Five climate-conscious fashion designers showcase at COP26

Fashion Open Studio, in collaboration with the British Council, offered a series of digital and hybrid events in response to the topics of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021. (COP26). Designers from around the world have opened up their studios to showcase their responses to COP26’s themes of Adaptation, Resilience, and Nature. Here am going to discuss five countries from five different continents.

Rahemur Rahman, Bangladesh***

The fashion label of Rahemur Rahman is redefining what it means to be “made in Bangladesh.” Reinterpreting and retelling stories of South Asian identities through design, print, and weaving. Every design decision is based on how it will decay and disintegrate on the soil after it is discarded. Each of the brand’s garments also contains a tiny seed that will eventually grow into a tree. Rahman uses the traditional technique of natural dye to create sustainable and ethically manufactured textiles, bringing textiles from the subcontinent to an international audience.

SINDISO KHUMALO, SOUTH AFRICA

Sindiso Khumalo is a South African textile designer located in Cape Town. She worked for Sir David Adjaye in London after studying architecture at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on black women’s portrayals from the turn of the twentieth century through the 1980s. Each piece of clothing offers a tale about Africa, women, and women’s empowerment. She began with orders of 40 meters six years ago and has risen to 1,000 meters this year. She collaborates with NGOs and small workshops in South Africa and Burkina Faso to produce distinctive handwoven and hand-embroidered textiles.

HUNER, TURKEY***

Huner is an Istanbul-based accessories firm that makes sturdy bags and accessories out of repurposed sails. Although the underlying material for sailcloth is carbon fiber with a plastic coating, this material may be transformed into bags that can be reused many times. Huner is dedicated to finding a long-term application for a unique waste stream. Sails that have been withdrawn from the sea are converted into bags and given to new owners. Hüner Aldemir discusses the importance of upcycling for sustainability and slow fashion.

GARCIA BELLO, ARGENTINA***

Garcia Bello, founded by Juliana Garcia Bello, conducted a workshop in which guests learned about the upcycling brand’s garment donation scheme. To create its locally manufactured designs, the firm combines waste fabrics, given hand-me-downs, and old or abandoned clothing with raw, biodegradable cotton. Two types of zero-waste designs are included in the pattern design, allowing them to utilise current secondhand clothing as a source of raw material. Each component is gender-neutral, and its size adapts to various body types. This enables them to produce goods that are pleasant, ageless, and long-lasting while also having a low environmental impact.

TOTON, INDONESIA***

Toton is an Indonesian denim company launched in 2012 by Toton Januar, a Parsons New School alumnus, and his girlfriend Haryo Baltar. The brand began working with salvaged and recycled denim in 2017 to produce a line composed solely of materials discovered in their home and studio. Toton has used waste materials exclusively for its denim pieces in every collection since then, with an average consumption of denim waste of 150 m3 to 200 m3 every month.