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Fashion fashion Other

State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury

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by: Ariana M
state of fashion  searching for the new luxury

Last month we have already discussed circular fashion, a way of manufacturing and utilising clothes and accessories in a way that will what we wear more environmentally friendly. Today, we would like to introduce you to State of Fashion 2018: Searching for the New Luxury – an exhibition that explores new techniques and technologies that aim to make fashion more sustainable.

This exhibition is currently taking place in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a country that, as we discovered in our previous article, is at the forefront of making fashion more sustainable.  It features works by established designers and fashion houses, such as G-Star Raw, Hermes and Vivienne Westwood, as well as upcoming studios like Threeasfour and Algaefabrics. This event aims to rethink what fashion is on a fundamental level and help consumers make better choices in a market that is focused on launching new things as quickly as possible.

Why New Luxury?

The exhibition explores a new definition of what luxury is – less waste and pollution, more equality, welfare and inclusiveness. According to José Teunissen, the curator of this exhibition, "The new luxury is about imagination and coming up with new ideas, and a new universe that matches better with our daily lives and values. It's about agency and taking control."

The future of sustainable fashion

State of Fashion acts as a host to multitude of projects that are focusing on various areas and aspects of fashion and we would like to introduce you to some of the most innovative and interesting ones.

First on our list is Funghi Fashion, also known as MycoTex, a project from NEFFA and one of the 5 winners of 2018 Global Change Awards. Like many of us, they were very becoming very aware of the waste that fast fashion creates and they have decided to tackle the problem at its root – quite literally. Funghi Fashion use mycelium – mushroom roots – in combination with their Body-Based modelling process to create perfectly fitting custom garments.  Unlike traditional clothing, these garments do not need to be cut and sewn and their shorter supply chain reduces water usage and eliminates need for chemical and pesticides. But best of all is the fact that after you have worn the garment, you can simply burry it in the ground and it will naturally decompose. This innovative scheme tackles many major concerns that exist in apparel production and we would love to see more designs from Funghi Fashion!

Another project that is looking to introduce new materials into the world of fashion is AlgaeFabrics. As the name suggests, they are working on developing a new type of raw textile material from algae. Algae are found in abundance in oceans and lakes and have many amazing properties – they act as a crucial food source for many species, they convert large volumes of CO2 to oxygen and help clean up the oceans by absorbing waste. However, when they grow excessively, algae can become a nuisance and have a negative impact on water quality and thus local communities. They often get removed from the lakes and burnt, but Tjeerd Veenhoven, the founder of AlgaeFabrics, sees it as a waste. Algae are rich in cellulose, which means that they have a great potential. While this project is still in development, we are sure that it has a great potential and who knows, perhaps this could become the most fashionable material in floating communities of the future?

Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato takes a different approach to sustainable fashion. Instead of inventing new materials, he is focusing on developing a new garment construction system called Unit Constructed Textile. His designs are made with panels of fabric called Units that are all connected in a way that allows them to be easily replaced. This unique system lets consumers repair their clothing with ease and make changes to the design, potentially allowing the garments to be handed down over generations.

The last company on our list, Fashion 4 Freedom calls themselves “the first socially responsible, ethical and transparent supply chain in Vietnam”. In the recent years there was a lot of controversy surrounding working conditions on many clothing factories and more companies have pledged to conduct more thorough checks of their suppliers. Unfortunately, most companies outsource their production and rely on agents to oversee that process, which makes it hard for them to have full control over day-to-day operations. Fashion 4 Freedom connects companies directly with local artisans, craft and textile villages and partnered companies without the need for middlemen. Their system allows for production of higher quality garments, preservation of many crafts, higher transparency and economic empowerment for the artisans. As the companies have more control and awareness of where and how their garments are manufactured, they will be more willing to share this with the consumers. This is a truly inspiring initiative that benefits many and it would be great to see more companies adopt this approach!

What do you think the new luxury should be? Are there any new companies in the fashion industry that you think can make a real change? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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