Country Roads

Helene Sandberg shoots sustainable brands in the rural paradise of West Sussex

SHIRT – JOSEPH, JACKET + TROUSERS – Filippa K
DRESS – Eduon Choi, EARRINGS – Motley x Chus Burés, BOOTS – Stylist’s Own, RING – Motley x Charlotte Garnett

L: BRA – MONICA CORDERA, BLAZER – Eudon Choi, TROUSERS – JOSEPH, BOOTS – Stylist’s Own
DRESS – Eduon Choi, EARRINGS – Motley x Chus Burés, BOOTS – Stylist’s Own, RING – Motley x Charlotte Garnett
ROLLNECK – Fillipa K, BRA + SKIRT – JOSEPH, EARRINGS – Motley x Chus Burés, SOCKS – Pringle of Scotland, BOOTS – Stylist’s Own
ROLLNECK + TROUSERS – Filippa K, JACKET – Eudon Choi
SHIRT – Filippa K, KNITTED VEST – TOAST, KILT – Vintage, SOCKS – Pringle of Scotland, BOOTS – Stylist’s Own

DRESS – JOSEPH, EARRINGS – Motley x Hannah Martin, BLAZER – DAI, TRAINERS – Adidas Originals ‘Clean Classics’, Hat – Vintage
DRESS – TOAST, LOAFERS – Stylist’s Own
KNITTED VEST – MONICA CORDERA, JACKET + SKIRT – VINTAGE, SOCKS – Pringle Of Scotland, SHOES – Stylist’s Own
SHIRT – Filippa K, KNITTED VEST – MONICA CORDERA, TROUSERS – TOAST, SOCKS – Pringle of Scotland, Shoes – Stylist’s Own
BAG – TOAST

Photography Helene Sandberg

Styling Toni Caroline at Eighteen Management

Hair and Make up Lizzie Court

Model Lorelle Rayner at Established Models

Assistant Matt Lloyd

Special thanks to the Cowdray Estate and Hector

Revolving Wardrobe

My Wardrobe HQ and Belstaff launch rental and resale offering at LFW

While most millennials have been forced to rent due to astronomical house prices – costs are 14 times higher than they were for baby boomers – many have actively chosen to rent transport and increasingly, share clothing, because of attractive costs, greater wardrobe range and the understanding that doing so is a greener way to live.

Responding to this shifting behaviour, and forecasts that the global online rental market is expected to reach a value of $2.08 Billion by 2025, luxury rental and resale fashion platform My Wardrobe HQ and British brand Belstaff have announced a partnership that will see the first luxury rental and resale offering for men.

In celebration of the launch, the duo hosted a London Fashion Week online panel talk featuring Jane Shepherdson, My Wardrobe HQ chair, Dylan Jones OBE, British Fashion Council chair and editor in chief at British GQ, James Norton, Belstaff Ambassador, Misan Harriman, Founder of What We See and Wilson Oryema, sustainability advocate.

“I had a rental epiphany a couple of years ago, when I realised it was pretty much the only thing that still allowed me to enjoy fashion without feeling guilty about the damage it was doing to the planet,” noted Shepherdson, who led the conversation. “It also gives everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of wearing a beautifully designed and exquisitely produced piece of clothing they wouldn’t normally able to afford.”

Jones, when asked now that woman have embraced rental did he think men were also ready, replied: “Regardless of what we think, these things are driven by the consumer – and if the common man is interested in something you don’t have to pay lip service, you have to react and respond in a way that suits them. They can get their media anywhere these days, and if you are going to have a relationship with someone, you have to be honest about your ambitions and also about the way that you make up your own company. They are not just ready for it, they are looking for reasons not to consume – and if you let them down, they will wander off, they will be gone.” 

Discussing the future of fashion, the potential of rental and how it helps the circularity of fashion and sustainability within the industry, the panel is available to watch in full here.

Modern Nature

How Theory creates sustainably sourced urban uniforms

For the most part, fashion has had an unnatural, mayfly lifespan. A lived object for a restrictively short while. The cyclical spin of trends, novelty and built-in-obsolescence seems to be slowing, in part because of the pandemic-enforced pause for thought. The appetite for functionality, sustainability and endurance has a new urgency, and Theory continues to meet that demand with its thoughtful, stylish, ‘conscious by design’ collections. “There is something crucial about listening to the world, its inhabitants, and understanding what is important to them, for any brand,” notes Siddhartha Shukla, Theory’s Chief Brand Officer. “It’s quite right that we are paying attention and reacting, that we have some kind of response on our impact which is distinguished and substantive, allowing us to stand on sincere ground. Why wouldn’t you want to be topical, relevant, and an active participant in a conversation that will define our lifetimes?”

It started with a pair of trousers. Former CEO of Anne Klein, Andrew Rosen, together with acclaimed Israeli fashion designer Elie Tahari, founded the company in 1997. Initially conceived as a women’s collection with a focus on innovative stretch fabric for its trousers, a men’s line shortly followed, built with the same tenets of function, fit, construction and performance. The brand quickly established itself in the contemporary market with its concept of the ‘urban uniform’, responding to the dual demands of work and play in the city that never sleeps. Headquartered in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, along with its atelier and flagship boutique, Theory can now be found all over the world, and its beginnings – cutting edge materials informing design – remain its guide for the coming decades.

Recently, Theory has thought deeply about why and how they make their clothes. “Our project started in earnest over three years ago with true momentum around textile research, which is the basics of what we do,” states Shukla. “Starting the sustainability conversation in that space made a lot of sense because what we believe we do exceptionally well, is deliver fabric quality in a garment that is hard to find elsewhere.”

Its ‘Theory For Good’ platform acts as an outline for its “commitments to the people who make our clothes, the people who wear them, and our planet.” The ultimate goal of 100% traceability for its signature fabrics by 2025 (“We’re going to focus on making less and making it better, shortening the supply chain process”) is ambitious, but achievable, given its strides in wool, cotton and linen, and in part due to collaborations with mills and suppliers leading the way in sustainable manufacturing and farming. Supplied by premium merino wool from responsible growers in Tasmania and South America, the brand also works with the eco-conscious Tollegno 1900 mill, in Italy, which in turn uses solar energy and water turbines powered by the Alpine river that runs parallel to it. All the water used in the dyeing and finishing process is purified and returned to its source, with 40% reused, thereby reducing the total water consumption. Its cotton, meanwhile, is arguably one of the softest and most durable, despite SUPIMA® making up less than 1% of the world’s cotton crop. Grown using precision agriculture (maximising output while minimising input), its Boswell farm in California regularly rotates crops to maintain the health of the land. Finally, the linen used in a majority of its pieces continues the fabrics long-standing tradition of being one of the most sustainable materials due to the fact that it provides natural soil fertilisation, produces minimal waste and needs almost no irrigation. The family-owned and operated Marini mill in Prato, Italy, first developed a stretch linen for Theory over two decades ago, and continues to supply them with the ingenious material comprised of organic linen, viscose made from cotton by-products and partially recycled elastane. Beyond their rich stories, these partnerships illustrate how seriously it has taken its operations and what it means to be a responsible business within an industry plagued by waste, and a climate crisis beset world.

Design director of menswear Martin Andersson showcased a tailoring-focus for Theory’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, which in his own words marked a “return to effortlessness”. Inspired by the clean lines of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s Tropical Modernism, the elegance and technical precision of the brilliantly blue, black and brown range was striking given that many pieces had the ease and comfort of streetwear. The newly launched Autumn/Winter collection – Nightfall – expands on this idea by channelling the silhouettes and versatility of American sportswear, addressing and expressing the varied needs of the urban, semi-nocturnal animal we’ve become. “I was interested to see our brand, known for daywear and workwear, come alive in the night,” notes Shukla. “How do we look and see, how do we move when we are illuminated by the city lights, by the moonlight? The distinction between the seasons is less and less important for menswear, so reflecting the current moment, we want to give the collections a certain ease. We’re thinking about stretch and technical fabrics in a new way, and different ways to accommodate our altered way of living generally that still retains a sharpness, a sophistication.” Outdoor apparel – suit jackets, expansive puffer coats and leather jackets – feature with a largely muted, restrained palette of grey, navy and obsidian, while the range of shirts, jumpers, t-shirts and trousers offer more natural, earthy tones of khaki green, off-white and rust. As with its previous collections, environmentally conscious fabrics act as a framework that boasts wools and feather down in recycled qualities, alongside double-face cashmere, polished leathers and natural shearling.

Ruminating on the changes of our world order due to the pandemic, Shukla states that he “hopes and prays that we will be collectively better for it. I don’t see how we can move forward without that kind of optimism, despite the difficulty of the present moment. The strong will always find ways to innovate, inspire and renew their understanding – to themselves and others – of why they exist. We’re not here to proselytise, because we are not in a position to do that. There’s lots of work left to do, but sustainability cannot be performative. It simply can’t be a marketing ploy.”

If companies are to look after the natural world, they must ensure their entire supply chain is doing so too. The short-termism that has coloured how we create and consume clothing may well be coming to an end, and one of the brand’s central propositions is that the “fashion industry must think of the future, in order to evolve.” It is a theory the industry would be wise to put into practice.

uk.theory.com

Clothing Theory AW20 throughout

Photography – Thomas Goldblum

Photography assistant – Berit Von Enoch

Creative direction and styling – Rose Forde

Styling assistant – Sheila Mendes

Grooming – Petra Sellge for The Wall Group using Ouai

Casting direction – Caroline Mauger at CM Casting

Models – William de Courcy at SUPA, Marlon Pendlebury at Wilhelmina

Production – The Production Factory  

Location provided courtesy of the Barbican Centre / www.barbican.org.uk

Photography is taken from issue 26. To buy the issue or subscribe, click here 

ATID

In development for two years, Alexander Taylor Studio’s introduction collection of technical apparel and accessories is made from leftover deadstock materials. Here, Alexander Taylor discusses that journey  

 

Having built an altogether trans-discipline design studio, working on furniture, lighting, bodycare and predominantly footwear and innovation with adidas for the past 12 years (generating and developing projects such as Primeknit and the original Parley in 2015) I am constantly driven to learn, understand and anticipate what’s coming next!

We work very closely with factories, always seeking out new opportunities to collaborate and learn, one such conversation began three years ago. In understanding how we work and seeing the impact our work was having for adidas and other clients, Gerhard Flatz at KTC invited us to visit the factory and consider how we could work together.

KTC is a world leading outdoor technical garment factory, making some of the best technical apparel for the world’s premium brands. It was such an exciting opportunity and from the outset a true meeting of minds – we just had to find a way to start something together! We had to define a direction which would make sense for us and KTC, both from a product typology perspective and a material and making perspective. We always look to challenge the existing systems and offer alternate methods. We work in a way which is very much about development streams and research, which enables concept stories and limited production opportunities.

I believe that often the biggest hurdle for presenting or developing something new is being able to engage with a physical representation of ideas. We have a working method whereby we develop models and understanding, through making. Often trial and error and research into various materials or construction solutions which regularly present innovative or novel alternatives to industry.

We discussed the initial direction together whilst touring the KTC factory around working with only the leftover inventory material or so called ‘deadstock’. Huge volumes of waste textile from the fashion industry are destined every day for landfill or incineration and rather than add to the creation of new materials, which were in essence the same as those which already existed, we decided to work with this ‘deadstock’ material, with no future, on the shelves of the factory. Limited quantities of leftover textile are all accounted for in books of material inventory and we decided to use this to make technical apparel and accessories. We do not profess to be the first to work with the concept of up-cycling, however to work directly with the factory and have the confidence and freedom to just start something together would surely take us in an interesting direction.

Over the past couple years the project evolved as we realised there was an even greater opportunity to create a platform in order to develop and illustrate ideas. A platform for research and opportunity to develop material processes, through objects, in order to enable and implement change, whilst opening the door to future collaboration and collaborators. ATID is a platform whereby we can create chapters and stories which can either exist as moments or longer running channels of creation.

The first chapter is to initiate the leftover material story and understand how this could work, an eclectic mix of technical materials crafted into garments and accessories, creating limited edition pieces, due to finite nature of the material available. From a design perspective it generates the challenge to assign materials to different solutions, for example t-shirts crafted from pocket lining material or bags from super lightweight down jacket rip-stop or overshirts from Cordura nylon. All bringing an element of desirability and spontaneity.

For future chapters we are developing footwear concepts and we’re really excited to be in a position to work with cutting edge material and biomaterial developers. We plan to collaborate with one such brand called AlgiKnit.

I am an optimist and believe we will find new systems in amongst the global re-set and ATID is both an opportunity to create and also a ‘business card’ in order to illustrate our capabilities as a studio.

@atid.uk & @alexander_taylor_studio

ATID.UK‘s online site will launch on the 4th August, where pieces will be exclusively available

Supply and Demand

Supply chain mapping company Sourcemap is at the forefront of the drive to ensure consumers know the backstory of their consumption, at unprecedented levels of detail

The naïve runaway consumerism of the latter stages of the last century is grinding to a halt. While we may be shopping and curating our lives more than ever, our erstwhile bubble-like pseudo-reality – in which products dropped, gleaming, from the heavens on to the shelves of our favourite store – is bursting. Buyers are wising up to the fact that every product has a backstory – indeed, that most products are not singular items at all, but composites of several parts, each with their own journey and ethical footprint. Slowly but surely, words like ‘traceability’ and ‘transparency’ are becoming central to the worlds of production and commerce.

Integral to this changing mood is supply chain mapping – the charting of the pathways of an item, from the sourcing of its most elementary parts through to sale. While this process can simply be a tool for optimising commercial output, it is increasingly being used by ethically minded companies to track and prove to their customer base – and to themselves – that all of their facets adhere to their brand values. Leonardo Bonanni, CEO of New York-based supply chain-mapping startup Sourcemap describes the changing tide: “Ten years ago industries often weren’t accounting for their supply chains. Now we have hundreds of thousands of farms and factories being directly accounted for by our customers, so what’s happening is tremendous in terms of real accountability that nobody thought anybody would want when I started.”

Sourcemap is distinct in the granular level of detail it allows users to upload to the interface, which is important in moving beyond rudimentary benchmarks of sustainability and ‘fair trading’, “even down to individual households and villages in producing areas, because users have been working with us for years to get that visibility,” Bonanni explains. “With that connection to the producing area, they can collect information on all the factors that influence, for example, child labour, availability of schools, water, health clinics, household incomes, work forces.” The potential real- Material supplier term benefits of enabling organisations to Textile Mill monitor factors outside of their usual narrow Distribution Centre remit are obvious, from both environmental Factory and humanitarian perspectives.

Infographic by Catalogtree. Artist’s impression of sections of a Sourcemap supply chain map for Icebreaker’s 260 Tech Long Sleeve Crewe

And increasingly, as shoppers become savvier, the effort is paying off. As Bonanni says: “More and more brands that can show to consumers they’ve taken the care to trace their products are able to command a better price.” It’s a benefit that is being mirrored throughout a supply chain, at each stage of production. “Fashion brands are leading the way on this now. Companies like VF and H&M are really going into detail; not just publishing a pdf with a list of factories, but really showing you, for a given product, the facilities where it was made.”

Now that the world finds itself gripped by a pandemic, the issue of supply disruption has never been more pertinent, finding Sourcemap providing an increasingly crucial service: “Every company now wishes they had a complete end-to-end supply chain map. It’s not just the private sector either: Cities, states and national governments are seeking to better map production and inventory so that they can make critical resources available those who need them.” 

Clearly transparency is the way forward.