As the fashion industry continues to struggle to reinvent itself amidst the current climate crisis, some of the most pioneering designers are going above and beyond to carve out a new, more sustainable path that will allow us to invest in beautiful, considered pieces that don’t cost the earth. From the announcement of Chloé’s new artisan-led range to Stella McCartney’s latest vegan leather alternative, these are the new sustainable fashion launches you need to know about.
As the fashion world’s most sustainably-minded luxury designer, there were big expectations when Gabriela Hearst took over the reins at Chloé, and she hasn’t disappointed. The French fashion house recently announced the creation of Chloé Craft, a new label-within-a-label that will house the brand’s ever-expanding range of products handcrafted by independent artisans, each of which will now be embossed with a spiral symbol to mark them out from the rest of the collection.
First showcased in Hearst’s second runway collection for the maison, the new range of pieces celebrates social entrepreneurship by using skilful techniques that cannot be mimicked by machinery. Dresses are adorned with metal talismans sourced from dead-stock jewellery, stripes are hand-painted on cashmere in various shades of vegetable-based dye and found seashells have been hand-woven into necklaces made with Chloé fabrics from previous seasons. The result is an innately low impact line that seeks to pioneer new levels of transparency in the industry.
Stella McCartney’s Mushrooms are the Future campaign
For this year’s summer campaign, Stella McCartney has taken a psychedelic trip into nature, drawing inspiration from and celebrating the humble mushroom. The campaign – which was shot by legendary duo Mert and Marcus at the Marqueyssac Gardens in the South of France – stars supermodel and activist Natalia Vodianova to tell the “interwoven story of mushrooms and humanity.”
The SS 2022 collection was inspired by the transformative and transcendental qualities of mushrooms, as seen in the Fantastic Fungi documentary, and McCartney has long been a devotee of vegan leathers – her latest innovation is the Frayme Mylo. Crafted from vegan mycelium, the underground root system of fungi, the bag debuted at the summer 2022 runway show and became the first ever luxury bag to be crafted from the bio-based leather alternative. “If we want to save all our skins from the consequences of the climate and biodiversity crises, we need to stop fashion’s use of animal leather and furs,” says McCartney. “Mushrooms present a vegan alternative that can be grown regeneratively, renewably and quickly. How can you not be obsessed with these fantastic fungi?”
Gabriela Hearst’s artisanal Bolivian bags
The Uruguay-born designer is no stranger to an eye-catching collaboration. For her spring 2022 collection, Hearst partnered with Navajo textile artists Naiomi Glasses and TahNibaa Naataanii on woven swatches inset on dresses and trench coats, as a nod to the craftsmanship of Indigenous cultures. Now she has teamed up with Bolivian artisans on a range of colourful handcrafted crocheted bags, designed in a bid to champion slow fashion.
For the project, Hearst has partnered with the non-profit organisation Madres & Artesanas Tex, a group of small businesses led by Bolivian women that are dedicated to the production of high-quality handmade fabrics. The collection reimagines two of her signature styles: the Nina and the Demi. Both of the structured, top-handle bags have been created in a technicolour hand-crocheted cashmere, with each one taking the artisan roughly three weeks to complete.
Lily Cole x Oyuna Cashmere
Environmentalist and model Lily Cole has teamed up with conscious cashmere specialist Oyuna Tserendorj on a capsule collection that celebrates the very start of the cashmere supply chain: the nomadic goat herders. Launched to coincide with this year’s Earth Day, the ‘Nomad’ capsule collection features nine key styles, each of which fuses bright hues and architectural silhouettes with Mongolian cashmere, with each of the pieces being made in the country. All of the proceeds from the collection will go to the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, a UK-based non-profit working to save the cashmere industry in Mongolia – where half of the herders are women – through responsible sourcing.
“When I was writing my book, Who Cares Wins, I looked into nomadic cultures, because all of human history went from being nomadic to being settled,” says Cole of the project. “We can now carve pieces of land and make legal papers to say this is mine, this is yours, so there’s very few places now in the world that can be truly nomadic. This is why Oyuna’s work and this project spoke to me, and why we wanted to create a collection together to celebrate the nomadic herders who make our clothes”.