Bright New Things
Spring / Summer 2019
Each season, we champion a selection of new-to-Selfridges brands that effortlessly combine style and sustainability to reimagine the design industries from within. From perfectly cut swimwear created from regenerated ocean plastics to water-saving streetwear styles for him – this season’s Bright New Things offer covetable and consciously created designs that we just can’t wait to wear.
The essence of my brand is that I take what is rejected by others and turn it into something super-modern, sophisticated and with an incredible fit.
Anna Foster, founder of E.L.V. Denim
With many denim brands having a pretty bad rep when it comes to sustainability (did you know it can take up to 4,000 litres of water to create the average pair of jeans?), E.L.V Denim is helping to remedy the issue with some of the best fitting jeans we’ve ever pulled on. The styles are created from upcycled vintage jeans, spliced together to create contemporary, distinctive styles. “I want to debunk the myth that good-fitting jeans are hard to find,” says founder Anna Foster. Goodbye dreaded trips to find that ‘perfect’ pair of jeans and hello denim that’s tailored to both our shape, and our ethics.
The youth are growing up in the digital age and have easy access to information about the clothes they wear. I truly believe the new generation could make a big shift.
Iris van Melsen, Founder of Permanent
At a time when ‘logomania’ continues to thrive, Amsterdam-based Permanent is wearing the authentic, thoughtful heart of its brand (quite literally) on its sleeve. Statements about conscious consumption appear across the collection, giving a call to arms for a generation that is more clued-up than ever before. Founder Iris van Melsen has focused on reducing water waste in the production process, noting: “It’s almost unbelievable that the production of one conventional cotton T-shirt can require 2,700 litres of water – the equivalent of taking a 5.6-hour long shower.” Luckily for us, this is a brand committed to creating a permanent solution to water waste.
Our charity, Good Luck Shoes, was created to help provide functional footwear to migrants arriving in Italy.
Ben Tattersall & Nia Jones, Co-founders of Good News
Apart from supporting a range of charitable projects, including supplying over 3,000 pairs of pre-worn shoes to migrants and refugees, Good News shoes also makes its colourful skate styles with the planet in mind. Recycled rubber soles, organic cotton uppers and even the comfy inner footbed is formulated from castor beans (rather than petroleum, as with most sneakers). The whole ethos of the brand is to “make people smile”, no more so than a certain family member. “My 102-year-old self-confessed dare-devil Great Grandpa,” says Co-founder Ben Tattersall, “jumped out of a plane last year in a pair of Good News and now holds the world record for the oldest person ever to do a sky dive.” Well, if they’re good enough for him…
The fabrics we use are all organic or recycled and the pieces are sewn here in London.
Elliss Solomon, Designer
Using the body as ‘a base to collage onto’, Central St Martins graduate Elliss Solomon creates swimwear, dresses and tops that have a distinctly vintage, surreal vibe about them – think Dada artist Hannah Höch meets minimal Scandi cool (if we’re going to get really ‘Fashion’ about it). From organic cotton to bamboo, each design is made from eco-friendly materials in a factory next door to the design studio (heard of low food miles? Well, this is low fashion miles). Fun, bold and dedicated to sustainable production – there could not be a more relevant brand for now.
We choose colours related to nature and what we are trying to protect – blue for the oceans, coral for reefs, white for white sands.
Natalie Glaze, Co-founder of Stay Wild
Inspired in equal parts by the beauty of the ocean and women of all shapes, Stay Wild creates its perfectly cut swimwear using innovative fabrics regenerated from waste plastics, including discarded fishing nets. With up to 12 million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans every year, co-founders Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk are turning threat into thread for pieces that feel great and last for years to come. As Natalie puts it: “We don't promote excessive consumption. High-quality pieces like ours can be worn again and again, which is how all fashion items should be treated.”
Introducing: the new collections from our current Bright New Things
Each season, we add four new designers to our roster of Bright New Things. We caught up with the designers from last season to discover what their spring/summer collections have in store.
The structure of a flower, the texture in a tree trunk, the colours in a bird and the feminine, strong power of a woman – these are the things that inspire us.
Kit Willow, Founder of KITX
Inspired by nature, KITX’s latest collection is filled with luxurious textures, elegant draping and a seductive dreaming-of-summer vibe. Making clothes with people and the planet in mind is a core part of founder Kit Willow’s creative process – “I have the blinkers on to harmful materials,” she says. Dresses are cut from the softest organic cotton and all items are created through processes that put the environment and workers first.
From used coffee grounds to discarded fishing nets, recycled cotton to plastic bottles (70 million and counting, to be exact) – Ecoalf reimagines materials to create high-performance technical pieces. “Ecoalf represents the new generation of recycled clothing with the same design, quality and technical properties as the best non-recycled clothing,” says founder Javier Goyeneche. This season’s latest offering includes outwear perfect for your Easter getaway and T-shirts emblazoned with the brand’s slogan: ‘because there is no planet B’. Amen to that.
Cashmere is a material synonymous with luxury – but if sustainability is also meant to go hand in hand with luxury, cashmere doesn’t always fit the bill. That’s why Naadam is on a mission to ‘democratise cashmere’, making incredibly soft pieces that are created with the planet, animals and people in mind. The brand pays a fair price to Mongolian herding communities, cutting out 'middle men'; herd numbers are managed at a sustainable level to protect the fragile grasslands and the goats are vaccinated and well cared for to keep them in good health. As Naadams’ Co-founder and CEO puts it: “Our brand is about people and we focus on our customer as well as the people that make the product to infuse values into everything we do.”
A note from our stylists:
This editorial shoot features vintage items sourced from various suppliers, including the National Theatre’s costume archive. With over 30,000 tonnes of clothing going to landfill every year in the UK, buying and upcycling vintage clothing is one of the best ways we can help reduce the environmental impact of what we wear.