It's the thirteenth year for Estethica, the show for London's ethical fashion industry, at London Fashion Week. This year's was the most vibrant and colourful and international in years. It was so exciting to see the work of new designers from Mexico, Sweden, Belgium and the Philippines.
From Mexico comes Carla Fernandez with her sophisticated yet artisanal clothes. She takes her inspiration from Mexican animals and Mayan masks. Because she is an art historian and a fashion designer, she can see the Mexican traditional garment from a different perspective. Many of the dresses were classic blue with patterns of Mayan sculptures and gods.
Some of the clothes have embroideries of armadillos and ajolotes, Mexican animals. Fernandez makes use of hot jungle colours in her embroideries. She incorporates traditional Mexican weaving and laces in her tops and shawls.
She also works with various artisans mainly around the Yucatan peninsula, making use of the different local techniques and modernising them for the fashion market. These burnt wooden bracelets were made with an artisan from Merida.
From dark and gloomy Sweden comes Maxjenny, who gets the most colourful award. Her wild and crazy coloured clothes have an '80's vibe to them. The raincoats are made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Her dresses are zero cut: that means that all the fabric is used and the clothes can be folded and arranged in different ways across the body.
Honestby, the Belgian label, was noted first at TreeHugger in the spring. They were given a special invitation to attend Estethica and even had their own display room. This is the label that provides detailed information about every aspect of the provenance of the article of clothing.
Some of the clothes were strikingly minimalist, in black and white and bright lemon yellow. Others were digitally printed in lovely blues and yellows.
From the Philippines is Jerome Lorico, his first time at Estethica. These stunning, body-hugging knits are made out of cotton pineapple fibre and water hyacinth. They are made on a traditional knitting machine. He studied design in Japan but his work is inspired by the Virgin of the Sun.
He also designs jewellery: this stunning necklace is made out of natural coral and metal coated with gold.
It's not a perfect fashion world, however and the clever women of the Craftivist Collective have been at Fashion Week too. They have been making and posting mini banners around the site.
The aim of the banners is
to provoke people to care about their neighbours on the other side of the global fashion industry. We can think it possible that there is a world where people are paid a fair price for their hard work, and that they are able to work in conditions where their rights are respected whilst making beautiful clothes. Surely brands can still turn a profit while aiming to make this a reality for workers around the world? Fashion needn’t have an ugly side.