Vin + Omi’s Spring 2020 show ‘Sting” kicked off with a rallying cry over the speakers: ”You can screw each other but stop fucking the planet; Screw yourselves but stop fucking the planet,”
The Savoy ballroom laid bare the fashion duo’s latest collection that captures the energy behind the new movement towards environmentalism. The opening looks in stark whites reminded one of ice bergs floating in the service, cropped imperial Japanese flags reminiscent of 80s new wave bands.
These post-punk inspired looks were followed by slashed necklines, assymetrical hemlines and deconstructed denim – giving the collection an unmistakable club culture bent.
These looks were balanced by more classic silhouettes and clean lines of the evening finale gown. But the showstoppers were the felted, sculptural separates, that used new textile the design duo have been experimenting with – Nettles taken from Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate.
“He suggested that we take the large amount of nettle that he strims annually, and experiment further, so we did,” they added.
With the help of Oxford Brookes university students – under the supervision of head gardener Debs Goodenough – thousands of nettles were gathered from Prince Charles’ gardens at Highgrove, located near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, England.
Vin + Omi employed the traditional method of making woven material from nettles, which involves stripping the nettles of their leaves, rhetting them on grass – exposing the material to moisture to induce partial rotting – and then separating the fibre.
The duo developed a new eco-friendly method of processing the fibre, by way of “mercerisation”, which gently strips the nettle of its browny green hue, lightening the fibres to a cream colour.
Finally, it’s important to note the gender-bending model choices and the diversity of the bodies on the catwalk. Vin+Omni are in their spiritual home where post-modern aesthetics, club culture energy and sustainable experimentation fuse together for an impressive show.
Christine de Leon