that have come out of the UK in the past 12 months that have aimed to change fashion for the better.
1. A ZERO-WASTE DESIGN TOOL-KIT FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY
Royal College of Art graduate Danielle Elsener created a toolkit for more efficient pattern cutting. The project, which was recently declared the winner of the Evian-Virgil Abloh’s sustainable design programme, aims to eliminate the 15 per cent of material wasted in the production of an average garment.
The A020 system of tools (also known as DECODE) is based on a series of pattern masters that aim to help designers to approach a piece of fabric like a puzzle, in which any empty space can serve a purpose within the finished garment. Coded messages within the garments also aim to ignite a sense of discovery for the customer, as well as fostering more in-depth explorations around the idea of zero-waste design.
2. COVETED ACCESSORIES MADE FROM DISCARDED PLASTIC INFLATABLES
The plastic reuse company Wyatt and Jack turn old inflatables into colourful bags and purses. Based on the Isle of Wight, the business started with a set of old deck chair covers. Made from bouncy castle PVC, punctured beach inflatables and traditional deckchair canvas, Wyatt and Jack bags are hard-wearing and colourful. The company says that it has so far kept more than 100 tonnes of plastic out of the UK’s landfills.
3. SOCIAL CLOTHING ENTERPRISE KEEPS FACTORY JOBS LOCAL
A social enterprise created to change how we think about and consume clothes, Community Clothing produces both quality and affordable clothes whilst creating jobs and helping restore economic prosperity in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
The brand is part of an industrial revolution led by Scottish fashion designer Patrick Grant, best known for his role as a judge on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee. He also owns E Tautz, a high-fashion menswear brand, and Norton & Sons, a Savile Row tailor. Grant aims to change how clothes are made, from factories, to pay, to the clothes themselves — with a little help from artificial intelligence.
“People don’t like what they’re buying. They don’t like the fact that they know their stuff is made in awful conditions,” Grant said. “It doesn’t make people feel happy. We’re supposed to feel happy about fashion!”
4. ONLINE RESOURCE AIMS TO INCREASE DIVERSITY IN UK’S DESIGN INDUSTRY
Design Can is an online resource and campaign tool aimed at increasing diversity in the design industry. The rationale behind the campaign, launched with the help of Not Flat 3, a multi-disciplinary design collective, is that the ethnic and gender stratification of the UK’s design industry is not representative of its customers. According to the company, only 22 per cent of the design industry is female, and only 13 per cent of employees are from BAME backgrounds. Design Can provides practical resources to support diversity, such as the Mayor of London’s handbook to support diversity and monthly meet-ups for emerging designers.
5. FACE MASKS REDUCE LENS FOG FOR THOSE WEARING GLASSES
Spotted: Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to incorporate wearing face masks into our daily lives. However, the visually-impaired amongst us have discovered that wearing a mask and your glasses at the same time results in instant fogging. As a solution, London-based company Wires Glasses have partnered with Vivienne Westwood to develop a more comfortable experience. With lens fogging in mind, the collaboration focused on functionality, aesthetic and principles, creating chic masks that hang from the wearer’s glasses instead of their ears.
6. FASHION APP COLLECTS AND RESELLS UNWANTED APPAREL
Spotted: The high environmental cost of fashion is becoming more and more apparent. The fashion industry generates more than 4 per cent of the world’s waste and uses a tremendous number of resources. Startup Stuffstr has been tackling the waste issue head-on, collecting unwanted apparel and accessories from consumers and sending them on to the second-hand clothing market or for recycling, via its app.
One big difference between Stuffstr and other second-hand clothing companies is data. Stuffstr works with clothing brands to collect data on five years’ worth of products, which customers can then search, to find out what the company will pay to buy that item back.
7. AI-PLATFORM FINDS CLOTHES THAT TRULY FIT TO REDUCE FABRIC WASTE
The UK’s Metail platform’s solution to size and fit problems is designed for use by both shoppers and retailers. Metail offers two services – MeModel and Composed Photography. MeModel takes a few measurements from customers and uses its machine-learning algorithm to suggest accurate and personalised style and size recommendations.
For retailers, MeModel provides data analysis to help maximise inventory and supply chain efficiency and to help boost brand loyalty with insight into customer preferences. Composed Photography adds another service for retailers, providing a much simpler method for photographing and publishing new collections.
Written By: Holly Hamilton
19th February 2021