The final day of London Fashion Week was upon us and I opted for a jumper by designer Gyunel Rustamova (find out here about why they made my sustainable edit) and trousers by Brick Lane designers Twins Diverse, design duo Silvio Orrico and Sonia Tauhid. You really have to pop in to their East London boutique to discover all that this independent brand has to offer, their website is very minimal, misleadingly so.
My Twins Diverse trousers were made from deadstock material - residual fabric from other fashion houses who have, to put it mildly, overestimated or over-ordered. In the USA alone, over 11 million tonnes of textiles still end up in landfills each year, and in the UK, according to a recent report by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), more than two-thirds of textile waste in Britain is sent to landfill, equating to around 1.4 million tonnes of material. Otherwise destined for the same fate, the silk fabric used to make my trousers, was instead rescued and used. Between fabric recycling and closed-loop strategies, more designers are looking for the inputs for their collections in less predictable places, including online portals for raw materials like Queen of Raw which sell, amongst other selections, deadstock materials to independent designers far and wide. Twins Diverse retail between £70 - £350.
My shoes were by the unstoppable Lucy Choi; I interviewed Lucy in the warm and sophisticated Den at St Martins Lane Hotel, (loved the tongue-in-cheek British decor). The 'Glamorously Green' hotel is my base for London Fashion Week, and the Den served as the perfect space to interview the formidable business woman whose fashion week activities included partnering with ethical designer Prophetik to provide shoes for the designer's catwalk collection at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, supporting Rise on The Runway catwalk and the British Asian Trust for the #GiveAGirlAFuture campaign, in addition to releasing a 'Wicked' Inspired collection in line with the West End Musical Phenomenon's 10th Anniversary. When asked how the brand ensures quality, Choi's personal dedication becomes clear. "When I design a collection I always keep in my mind my ethos of the 3 C's - Comfort, Craftsmanship & Character. This ensures I have the finest quality, comfort and the all important wow factor in each of my shoes." As a sample size herself, Choi tries on each style before it goes into production to ensure both comfort and quality. Moreover, to ensure that her business operates ethically, Choi only works with factories paying their staff minimum wages as a bare minimum. When it comes to material selection the brand is making a conscious effort to move away from using leather, opting not to use genuine lizard skin or crocodile skin but instead utilising painted leathers and alternative fabrics such as glittered materials in the Lucy Choi collections. All Choi packaging - including her lush paper bags - is recycled (product packaging makes up almost 45% of the trash found in landfills). Lucy Choi retails between £100 - £310.
In the evening I went with Violet & Wren with faux suede shoes by Public Desire.
I discovered the brand through Wolf & Badger, a platform for exciting independent luxury brands from the UK and beyond, and I'm glad I did. When it comes to luxury loungewear, Violet And Wren is the go to. I love their refreshing botanicals, which as they say are 'Designed in the gardens of England'. Founded by Louise Barnard and Helen Pollington, all pieces are lovingly designed with unique and hand-painted prints. The brand is committed to creating products which have longevity from a quality perspective but they also approach their design with the aim to connect with their customers on a more personal level, in the aim to create treasured products. For example, bespoke and personalised options are available for customers who enquire. Development, sampling and small production runs take place in the UK studio by a design team with some 30 years combined experience, before the range is manufactured offshore. The brand consciously runs the gamut from no-waste and manufacturing efficiency across to prudent sampling processes, and is always on the look out for ways to keep their garments commercial without compromising strong brand values. According to Barnard, "We are always looking for new processes in fabric manufacture, development techniques and garment production that can help us to become more efficient and thoughtful in what we do for the future." Violet and Wren retails between £35- £230.
My black fedora from Penmayne comes trimmed with a pleated black band and a gorgeous sloping brim - the brand retails between £200 - £450. I will not be buying any more leather shoes this year, and so I love these black faux suede 'Hailey High Heels' by Public Desire - based in Manchester, Public Desire are a global online footwear brand. My dark moss green tassel earnings were purchased from Etsy marketplace, a excellent hub for handmade pieces and craft.