London Fashion Week launches with Ethical Catwalk Shows and a Sustainable Clothing Action Plan

Noir Catwalk AW09 photo

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A great marker of how the UK fashion industry regards the ethical fashion movement is the seasonal reaction to the Estethica exhibition, which showcases ethical and eco labels. While Estethica is the centre of TreeHugger's sartorial world, for other fashion reporters and buyers it has been seen as an annex that is all too easily by passed. But we're delighted to see that this season ethical fashion is the centre of attention. London Fashion Week was launched on Friday with a film introduction to Estethica and a catwalk show from ethical label Noir. Click through for more images from their stunning collection...Noir in The Telegraph
While unfortunately TreeHugger wasn't able to secure a front row seat for the Noir show, luckily fashion luminaries such as Hilary Alexander were there to tell us what they thought. Writing for The Telegraph Hilary described the collection:

"Directional pieces in leather, stretch wool, satin and lamé, which involved minimal seaming. Raw-edge, leather shirt-dresses were wrapped around the body and belted; black leather sleeves became an "add-on" to sleeveless dresses in midnight-blue or pewter satin. Spirograph-print tunics were bloused with wide belts or worn with skinny leggings in a mix of stretch and wool. Best were Noir's billowing, hardly-seamed-or-stitched-at-all, long toga-robes, in black or ink-blue silk satin, caught on shoulder or hip with a few gathers, which streamed behind the models like windsocks."

Noir Catwalk AW09 photo

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Sustainable Clothing Action Plan
Lucy Siegle, writing for The Guardian, highlighted the speech given by Government minister Lord Hunt, at the launch of London Fashion Week, announcing Defra's Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.

"Government departments don't normally vie with the likes of Matthew Williamson on the catwalk. So this is new territory and conjures up disturbing visions of runway shows featuring ill-dressed ministers. But unless Lord Hunt, minister for sustainability, wears something truly spectacular, it'll be a straightforward but significant announcement about government and industry working together to combat throwaway fashion."

Developing awareness of sustainable clothing
Hilary Alexander also mentioned the action plan which is "backed by 300 different organisations, including major high street brands, such as Marks & Spencer...Tesco, Sainsbury and Oxfam, as well as eco-chic labels such as Adili, Continental and Fairtrade. The action plan is committed to expanding the development and awareness of sustainable clothing from textiles — such as organic and Fairtrade cottons, and bamboo and nettle fibres — right through to the charity shop, where unwanted clothing can be resold or recycled."

No doubt Noir's eco-glamour contrasted strangely with Lord Hunt's eco-substance, but it's fantastic to see not only ethical labels such as Noir being given on-schedule catwalk shows for the first time, but also the Government and mainstream industry taking ethical fashion seriously.

Summer Rayne Oakes + Prophetik's Catwalk
Later on Friday evening TreeHugger was able to join the very upbeat ethical fashion crew at Summer Rayne Oakes's Style, Naturally book launch and Prophetik's catwalk show in west London. Both Lucy Siegle and Orsola de Castro, curator of Estethica, attended and were full of excitement about this successful day for ethical fashion. Orsola said she had never seen the Estethica exhibition so packed with people and she was delighted that almost every designer was talking about their work to someone.

Let's hope all this attention for Estethica translates directly into sales so that the UK ethical fashion industry can push through the credit crunch and demonstrate the future of the fashion industry.

More on London Fashion Week:
4 New Designers to Watch at London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week: Fabulous Ethical Knits
London Fashion Week: Ciel SS09 is Bold with Beautiful Prints
Clever Patterns Cut Waste Out Of Fashion
London Fashion Week: Accessories

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