Estethica is the showcase at London Fashion Week for green and eco designers. Now in its third year, it promotes the eco fashion design industry as an important and integral part of fashion.
This year several of the designers were using beautiful old and vintage fabrics in interesting ways. Globe Hope, a Finnish label better known for using materials such as old hospital textiles, army wear and work outfits, had large and small handbags made out of old Finnish fabrics.
Their carry bags are made out of sail material from sailors' uniforms. The label inside each one shows where the boat has travelled. They also make a lovely sun dress from old, soft, linen tea towels.
Tamara Fogle is making handbags using antique german flour sacks from 1830 to 1930. They have the original marks and stains and holes in them. Some are repaired and you can see the stitching. They look so soft and comfortable and broken-in already. The black writing,which is different on every sack, has the farmers' name, and in some cases, the date the sack was made. Sometimes this is still legible, while in other bags it is all faded.
She imports the sacks and makes the bags in London with a Bangladeshi registered women's project. Some smaller shoulder bags are made of french mattress ticking and old vintage indian quilts. We first spotted her work in 2007, when she and her partner were making pillows and bags out of Hungarian grain sacks.
A new designer, calling her label beautiful soul, was inspired by Japanese kimono fabric. She uses vintage kimonos to make her architectural and intricate tops. Some are lined in old Indian saris, sourced from the South African city of Durban, where this is a large Indian community.
It's always nice to see the regulars who are growing bigger and better. Minna was part of the "Canadian invasion" last year (where are they this year?) and she is back again with a beautiful series of dresses. These are made out of ends and damaged stock of old Liberty prints. It's an old and respected department store known for its Arts and Crafts period design and clothing. One dress looks like a William Morris dream, the other is rather retro. Both have tulip shaped skirts. She is also making jewellery now out of lace and curtain rings and bamboo yarn.