‘TWAS a dark, cold, December night in London. Streets were lined with workers quickly scuffling to get home, all dressed in various black-on-black ensembles.
But, as I stepped into the Marylebone venue and settled down to view the AIU (American InterContinental University) Fashion Show, I was treated to a runway flowing with draped white fabrics, celestial splashes of bright yellow and ingenious re-workings of old garments. All of which were paraded around the room atop bare feet.
Such defiant optimism and refreshing attitude was what brought this work by the students of the American InterContinental University London to life.
‘Upcycle’. Not just recycling, upcycling. Taking something old and fashioning it into something new; giving it that burst of new life. This concept of renewal was central to this forward-looking show. A tension between old materials and a futuristic, industrial vision gave an exciting dynamic to the designs. In the audience, we were continually surprised by each look that came down the runway; outfits were consistently thought-provoking and refreshing.
In their own words, the students aimed to ‘use waste materials or useless products to create garments of better quality or greater environmental value.’ Recycling was used in the designs with exceptional ingenuity, with one menswear designer re-working leather from a sofa into sleeves.
Perhaps the most admirable element of the show was the fact that despite its emphasis on recycling (sorry, upcycling) and fashioning items with this ‘greater environmental value’, there was not an ounce of preaching to be found. More often than not, fashion with a ‘green agenda’ can be a little too worthy and nauseating for its own good, but this was thankfully not the case for the AIU.
Is this what the future holds for the marriage between fashion and recycling? If everything is as stimulating and exciting as it was at the AIU fashion show, then I jolly hope so…