LA Fashion Week didn’t disappoint. I was impressed with show organizers and the designers for pushing the envelope on sustainability, diversity and inclusion. There were 20 designers from around the world unveiling their collections after a depressing, near fashion-less, year during the pandemic. LA is the red carpet capital of the world so it was no surprise that many designers optimistically celebrated returning to normal with bright, colorful, joyous, red carpet worthy attire. It’s time to get out of those sweats and dress up again. My favorite designers at LAFW take sustainability seriously.
It was such a pleasure to meet Cierra Boyd. I felt an instant bond. First of all let’s just talk about her outfit…. Her jacket was on “fire”. She wore a black bra top and biker shorts with some badass thigh high cowboy boots.
When you first look at Boyd’s signature corsets and bodysuits you would never guess they are made of old recycled sneakers. I’m not kidding, look below.
Boyd has been upcycling to create homemade, bold, and flamboyant designs since 2017. She started making clothes out of recycled materials while she was in college at Ohio University, studying retail merchandising. Initially a business major, Boyd taught herself to sew and design, ultimately changing her major to fashion. After graduation, she decided she wanted to create a brand of her own. She was inspired to call her company Frisk Me Good while listening to Rihanna’s hit song “Rockstar,” with the lyrics “make sure you frisk me real good”. At first she said it was just a “cute name” but the name actually represents her dreams coming to fruition.
Boyd’s famous sneaker corset landed her on the fashion map. The idea came from a fashion contest she entered after graduation in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. One of the challenges was to make a garment with no fabric. She’d been watching an episode of VICE about a man who made gas masks out of shoes. That inspired her to try to make a top out of her dad’s old sneakers. It wasn’t working out as a top so she changed her design to a corset and fell in love. It was futuristic yet totally vintage.
Boyd ended up selling that sneaker corset on her Depop store, with other customers clamoring for more. It became so popular, it was featured in Nylon magazine––and the rest is history. She now sells her high-end goods on her own website. This FMG Rose Gold Corset Top made from a size 18 Nike sneaker is being sold for $525.
Boyd’s designs have been worn by celebrities including Slick Woods and Dream Doll, to name a few.
Boyd’s brand FRISKMEGOOD now promotes itself as a one-stop-shop for sustainable streetwear and editorial pieces. Boyd is dedicated to changing the way we consume fashion. She is creating sustainable high fashion pieces in small batches while proving sustainability can be stylish. I’m going to be interviewing Cierra on my podcast, eLEXYfy, The Place for Fashion soon. So you’ll learn more about Cierra soon.
Designer Oliver Tolentino is a red carpet celebrity go-to who has won Sustainable Eco Fashion Awards. His renowned sustainable collection has also been featured during Sustainable Fashion Day at NYFW. Tolentino works with natural fabrics that are hand woven, using fibers from pineapple leaves, abaca plant fibers (Manila hemp), water-lily leaves, jute and raw silk cocoon. These are fabrics that have been used for literally hundreds of years in his native born Philippines.
His sustainable designs have been worn by celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Carrie Underwood.
Tolentino’s Spring/Summer 21 collection celebrates the post-pandemic desire to dress up, go out for a night on the town. He wants this collection to brighten and lift moods and bring back Hollywood glamour. I’m assuming this particular collection was not sustainable as it wasn’t talked about during the show.
Greg Lauren is a “Lauren” as in Ralph Lauren…. that’s his uncle and his father, Jerry has been by Ralph’s (his brother’s) side during the meteoric rise of the Ralph Lauren fashion label.
Greg is following in his family’s footsteps designing his own collection called, of course, Greg Lauren. But this Lauren considers himself more of an artist. He’s been an actor, painter, sculptor and now fashion designer. So Artist-turned-fashion designer Greg Lauren created his first fashion collection in 2011 using “forgotten materials” — his words to describe scraps — to create his first collection. During LAFW, this LA-based designer featured his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, “Deconstructing Americana.” This newest line is a product of his personal soul-searching during the pandemic and thus reflects COVID-era comfort, sustainability and inclusivity.
Lauren explains in an interview with Cool Hunting that he hopes each garment in this collection elicits a feeling of personal connection for his customers. “When you hold that piece, you feel a connection to a person that made it,” he says. “You feel that it’s well-made, that it’s comfortable and that it brings out something unique from you when you wear it.”
But this Lauren, Greg, is carving out his own niche by creating sustainable clothing. His ten-year-old brand touts itself as a zero-waste upcycled fashion line, using eco-friendly materials, while being manufactured locally to reduce its carbon footprint. It doesn’t use fur, down or exotic animal skin, and only uses recycled leather and wood.
Lauren wants to redefine fashion. He felt fashion “tells” people who they should be or want to be. But he wants to flip that model, believing that fashion should simply represent who you already are.
Lauren also wants to make his industry more inclusive. He tells the LA Times that he was deeply moved by the tragic death of George Floyd. He’s determined to make changes by pledging to make his downtown LA company racially equitable. He’s also working with the Black in Fashion Council to foster diversity and inclusion and to rectify systemically racist policies that have permeated the fashion industry, among others.
As the models walked down the runway, there was nothing that screamed sustainability about RENIM’s Spring/Summer collection at LAFW. It was cool, sleek, even contemporary.
But this Bangkok-based label is taking a serious holistic approach to sustainable fashion. It’s not just about making new designs from second-hand clothing and recycled materials, it’s making sure each piece is sustainably sourced. Manufacturing is done in both Bangkok and Thailand, among the third world countries’ top destinations for dumped clothing. So it’s the perfect place to deconstruct and make new designs from clothing around the world.
The brand also promises to provide a safe, fair and ethical working environment for everyone involved in the manufacturing of their clothing, including all the supply chains the company supports.
30-year-old Rio Uribe had big plans for 2020 until the pandemic closed his factories, canceled his shows and stalled all of his ideas for his upcoming collection.
Turns out that downtime resulted in Uribe rethinking fashion and his brand Gypsy Sport. He says in an interview with Vogue that he researched Chicano and sustainable artists and reflected on “why I’m interested in sustainability and representing Chicano culture.” This resulted in a “small collection modeled by Black, brown, queer, and BIPOC people. It’s a love letter to my community,” says Uribe.
Gypsy Sport’s newest collection is a reflection of Mexican-American culture in LA. His clothing is gender neutral, although all his clothes, including skirts and dresses, have a masculine look. He combines streetwear with luxury––such as velvet with denim.
Uribe thinks sustainability is not just about upcycling, it’s about creating designs that will stand the test of time.
Spring/Summer 21 Collection on LAFW.net
LA Fashion week celebrated sustainability, as well as inclusion, diversity and disabilities. LA native and pioer of street fashion, Nicholas Mayfield closed LAFW with his Nicholas Mayfield Over Everything collection, celebrating humanity coming through a pandemic. Mayfields designs brilliant cartoon themed designs were modeled by current and former Paralympians and athletes.
Bottom line: LA Fashion week concentrated more on sustainability than New York Fashion Week so I’m pleased. Bigger steps, we are getting there. Also there was a Vegan Fashion Week the same week as LAFW. I’ll write a blog on that later.
If you have any questions, please contact me at LexySilverstein@gmail.com.