Joe Komodo & K T Brown
Hippy-chic has gone Haute couture this season, with ethical fashion taking over the runways; and it's no surprise, given the growing interest in the trend amongst both designers and consumers. Inspirational design team, K T Brown blend contemporary, international textile directions with traditional Sri Lankan designs to inject a boutique atmosphere into the Southern Asian fashion industry. K T Brown shy away from the mass consumption mindset and instead, tend to the individual by offering them the chance to have their garments exclusively designed for them, personally. Their Spring 2011 collection is unmistakably fashion-conscious whilst preserving traditional Asian methods of design. The clothes are cleverly constructed from uncut squares and circles that are gathered into an intriguing design. This customary method of production maximises material use, reducing the amount of waste. This fantastic 'pant dress' from the Spring 2011 runway show is a delicious concoction of silky fabrics, luxurious drapery and ruches in all the right places. A ribbon waist-tie accents the dress perfectly, creating a soft, feminine silhouette. For a more affordable and wearable interpretation of sustainable fashion, look to established ethical designer, Joe Komodo who brought back more than cultural trinkets from his backpacking ventures during the 1980s. Returning from his travels more lost than found and standing at the professional crossroads, Joe Komodo began his career selling souvenirs from the various places he had visited in Camden. In 1988 he took a different route and began producing his own fashion line, Komodo, that is currently celebrating twenty-three years of lucrative business. The story of Komodo is a typical rags to riches tale, starting as an innovative idea niggling away at the mind of a talented creative and developing into an international fashion brand, pioneering eco-friendly production and fair trading in the mainstream fashion market. Joe Komodo works by the philosophy that it is a privilege for civilisation to dress with style, but it is the responsibility of the fashion design team to make this style sustainable and socially considerate. His 'organic, hempy, handmade' garments are a beautiful collaboration between fashion-forwardness and eco-responsibility and available to the mainstream audience at an affordable price. Take for example his Fairtrade, KERA Tunic dress (below left) made totally from sustainable material, rayon. This lightweight LBD is ideal for a cool, Summer/Spring look while the cut-out embroidery detail adds some sophisticated detail. Joe Komodo understands there is a stereotypical view that ethical fashion comes in dull colour palettes and drab designs, which, he aims to combat with his vibrant Komodo line. With his close relationship between family-run factories in Nepal, India and Bali, stemming from his youthful adventures, Joe Komodo is a key figure within the fair trade debate. All of his production team are paid fairly and are content within their work life. So much so, one of the factories in Kathmandu, that Joe works very closely with, can proudly boast their Social Accountability, SA8000 Award for exceptional work environment standards. Komodo is "an east-west collaboration that is good for both sides ticking both the fashion-forward and ecologically sensitive box. Take a look at the ZOE dress (above right) which is a sassy, nighttime alternative to the KERA tunic. The plunging neckline and intricate shoulder detailing leave no doubt in our mind that ethical fashion has grown up! Joe Komodo has aspirations that organic fashion will, one day, catch up with the popularity of organic food and we do too. Think twice about your Spring wardrobe this year and take a visit to fashion buying event of the year, Pure London, this August where many more eco-designers such as Joe Komodo and K T Brown will be showcasing their designs.