Ethical fashion runs riot with colour this London Fashion Week

29 Sep

London Fashion Week can be very exciting – seeing the first collection from a promising new designer, looking through new collections from established designers, going to shows and presentations.  So you can imagine my spirits were high when I tripped along there the first morning, looking forward to the week ahead. However, when I turned into the Courtyard at Somerset House I was met with a sea of fashionistas in black, white, grey, beige and various bland tones in between – barely a splash of colour in sight.

Had I missed some LFW uniform memo? ‘This season, you will mostly be wearing neutral tones. More than one colourful accessory will result in your immediate expulsion from London Fashion Week’. I started to feel a little glum (and somewhat out-of-place my 70s floral frock).

By the time I reached Estethica, the ethical initiative of London Fashion week, I realised I may have somewhat over-reacted and was thrilled to see so many playful designs amongst the SS12 collections. It is always wonderful chatting with the designers who are showcased in Estethica – I never fail to be excited by their innovations, whether that’s through developing genius new ways of up-cycling or in their use of amazing new eco fibres. This season didn’t disappoint and what really stuck out for me were the vibrant colours and sense of humour in so many of the collections. Quite simply, they cheered me up.

Christopher Raeburn once again demonstrates how design excellence can be applied to up-cycling to produce an uber-cool, sustainable and award-winning collection

Henrietta Ludgate’s witty 60s inspired collection utilises eco fabrics and fine tailoring – the resulting garments are designed to last over the generations


From Somewhere continued with their Speedo collaboration for ss12 and what a collection!  Formerly dull swimming costumes re-worked into cute frilly bikinis and cocktail dresses perfect for a pool party.

Also at LFW, but not part of Estethica, were a few brilliant designers whose aesthetic and ethical policies are right up my street.

Esther Porter produces accessories for men and women in London using veg-tanned leather and up-cycled materials such as discarded tents.

Lu flux creates the most colourful, original collections from locally sourced fabrics, often vintage or organic. Her LFW stand always looks magical and never fails to make me smile (and this year was such a nice antidote to all that beige!)

Kate Sheridan believes in using every last scrap and off-cut – this collection features veg tanned leather bags and jewellery imaginatively crafted from leather off-cuts (yep, those beads are made of leather!)


Another showroom which provides a platform for ethical fashion designers is Ecoluxe. Though relatively new and not officially connected to London Fashion Week, Ecoluxe takes place at the same time so the designers it showcases are exposed to as many press and buyers as possible.  I had so much fun playing with and photographing some of the designs but here’s an edited selection…

Plastic Seconds turns plastic waste into the most eye-catching accessories. A favourite of mine is the necklace fashioned from the little fish-shaped soy sauce bottles that come with sushi.

Inala’s ingenious designs are multi-functional – this jumpsuit can be worn at least four ways and is the perfect garment for anyone wishing to pack light. What’s more, the whole collection is made from eco-friendly fibre Tencel.

Bailey Tomlin’s accessories are truly exquisite (I don’t use that word often but it really does apply here). I feel in love with this gorgeous pea pod head-piece – what luck that it matched my vintage jacket perfectly!


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