Newsflash: the planet is dying.
And worse still, fashion isn’t helping. Coming in second only to oil, the apparel industry is one of the largest polluters in the entire world (which isn't exactly the chic image fashion was going for). However, with the rapid upward trajectory of fast-fashion eco brands such as Reformation (who last quarter made clothes that created 53% less waste and used 77% less water than their U.S. competitors), the down on its luck sustainable fashion industry is finally on the rise.
Let’s face it, there was once a time where environmentally ethical fashion was anything but sexy. It conjured the image of sack- like shapes, hemp - usually in an off grey-marl, and the prospect of itchy skin. Thankfully, that’s total bullshit. And nothing proves that more than Vin + Omi, a British duo pioneering a new wave of eco-contemporary luxury. In addition to using organic UK materials, such as chestnut ‘leather’ and textiles produced from river and ocean-salvaged plastics, their AW18 collection ‘We Are Not Sheep’ places a focus on the designers’ work with synthetic wool – as well as sending a political note to the industry at large.
Gone are the traditional notions of woollen knits, replaced instead with conceptual tops and tunics in coral, cream and powder puff shades. To look at they are reminiscent of the depleted barrier reefs or of a sucker-clad tentacle so often tragically wrapped around a discarded Pepsi bottle that’s found it way out to sea. Digital prints, featuring the crest of a ram, repeat the message of individuality over and over across colour-punched separates, bags for life and scoop-neck midi dresses, before giving way to floor-grazing maxi pinafores.
No - kill Llama and rare breed sheep fleece is also incorporated into the show across innovative headpieces, using hair collected from smallholders who clip their pets annually while allowing them a full natural lifespan. Away from the collection namesake, technicolour prints examine the world through a microscopic lens with layered leaves, represented at a vivid, almost cellular level, showing the beauty that is truly at stake.
From the invitation, to the signature print, to the literal toy sheep that accessorized the pockets of several key looks, the message is simple, loud and clear. We are not sheep. We must be the change and find our conscience – sooner rather than later. The planet depends on it.