This Chinese Designer Shows High-End Customers How to Dress Green

As the luxury industry continues to place increasing emphasis on sustainability in the fashion ecosystem, China is also witnessing a wave of innovative ‘green’ initiatives in its high-end fashion circles. From Zhang Na’s made-to-order upcycled garments, to Shanghai Tang’s capsule collection featuring recycled luxury fabrics, Chinese designers are hoping to pique consumers’ interest in the eco-friendly fashion movement. But with pollution and food safety being a major concern for affluent shoppers, they are are also betting that consumers will be craving a greener lifestyle as a whole.

Last month, Tiffany Pattinson wowed VIP guests at Shanghai Fashion Week when she not only showcased her Fall/Winter 2017 collection for her namesake brand, but paired it with food.

A Chinese finalist in the EcoChic Design Award 2015, Pattinson hosted two evenings combining fashion and high-end dining in a show aiming to promote both her latest designs as well as her sustainable living initiative. The evening consisted of a luxurious seven-course dinner created by local vegetarian restaurant Pure & Whole, and fashion performances showcasing the new collection of zero-waste garments.

The Cuisine x Fashion event was hosted by environmentally focused platform GreenCode, which also showcased a secondhand clothing drop off and pop-up shop in collaboration with Lane Crawford, focusing on sustainability and environmental issues within the fashion industry.

The Tiffany Pattinson brand was founded on the belief of sustainability of both environment and culture. Pattinson, believes mainland China is only now ready to embrace the sustainable lifestyle, and has recently garnered support from local governments and communities for her work, despite originally finding little support for sustainable fashion within China.

“When I started off as a finalist of the EcoChic Award, my brand was based entirely in the passion and concept,” she said. “Back then, we would do everything home-style, like upcycling dead stock from factories.

“Since then, with a growing global interest in sustainable fashion, my brand has been able to grow substantially—we now have a studio and digital production calculation support, and can further cut waste production. This is backed by local governments, and I’ve been able to reach out to partner up with eco-material companies.”

Tiffany Pattinson showcased seven garments that could be reimagined into more than 49 looks. (Photo by Tamsin Smith)

Tiffany Pattinson showcased seven garments that could be reimagined into more than 49 looks. (Photo by Tamsin Smith)

One such partnership is with Austrian-based international textile production company Lenzing group, which has enabled the Tiffany Pattinson brand to innovate and scale up on production, with Pattinson being invited to speak at both internal and open events related to sustainability. This collaborative approach has also extended to local communities, with the brand working with ethnic minority groups in China to promote and sustain environmentally friendly production strategies.

“We are not only using fabric from local communities in the collection, but introducing more eco-yarn to the communities for them to weave, combining innovative materials with their traditional craftsmanship,” Pattinson explains.

All of the garments that were displayed at this season’s event were made with low to zero waste patterns, paired with eco-materials like Tencel and modal. In addition, Pattinson explains that all garments are created with extensive trend forecasting, so they can be worn in more than three ways and maintain a longer wardrobe life.

“All garments come with instructions on how to up-cycle, recycle or donate the pieces so no product goes to waste,” she said, adding that the final seven outfits showcased at her event can each be styled into seven or more different looks by playing with detachable parts.

However, not all of her clients are buying her pieces for exclusively eco-conscious reasons, yet even consumers who aren’t as engaged with the sustainability of the project can get on board for other practical reasons. “This collection was also inspired by my year-long experience of having to carry heavy luggage for my business trips—I want people to enjoy lighter luggage,” she said.

With fashion brands often looking to expand into different branches of the luxury market, Tiffany Pattinson and her sustainability ethos do not shy away from this ambition, starting with the eco-dining initiative.

A dish featured from Pure & Whole during Tiffany Pattinson's food-focused fashion show. (Courtesy Photo)

A dish featured from Pure & Whole during Tiffany Pattinson’s food-focused fashion show. (Courtesy Photo)

“We want to introduce luxury eco-experiences to our exclusive clients in ways such as eco-tourism and eco-dining,” Pattinson said. “We started with eco-dining because I am a foodie at heart. I’ve always wanted to come up with some way to incorporate food into my catwalk shows.

“This has always been a dream of mine, but really I would love my audience to not only dress sustainably, but to eat, sleep, travel, and entertain sustainably too. Hosting a sustainable fashion-dining experience is just the beginning.”

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