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Eco-fashion – the future choice for fashion consumers…?

Eco-fashion designer Ada Zanditon

Eco-fashion designer Ada Zanditon

I headed down to Estethica at Somerset House the other day. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the British Fashion Council’s ethical arm, supported by the London Development Agency, which showcases cutting edge designers (many of whom I also saw at London Fashion Week in September) committed to working eco sustainably.

For more information, visit

It was really interesting listening to an open-floor Q&A panel debate at lunchtime, between designers/press and the buyers/journalists attending. They talked of sustainable fashion and how attainable it was for mainstream fashion and a key question we came back to was price, particularly in the current climate. Another key question was what makes a fashion item sustainable- is it the fabric (organic?), where it was produced, how ethical the supply chain is, how many air miles it has clocked up..?

I think what came out strongly from the panel discussion was that we have entered a new era of social responsibility-both economically and politically and the philosophy behind eco-fashion or Estethica is the idea of ‘intelligent’ fashion and socially aware choices. The message was that we don’t need to purchase 10 t-shirts for £40 from Primark and throw them away in a few months time. We can buy one t-shirt, which was been made well with 100% cotton in responsible factories and we will wear it out.

I’ll be uploading some pics of the designers’ new work for spring/summer ’11 in my next post, but off the back of the debate I thought I’d grab 5 minutes with eco-fashion designer Ada Zandition to hear her thoughts on the subject…

What makes an eco-fashion designer?

“An eco-fashion designer is one that considers the impact at every stage of the design process to ensure it has minimal impact on the environment and all processes and production methods are sustainable and ethical.”

How do you ensure your clothing/fashion designs are eco-friendly?

“I consider everything from start to finish when creating a garment and I ensure that waste is kept to an absolute minimum, finding ways to use the leftover pieces. All of my clothes are manufactured in London so that I can jump on the bus or get the tube to talk face-to-face with the people producing my clothes. You need to be able to see the manufacturing conditions and know who your suppliers are. If your manufacturers are in a different country, it is difficult to monitor working conditions and as an ethical designer I need to be sure about this.”

You showed at LFW with OnOff this season (for autumn/winter ’10), what was the inspiration for that collection?

“I get all of my inspiration from the world around me. Inspiration for ‘The Pyramora’ came from a fusion of aesthetic of the Great Pyramid and the beautiful, delicate structure of the coral reefs. Pyramids are often portrayed as sombre, dark burial chambers, but were, in fact, regarded as a vehicle of resurrection to the afterlife. The collection consisted of signature pieces, including elegant cocktail dresses and avant-garde evening-wear.”

Will you be showing at LFW again next season, have you decided on the look of your collection yet?

“Yes but it’s all top secret…..”

What can we as fashion consumers do to improve our eco-credentials?

“Eco-fashion has really grown in the UK over the last few years and there are so many ethical and eco-fashion designers to choose from that fashion lovers have more choice and it is easier to find a style that you like and can see yourself wearing. The easiest way to change your style to a more ethical choice is to consider your current style and find a designer that fits as closely with this as possible.  Esthetica is founded by the British Fashion Coucil and is a collection of eco-fashion designers. This year there were 37 designers showcasing at LFW as part of the Esthetica collection – it is a great place to start looking for eco-fashion alternatives.”

You are working with ecological brand Ecover at the moment, tell us why you have decided to do that?

“One of the biggest impacts after purchase is how clothes are cared for. We live in a world where people are constantly washing their clothes more than necessary and the chemicals used in laundry products are entering the water system. That is why I have professionally used Ecover’s laundry range to look after my clothes since the start of my business in 2008. “

Do you think eco-fashion could ever become mainstream? Why/Why not?

“I would like to think that one day eco-fashion will just be called fashion as all fashion will be ethical and sustainable. Eco-fashion will hopefully become the norm and people buy the product because they want and need it. Of course, nobody can say whether this will happen or not, however people are becoming more and more aware about their fashion choices and the impact these have on the world. Over the past few years, some clothing brand’s unethical ways have been uncovered leading to changes in their practices – I think if we all make a conscious effort to question the ethical and ecological standards behind fashion, then things will change for the better. Some of the once worst offenders are now leading the way in innovation. It should be a positive inclusive change.”

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  1. MrsD says:

    I think people tend to think ethical clothes are dowdy and have no sense of style but my friend Elena Garcia makes the most beautiful , sexy and stylish clothes and she is a huge force in the ethical clothing market

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