It is time to write about eco-menswear again. Don’t you think so? What about if we do it from the top of the top? We knew you would like it! That’s why we interviewed Christopher Raeburn, the king of deconstruction and reconstruction portrayed through essential outerwear such as parkas and bomber jackets. He has just present ÆOLUS, his Spring Summer 2018 collection. And here we are, speaking with him about environment, inspiration and the fashion revolution.
Christopher Raeburn studied womenswear at London’s Royal College of Art and graduated in 2006 with a collection remade from original military items. He freelanced as a pattern-cutter when he left the RCA but was lucky enough to set up his studio around the same time and everything grew organically from there…
When I was at university there was something very exciting about going out and finding original items, and then making them into something new. My fascination with military materials, utilitarian clothing and essentially functionality led to the REMADE philosophy organically.
The sustainability side of his brand has grown to become an integral part of what they do through their Remade philosophy and the 3 R’s (Remade, Reduced, Recycled). It is part of the brand DNA. I’m however quite open to the fact that building a sustainable brand was a happy accident and not my prime intention initially – he confeses us.
Aside from Christopher Raeburn, which he wears head to toe pretty much everyday, he wears a lot of denim and he has collaborated with an amazing local sustainable label for AW17 called Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. Their jeans are made here in London from selvedge organic denim – he says.
We ask him about his ethical and ecological lifestyle: I’d like to think I do my bit to live a sustainable lifestyle, from cycling wherever possible to considered choices on my shopping habits. I think we all have an obligation to do our bit. I recently moved to a brutalist block in South London and committed to renovating using only second hand furniture, which has been an interesting challenge.
About his heroes, he says: Patagonia founder Ivon Chouinard is hugely inspirational to me and I urge everyone to read his book Let My People Go Surfing. Very informative and a real eye opener.
Before the Flood, with Leonardo Di Caprio, is also a great documentary on the dangers of climate change and possible solutions – Christopher Raeburn suggests us.
What about eco and ethical shops or restaurants you love to visit in your city? – we want to know. Well, I like to visit vintage stores and charity shops in general. There are some real gems to be found if you put the time and effort into it. Hackney Walk, home of our REMADE Studio, hosts an increasing number of local workshops and classes. We recently organised a tote customization workshop with Stitch Academy (the community component of the Hackney Walk project), a great way to engage with the local community.
The SS2018 is not yet in stores, so it has not sense to present it to you all here. We wanted Christopher Raeburn to explain us more about his SS17 Launch Collection (It is on sale now, so enjoy it ;O). Embracing the spirit of adventure and braving a myriad of weather conditions, pieces reflected a certain practicality. He says the theme of this collection is space. We’ve worked with some amazing fabrics including Nomex; an industrial/technical fabric that is both fireproof and water resistant. Genuine sustainable innovation comes in the form of yarn blend comp weave, developed in collaboration with our long term brand partner Avery Dennison, and used for a high resolution print making up the seasonal moon designs.
As other fashion designers we already interviewed before, Christopher Raeburn says sourcing the right materials can be very challenging. We have done everything. Importing from Russia, the USA, Germany, Spain. We have taken things from all over the world. Wherever we can we try to source locally but it’s about the fabric, the material and the functionality first.
The rise of sustainable fashion is positive and it’s great to see so many bigger brands re-considering their approach but the truth is that much of the global fashion industry is still environmentally damaging – he thinks. Thankfully there are brilliant initiatives out there that we work with such as Fashion Revolution, who want to raise awareness and call for greater transparency in the industry.
He is worried about the overconsumption. In a world of overconsumption and fast fashion, one of the most radical thing we can do as consumers is to keep our clothes for as long as possible. We want our customers to invest in quality that is going to last them a lifetime. As part of this initiative, they offer free repairs of CR products and recently hosted their first Raeburn Repairs Event.
Keep finding good ideas and keep focused. Hard work pays off! – this is the advice Christopher Raeburn gives to other fashion designers who are working in sustainable collections.
As an example, he goes back to Patagonia. This brand recently cemented their position as one of the world’s most sustainable brand, and that’s no surprise. Founded in 1973 by climber Ivon Chouinard, the brand has grown to become a leading platform for environmentalism, ethical work practices as well as innovative and radical messaging through clever campaigns such as Don’t buy this jacket.