Sustainable Reality. Collina Strada AW19

It’s the first time I’m writing about Hillary Taymour’s brand, Collina Strada. And I guess it’s not the last time you will hear about this New York-based brand here. I was tempted to browse through her show, when I saw one of her models carry a baby on shoulders in a very bold, yellow floral turtleneck styled with watercolour pants on Man Repeller’s Instagram stories. But that’s just a glimpse of Taymour’s joyous, tie-dyed, reality-imitating theme for autumn-winter 2019. The show started off  with a “mini TED Talk,” as Hillary referred to it, given by environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. He spoke at length about protecting life and Mother Earth while models (and the baby!) came down the runway. Collina Strada’s designer used 75 percent deadstock fabric made into trousers and tops in psychedelic hand-painted prints and a daisy motif. In addition to those reused materials, Taymour also partnered with 4ocean to utilize beads the organization makes with recycled waste. These were used in straps of the dresses. What else suggested Collina Strada’s pursuit for sustainability? Making eco-ware cool. Refillable cups, lunch boxes and thermoses replaced totes and clutches. Yes!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Collector. Bode AW19

It’s official: I want to wear Bode for the rest of my life. Taking home one of the two CFDA runner-up prizes in 2018 let Emily Bode expand her truly amazing menswear brand. But still, she keeps it true to her slow fashion philosophy. Bode is actually the only brand I’m looking forward to each season during the sleepy men’s New York fashion week. She knows what the boys want, plus, the designer is praised for her sustainable practices and focus on beautifully curated craftsmanship. The autumn-winter 2019 collection is dedicated to all the collectors, who just love gathering paraphernalia (basically, me). The band of long-haired boys played soft rock tunes during the presentation, while the venue (a garage/warehouse) was filled with tour posters and hand-picked vintage furniture. Bode can make wonders out of anything.  PVC raincoats embedded with pennies and milk bottle caps. Velvet suiting made out of patchwork, each piece completely different. Hand-illustrated corduroy jackets. By styling those unique clothes with fluffy mittens, Himalayan caps and furry baboosh slippers, the overall mood is somewhere between a chic nomad and a cozy guy with a soft spot for handicraft. Big yes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Chopova Lowena

Meet Chopova Lowena, one of the most fascinating, emerging brands in London. Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena‘s Central Saint Martins MA graduate collection began with them looking at Bulgaria’s mountain dwellers, particularly the women, and the way they dressed. There, they found all the contrasting elements they felt so intrigued with, like intricate handmade folk costumes worn with secondhand western sneakers and sunglasses. The same spirit of new and old, rare and mainstream, was reflected in their autumn-winter 2018 look-book shot by Charlotte Wales (with whom the designers worked on Kukeri – Chopova Lowena, a photographic portfolio focusing on Bulgarian culture and the traditional fur-clad masked Kukeri).The label is already known for its harmonious juxtapositions, subtly combining modernity and nostalgia, luxury and kitsch, craftsmanship and humour. Skin-tight layers of brightly printed mesh are paired with their signature Bulgarian pleats in wool and nylon. Big, punk-ish belts double as mini-skirts underneath delicate harnesses made from metal hardware – very Vivienne-Westwood-gone-ethnic. Chopova Lowena has an anthropological approach to design, observing traditional customs and revisiting them through a contemporary lens. Their design ethos stems from a desire to work with niche and forgotten techniques, and to collaborate with craftsmen in small Eastern European and English communities. By working with artisans, they aim to preserve disappearing crafts – that is quite a t to praise in today’s fashion industry. Take a look at the designers’ works, from 2017 and 2018, below.

Chopova Lowena’s latest offering is actually a mini-collection of three, hand-knitted sweaters. With this project, which launched on their website just now, the Emma and Laura “sought to take this one step further by attempting to create knitwear with the sole purpose of highlighting the manufacturing processes behind it”, as Another puts it. The process behind the sweaters spanned across borders. The works began with wool from Yorkshire mills, which was then knitted into the pieces by three skilled craftswomen from a village in Bulgaria’s remote mountain region. The knits look more than lovely – it’s visible that they’re warm and will serve for years, years to come.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Photos by Charlotte Wales and Laura Lowena.

Zazi Vintage in Berlin

Finally managed to visit Zazi Vintage in its Mitte showroom in Berlin (Max-Beer-Straße 31)! In case you’ve missed the post I’ve written a while ago on this incredible initiative, here’s your Monday read!

So, you will thank me later for telling you about Zazi Vintage. Although Jeanne Zizi Margot de Kroon‘s label is based in Berlin, the Dutch entrepreneur has a global vision to share. She quitted modelling industry after her great disillusion with the fashion world’s unethical approach towards sweat-shop production and decided to oppose chain stores’ and big companies’ continous exploitation of female workers. With the founder’s focus on sustainability and women empowerment, Zazi Vintage respects and embraces traditional clothe-making, using rejected fabrics and old materials. The brand’s seasonless pieces are made by local women from distant places, like Tajikistan or Afghanistan. From the most intricately embroidered Suzani coats from Tajikistan to Ikat woven dresses made by Saheli women, these pieces aren’t just precious and one-of-a-kind additions to a wardrobe. Zazi Vintage, with support of Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development, helps girls fund education and continue their incredible work.

Learn more about Zazi Vintage on their site – click here. By the way, those coats with shearling lining are here to keep you warm the entire winter season.

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.