Show must go on. This too shall pass. Someone has to be in charge of optimism here! Fashion has always functioned as a litmus test for global social trends. Are the hems going up or down, the belts loosening or tightening, how broad are the shoulders for the current weight of the world? After months of coronavirus lockdowns, the importance of living in the present got us power dressing from the waist up and easing into comfort fabrics 24/7. The future is unpredictable and the bridges to “the way things were” have burned. The current retail crisis has brought a more in-depth understanding on how loudly the fashion system is pleading for a dramatic change. We are increasingly aware of the need to minimize waste, provide fair employment opportunities with livable wages, and prioritize sustainability across the entire design process. Fashion weeks are digitizing their platforms and fashion schools are reinventing the how-to for future generations. Ethical fashion revolution will be livestreamed! For example, the second edition of Global Talents Digital was virtually attended by over seven million visitors. It speaks to the growing interest in fashion alternatives. Powered by the Russian Fashion Council and Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Russia, the event featured 101 designers from 34 countries. From sourcing materials to textile experimentation to indigenous craftsmanship and upcycling design principles, this cohort of visionaries was full of practical ideas redefining, if not disrupting, what fashion was and what it must become in order to survive as an industry in a post-pandemic world. Here are eleven names worth noting with eye towards the unknown yet hopeful future.
Paula Ulargui Escalona @ulargui_escalona (Spain)
Sustainable Fashion Investigator. That’s the term the designer prefers for their provocative work. Believing that humankind may atone for the damage inflicted on the planet, the project is a call to commit to co-existing with nature. Her collection “Naturaleza Simbiotica” incorporates seeds, plants, biomaterials, and living organisms into the garments, blending clothes, bodies, and nature with a willingness to lead the path to a more conscientious fashion landscape, literally.
Bola Yahala @bolayahaya_ng (Nigeria)
Self-taught designer Yahaya Taofeeq is interested in sharing their “autobiographical fashion narrative” with the world. Switching historical and cultural lenses on the idea of a female form, the brand reinterprets rich Nigerian style heritage in beautiful zero-waste garments through innovative pattern cutting/draping, recycling, and upcycling. Vibrant colors give life to a unique fashion vision coming from the