Thursday, 15 November 2012


“I decided I didn’t want to make a living from the people suffering at the bottom of the supply chain”

Hamnett is well known as a campaign for human rights and a political activist, using fashion and her launch of slogan t-shirts to express.
In 1989 Hamnett commissioned research on the environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry, which unearthed some appalling fact about deaths from contaminated water supplies, deaths from pesticides and poor working conditions in factories. This research ultimately made her pull out of the system and decided instead to go back to manufacturing in order to source and produce an environmentally friendly collection.
Hamnett worked directly with cotton produces, fabric weavers and garment manufactures, where she sourced organically grown cotton, trimmings and threads which enabled her to deal with all aspects of manufacture.
In 2006 Hamnett launched her online men’s and women’s wear collection under the label Katherine E Hamnett, E representing ethically and environmentally sound. The collection showcased both a wearable and durable collection.
Hamnett’s aim is to design clothes, which will be both long lasting and well made using high quality materials.

One of Hamnett’s most significant impacts was her collaboration with Tesco. She persuaded them to buy the cotton size months ahead of season and cut out wholesalers and agents. Hamnett during this project worked directly with fabric suppliers, this enabled her to produce fabrics such as a blend of organic cotton with 4% recycled polyester, this allows the fabric to be permanently pleated.

This is a campaign where Hamnett teamed up with online retailer Yooxygen to create statement “Save the Sea” 14 piece collection, combining one-piece swimsuits, bikini’s, cover-ups and beach totes.
The collection was made from sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, silk and recycled polyester. The garments where eco conscious however, still embraced 1950’s style silhouettes, and therefore didn’t loose there aesthetic qualities despite being organic.

“There is no shape, without shadow”

Sarah Ratty is the designer behind Ciel, creating hip label with sustainable fabrics and socially conscious production.
Ratty is a self-taught eco designer, and in 1990 became one of the pioneering eco designers, the group held their own alternative fashion shows. She was then offered the use of a shop space close by to London’s Liberty. Here she staged a installation which caught the attention of editors and stylists.

Ratty was also involved in an Oxfam project, where she worked with waste knits, to create new patchworks from old materials.
She also captured the attention of the fashion press such as i-D when she worked with old sleeping bags and denim these where then sold in boutiques Browns and Whistles.

In 1996 Ratty showcased her first sustainable collection at London Fashion Week, rather than using ecological fabrics Ratty worked with recycling garments due to sourcing difficulty.

I feel however, that the collection looks natural and earthy and portrays its eco processes and manufacture; unlike other designers I have looked at e.g. Noir. This for me is disappointing, as I would want a eco conscious collection, but for its aesthetic qualities to still be as important.

“I’m not going to stand here and claim to be 100% green o 100% perfect all the time”

McCartney is known for refusing to use fur when designing for Chloe, and now for her own label.
After her mother died in 1998 Stella took up her mother’s strong passion for campaigning for animal rights, by supporting PETA in they’re anti fur campaign.

In recent collaboration with Addidas, Stella produced a range of non-leather bags with Le SportSac. Despite being eco friendly the bags still echoed the function. The use of non-leather is a issue Stella is fighting to address, in the luxury fashion industry with the cult of designer bags and shoes. In her recent collections McCartney has brought back the use of leatherette.

In 2009 McCartney took sustainable fashion further and created a completely green collection exclusive to New York’s Barneys. The collection consists of oversized jackets, coat knits, shorts and other pieces that recycle fabrics and trims from pervious collections.

Stella is not only green through her apparel, but also through company operation.  All Stella McCartney stores, offices and studios in the UK are powered by Ecotricity, a company that invests the money its customers spend on electricity into clean forms of power like wind.  Stella is also a certified carbon natural company that offsets over 3000 tonnes of CO2 annually to initiatives.

For SS12, Stella launched a “eco friendly” collection of sunglasses. The collection is made from 50% natural and renewable resources, from nautral origins e.g. caster oil and citric acid. The glasses are available in a range of neutral tones, browns, greens,grays, nudes and berrys. This reflects the enviromental conciousness of the collection, whilst echoing Stella’s signature pallet.

Marks & Spencer

Stuart Rose, chief executive has developed the company an actor of environmental and ethnical issues, throughout its manufacture and operations.
M&S has been developing policies on safety and elimination harmful chemicals and dyes from its sources. With this it has progressed to develop its own factory where safety and environmental issues come first, this is something that M&S hope other brands will follow.

In 2007, as sustainable garment production was in the height of the media Rose announced a “plan A”. This was the company’s intentions, of a environmental policy over five years. The policy states;

·      To become carbon neutral company
·      Be sending nothing to landfill sites
·      Launching organic cotton, linen and wool lines
·      All polyester products, will be made from recycled plastic products

In 2011 M&S launched their first Carbon Neutral bra, forming part of the new Autograph collection. The collection (four styles of bra, three knickers, and suspenders) was manufactured at the M&S eco factory, in Sri Lanka.

The factory’s local community also benefited from this as it purchased, its carbon credit offsets, and is working with nine local farmers to plant over 6000 trees in desolate land.