Copenhagen Fashion Week kicks off today and rumour has it that two hot names on the ethical fashion circuit are showcasing their S/S14 collections. Danish-born David Andersen and the Faroese brand, Barbara i Gongini, also based in Denmark, are our tip for the brands to watch.
Gongini, who graduated in 1996 from the Danish Design School ‘Institute of Unica Design’, brings us an avant-garde, high-end Nordic collection that is based on a “conceptual approach to the process, aimed at both a feminine and masculine audience”. Gongini’s design process is focused not just on quality and artistic responsibility, a timeless chic and a self-declared “minimalist DNA”, but also on the principle of sustainability.
Her collections are androgynous, futuristic and simplistic with subtle intricacies. High-technology fabrics and other ethically friendly materials – such as artificial silk, hand-knit, recycled polyester, organic cotton and cashmere – feature repeatedly. Organic leather and exclusive fur are also used but these products follow animal welfare conventions.
David Andersen was awarded ‘Best Costume Designer’ at Glasgow School of Art, from where he graduated in 2003. He has since emerged as a fashion designer for both genders, although his men’s collection is most prominent on the commercial scene, and employs his passion for architecture, music and museums to design couture and ready-to-wear collections.
Checking out his androgynous clothing – for which he received ‘The Golden Fur Pin’, an annual design competition hosted by Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house, in 2007 – it’s easy to see that Andersen enjoys experimenting with different shapes and textures. However, like Gongini, he also pays great attention to the environment and sustainability, using recycled and biodegradable fabrics in many of his designs.
He works with new materials such as paper made from rock – a fully sustainable and biodegradable product which, when left in direct sunlight for more than six months, will crack and crumble like eggshell. He is also currently exhibiting a handmade wedding dress created from feathers at the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen, as well as a 100% sustainable and ecological culture dress at the Science Museum in London.