The Panoptic is back at fashion week this Spring Summer 20’ season reviewing the latest trends in textile technologies – highlighting several designers pushing the boundaries of sustainable and ethical fashion with the ‘Positive Fashion’ exhibition taking over showrooms. 

Ethical fashion is always at the heart of today’s debate and the industry is addressing this need by featuring an increasing number of designers who pay close attention to where they source textile materials. Luna del Pinal, for example, collaborated with expert weavers from Guatemala to create their debut collection inspired by the jungle in Latin America. Patrick Mcdowell included QR codes on his clothing labels for the wearer to learn about who made the garment and how (nota bene: by wind power and mills running vertically to reduce carbon footprint) – thus highlighting the importance of customer-to-product traceability. Upcycling was also a strong feature of his work with a jacket from his previous collection turned into trousers, shoes and a bag for this SS20 collection. The ÖÖ night collection by graduate Janislav Solovjoc was tailored by digital pattern cutting using Lectra and CLO software to reduce waste on pattern paper.

Runway and presentation silhouettes embraced the female body with designers pushing for more skin reveal to accentuate the female body. Nensi Dojaka utilised lingerie techniques to create her SS20 collection featuring spaghetti straps and miniskirts made of lightweight chiffon. The coupling of fluidity and airiness created was also found on the catwalk with Charlotte Knowles’ Halterneck bikinis and Supriya Lele’s sheer finishes. Four designers from Hong Kong were placed in the spotlight as the new Hong Kong Design Renaissance Foundation (DRF) opened LFW with strong influences from the skyscraper urban jungle.

Erika Maish produced garments made-to-measure using 3D printing and recycled materials in order to challenge what people wear and create thought-provoking pieces on the future of garment construction. The use of novel materials for textiles was prevalent as designer Cecily Ophelia featured walnut skin with matembe seeds and nsimbi shells as charcoal headpiece finish. Electronic circuit boards served as prime material for Lylie’s pieces – one of few jewellery designers showcasing this season. Finally, horsehair was used as a key material for Azura Lovisa’s SS20 collection inspired by the Swedish midnight sun. The horsehair can only produce about 3 metres of fabric a day but is extremely durable and strong. The horsehair is crafted from horse race donations – the remaining garments are made of sustainable linens, cottons, and Thai silk sourced from women farmers in Southeast Asia. 

SS20 designers are clearly drawing inspiration from a plethora of stimuli addressing the major issues of the industry at hand – with ‘slow’ fashion now replacing the fast. 

Cover image of Jamie Wei Huang show by photographer Emmi Hyyppa

Robin is a PhD student in Aerospace Materials at the University of Oxford. He has previously completed an MEng in Aerospace Materials at Imperial College London and an IROP at the MIT in Boston. Robin is a strongly interdisciplinary individual, having previously graduated from the French baccalaureate in Hong Kong, majoring in the sciences, the humanities and the fine arts at the same time: Robin believes that engineers work best when collaborating with artists, and vice versa. Outside academia, Robin teaches pole fitness & dance, as well as numerous aerial arts including silks, hoop and trapeze. Robin has also previously…

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