Fashion Forward

A few weeks ago, Live Eco was invited to The Design Academy of Fashion annual end of year fashion show where all the first, second and third year´s are given a chance to showcase their work. This year The Design Excellence award voted by the advisory committee (David West, Stiaan Louw and Sarah Jane Webber) went to Hannah Lavery, a third year student who has caught our eye for her work in sustainable fashion design.

We asked Hannah what eco fashion means to her:

Live Eco (LE): You took a slightly different approach to “eco fashion” – explain your thinking behind this.

Hannah Lavery (HL): Being an eco-consious designer in South Africa has many challenges. Eco-friendly fabrics are often hard to come by and too expensive for many small businesses to afford. The major problem with the fashion industry is that it produces too much. Disposable fashion has created ever growing landfills.  To reduce excess I wanted to encourage ´investment buying´.  The kind of buying that our parents and grandparents did – the ones of quality that allow us to dig through their cupboards and pull out that special coat that looks like it was bought yesterday. I therefore based my range on fashion ´classics´ so that pieces can last through many seasons and trends. In order to keep these looks modern and in line with the ´newness´ demanded by modern living, I made each piece changeable and/or reversible. This strikes a balance between investment buying and keeping up with the times.

LE: How are young up and coming SA designers challenged by eco-friendly design?

HL: Availability and cost are the main obstacles for young designers wanting to create eco-friendly lines.  Making a line succesful with these obstacles makes for a great challenge, but I think it can push designers to come up with wonderful new ideas.

LE: Do you think designing with the planet in mind is viable for young designers in SA?

HL: I think that as demand grows so will the viability.

LE: Do you feel there is a demand for ethical/eco fashion in SA?

HL: Demand in South Africa is growing, but I still think that people are willing to buy eco-friendly products only as long as they are as affordable and convenient as other products. That is the goal of designers now – to make their products as good or even better than the products that are not environmentally conscious.

LE: What does eco fashion mean to you as a designer?

HL: A challenge and a goal.

LE: Locally made, sustainable fibres are scarce in SA and most natural fibres are imported. Do you think the lack of sustainable fabrics or expense of them is a deterrent to designers when choosing fabrics for their designs?

HL: Yes, of course. But I think that South African designers need to be demanding these products so that more is produced locally and that the whole industry starts working together to making environment design more viable.

LE: Why are you, as a designer, attracted to sustainable/eco design when it comes to fashion?

HL: I think that every industry should be striving towards becoming more sustainable. I hope to create things of beauty while taking into account their effects on the world.

We see a bright green future for this young designer and hope Hannah continues to hone her craft in sustainable fashion design, so that soon she becomes a staple in many an ethical fashionistas closet!

Check out Hannah´s range below –

Images: SDR Photo


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