London Fashion Week opens with Bethany Williams, Auroboros, Qasimi and eco-responsibility
An almost entirely digital London Fashion Week opened Saturday with humanitarian and eco-responsible visions, best exemplified by Bethany Williams, the socially engaged designer who has long used recycled garments part created by prison inmates in her collections.
This season, Williams unveiled All Our Stories, a collection and show video that stemmed from her work with the East London grassroots organization, The Magpie Project, a charity supporting women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Stemming from the works of artist Melissa Kitty Jarram and referencing folklore passed from generation to generation and tales for children, the 102-second video captured the magical narrative power of childhood stories. Like Williams, Jarram also recycles creatively, using waste book covers in her illustrations to tell new stories.
Multiple generations appeared in the video, in bright amalgam sweaters, tops and dresses; or handprinted mini jackets – mums embracing tiny tots; teenagers posed in local parks; a loving couple roller-skating and even a dog in a woolen mini cappotto.
"What we noticed through the story-telling workshops was that the moral of each story always came to kindness, care and respect for one another and how these traits, whilst still important in childhood, have just as much meaning in adult life," commented Williams, who was inspired by visits to the V&A Museum of Childhood's garments archives.
One was a million miles away from archives in a morning display by Auroboros, a hyper-tech fashion marque whose motto is "create your own fashion fantasy."
Auroboros modestly called their Biomimicry Digital ready-to-wear collection video, "history in the making" and an "activation [that] redefines fashion."
To be fair to the brand, however, it was pretty remarkable how one could immerse one’s self in this innovative Augmented Reality clothing, the brand helping to whip up interest offline via billboards and fly posters across London.
The results were bio-mechanical-looking creations, blends of nature and technology, sci-fi party fantasy gear that, at its best, recalled Iris van Herpen. Not a bad couturier with whom to be compared.
A purely digital collection seen on a physical model and styled by Sita Abellan, this London fashion week first can be purchased as collection at Dress X and on the Auroboros website.
The most striking video of the opening day of the LFW’s three-day season, though, was a full-length Generation Rewear documentary. A series of portraits of young designers determinedly trying to create responsible fashion by upcycling and recycling dead stock and dumped clothes. At times it was hard to know who everyone was, but their stories of the sharing economy, up-washing, multi-functional clothes and slowing down fast fashion were revealing and inspiring.
It was left to Qasimi to provide Saturday’s most poetic moment; a sherbet and dusty desert-hued collection that referenced the colors and the shapes of the Gulf Region.
Floating tunics, elongated shirting with Nehru collars, block check suits, and a brilliant women’s trouser-suit cut with dhoti pants made for a charming moment as the hyper inclusive cast marched about an all-white modernist villa. Which turned out to be by architect Sir Raymond McGrath, and was nestled amongst a landscaped idyll, designed by Christopher Tunnard.
Very tragically, Qasimi’s founder Khalid Al Qasimi passed away in 2019, but his admirable ideas were very alive in this collection. Polished Emirati sportswear with craft and class.
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