Sting – Turning Waste into Contemporary Wearable Design
Sustainability is certainly no temporary fad for design duo VIN + OMI, creating eco fabrics and sustainable designs has been at the very backbone of their business since it began over six years ago.
Known for their innovative eco textiles such as rPET, created from waste plastics to chestnut leather, produced from the discarded shells of the horse chestnut, their SS20 collection shone the light on nettles. Yes, nettles, the readily available weed that grows in abundance all over the UK. Entitled ‘Project Sting’ thousands of nettles were hand processed through a series of ancient and new techniques into contemporary clothing. Interested in the duo’s innovative approach to plant-based fabrics His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales agreed to let them harvest nettles from his private residence at Highgrove.
The designers stated: “VIN + OMI pride themselves on launching a new concept, process or product every fashion season. A large percentage of our work is research, development and education. We strongly believe we have to look at new innovative eco and sustainable ways to produce fashion and products in order to counteract the effects fast fashion is having on the planet. It’s the only way forward.”
The process to produce the nettle fibre has zero impact on the environment and within the collection some pieces were left in their post-processing raw cream-coloured state while others were dyed with natural plant dyes.
The SS20 collection was revealed during London Fashion Week (17th Sept 2019) at a fashion show held at London’s Savoy Hotel and included textural shift and maxi dresses.
Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE added: “It’s important that we all play our part in reducing waste for the good of our environment, so it’s great to see VIN + OMI continuing to champion sustainable fashion. This innovative show is a great example of what can be achieved and how this important message can be shared.”
The unique nature of their latest sustainable project hasn’t gone unnoticed and the Victoria & Albert Museum will acquire an outfit from their catwalk show for the museum’s permanent collection.
Edwina Ehrman, Senior Curator, V&A Edwina Ehrman said: “VIN + OMI’s development of nettles and other natural materials found in the UK to create fashion fabrics with a contemporary aesthetic has the potential to open our eyes to the value of plants that thrive in our climate and soil. The V&A is looking forward to seeing the fruits of their research in their SS20 London Fashion Week Show and is delighted to have the opportunity to acquire an outfit from it for the museum’s growing collection of sustainable fashion.”
Catwalk images by Chris Daw