Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Designers Walk the Green Carpet

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Designers Walk the Green Carpet

Article excerpt

As London Fashion Week begins, the spotlight is on ethically produced clothing like that of Christopher Raeburn.

CORRECTION APPENDED

London fashion is on a roll -- and it is not just because the international luxury houses are turning small British designers into Goliaths.

After the controlling share taken of Christopher Kane last season by Kering, formally PPR, other groups are reported to be looking at London designers for investment.

Apart from the draw of its young talents, London fashion has found a dynamic leader in Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairwoman of the e-commerce luxury site Net-a-Porter -- and now chairwoman of the British Fashion Council. Significantly, Ms. Massenet is an enthusiastic supporter of one of London's fashion causes: green issues, explored first by a fashion council-founded group called Esthetica and now by an initiative from the green crusader Livia Firth.

On Monday Ms. Firth, as creative director of Eco-Age and the founder of the Green Carpet Challenge, will unveil an exclusive capsule collection of ethically registered outfits from five British designers: Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Kane and Roland Mouret.

Their red-carpet-worthy outfits, which Ms. Firth first envisaged with her movie star husband, Colin Firth, as a chance "to get our favorite A-listers wearing sustainable style in front of the flash bulbs," will be sold on Net-a-Porter, which already has a Green Collection site.

The idea is to move ethically made clothes into the supply chain, making what Ms. Firth calls "systemic change."

Ms. Massenet, who has done so much to give a new energy to London Fashion week, will make Net-a-Porter the exclusive retailer of a collection that is to go online Tuesday for sale. Twenty percent of proceeds will be donated to (RED), founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver. Its global fund so far has generated $200 million and offers grants that aim to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of H.I.V. in Africa.

Ms. Firth's role has been to glamorize responsible and sustainable clothing, now not only by getting it on the backs of the famous, but by using London designers to make the clothes. …

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