From Viktor and Rolf’s couture ‘16 show made from remnant fabric to the reworked denim trend, an affinity for thrift is happening on and off the catwalk. Now, it’s Christopher Kane’s turn, who, on the 10 year anniversary of his and sister Tammy’s brand, showed a collection entitled ‘Make-Do And Mend’ at London Fashion Week’s spring/summer 2017 shows.
For autumn/winter 2016, Kane challenged a new kind of beauty in a collection called ‘Trash Couture’. A celebration of the ordinary reimagined, from cardboard packaging, shredded ribbons and plastic bag bonnets filled the Tate’s Turbine Hall in London. With this collection, Kane contemplated the speed of change in a modern world and ponders people’s thirst for the next, the new and the beautiful.
This season, although he moved his references onto a post-war Britain and second world war-era refugees, the essence of his theme remains. “From the very beginning, 10 years ago, I’d use anything: stockings in the market, nicked things – nothing that I shouldn’t have – so that’s why I always had this ethos of make it work… Then I was thinking about wartime and how it was so provocative and really strict, and how they used to just have to maintain their glamour in creative ways.” he tells Suzy Menkes for Vogue.
Found polaroids collaged and copied to create a printed fabric, mismatched buttons, fabric tiled together with metal rivets and crocs (yes, crocs) with detachable jewels were a surprising culmination of materials for a luxury collection, but executed in the right way, you would never question their thrifty nature.
The bug for vintage DIY and reworking has of course spread to the high street, where Topshop’s offering of spliced t-shirts and patched together knits, sit next to imitation reworked denim, proving this is a trend that will appeal to a wider audience than just those who can afford the big price tags.
But what’s the point of imitation when this is a trend born of wanting to use quality materials for less or not being able to make the high production quantities! We’re hitting the charity shops and our sewing boxes to do it the old fashioned (and authentic) way.