Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sustainable, functional, "yet very chic"

I found my next fashion designer of note for ya'll by complete accident - a completely JOYFUL accident. But with one look at Norweigan designer Leila Hafzi's creations (only enhanced by her eco-friendly mission), I was absolutely smittened.

Hafzi's Debut designs from 1997 were created in Nepal. This highly ecological collection worked with fabrics such as hemp and nettle, loomed raw silk, wood, and buttons and embellishments made of bone or horn from water buffalo. This collection paved the way for Hafzi's enduring mission: To promote organic and ethical trade in the high end fashion industry, to represent this movement, and to develop an entirely environmentally friendly production cycle for fashion in the future.

UTOPIA collection, Spring/Summer 09

And her creations only get better with her experience! Looking through her oeuvre on her website, I'm amazed at the variety and dynamism of her designs, given her commitment to use sustainable, functional materials. You see everything from exceptionally structured, dense fabrics and pieces (Natura), to sheer cashmeres, mohair, and elegant brocades (Studio Earthling, Aeon Afterglow), to the most gorgeously flowing gowns (UTOPIA, Néktar). Some of her pieces can be exceptionally modern and accessible, while others are the perfect fit for a daydreamer with a romantic eye.
Néktar collection, Spring/Summer 2010

And the COLOR. This woman is NOT afraid to use color, and bless her for it!

Néktar (pictured a lot) and UTOPIA are probably my favorite two collections. They're very whimsical, colorful, and romantic. Néktar incorporates colors from hand-picked flowers and draws inspiration from hummingbirds and flamingos in a "lush Kathmandu garden." UTOPIA is inspired by animals of Tibetan mythology and the seventies, and combines the visions of Hafzi, Marcus André Green, and tattoo artist Mike The Athens.

Néktar collection, Spring/Summer 2010
At the heart of her glorious collections remains her strong, adamant mission:

"There is no doubt that the production of an eco-collection is more time consuming and the costs are much higher, but in the end, how high is the price of producing a collection compared to adding one small step towards the achievement of saving our planet and eventually mankind?"

"I think it is important for artists and creative people to emphasize global awareness regarding our responsibility to preserve the earth we are about to destroy."

"For me, it is a balance between creating works in developing countries, establishing a long term market position, and then step-by-step making fully ecological collections."

Néktar collection, Spring/Summer 2010

Hafzi's brand style is based on Tibetan monk drapery, seventies glam, and Greek goddess-like gowns. Her favorite color is ever changing with the rainbow, the base colors of her collections not developed from predicted trends but rather from what she feels at the time would be "prettiest" and the most ecologically possible to create.

Roy ay e Sefid ("Bright Dreams") Bridal collection

Hafzi's even taken the leap into wedding fashion! Gorgeous, amazing, incredible designs with presence, flow, and unique charm. Fashioned from silk organza, silk chiffon, or hand-painted silks, floral applications and hints of blush pink, champagne, lavender, and peach give these gowns an incredible femininity. This is a new spoke in her fashion wheel and thus far, appears a success! Any dress found in this collection can be dyed for a Red Carpet (or other) occasion to preserve the brand's commitment to sustainable fashion.

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