When I first created the concept of Moda 360, I wanted to develop a platform that would welcome both ethical and mainstream designers. I’ve worked with ethical designers for many years now, and at the beginning of the movement, these designers wanted to be known for their commitment to fair trade and ecological principles. As the ethical fashion movement continued, designers sought to be embraced as fashion designers first, then noticed for their ethical principles – you can’t change an industry unless you are part of it.
I’ve watched the growth of this sector with great interest and pride. Many of these designers have become more than colleagues and clients, they are friends who share a vision for a better world. I planned the inaugural Los Angeles Moda 360 event for Earth Month, a time when attention would be on ecology and sustainability, hoping this would encourage ethical designers to participate. I was overwhelmed by the response and impressed with the work these designers are doing.
House of Tammam
Lucy Tammam of House of Tammam has been a longtime colleague and friend. She consistently creates high quality, 100% vegan and fair trade couture designs. I love her aesthetic, she brings the glamour of 30’s and 40’s Hollywood to her 21st century designs. Her pieces were a highlight of the runway shows, with a wonderful bias cut gown with the signature Tammam peacock appliqued to the bodice, and a little black dress beautifully set off with an organza appliqued bolero jacket. Simple, elegant red carpet style, perfect for the BAFTAs, where many of her previous creations have been spotted.
Lucy is not just a talented designer who adheres to the highest ethical standards. She tirelessly pursues the ethical fashion mission, expanding her work to helping fashion designers source ethical fabrics, and developing new resources. Her latest project In sericulture (silk production) is to expand the manufacture and use of eri silk, a “non-violent” silk. This silk is produced by a genus of silkworm that exits the cocoon by one end, not destroying the cocoon and allowing for an unbroken filament. This type of silk will produce the finer types of silk fabric without the destruction of silk worms.
Juan Pablo Martinez is a newcomer to ethical fashion, but caught onto the movement quickly and now
Juan Pablo Martinez
runs full steam ahead. As a designer, his credentials are impeccable, studying in his native Colombia and continuing his education in Milan before working going to Paris to work at the Atelier Chardon
Savard, and with Christian Lacroix at his Prêt-à-Porter studio. He spent many years designing and making custom men’s suits and his impeccable tailoring reflects that. His first collection took the concept of menswear and brought the tailoring and fit to womenswear with great jackets and pants.
The collection he showed at Moda 360 rocked the runway with avant garde silhouettes accented with zipper tape. The all black collection surprised with bright yellow lining and accents to the pieces. Juan Pablo never disappoints with his exciting and exquisitely executed clothing that is very affordable.
Juan Pablo stretches his ethical credentials by exploring fair trade artisanal materials and production. He supports the native Colombian artisan community by commissioning knitwear pieces to add to his collection. He is active in the creation and development of more ethical resources in the supply chain, and champions the work of his fellow citizens around the world.
Andes Made is another longtime colleague. Based in France and Bolivia, the company offers luxury alpaca and llama accessories, and recently began offering sweaters in their collection. The pieces are deceptively simple, but the artisans in Bolivia create intricate knit designs and patterns elevating the scarves and shawls to artistic and cultural
expressions. Andes Made has evolved their business into one that is 100% organic and fair trade, from the farming of the alpacas and llamas to the final production of the collection. The collection is primarily produced in the natural colors of the fiber, soft
browns and greys as well as black, but pieces are available in a wide variety of colors to please any palette. Andes Made also works with other design companies to produce private label collections.
Australian ethical fashion company Pure Pod is the largest, dedicated sustainable lifestyle brand
in Australia, and a company I have had on my radar for a number of years. I first encountered the company at an event sponsored by the Australian government and trade organizations in New York and was impressed with the collection that addressed lifestyle options with ethics. Designer Kelli Donovan developed a fashion brand focusing on high quality, wearability and comfortable
fit. The company enjoys a loyal fan base at home and has recently introduced their collection to US retailers. Moda 360 showed the high fashion side of Pure Pod, with their runway presentation expressing the indigenous culture, motifs and style of the continent. Kelli Donovan and her partner Sean Watson work extensively to educate consumers about the benefits of eco fashion, for the planet and for our health. The company has expanded into childrenswear with Dirtgirlworld, a collection made for children to “get grubby!”
Design companies adopting ethical practices were encouraged in their
efforts at Moda 360. Hungarian designer Kinga Földi, founder of Baharat, is a costumer and high end designer, creating commissioned works, but she pursues sustainability by using the scraps from her costumes and couture to fashion intricate silk jewelry. Each leaf is individually cut and laminated and then strung with the silk colors
forming an iridescent bracelet or necklace. Moonlight jewelry designs Victorian inspired jewelry from recycled sterling silver, and more modern styles with recycled silver, lead-free crystals and reclaimed pearls and beads. Newcomer Michelle Paganini, designer of Paganoonoo, creates whimsical clothing from upcycled shirts, giving discarded clothing a new life for work or casual wear, and Moda 360 was proud to be the runway premiere of this work. Michelle’s runway look was an adorable baby doll dress, and she showed a more sophisticated aesthetic in the outfit she wore to the event. Paganoonoo is a wonderful mix of color, pattern and texture in each piece. I look forward to following Michelle and see where she takes her collection. Talk Design presented a jewelry
collection made from recycled optical components – prisms – that not only amazed the audience with their beauty, but also the refraction and reflection of light as the pieces made their way down the runway. Designer Machelle Nettles was intrigued by the discarded prisms, and her ever-curious mind and industrial design background came together to create jewelry that is beautiful and unique – and adds a touch of “geek-chic,” with its scientific and technical elements. What began as a few simple designs has grown into a well-crafted collection of jewelry that will suit anyone’s style. Lara Akinsanya
designs her L’Shandi collection with fair trade fabrics from her native
Nigeria. The bright, ethnic patterns and colors are transformed by western silhouettes into day, cocktail and evening dresses and bring a joyful vibe to any occasion, from work to after five. I am always surprised when models put on Lara’s dresses, no matter the unique look of each woman, there is a dress that comes to life and draws attention to the woman wearing it. Lara’s commitment to bettering lives with fashion extends beyond the production of her collection – she organizes an annual Runway Moms for a Cause each spring in Washington D.C., with the proceeds benefiting a special charity every year.
Lozena International is a gorgeous collection of luxury sportswear made from ecological fabric and
rescued designer dead stock. Sisters Viktoria and Katherine share the vision of creating high fashion apparel and one-of-a-kind designs using the highest quality designer fabrics and working with artisan companies as suppliers and manufacturers. The designs are deceptively simple, with tailoring not only elevating the construction to an art form, but also incorporating tucks and folds that enhance both the silhouette of the garment and the body. They have a great sense of style, knowing what their customers want and producing limited edition and unique looks that fill every wish list.
Beau Monde Organics is a quiet company making a big splash in the accessories market. Designer Stephanie Gale prints original artwork on 100% GOTS organic cotton voile, for naturally silky-soft scarves, and printed in earth-safe pigments. Colors are heat-set, eliminating chemicals and rinse water and
Beau Monde Organics
finished with efficiently comfortable ‘tagless’ labels. The scarves have a low impact on the Earth, and the prints reflect the Zen philosophy of the company. Every scarf is reversible and is available in a variety of styles and lengths to complement any outfit.
The designers at Moda 360 represented the spectrum of ethical commitment. From seasoned manufacturers to newcomers on the scene, the breadth of principles observed by the talented creators is serious encouragement for the industry. There is no excuse for business to continue as usual with designers consistently proving that sustainable fashion is on trend, stylish, well-crafted and affordable. Moda 360 looks forward to Los Angeles in April 2016 bringing many more creative artists together to show the best of art, fashion and ethics in new and exciting runway presentations and exhibits.
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