Written by Sophie Winfield – Contributing Editor
The Lone Design Club continued their stint of exciting Fashion Week events with the return of their SABINNA X LDC speed networking brunch on Saturday morning. The premise of the brunch was to bring together like-minded people to discuss conscious fashion choices whilst exploring the brands that LDC has to offer and getting a sneak peek at Sabinna’s new collection – s009.
Lone Design Club market themselves as the ‘antidote to fast fashion’, showing that yes, fast fashion is problematic, but also that we need not lose hope. They believe that the structure of the fashion industry can, and should, change, and that it is possible for us to be able to buy new clothes without destroying the planet. For me, this seemed like a fantasy land that is still far away from reach, hidden behind the giant, polluting factories of high street brands, but this networking event changed that. Through being able to discuss with brand owners about their creative process, it quickly became apparent that, actually, the land I thought only existed in my dreams already exists, you just need to know where to look.
Sabinna believes that brand transparency is necessary to running a successful clothing brand. She carefully sources her fabrics and materials from within Europe and maintains strong relationships with her suppliers, visiting the production sites on a regular basis. This, for Sabinna, is just the beginning of a long journey towards creating conscious fashion. At the start of this year, the brand switched to 100% compostable packaging made from plant-based materials, and a lot of the brand’s accessories are created from off-cuts of other garments that would otherwise go to waste. As well as being honest and transparent with her behind-the-scenes processes, Sabinna does not shy away from being open about more public issues that she believes in. Whilst the collection features gorgeous knit cardigans and gingham print trousers (a popular shape that has been recycled from previous collections) Sabinna’s collection features graphic T-shirts that read ‘LOVE isn’t always FAIR but FASHION can be’ and ‘love = love’ alongside tiny drawings of both gay and straight couples. These T-shirts speak volumes about who Sabinna is and what she stands for: someone who is not afraid to profess their support for the rights of marginalised groups such as the LGBTQ community on their chest and throughout their collection is clearly not someone who wants to hide who they are or what they stand for. Furthermore, Sabinna understands that there will always be new innovations regarding sustainability – to admit that one’s brand is not perfect but is constantly scoping out new ways to be better for both it’s consumer and the environment is the level of honesty that every brand should aspire to.
Genia Mineeva brought her brand BEEN LONDON to the event. BEEN turns materials that have been put into landfill into beautiful bags. After reading about the waste produced by coffee cups, Genia immediately thought ‘I have to do something’. After taking a short course in bag making at London College of Fashion and gaining entry to Cambridge University to research sustainability, BEEN LONDON was born. The concept of the name is that every part of the product has already been something else – a constant reminder that something beautiful can be made from what other people consider to be waste.
It is language, then, and the deconstruction of it that also contributes to this shift towards sustainability. Genia’s brand name deconstructs the negative connotations of waste – something that is not useful to one person can indeed be a useful resource for another. Sabinna feels similarly about language, choosing to not only adopt a ‘see now, buy now’ strategy with her clothes, but to eventually move towards stepping away from the typical fashion cycle of showing two collections a year. This, she believes, reiterates the concept of old and new, with the ‘old’ having negative connotations whilst consumers always look for the newest item. Sabinna already deconstructs this dichotomy by repeating old shapes in new materials time and time again, showing that classic pieces truly never go out of style. It is this kind of mindset, that what is new is perhaps not what is best, that sets these designers at the forefront of the sustainable clothing movement.