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Reinventing the Runway

A journey through the sustainable deconstruction of haute couture


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Set against the moody candlelit crypt of Bristol’s ‘The Mount Without,’ this year’s Trashion Show brought to the Fashion Forward Society what the president, Daisy Tod, described as the ‘deconstruction of the world around us through sustainable fashion.’ Indeed, this year’s theme of ‘deconstruction’ brought to the runway refreshingly unique designs that spun materials such as yarn, wire, and plastic, into garment gold. The designers, many of which completely new to sewing and dressmaking, collectively created a showcase that reconceptualised the aesthetics of sustainable fashion, leaving everyone questioning, could the future be Trashion?

One element of the show that stood out was the influence of crochet. Stemming from the ‘granny square’ craze in Vouge circa the 1970s crochet is a style that has taken the modern fashion market by storm, inspiring this year’s designers, such as Hannah Kent, Scarlett Hurford, Jazz Silvester, and Daisy Coulson. The rich rewards of creating sustainable fashion are reflected in the time that goes into crochet and knit pieces, and Neto Ken-Amobi’s designs showcase this perfectly. Neto’s yellow and pink two-piece brightened up the runway with both a fun colour scheme and an electric presence. The lettuce trimming on the hem of the skirt and leg warmers tied the look together, as flowering crochet blossomed out of denim cuff cut-outs. Paired with matching diamonte acrylic nails (generously made for the models by @wheelsnails) and an explosion of black bows in her hair, Neto’s attention to detail didn’t go unnoticed.

Hen Parsons also brought us a new angle, transforming a simple upcycled suit with scrap fabric, curtains, safety pins, and draping pearls. This suit served kitsch madness, as the perennial patchwork theme inspired fun and colour to its classic silhouette. Pairing it with New Rock boots, the model adopted a certain swagger that complemented the inherent ‘coolness’ of this look. The use of accessories also matched the garment’s transgressive nature, as the draped tie around the model’s neck again challenged the suit's connotations of ‘business’ and the visuals of excess here served to laugh in the face of tradition.

Another article of clothing which took the runway by storm was the iconic two-piece suit, the first adaptation being Quincey Mulraine’s. This deconstruction of the traditional blazer and trouser set challenged both its silhouette and shape, as well as ideas surrounding masculinity that are inevitably associated with the suit. The jacket sleeves appeared detached from their shoulder, bound loosely together by robust wire which extended down to the floor. The model, Charlie Nasiadka, also sported a dystopian, smokey, makeup look, aligning with the androgynous nature of the design. Although perhaps unwearable outside of the runway, this piece served as a conceptual piece, challenging the myriad of ways ‘deconstruction’ can take shape.

Fitting deliciously with the deconstruction of stereotypes surrounding the suit, the same was reflected in the runway’s evening gowns. The first, designed and modelled by Amelie Peters, was created in a wedding dress style, and almost comically contrasted with a pair of chunky, black, knee-high boots. Exploding into layers and layers of handknit, white ruffles, Amelie’s storm down the runway landed as a ‘fuck you’ to the traditional conventions of the wedding gown. As I ran into the designer reapplying her lipstick before the show she explained to me the intricacies of her creative process, one key detail being her choice of materials; the skeleton of her dress was reworked from the bed sheets that held memories of her past relationship. Taking the theme of deconstruction to the next level, Amelie brilliantly regenerates a piece from the ghosts of her past, old boyfriends, and quite literally, old material!

Another design that nodded to the bridal gown was Junyard’s beautifully fragmented creation. Constructed from what was originally an old charity shop-found wedding dress, the designer broke the garment down and built it back together to create a half-classic and half-futuristic aesthetic fusion. The left side of the dress consisted of half a corset, sweeping into a floor-length skirt that swished gracefully down the runway. The design then split before us, exposing the structured bones of the dress created with steel wire. This risky and conceptual design was unlike anything I’d seen before, Junyard managed to combine the sexy and sophisticated, it was truly a feast for the eyes.

As the show reached its climax, Daisy Tod practised everything she preached at the beginning on the runway through her striking design, painstakingly crocheted out of recycled plastic and recording tape. A corset, cape, skirt, and dress all in one, this monochromatic moment stood as a touchstone to the quality and standard of the whole show. Reflecting all that it means to be sustainable, the designer managed to find value and beauty in the overlooked, leaving us all to think about new ways in which sustainable fashion can be visualised.


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