sustainable fashion

Is Digital Fashion an Eco-Friendly Replacement to Fast Fashion or a Virtual Illusion?

Is Digital Fashion an Eco-Friendly Replacement to Fast Fashion or a Virtual Illusion?

Virtual fashion available from DressX. Photo: courtesy of DressX
In pure Carrie Bradshaw style of “I couldn’t help but wonder,” I have found myself recently thinking about this new “digital fashion” phenomenon and whether this means that physical clothes will eventually become irrelevant as our lives will be moving online and into metaverse platforms in virtual worlds. You only had to read the fashion press of the last few months to notice an increasing number of digital fashion releases, NFT collections, and articles studying this new phenomenon – and branding it as “sustainable.”
Our avatar versions can’t go around naked, and brands are here to solve the problem. And if you don’t have an avatar yet (like me), you will probably soon be able to stay in your pajamas for Zoom meetings (forgoing the casual leggings and dress-up top we’ve all been wearing the past two years), wearing a Gucci “shield” in the same way you can fake your environment with beautiful screens while working from bed.
I remember Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci giving a lecture at the London College of Fashion in 2017 during which one student asked him how he would reconcile Gucci’s own sustainability agenda with the company’s need to keep producing new clothes season after season. He shrugged andsaid that while he didn’t have an answer yet, surely the only way would be for Gucci to become more of a content producer and diversify its business model. Fast-forward a few years and Gucci has become one of the first brands to have a virtual world, with digital products and gaming too. It is called the Gucci Good Game. Marco was right–and looking at it through this lens, it is a genius move. If you can keep your company profitable while not producing more physical clothes (with all the consequences this implies), surely, it’s a win.
But, as you probably know by now, for the last 10 years I have been particularly invested in the harsh reality experienced by the 70 million real people currently entrapped in the fashion supply chain to meet our insatiable consumption appetite, which is fed by a multibillion profit-making fast fashion model that now is presumed as being the norm. My first question is, what does this new virtual revolution hold for these 70 million people – the garment workers who are predominantly young women? We’ve already seen the consequences a global pandemic had on them, with brands refusing to pay for placed orders and cutting subsequent bookings without any responsibility towards the workers at all. Adding this new “virtual revolution” to an already existing problem of exploitation could spell a social crisis on a scale we haven’t yet witnessed – the dystopian nightmare, which we are all pretending not to be a part of. Predicting the future is a perilous business. And I don’t have an answer for you yet. But we need to stay vigilant and not let history repeat itself. Sustainability is not only about environmental justice, but, much more importantly, social justice. We need to make sure inclusivity and equality are fundamental pillars of this revolution.
My second question is, is it also truly sustainable from an environmental point of view? What are the metrics we will use to measure this? CNN recently reported on the limited data available about the reduced impact of digital fashion, quoting a sustainability report from digital fashion startup DressX saying digital garments emit 97% less carbon than physical ones. But how did they measure this? As we know by now, data can be manipulated, and reporting can be stirred according to what a business wants you to see. DressX states on its website, “We share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, but we believe that there are ways to produce less, to produce more sustainably, and not to produce at all. At the current stage of DressX development, we aim to show that some clothes can exist only in their digital versions. Don’t shop less, shop digital fashion.” The devil is in the details and the sentences “Don’t shop less” (so continue to feed consumerism) and “At a current stage of DressX development we only sell digital fashion” (implying it may start selling real clothes in the future) set alarm bells ringing in my head.
This epoch promises plenty of disruption, but whether this is welcome depends on how we steer a course through change. The one superpower we have – and which we have the duty to use – is our action to push for the right governance and accountability. We don’t need our avatars to be better versions of ourselves.
Read Next: Dubai-Based Designer Ayesha Depala Launches Her First Physical Store of Sustainable Ready-To-Wear Pieces
Originally published in the February 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

In Conversation: Manuel Arnaut and Livia Firth Take a Deep Dive Into World of Ethical Fashion

In Conversation: Manuel Arnaut and Livia Firth Take a Deep Dive Into World of Ethical Fashion

Manuel Arnaut and Livia Firth at the screening of the Renaissance Awards movie at Expo 2020 Dubai
This January marks the beginning of my third year as sustainability editor-at-large. When Manuel Arnaut asked me to join him, I immediately said yes, full of excitement to start exploring new territories, meet new audiences, and learn new fashionscapes. I met Manuel by accident when I was in Dubai in 2019 for Chopard, the luxury jewelry and watch brand Eco-Age has worked with for many years (and proudly so, since together we achieved a 100% ethical gold supply chain in only five years) and we instantly clicked. Manuel is open and curious and adventurous – everything you want from your editor-in-chief. I was in the emirate again this past December to screen The Renaissance Awards movie at the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and we started chatting about sustainabilty and fashion, so to open 2022, I wanted to know what, if anything, had changed in Manuel’s sustainability journey. This is how the conversation went.
The Italian pavilion
Livia Firth: What does sustainable fashion mean to you and how has your journey evolved?Manuel Arnaut: One of the things that I learned through our collaboration is that sustainable fashion is not only about the ecological side, it’s also related to the way the clothes are produced, and to the people in the supply chain. I’ve also discovered sustainable fashion is full of great solutions for things that we haven’t even thought about – for instance, the floor of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is made with discarded orange peel. The world of sustainability is full of beautiful opportunities. It can be glamorous and couture and high fashion, and this is what is exciting for me now.
LF: What’s your personal style, and if I open your wardrobe today, what would I find?MA: My personal style is quite basic, I usually dress in black, so you’ll find a lot of black staples. I prefer to buy less and to buy pieces that I can wear for longer. This is something that I know is now a trend, but I’ve always gone for staples, like a black blazer, pants, and shoes; items you can wear again and again and that you can also mix and match, as I travel a lot and it just makes my packing easier.
The Italian pavilion
LF: What is the biggest challenge in sustainable fashion, do you think?MA: I think the challenges are two: one side is to push trends, and to believe in the power of sustainable brands and fashion and to investing in production so people love their clothes for longer and respect supply chains. The second challenge is explaining to our leaders and consumers the importance of making more conscious decisions. There are a lot of people around the world who end up buying fast fashion because it’s what they can afford. This is also something we need to think about. How can everyone have access to sustainable fashion? Another thing I learned from you is that a lot of people also buy fast fashion because they love to turn around their looks fast, so they consume at a higher rate. This is something we, at Vogue Arabia, need to address too, as we are part of this machine.
LF: You travel a lot for work. What have you noticed in how different countries and fashion weeks perceive sustainability?MA: I think there’s a big change in the world in general in terms of ethical fashion. But at the same time, all those promises that were made during Covid – that the shows were going to be smaller and fashion weeks were going to be fewer days – unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. I see the fashion events and shows being as big as before, if not more… What was promised during Covid is not being delivered. It would be nice to see some of the promises being honored.
The Sustainability pavilion at Expo2020 Dubai
LF: We have nine years left to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global heating to 1.5C. What do you think the role of fashion is, or how can we use fashion to educate citizens?MA: Taking into consideration that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, I think we have a big responsibility in getting to this target. So definitely, fashion needs to start by solving its overproduction problem, and continue to improve the supply chain and respecting the people in it. In terms of how we can use fashion to educate citizens, I think it’s also citizens that need to educate fashion, so I would ask everyone to be attentive to what they buy. Read the labels, get informed, and understand where the clothes are coming from, how they are produced, what they are produced with, and then make choices that will reflect in the success or not of the brand. Because unfortunately brands are driven mostly by numbers, so if we are able to give better numbers to the ones that are doing things properly, the industry will change.
LF: And with this mission in mind – to give better numbers to sustainable brands – we start 2022. Happy new year all!
Originally published in the January 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
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This Fashion Sustainability Event in Saudi Arabia Encourages Guests To Swap Designer Clothing

This Fashion Sustainability Event in Saudi Arabia Encourages Guests To Swap Designer Clothing

Photo: Courtesy of Pexels
The environmental and social cost of the fast fashion industry has multiplied over the last few decades, parching water sources and leaving marine and land ecosystems traumatized by all its carcinogenic chemicals. Counterpointing speedy consumerist shopping behaviors that account for direct and indirect involvement with the negative impacts on the environment, GFX’s famed clothing swap activation is being hosted by Fashion Commission in Riyadh for the first time, as one Fashion Futures Activations.
Setting up at the Personage concept store in Riyadh from December 11-12, the event will act as an incubator for sustainability enthusiasts in the country, offering them all the means required to contribute to the cause. Featuring 45 minute one-on-one workshops, creator stations, and educational installations, the event aims to create a well-rounded dynamic that touches base on the foundations of everyday sustainability. “The Fashion Commission is honored to host the Global Fashion Exchange (GFX), which will be taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time. The GFX Fashion Swap aims to shift the mindset of not only brands but also consumers towards sustainable consumption and encourages a more sustainable perception in the future,” said Noura Bint Faisal Al Saud, Ecosystem Integration & Program Delivery General Manager.
Photo: Instagram.com/globalfashionexchange
The in-store recycling and uplifting experience requires participants to pre-purchase their tickets and book their 2-hour time slots through TicketMix. The swap functions on the currency of tokens given upon donating a fashion item that ticks all quality boxes. The swap encourages the exchange of high-end, sustainable brands like Zimmermann, Sandro, The Kooples, Maje, Zadig & Voltaire, Isabel Marant, and All Saints to ensure the long-lasting lifespan of those items. “We are engaging Saudi consumers with sustainable consumption models for fashion. We want to show that fashion is not just about buying, and there are many other ways to satisfy customer interest to be fashionable in fun ways. Swapping in a fun environment with entertainment and putting a key focus on styling with secondhand and vintage products, builds new habits for the people. Keep products longer in use. Reduce need to produce more products,” Burak Cakmak, the CEO of Fashion Commission, says.
Read Next: Sustainable Denim to Shop Now and Wear Forever

Sustainable Denim to Shop Now and Wear Forever

Sustainable Denim to Shop Now and Wear Forever

As one of the most resource-heavy, environmentally damaging items we buy, denim gets a bad rep. Made from cotton, which is mostly grown using harmful fertilizers and pesticides and requires a lot of water to produce (and results in over-farmed land and soil erosion), the impact our denim buying habits have on the health of the planet is significant. But it’s not all bad news. Denim is also one of the hardiest and versatile materials in our wardrobes and deserves its fashion staple status. Shopped wisely and sparingly, a classic pair of jeans can (and should) transition effortlessly from season to season.
Photo: Couretsy of Elv Denim x Swarovski
Thankfully a growing number of brands have come up with a solution to satiate our love of denim while limiting their environmental impact (scroll through to shop their latest jean styles). Specializing in vintage denim, reworked into modern cuts using deadstock materials, these brands keep the focus on localized production meaning each stage of the manufacturing process takes place in a small area which, to put it simply, caps their carbon footprint.
And it’s not just jeans that are being created with a sustainable mindset. Everything from jackets to skirts and dresses is being reworked for today’s more mindful shopper. Bahraini designer Noof Al Shekar has taken it one step further, adding a capsule of shoulder, top handle, and belt bags in recycled denim to her signature luxury line, NS By Noof. We caught up with the designer to discuss her planet-friendly offering…
Photo: Courtesy of NS By Noof
Why denim? Why now?
“When I started thinking about a sustainable line I wanted to create something hip and cool but at the same time classic, to suit every age – that’s when we had the idea of recycled denim.”
It must have been a challenge to work with a material you’ve never used before.
“I started looking into materials back in 2019…I wanted to create something that was influenced by my kids and the awareness this new generation have on the environment. The challenge was to create a practical design with geometric cuts that can be worn day to night, while maintaining the brand DNA.”
Photo: Courtesy of NS By Noof
Ethical practices are certainly a big focus for the fashion industry in general right now.
“I believe there’s an awareness of the environment and how we can make the world a better place – every profession has a way to express it and this is how [the fashion industry] can help.”
Who will this collection appeal to?
“Women who like to stand out by carrying a bag that looks chic but don’t necessarily want to show off the brand. Everything from the material we use to the hand-stitching reflects the quality, yet it’s also discrete.”
Photo: Courtesy of NS By Noof
Do you think ‘trends’ are still relevant?
“There will always be trends – they keep people excited about what is coming next; but I also believe people today are more aware of their own style and how to express who they really are…this is the art of fashion.”
Read Next: 12 Clever Ways to Wear Denim Now, According to the Street Style Set

Why Science-Backed Clothing Labels are Key to Stopping the Epidemic of Greenwashing

Why Science-Backed Clothing Labels are Key to Stopping the Epidemic of Greenwashing

Photographed by William Lords
This is the month we have all been waiting for, as world leaders and organizations from all over the world met in Glasgow for the COP26 summit to decide our fate.
Why is this the only thing we should be talking about? Well, let’s start with the earth and its ecosystems, because that is where we must begin all our conversations. We are in a dual crisis: a climate and a nature crisis. As UN secretary-general António Guterres put it so well, this is code red for humanity.
Alberto Candiani, president of Candiani Denim, inspecting spools of cotton
In ecology there exists the concept of the sliding baseline. It’s a tragic term coined by the oceanographer Callum Roberts. Every generation takes their current ecological circumstances as their reality. They don’t know that they should enquire about the birds and the butterflies and the flowers that were there before but are now lost. Each generation inherits a more degraded version of nature. This speeds up. Eventually we are left with nothing.
The fashion and textile industry is an ecosystem too. It has been consistently degraded until we can’t remember how much we’ve lost. Occasionally we get glimpses, and we remember that this could and should be an ecosystem of producers, designers, and manufacturers, working within the limits of nature. We are reminded that human livelihoods and social sustainability are as important as technical plans to decarbonize. But most of the time we accept a degraded and degrading system as reality.
Make the Label Count
What are the solutions? From supporting young leaders or emerging designers to researching new business models or ways to make our clothes less polluting, while also insisting on living wages and social justice across the supply chain, each month I try to give you a glimpse of what our sustainable fashionscape could look like. And this month I would like to stress how important it is that we get educated about the clothes we wear, starting from the fibers our clothes are made of. We have long argued that people who buy fashion – I do not like the term consumers, as it is reductive – should have more information and be more strongly connected to the garments they buy. Labelling is part of preventing that slide into complacency. Done right, it could be much more. Through regenerative agriculture and better science about the production of natural fibers, we should be able to reflect this ambition with labels. Fashion doesn’t have a labelling system like food, and this is why, last month, I supported the launch of a campaign called Make the Label Count, because we really can, but only if we base all the underpinning methodology on science – real, fact-based evidence.
Kantamanto Market in Accra, Ghana, where tons of disposed fast fashion ends up
We are in danger of doing the exact opposite. Today, the pressure is on building that label on a base of misinformation and skewed science and, at this point, it would be unforgivable. It could potentially unleash billions more items made of non-biodegradable petrochemical plastic polymers onto a patchy global waste system that is already unable to cope. We must correct course, and we must do it now. We have seen poor, incomplete, and skewed science promising the world solutions before. We all remember the distorted information used in the automotive emissions scandal and in the case of green biofuels. These are not just ugly chapters, they double the workload elsewhere. It can take a generation to get back on course. We do not have the time. There is an epidemic of greenwashing in our industry. Overclaims on sustainability are damaging all of us because we will simply fail to deliver on the cuts we need to ensure a liveable planet. We need to check where our clothes are coming from, who made them, what they are made of, and if the claims are actually true. We must insist that brands do better and are more transparent with their processes.
This is what the science tells us. We don’t negotiate with the science, we don’t distort the science, we just use it to form our pathway. We need to use cutting-edge science as our mandate; innovation as our tool; and knowledge as our superpower. Remember, actual sustainability is simple. It’s just a fancy word for change. And I fundamentally believe that not only must this change come from each one of us, but that, as citizens, we must wear our superhero clothes well.
Read Next: A New Award Ceremony at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio Will Honor Young Leaders in Sustainability
Originally published on November issue of Vogue Arabia

First Look: Amal Al Mulla’s New Collection Celebrates Modern Women

First Look: Amal Al Mulla’s New Collection Celebrates Modern Women

Photo: Courtesy of Amal Al Mulla
In a time recovering from uncertainty, conscious Bahraini brand Amal Al Mulla sculpts the various paradoxes of a modern woman post-pandemic with its spring/summer 2022 collection. The latest offering from the brand takes inspiration from a powerful woman who is soft yet free, exploring her individuality and taking risks that shape her future self. Inspired by Nature’s color palette, fabrics and materials are uplifted with the brand’s fluid recast from day to night.
In an melange of earthy tones, Amal Al Mulla echoes its sustainable identity through shades of smooth cream, brown, soft ivory, olive, and some yellows, all autographed with the label’s favorite hand-pleated technique, branch gold buttons, and modern pins and gold chains. Add to that elegantly hand-stitched fresh pearls, which also come in the form of earrings that effortlessly elevate the collection.

Among the most exciting pieces from the spring/summer 2022 line-up are a creamy white pencil skirt embellished with droplets of pearls in a perfectly symmetrical mural, and wrap-around dress in subtle ivory. Despite its soft feminine detailing, there’s no missing the collection’s sharp cuts, and a special mention goes out to its structured oversized suits and abayas.
Photo: Courtesy of Amal Al Mulla
In the spirit of celebrating a modern woman, Amal Al Mulla has created a line the spotlights versatility, while keeping with the label’s signature aesthetic. This selection promises to help you push the boundaries of femininity and challenge the frontiers of what we know as classics. Check out the key pieces from the spring/summer 2022 line below.

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This Sustainable Footwear Brand Should Be On Your Radar

This Sustainable Footwear Brand Should Be On Your Radar

Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
Quietly and confidently building a name for itself, Italian footwear label Iindaco is check-listing everything that might appeal to today’s woman: a commitment to sustainability, directional design, true Italian craftsmanship. Check. Check. And check.
Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
Founded by friends, Pamela Costantini and Domitilla Rapisardi, who met in 2014 when both worked at Roberto Cavalli, Iindaco is named after the indigo color that marks the transition from day to night – a nod to the label’s focus on day-to-evening dressing. Influenced by 90s pop culture and laidback, girl-next-door effortlessness, their designs offer no-fuss silhouettes (flat and midi styles) with a cheeky twist (crystal-encrusted flame-print heels).
Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
It is, perhaps, this balance of understated elegance and ‘quirk’ that has attracted the likes of Yendry, Marta Pozzan, and Natalie Lim Suarez, in addition to regional fashion darlings Dana Hourani, Nathalie Fanji, and Lana Albeik, who are all early admirers of the label.
Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
With the launch of their new FW21 collection – a covetable offering inspired by ‘the magic of the night’ and comprising four-inch heeled pumps, three-inch heeled sling-back shoes, crystal-adorned mules, loafers, and lace-up boots crafted from Iindaco’s signature moiré silk and rendered in mustard and emerald green – the brand is eyeing a bigger chunk of the global footwear market.
Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
For the label’s founders, luxury is responsibility, so they have admirably weaved sustainability into every stage of production, from design to realization, from the materials to distribution. They even source excess fabrics and leather leftovers from Italy’s warehouses and stockists, diverting and reusing scrap materials to ultimately reduce waste. The use of certified linings in biodegradable leather, recycled and recyclable ABS heels and regenerated leather insoles are just a few of their eco-friendly commitments.
Photo: Courtesy of Iindaco
Iindaco is available from Bloomingdale’s in both Dubai and Kuwait, as well as via its own online store.
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15 Sustainable Fashion Buys for Summer

15 Sustainable Fashion Buys for Summer

As fashion’s focus continues to shift in favor of sustainability and ethical design practices, the challenge for buyers is becoming clear: What even is sustainable fashion? How do we know if pieces marketed as ‘sustainable’ are really kinder for the environment? What are the main benefits of buying from sustainable brands?
Upcycling old garments (look to Levi’s denim) and repurposing fabrics are just two ways brands can save on waste, water usage and their impact on the environment. Reformation began by selling vintage clothing out of a small Los Angeles storefront in 2009 – now the label creates its own designs and is 100% carbon neutral. To prove its commitment to the cause, they introduced RefScale, an internal lifecycle tool that can track the environmental impact that any of their creations has on the environment. Want to know how much CO2, water and waste you’ve saved by shopping a specific piece? They can tell you.
The real trailblazer in the quest for a sustainable fashion industry (well, at least as sustainable as possible while still being able to exist), is of course, Stella McCartney. Her aim? A wholesale change of operations; a new approach that will transform a linear economy – produce, consume, dispose – into a circular one which regenerates itself in diverse, non-damaging ways. Young designers like Marine Serre and Matty Bovan are already experimenting with upcycled, DIY creations but a veritable fashion system revolution would require vast monetary and planning investments from enlightened governments. McCartney is convinced it can be done if the design fuels desire.
We may not know what this summer holds for us but if a vacation is on the cards and you’re looking for one or two buys to spruce up a capsule of longtime favorites, then why not make them sustainable? We’ve rounded up 15 chic summer-ready pieces – from denim shorts to chic beach bags – by brands that live and breathe sustainability…
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Lebanese Label Azzi & Osta’s New Couture Collection is Every Fragrance-Lover’s Dream

Lebanese Label Azzi & Osta’s New Couture Collection is Every Fragrance-Lover’s Dream

Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
Lebanese designers George Azzi and Assaad Osta have unveiled their label Azzi & Osta’s fall 2021-22 haute couture collection. Deviating from their usual renowned architectural structures and solid geometries, the designers have dedicated the stunning 23-dress collection to the most abstract and volatile product in existence: perfume.
“Perfume is one of the most intimate choices a person makes; it reflects their allure and personality, their individuality – just like the notion of haute couture and how its ingredients are tailor-made specifically to the person. They go hand in hand,” the designers tell Vogue Arabia. “Perfume leaves a trail of your presence, it stimulates familiarity and emotion, and is different, whether flowery or musk, for day or night, or summer or winter. In short – it is a parallel universe, which gives another dimension of elegance.”
Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
The duo found inspiration for the collection while taking a trip to a perfume museum in the French town of Grasse, known for its long-established perfume industry. They discovered a vast universe of essences, be it osmanthus from Japan, pine needles from Canada, or sandalwood from India, drawing attention to the different territories, civilizations, talents and cultures that can intersect in a single bottle of perfume.
Osta says that jasmine was his favorite essence from the trip. “It locked a childhood memory of Lebanese breezy summer nights spent with family and loved ones. Honestly, for me, it reminds me of my grandmother,” says the designer. Meanwhile, Azzi vividly recalls the scent of bergamot in a class where he learned how to mix his own cologne. “Upon trying to guess what the essence was, the specialist said, ‘Notice how your mouth is watering; that’s because your brain subconsciously recognized already that it’s a fruit, not a flower.’ That was fascinating,” he says.
Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
So, how did the designers evoke the pervasiveness and lightness of a spray of perfume in their collection? They embroidered precious ingredients including orange blossom, peach bud, patchouli, magnolia, fig, neroli, and myrtle, that compose a typical fragrance, with subtle petals of fabric molded and colored by hand, accompanied by ribbons of tulle stitched together edge-to-edge in frills. Between one dress cut in the shape of a vase and another mimosa ball-shaped dress drawn from a cloud of tulle, the collection’s palette is delicate and light.
Three wedding dresses are the apotheosis of the collection. One of them, whose skirt is embroidered with myrtle flowers, is made of tightened velvet ribbons and speckled tulle. Another is embroidered with tuberose on Chantilly silk, under a layer of lace dotted with organza flowers and spangled with crystals, meant to be paired with a bolero of ribboned tulle. The third wedding dress is the closest to the brand’s signature sheath. Illuminated with sequins and embellished with organza feathers on the shoulders, it emerges from a veil covered with raised flowers.
Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
The designers say that although they love all their pieces from the collection, they have a soft spot for the dresses made of the natural, renewable fiber raffia: Pivoines and Grasse. “Those really took a lot of and attention, came out exactly as we imagined them and we are very happy with being able to achieve that from such a material uncommonly used on dresses,” they remark about the gowns printed in 3D with verbena and patchouli.
Pivoines. Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Ota
“Pivoines tells a story in itself, inspired from baskets pouring peonies. Both dresses take the shape of a couture silhouette. Basket made of sustainable hand woven raffia, and flowers handmade one by one by a local artisan, a craft so rare nowadays! It’s the resume of the entire collection. The 3D printed looks bring lots of joy as it’s something we’ve used for the first time in couture, and the bridal looks, the tafetta cape… All of it is beautiful, really!” they admit.
Grasse. Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
The two lovers of nature subscribe rigorously to slow fashion, producing high-quality creations that stand the test of time. Pieces are produced on-demand, mitigating surplus and ensuring that fabrics are not purchased in bulk. Wherever possible, the fashion house sources sustainable materials, repurposing both fabrics and embroideries. The brand further employs local artisans and local production, meaning that not only is carbon footprint reduced, but communities are also engaged. The packaging is minimal, and any fabric remnants are donated to emerging designers, giving them a second life.
Adding to these conscious practices, the feathers on the dresses of this collection are not feathers, and nor is the fur, to help protect wildlife species. In light of climate change, the designers feel assured that if humanity can join hands to create beauty, it can also do so to save the earth.
Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
Azzi and Osta advise aspiring designers looking to incorporate similar eco-friendly principles in their collections to have sustainability as a lifestyle and not just as a message in a collection. “Looking out for the environment is something we practice in our daily lives and in our brand since launch. It becomes a continuous quest of research and learning – as the world becomes more aware, sustainable resources are becoming more available. It’s important to not forsake the cost of protecting the environment despite it being more costly. The effect is longer and gives back to all,” they add.
Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta
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Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Futures to Host Live and Virtual Events in New York and Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Futures to Host Live and Virtual Events in New York and Riyadh

Her Highness Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud – Advisor at the Ministry of Culture’s opening address at Fashion Futures 2019 in Riyadh. Photo: Ministry of Culture
Saudi Arabia‘s flagship and first-ever dedicated fashion event, Fashion Futures, is going digital. Supporting the creation of a fashion ecosystem in the country and globally, its first event “Fashion Futures: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity & Innovation,” will take place on June 17, 2021. The initiative is taken by the Fashion Commission, which was launched by the Ministry of Culture to lead the Kingdom’s fashion sector, preserve its fashion heritage and promote local designers.
The hybrid-format event will unite leaders in the fashion industry, along with sustainability experts, conservationists, and entrepreneurs, enabling speakers and audiences globally to join through an interactive virtual platform. The program, broadcast live from New York and Riyadh, is in collaboration with Fashinnovation, a global platform focused on sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship in fashion.
Photo: Ministry of Culture
Some speakers on the panel are Susan Rockefeller, Chair & Trustee of nonprofit ocean conservation organization Oceana, and Rebecca Minkoff, designer and author of upcoming book, Fearless. Accompanying them, Oskar Metsavaht, environmental activist and Amazon guardian, and Abrima Erwiah, co-founder of African fashion house Studio 189, will discuss diversity, Sustainable Development Goals, and innovation in entrepreneurship. Fashinnovation co-founder Jordana Guimaraes will moderate the discussion in New York City, alongside TV presenter and journalist Taghrid Alhowish in Riyadh.
Fashion Commission CEO, Burak Cakmak, says that he is honored to be welcoming some of the world’s greatest business sustainability minds to discuss the most pressing issues faced today. “With no single sector untouched by these issues, virtual platforms like Fashion Futures enable conversations to transgress borders by engaging experts from all over the world in this critical dialogue,” he adds.
Photo: Ministry of Culture
Cakmak believes that Saudi Arabia can be a stellar example of how to build an innovative, sustainable, locally and culturally relevant fashion ecosystem in a country. “Through engaging with innovators across the value chain and partnering to bring education, business development, entrepreneurship and retailing experiences, Saudi Arabia will be able to transform local businesses to achieve the highest standard in their operations and branding that can be celebrated globally,” he says.
In addition to live events, the Fashion Futures platform will offer masterclasses, workshops and training opportunities.
Photo: Ministry of Culture
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