The “green” shoots of recycling have flowered in London fashion, the only international show arena to send out a continuing message about sustainability.
Esthetica was founded six years ago and grows each season at the British Fashion Council’s venue at Somerset House, under the curatorship of Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci. Ms. De Castro’s protégée this season is Liora Lassalle, winner of the “Re-Source” competition with Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
Ms. Lassalle graduated from the fashion school last summer and already has her perky, modern artisanship on sale at Yoox.com. The hot look? Garbage bags worked with denim to make a colorful and hyper-modern patchwork skirt.
Bottletop is on the label — but it says so much more. Taking recycled bottle tops and using them to add shape, structure and pops of color at the seams of its handbags, the label’s workshop in Salvador, Brazil, gives employment to women and uses profits to fund a foundation to help with health issues. The company also offers youth aid across Africa, from Malawi and Mozambique through Kenya and Rwanda.
Behind the brand, founded in 2002, are Cameron Saul and his father, Roger, who founded the Mulberry brand. The essence of the bags, as of other offerings at Esthetica, is that the products stand out as stylish, visually appealing and desirable.
Christopher Raeburn was one of the first British designers to take a worthy project and bring his collection closer each season to the idea of a fashion aesthetic. His innovations for autumn 2013 included rusty camouflage textures, inspired by old naval seaports along the English coast, and striped fabrics, using outside and inside surfaces, taken from surplus fabrics intended for Russian Breton-style military blousons.
Felted wool fabrics, made water resistant with Teflon, are another way that Mr. Raeburn brings the 21st century to existing materials.
Above all, the designer has used his talent for sourcing and creating pioneering fabrics that he makes into modern, sporty clothes with an increasing focus on accessories.
The concept of recycling is in the mind as well as in products. That was evident at the Rock Vault, the center for emerging jewelers, selected by the British jewelry giant Stephen Webster, which is sponsored by the International Palladium Board.
A watch abstracted to an object with no dial or hands or inner complications is Husam El Odeh’s way of facing the reality of the modern world, where a new generation uses mobile devices to tell the time.
On the same track are spoons, modeled on Victorian breakfast spoons, recycled as pieces of jewelry.