It’s 2018. Time to transform the way we get dressed. The more use we get out of a garment, the better, and the more secondhand clothing we buy, the less brand-new stuff we’ll need to produce. Yes, that is clear… we have to go on a closet cleanse to buy less and wear more. But sometimes we want to buy something new, new, new! And that is also good, when we make a eco-conscious purchase.
During the upcoming Berlin Fashion Week the exhibiting labels at Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show Berlin (Kraftwerk, 16-18 January) will show that fabrics and leather are not the only materials suitable to make fashion. No, no, no… Today we can buy sneakers made from stone, blouses made from plastic bottles,trousers made from car seats, clutches made from pineapple leather… or T-shirt prints using sunlight.
When it comes to stone shoes, most people think of the notorious and infamous concrete shoes from film classics such as “The Godfather”. The stone trainers from the innovative Munich shoe label nat-2 by designer Sebastian Thies are far more light-footed and stylish. Influenced by the style of the graffiti, street and board sport culture of the early 90s and the technically inspired 80s, nat-2 are keen to experiment with innovative materials. Nat-2 has teamed up with Roxxlyn from Berlin to produce exclusive natural stone accessories for their sneaker collection made from stone. This involves shale being made soft, light and flexible in an elaborate procedure and processed into genuine unique pieces by a family-run factory in Italy according to the principles of fair production. In addition to stone, the label also processes wood, corn, cork and glass into shoes.
Other beautiful example is Jan `N June. This company from Hamburg proves that colourless plastic bottles can be turned into silky shimmering blouses. For their minimalist collections, the two founders use a number of materials including recycled polyester, which is made from plastic waste such as PET bottles. The bottles are first shredded and melted down. The mass is then pressed through ultra-thin nozzles to create new fibres. All these garments, also cool and feminine, are certified according to the Global Recycling Standard (GRS).
The South Korean upcycling label Re:Code frees used clothing and textiles from their original purpose and redefines them as part of limited collections. For its Industrial Collection, the label transforms the soft covers of headrests in cars or discarded airbags into puristic tops, sweaters, trousers and accessories. Discontinued military tents, harnesses and camouflage clothing are incorporated into vintage items in the Military Collection. Even small elements such as buttons, zips and care labels find a new purpose in the form of cool details. Re:Code regards itself as a company with a sense of social responsibility and works specifically with young designers and socially disadvantaged people.
And this is not all. There are companies that produce T-shirts using sunshine. Instead of placing them under a heavy printing press, the Portuguese label Light Factory produces its T-shirts using sunshine. The combination of light-sensitive ecological colour and sunlight are a natural way to create cool prints. This involves the slow fashion label doing nothing more than developing photos directly on textiles. The photographer Maria da Conceicao Pires is behind the label. The T-shirts, dresses and home accessories pay homage to their homeland of Portugal and incorporate typical motifs and patterns.
To end, we have to say the pineapple is “the new must”. Yes, it is not a joke! Instead of the sweet fruit, however, it is the leaves of the pineapple plant, a by-product of harvesting, that end up being used in the bags of the Mallorcan label Maravillas Bags. Before the leaves are turned into chic bags, they are first broken down into fibres from which a form of non-woven fabric is created. Just like leather, this is water-repellent, supple and tear-resistant. This vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to leather is called piñatex. If you don’t want to have to do without leather, Maravillas Bags also offer bags and accessories that have been tanned with vegetable products made from roots, bark or oak or olive tree leaves instead of the traditional and somewhat harmful substances.
So, are you ready to break the fashion rules down in 2018? The two events Greenshowroom & Ethical Fashion Show Berlin will be presenting new sustainable fashion collections from 16 to 18 January 2018. The shows have a new and very central location and move to Kraftwerk Berlin, an amazing building, piece of Berlin’s industrial history.