Sustainability in fashion has been evolving for years and this past week we have seen haute couture designers using sustainable materials to create this season’s iconic designs. Various designers took the initiative and made it a top priority to ensure that their creations were 100% sustainable and closer to closing the loop on sustainable fashion. Haute Couture designers are by definition more sustainable because they are not mass producing their creations, however many of these designers are looking to take their sustainability goals a step further.
Iris Van Herpen is a Haute Couture designer that is focusing on working with architects and scientists to develop new, completely sustainable textiles. In her Fall 2019-2020 Collection, she worked with Wind Sculptor Anthony Howe to create a kinetic dress that is activated by the wind, changing shape as it moves down the runway. These advances in technology have allowed couturiers to get more experimental and creative in their sustainable designs. Van Herpen understands that her couture pieces won’t end up in storefronts, but she hopes to inspire other designers to focus on creating sustainable fabrics. “Couture in its heyday set the tone in fashion. With my sustainable #couture I want to inspire girls out there to experiment with their wardrobes and with vintage clothes; to teach them to enhance their personalities and be conscious about buying clothes.”
While some designers such as Van Herpen are focused on creating eco-conscious fabrics, other designers such as Xuan-Thu Nguyen, founder of the label Xuan, are focused on using vintage fabrics to create new couture designs. This season she launched a new label called 1/Off, that solely uses vintage pieces to create upcycled designs. She reinforces that sustainability can make sense and be beautiful, “We shouldn’t just throw materials away. It’s still beautiful so why not use it?”
Haute Couture is expensive and most of the time inaccessible, that being said it is thrilling to see these incredible designers work with vintage fabrics to create beautiful pieces. While creating a new fabric may seem like a daunting task, reimagining vintage fabrics is something we can all do and currently are doing every time we buy a pre-loved item. We all can unleash our inner Haute Couture designer and reimagine our own vintage finds.