Questioning Sustainable Design: Our Look at London Fashion Week

London is known for being ahead of the curve in both creativity and sustainability when it comes to fashion. Of course, that’s not everyone and some of our fave planet positive designers weren’t showing at LFW this season. These include Bethany Williams, Vin + Omi and Stella McCartney. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t still designers designing with the end in mind. Here are a few of our favorite designers from London Fashion Week.

Patrick McDowell

Model wearing Patrick McDowell on the runway London Fashion Week

If a fashion design student wants to know how to create in a planet positive way they could do worse than take cues from Patrick McDowell. McDowell is not exactly “old” himself, having graduated from Central St Martins only 5 years ago. And perhaps it’s because he’s part of this younger generation that sees their futures literally melting away with the onset of global warming that he’s dead set in not contributing to it by creating excess.

All his designs are made-to-order to eliminate waste. He also utilizes deadstock material from UK textile mills and all new materials come from a “who’s who of sustainable suppliers” according to the Sourcing Journal.

In their press statement they go into further details:
McDowell’s design philosophy remains true to a sustainable practice, working solely with recycled and sustainable materials. Collaborating with Evolved By Nature, all chrome free, naturally tanned leather pieces within the collection have a biodegradable finish made from sustainable Activated Silk™ biotechnology to ensure their quality, durability and eventual return to the earth. Fabric printing has been undertaken by Esce-tex in the UK, using sustainable printing sources and techniques on fabrics made of TENCEL™ LUXE, a botanic, biodegradable filament solution for a wide range of applications and fabric developments.

Vintage silk has been provided by the Italian mill Taroni and Scottish woven tweed by Harris Tweed Hebrides. Manteco® has provided MWool®, a material made entirely from recycled wool and is dyed without harmful chemicals. In addition to short supply chains and other sustainable business practices. Wadding has been provided by Thermore whose innovative Ecodown is made of 100% recycled fibres from post-consumer plastic bottles and is microfiber-free. CHARGEURS PCC has provided eco interlinings from its extensive S360 collection, created using sustainably-sourced and natural materials, along with their NATIVA wool paddings incorporating GRS-certified recycled and corn-based binders.

Along with this, his show took place at The Mills Fabrica in the heart of London’s Kings Cross. Both Patrick and The Mills Fabrica are aligned on their sustainability mission for the fashion industry.

Patrick’s FW 23 collection was called Cinderella Shall Go to the Football which references his childhood in Liverpool where there’s a rivalry between Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club –and some of the pieces were also made with upcycled team gear.

“Growing up as a queer kid, I’d watch Cinderella every day, and part of this is imagining what this looks like if Cinderella is at the football.” He shared with WWD. Redefining the beautiful game – McDowell works to further Queer culture in football; a historically exclusionary space to so many. Patrick reflects this in the collection by designing free of gender norms, blurring lines between princess and punter. In a time when football has never been so femme, McDowell has teamed up with The Lionesses star player Alex Greenwood, following their spectacular performance in The Euros, to embody the strong woman leading the way.

a few of our favorite looks


Priya Ahluwalia started out designing vibrant menswear inspired by her cultural heritage that includes Nigeria, India, the Carribean and England. She has since expanded into what would traditionally be considered womenswear with dresses and skirts that are equally bold.

Her inspiration was the music from her childhood which ranged from Bollywood soundtracks to Luther Vandross and ‘90s hip-hop. She continues her use of recycled and organic materials. This time around adding QR codes that tells the origin story of every piece. A level of transparency we and the rest of her fans appreciate.

a few of our favorite looks

Susan Fang

Central Saint Martins graduate Susan Fang began her career by handcrafting exquisite glassbead accessories with her mother and aunts in China. She is also known for pioneering the technique which she calls “air-weaving.” It is a process of lacing several layers of materials together in order to give the clothes a 3-dimensional look. While all of these are still part of her collection she has expanded into other garments as well –including a few children’s looks this season. The latter are perhaps due to her inspiration this season: the book Ami, Child of the Stars by Chilean author Enrique Barrios.

“It might be written for kids, but the philosophy behind the book is clear: What unites us all is love. And since it is the law of the universe, we should all make an effort to love others and be loved in return.” she said before the show.

The clothes are uncompromisingly sweet and frothy. She achieved this by weaving lace from repurpoed off-cuts and leftover ribbon, wool and yarn from previous seasons. “It was important for me to consider every material used—the aim, as always, is for nothing to be wasted.” she shared with Vogue.

a few of our favorite looks

Harris Reed

Last but certainly not least is Harry Styles’ bestie Harris Reed. When you look at the collection you might wonder how we can include it as sustainable/ecofriendly/planet positive or take your pick for whatever label. But Reed is conscientious when designing. Case in point: all of this luxurious gold lame comes from reclaimed theater curtains. And similar to McDowell these will be made-to-order.

Sustainability and Inclusivity have always been central to the young designer’s brand. But with only four collections he hasn’t been challenged yet by the idea of mass production. He is about to debut the FW collection at Nina Ricci, where at the age of 26 he has become the new Creative Director. We hope he extends inclusivity beyond gender and to the care of the planet.

a few of our favorite looks

-Katya Moorman

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