CAN STYLE MEET SUSTAINABILITY? WE NOMINATE THE CREATIVES WHO ARE HELPING CHANGE ATTITUDES TOWARDS FAST FASHION, AND THE DESIGNERS AND RETAILERS ADDRESSING THE GROWING SHIFT IN CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION HABITS
IN THE PUBLIC EYE
Lorraine Keane, the Oxfam ambassador and vintage aficionado endorses a “shop local” policy. Keane is hosting Fashion Relief at RDS Dublin on March 27-28.
Aoibhéann McCann, nominated for Best Actress in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2020, has made a promise to love the clothes she already owns, “I’m trying to get away from the Instagram trend of never being seen in something twice. If I need something fancy, I try to borrow it.”
Activist Sinéad Burke has said, “What I would really love to see going forward is sustainability and accessibility coming together. Because often the decisions that are made in terms of building a more sustainable world and planet come at the cost of
RTE 2FM presenter Jennifer Zamparelli has also vowed not to buy anything new for her TV appearances, opting to rework existing outfits. “If you see me out, buying clothes, slap me.”
Presenter Angela Scanlon admits, “I love re-wearing my clothes. It’s not good for us or the planet to be endlessly buying.”
Portrait photographer and THE GLOSS contributor Doreen Kilfeather champions Irish design and shopping local. “We have such a rich history of textile skills and production. For me there’s a visceral thrill about wearing pieces that have such deep roots in who we are”.
Interior designer Róisín Lafferty admits, “I am becoming more aware of the need to choose quality over quantity. Many of my clothes are from high street brands, but I opt for good quality materials and take good care of them so they last a long time. I’m also a fan of vintage fashion and have found Amsterdam a great source of styles at reasonable prices.”
Aisling Farinella looks beyond fickle trends when it comes to her own wardrobe. “I think about everything before I buy. I can wear items for years because I take care of them.”
As creative manager and senior print designer at the Danish contemporary brand Baum und Pferdgarten, Ruth Gallagher’s awareness for living and shopping more sustainably has increased dramatically since moving to Copenhagen. She says her favourite place to shop is her mother’s wardrobe – “which is inherently sustainable. It is an archive of good taste – she has always shopped mindfully investing in Irish designers for the majority of her adult life.”
Dublin-born Carla Kelly has lived in New York for the past ten years, where she works as a consultant for fashion brands, including the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. “I am an advocate of buying less but better. I buy clothes I know will last forever and love the hunt of sourcing secondhand accessories on eBay and Etsy.”
Stylist, author, thrifting pioneer and senior fashion adviser to Oxfam, Bay Garnett has said 50 per cent of her clothes are from charity shops, where she enjoys shopping for hidden treasures. “I love taking elements of high fashion and mixing them with charity finds – it’s about these two worlds melding.”
Francie Duff and Sonia Reynolds, the duo behind Stable of Ireland, endorse Irish fabrics. “They feel great, they look beautiful, they recycle well and are biodegradable.”
Belfast-based Katie Larmour specialises in sourcing vintage designer silk scarves to turn into one-of-a-kind cushions backed in Irish linen from deadstock rolls from local mills. Her wardrobe is a mix of charity shop finds from Pretty ‘n Pink breast cancer charity clothes shop in Belfast, of which she is a patron.
Fair Trade has always been a part of Rae Feather’s ethos and she began her eponymous brand with the slogan “with simplicity there is longevity”. She writes about her thoroughly researched makers on her blog Rae’s Journal.
Richard Malone has been vocal about reducing excess in fashion. The Central Saint Martin’s alumnus is known for developing yarns (he won the Woolmark prize) and using fabrics such as Econyl, made from recycled plastic and fishing nets, in his collections.
Owner of the sustainable Four Threads company Alanagh Clegg‘s recent purchases have included cashmere by Sphere One and Italian-made brogues by Robert Clergerie, both from Emporium Kalu.
Petria Lenehan’s knitted pieces are handmade in Ireland and says, “My ideal customer is a woman who is interested in sustainability, and interested in quality. She is not led by trends.”
Scarf designer and NCAD graduate Lou Brennan was textile manager for John Rocha before starting her eponymous label in 1999. “I’ve always mixed vintage with new purchases I’ve saved up for. I now shop the luxury secondhand market too.”
At London Fashion Week, Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, co-founders of Rixo, chose to show a “see now, buy now” limited capsule collection. “Our brand DNA is about timeless pieces. We see throwaway fashion as completely alien and so do our customers. With this in mind we don’t design with specific trends or seasons in mind and encourage our customers not to impulse buy but to invest in pieces they love, will wear again and pass on.”
Richard Quinn has created a caspule collection for resell site Depop. All of the pieces are made, sourced and printed in London, where he is based, and created from end-of-roll fabrics from previous runway collections.
Carol McHugh’s new label is Joe Noe, a capsule collection ordered in limited runs. “The ultimate goal for our customers is that they wear their garments year after year: a tear doesn’t mean the life of the garment is over.”
IN THE BUSINESS OF FASHION
Kate Nolan is co-founder of Atrium in the Powerscourt Centre, which specialises in sustainable luxury clothing and accessories. “The quality of design and choice of sustainable style available now is impressive. My current favourite sustainable brands include Mother of Pearl, Mara Hoffman and Irish designers Cleo Prickett and Natalie B Coleman.”
Chloe Best and Johanna Dooley are co-founders of Dublin clothing rental service Borrower Boutique. “In an effort to reduce our consumption of fast fashion we borrow from our own company, wearing Ganni and Rotate Birger Christensen on our scouting trips to fashion weeks in London, Paris and Copenhagen.”
Founder of clothing rental service Rag Revolution, Edel Lyons wears pieces by Reformation, Ganni and Self Portrait from the sustainable service.
Elizabeth Temple of the Magee 1866 family, is an advocate of slow fashion. “I was taught to sew and knit from an early age, and each year I will make one or two statement pieces. I’ll draw inspiration from an archive of Vogue patterns and use fabrics from the family mill, or Liberty silks and prints.”
Hollie Creedon, is owner of the smart Sandymount secondhand boutique Cobbler’s Wardrobe. “Besides supporting a sustainable environment and giving items a second life, I enjoy the pure fun of shopping pre-loved – you never know what you’ll find. There’s something very satisfying about stumbling across an unexpected designer gem.”
Founder of Ireland’s largest luxury fashion resale store Siopaella, Ella de Guzman’s fashion diet consists of adding “one pre-owned item per year, or choosing to not buy that dress you know you’ll only wear once.”
Niamh Boyle and Catherine Walsh, both of The Reputations Agency (which has a dedicated corporate social responsibility division with a focus on sustainability), show that style, sustainability and business chic are not incompatible. Boyle recommends The Cobbler’s Wardrobe for pre-loved items and The Designer Room for dress rental. Walsh, the daughter of a clothing manufacturer, says “Every item of clothing in our household of ten was reused and recycled, many handmade by my talented mother and aunts and I work to keep that tradition going.”
Fashion PR Anne Nuding hates looking the same as everyone else and believes in sharing investment item costs.
PR Isabella Davey has a conscientious approach to style enhanced by living in climate-aware Denmark. “I still have T-shirts from Wild Child Vintage where I worked as a teenager.”
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