In a time where fashion’s biggest names are facing cultural ignorance and racism accusations, it was so refreshing to see a completely different side of the industry. A couple of Saturdays ago, in the Hackney Attic, 10 designers got together to showcase their latest (or first) collections. Not only was it a celebration of all things fashion and art, it was also an opportunity to raise awareness for the rare Angelman Syndrome. After the presentations I had the chance to interview some of these young designers.
What is Angelman Syndrome? This is a question I had to ask myself when I got sent the invitation. I soon found out that it is a complex disorder that mainly affects the nervous system. People diagnosed with this syndrome often experience a delay in development, intellectual disabilities, speech impairment and problems with movement and balance.
Although there is no cure, Angelman Syndrome can be treated with anti-epileptic medicine to control seizures. Physiotherapy might also be useful to improve posture and balance and to prevent permanent stiffing which may occur later in life. As well a communication therapy to help improve non-verbal communication like sign language and using visual aids. The life expectancy, fortunately, is more or less the same as those not diagnosed with the syndrome.
A beautiful mixture of beginning and established designers, that each had such individuality to their collections. From sustainability, mental health and tropical fun, it was all covered in this fashion-awareness event.
Sarah’s latest collection called Tokyo is, as the name indicates, inspired by the orient. The patterns she used were absolutely stunning. The colours even more so, with the use of deep reds that made for such elegant designs. Most of the designs in this collection are extremely wearable yet each have a touch of couture that differentiates her designs from the high street.
Amy Sweaton interview
Fashion with a cause, as Amy’s collection is made to raise awareness for mental health. I though it was so interesting to see how she brought the internal monsters alive by giving them colours, textures and shapes. I had the chance to have a quick chat with Amy about her collection:
Savannah: What inspired you to make your collection?
Amy: I’m very interested in mental health awareness, so along with my dissertation I focused on trying to show how mental health in film is usually portrayed as horror films as opposed to serious things. In addition to that, I looked into schizophrenia and how I could show it in a more positive way so people can understand it.
Savannah: I loved that some of your designs seemed to have a harness, what do they symbolise?
Amy: Yes, so a lot of what I used are hard textures that are laced up. There’s a lot going on. I was trying to make people understand how it feels to have internal battles.
Savannah: How long have you been working on this collection?
Amy: Mostly during my graduate year, so in the first semester we designed and then in the second semester we created.
Savannah: What fabrics did you mostly use for this collection?
Amy: I like making my own fabric, the main black fabric I use is made from bin bags. I melted them together to make texture. Some of the other textures are PVC with yarn sown into it to make it flow together. I like being a bit creative.
Savannah: For your next collection, will mental health be a recurring theme?
Amy: I might incorporate mental health again. However, I don’t want to keep focusing on that because I also want to make collections that people can enjoy without having to think too much about it.
All the way from Barbados, Laura presented her latest collection in the heart of Hackney. It was a beautiful ensemble of feminine silhouettes, each with lovely bright colours that make you want to hop on the next flight to the islands. Her collection was mostly inspired by her religion, which was portrayed in the whites and colourful patterns.
Samantha Shaw – Today Yesterday Tomorrow Clothing
Samantha’s collection was all denim and perfect for summer! There wasn’t a single item that I wouldn’t wear, as I do love a bit of denim every now and then. Because she added berets to some looks as finishing touches, the collection had a little Parisian vibe about it. City chic meets casual. I loved it!
Fashion with a conscious. Phoebe created this sustainable collection with an aim to improve the environment. I had a chance to sit down with her to discuss materials used and how we can all make more conscious fashion decisions:
Savannah: What sparked your interest in sustainable fashion?
Phoebe: I got into sustainability during my A levels, after watching documentaries like Cowspiracy about food etc. I tried to take that with me to university to continue exploring it.
Savannah: Is this your first collection?
Phoebe: I have been working on this collection since September. I haven’t actually finished this one yet, I am halfway through mine. That’s why I only have three outfits to present today, they aren’t finished yet but I hope to finish the collection soon.
Savannah: Where did you find your materials?
Phoebe: I shop in London, I got some mohairs as I want it all to be natural. So that it biodegrades afterwards, along with the wools. You can just throw these materials in the compost bin if you wanted to.
Savannah: What are your next steps? This presentation only had male models, are you planning on designing women’s wear as well?
Phoebe: The first few years at uni I have always made things for men. Without giving it too much thought really. However, I often say that my designs are quite unisex if not more suitable for women. Especially because of the bright colours that I used, women are more prone to wearing them than men. This also adds into the sustainability factor, if your items can be worn by everyone they will be used a lot more before being disposed of.
Savannah: Do you have any tips on how to become a sustainable fashion consumer?
Phoebe: Everything I am wearing now I got from charity shops! I’ve always wanted to go to those vintage fairs with the kilo deals, but I’m never around for them! I don’t think I’ve ordered anything online for about a year now because of all the plastic packaging.
Thank you so much Joanna for inviting me to this beautiful cause, I enjoyed it very much and am so grateful that I get to help raise awareness for the Angelman Syndrome.
Lots of love,