Following the launch of the TENCEL™ Luxe Filament with an event in Paris at the beginning of the month at the Palais de Tokyo, we had the opportunity to meet with two young and daring designers that were given the chance to experiment with fabrics made with TENCEL™ Luxe filaments.
Lenzing partnered with Fiona Fondadouze, Quoï Alexander and Peet Dullaert, asking them to create garments with fabrics made from TENCEL™ Luxe’s sustainable filaments in order to grasp the opportunities that such a challenge presents.
As a never seen before material, empirical questions remain about how TENCEL™ Luxe integrate into fabrics without compromising the initial creative intent. As an eminent creator for whom sustainability is an important part of his brand, Quoï Alexander briefly pinpointed in which ways TENCEL™ Luxe filaments represented a better alternative:
“In the past, I have mainly worked with unused, discarded, recycled materials or scraps from factories. By working with fabrics made from TENCEL™ Luxe filaments, we are working with raw material after following a sustainable production process. When working with recycled fabrics or scraps, I must change my designs based on what is possible. It’s a pleasure to do the opposite when working with a sustainable production process in which the fabric can be adapted more to my creative process” Quoï Alexander told us.
Beyond its practical aspect, such innovative material enables young designers to be extremely consistent in terms of personal values and branding. Using such fabrics to create garments effectively helps bring truly responsible and sustainable garments to life, differentiating themselves from the usual, almost gimmicky, brand claims. A solid fact, as we were told by Fiona:
“Making sportswear and urban wear doesn’t mean I only use synthetic fibers: I usually source 100% cotton made Neoprene, and the same for denim… The duty to create in a way that respects our planet and environment might give birth to new fabrics, which are technically and aesthetically interesting to us designers, all the while being entirely made of botanic fibers. As a result, we strongly encourage clothing engineers to exploit them to the fullest” said Fiona Fondadouze, Creative director of AKENE.
Using a material that is sustainable and high-quality at the same time brings even more benefits. Not only does it add an extra dimension to the collection created, bestowing more value on the products that it composes in the eyes of consumers (thus, offering a serious relative advantage), it also plays a key role in the designers’ experimentation processes, encouraging them to sharpen their technique and come up with alternative ideas. As a result, innovative materials as TENCEL™ Luxe are also an effective way for emerging designers to empower their research and development process, and thus, surpass their own limits.
“I’m really happy to be able to continue my work with innovative materials. Using fabrics made from TENCEL™ Luxe filaments is the first time I’ve used my techniques on a material which has silk-like qualities. There is always a learning curve when developing new construction techniques, but this project enabled me to go further into my experimentation of how different types of materials react to new construction techniques. For example, with the softness of TENCEL™ Luxe I was able to pleat the silicon-bonding technique which I used for the seams, much more easily than I have done before”added Quoï Alexander.
As the conversation continued, we tried to find out to what extent working on such fabrics influences a designer’s approach to fashion. In many ways, using materials like TENCEL™ Luxe didn’t seem to prevent them from bringing their very own definition of creativity to life. On the contrary, as Fiona told us, they were able to preserve their own style and identity throughout the process, without sacrificing it at all:
“The way the fabric fits and feels is very different from those I generally use. I wanted to preserve my brand’s style and identity and the result proves that even with those kind of innovative textiles, we can conceive several kinds of pieces; such as clothes with graphic yokes, different patterns or with a more feminine side”said Fiona Fondadouze.
Such assessment also applies to designers as experimental as Quoï Alexander, whose singular take on fashion and innovation (dubbed innovative craftsmanship) implies, through deconstruction and reconstruction, developing new techniques before moving on to create his own genre. In this latest attempt, the young designer had no problems sticking to his ongoing process of making clothes without stitching or sewing:
“I worked to continue my research in creating alternative ways to make clothing without stitching. Therefore, no stitching or sewing was done with the TENCEL™ Luxe products, instead I worked with silicone bonding and metal pieces to create the looks”he explained.
Equipped with such a great way to create, without endangering the planet and providing their future consumers with desirable, sustainable clothes, today the possibilities for these two incredible designers seem endless.