THE CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY DEFINES THE WORD “WOKE” AS BEING SOCIALLY AWARE. HELPING TO TURN THAT STATE OF MIND INTO A MOVEMENT WITHIN THE FASHION CROWD: THESE NEW LAUNCHES THAT CHAMPION THE END OF CONCERNS RANGING FROM WORLD HUNGER TO ANIMAL CRUELTY . CHRISTABEL TEO REPORTS.
CAUSE: FIGHT AGAINST WORLD HUNGER
Even though the world produces enough food for everyone, stats show that 815 million folks still don’t have enough to eat. It’s the mission of humanitarian agency World Food Programme (WFP) to ﬁght this epidemic – a calling embraced by Balenciaga, which has already donated USS$250,000 (S$341,000) to the organisation’s efforts to deliver food, improve nutrition and build resilience in hunger-stricken communities in about 80 countries. This season, the brand goes a step further by creating a range of unisex merch with its ironic-chic aesthetic: items like hoodies, T-shirts, bum bags and caps ($540-$2,620) emblazoned with the slogans “Balenciaga Supports The World Food Programme” or “Saving Lives, Changing Lives”. From now till Feb 1, 2019, 10 per cent of sales from each of these WFP-branded products will go towards helping hunger-stricken parts of the world – a great cause to shop, considering how the sale of one cap alone can buy more than 200 packets of high-energy biscuits.
CAUSE: PROTECT THE RAINFOREST
Famous for her climate change agenda, Vivienne Westwood (above middle, with her husband/designer partner Andreas Kronthaler on left) has found a partner in crime to join her environmental advocacy. Come December, she will debut her collaboration with Burberry – and the ﬁrst tie-up campaign for the latter under new creative director Riccardo Tisci (right). Not much details are known about the project at press time, save for the fact that it’ll feature adaptations of Westwood’s archival pieces married with Burberry’s own heritage styles. Given Westwood’s punk leanings and Tisci’s goth-meets-street sensibilities though, the looks ought to be nothing short of radical. Sales of the collection will beneﬁt the rainforest charity Cool Earth, which ﬁghts to preserve rainforests in countries like Peru and Papua New Guinea.
CAUSE: SAVE THE ELEPHANTS
To fund the work that the Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF) is doing to stop the scourge of elephant poaching and ivory trafﬁcking, Loewe has teamed up with the Knot On My Planet initiative to raise money through sales of a special edition of its popular elephant miniature pouch. Available exclusively on its e-shop, the animal-shaped bag ($2,290) features colourful tribal beadwork by the Samburu women of northern Kenya. All proceeds go straight to the ECF.
CAUSE: STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY
The growing list of brands and retailers going fur-free captures a whole new zeitgeist in fashion. This season, luxury houses like Gucci, Givenchy and Michael Kors join others (Calvin Klein, the Armani Group, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilﬁger, to name a few) to go fur-free. Even the usually excessive Versace says it’ll join the pack come 2019. Besides being more ethical, such synthetic fur is said to be possibly superior to the real deal because it won’t rot; allows designers to be more experimental with colour, shapes and patterns; and can even insulate heat better if its knit is woven tighter. And it’s increasingly hard to tell the two apart. Givenchy, for example, took three months to replicate the appearance of couture furs for lush, glamorous chubbies inspired by ’80s archival designs. Meanwhile, Gucci has pledged allegiance to the Fur Free Alliance (an international coalition of animal protection organisations that aims to end the killing and exploitation of animals speciﬁcally for fur) and given up pelts like mink, fox, rabbit, astrakhan and kangaroo. Its alternative: “eco fur”, which is clipped, shorn off or combed from animals (read: no lives are sacriﬁced), and includes ﬂeece, sheepskin and shearling.
CAUSE: REUSE AND RECYCLE
Swiss watch brands tend to pride themselves on using the ﬁnest materials, so it comes with some surprise to hear that Baume & Mercier has debuted an off-shoot label that specialises in timepieces made wholly from recycled and upcycled ones, with nothing animal-based. Baume – which debuted in May and is available exclusively on www.baumewatches.com – offers (for now) two minimalist, industrial-tinged styles (from US$540 or S$737). The Iconic Series sports a bracelet made from 100 per cent recycled PET, while the Custom Timepiece Series lets one decide on everything from the dial size to strap (which comes in reused materials like cotton, linen and even cork), resulting in a one-of-akind watch with a whopping 2,160 permutations possible. Such ondemand production cuts down on dead stock and waste. The sustainable motto further trickles down in the delivery method, with every piece packaged in eco-friendly paper and cardboard.
CAUSE: REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINT
It’s made many special editions of the iconic 1938 suede Rainbow wedges it created for Judy Garland. Salvatore Ferragamo’s take this year: a carbon neutral version (the shoes actually have a legit ISO 14067 certiﬁcation). Dubbed the Rainbow Future, this reboot is produced in a limited edition run of 100 pieces, and holds the honour of being the brand’s ﬁrst sustainable shoe design. Just consider its specs: the hand ﬁnished platform is made of wood, the crochet uppers – organic cotton, the leather lining is ﬁnished with no CO2 emission or H2O consumption, and the sewing thread is made from recycled materials. The nearest city in which one can score a pair is Hong Kong, where it retails for HK$29,500 (S$5,120). And if that’s not enough to prove the company’s dedication to achieving zero carbon footprint, it’s teamed up with the Florence-based agroforestry ﬁrm Treedom to plant 100 orange trees on the outskirts of Catania, Sicily.