When it comes to creating a collection, there is never a set formula for Christopher Raeburn. Speaking at The Shwop Lab last night, the British designer explained how he starts with an idea of the type of garment he wishes to create, but âoften things tend to design themselvesâ, as so much is dependant on the fabric he is working from, and its original function.
âRemember the four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and Raeburnâ
-Florence Kane, US Vogue
Christopher was extremely modest about his own work. However, the reality is since he burst onto the scene in 2008, Raeburn has been a force to be reckoned with, creating garments that are not only innovative; but functional, sustainable, and at times, down right radical.
His fastidious attention to detail and inert ethical stance have won him many high profile admirers, including Blake Lively and Victoria Beckham (who recently tweeted a picture of herself with his inflatable squirrel installation made from off-cut fabric).
The designer (and intrepid fabric forager) creates his garments by completely deconstructing old fabrics and reworking them to make something new, and has famously incorporated everything from dead stock parachutes to Nomex into his collections. Hearing Christopher speak about his journey from young graduate to British Fashion Award winner was fascinating. He was open, humble and passionate about creating high-quality clothes whilst recycling where he could.
Last night was not only a rare opportunity to learn more about the man behind the designs, but also to discuss the challenges the fashion and retail industry face in creating more ethical and sustainable clothing. The question and answer session brought to light some interesting issues relating to the challenges of incorporating sustainability into design. We talked about what we envisioned for the future of ethical design, the logistics of creating sustainable clothing, and how to measure a garmentâs sustainable ranking.
By 2020 M&S is hoping to ensure every product they sell in store has something sustainable about it. This may seem like a small start, but considering the size of the company and the length of the supply chain M&S manages, this is aÂ massive step forward. When I think about turning the world of fashion and retail into a fully sustainable industry the task seems so daunting, but it is practical changes such as this which give me a warm feeling about the future.
- Tanya Kalyan, online fashion assistantÂ at Oxfam