5 posts tagged "Alexia Niedzielski"
Everything’s coming up Rio this season. At last week’s much-buzzed-about Fashion Rio shows, we couldn’t help but get a little jealous after seeing all the island-ready prints and colors. (How many vacation days do we have left?) We were particularly drawn to Oskar Metsavaht’s latest swimwear offering at Osklen. For the first time, the designer—who also presents ready-to-wear in New York—focused solely on his swim range, which he designed in collaboration with stylish jet-setters Bianca Brandolini and Alexia Niedzielski. A first look at the collection debuts exclusively here. “While our customers know and love our swimwear, I wanted to increase visibility through our runway show,” Metsavaht told Style.com. “[Bianca and Alexia] are half-Brazilian, half-French, so [they] embody our mood, carioca mixing elegance and cosmopolitism.”
Niedzielski cited the French Riviera of the fifties and sixties and photos taken there by Slim Aarons as the main sources of inspiration. Luckily, there were no string bikinis in sight. “We wanted to explore new bikini shapes,” she said. “This is very new for Brazil, as they are used to tiny, mini bikinis! We wanted to revisit retro cuts in a modern, Brazilian way.” Bustier-style tops, high-waisted bottoms, and molded cups had a pinup vibe, but metallic finishes, saturated colors, and tropical prints packed a modern punch. “We wanted to stay faithful to the Osklen DNA by using all of these beautiful patterns of Rio and Brazil’s luxe vegetation,” she added.
Niedzielski and Brandolini also knew exactly what women look for in a swimsuit. “We really tried to design for lots of different women. Our mothers with elegant one-piece suits, our sisters with more cheeky cuts and jumpsuits…We named each piece according to someone we know,” they explained.
Not vacation-bound? Not a problem. Many of the pieces could easily transition from beach to street, blurring the line between swimwear and ready-to-wear. All the more reason to stock up. “I really think we created a collection that is original and new, a balance between the chic European style with the sexy Brazilian beach culture,” Metsavaht said.
Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski Talk Going Green, Ever Manifesto, and That Little Balenciaga Vs. Nicolas Ghesquière Lawsuit-------
Editors Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski are not your typical sustainable-fashion activists. They’re not into hemp, and their vision of eco-clothing is more tailored metallic faux-leather Suno than organic cotton tee. They founded Ever Consulting, their eco-conscious think tank, along with Charlotte Casiraghi in 2009 on the premise that environmental awareness does not necessitate aesthetic or social restriction. Last week, the duo launched a new collaboration with mass retail giant H&M, as well as the latest edition of Ever Manifesto, their free print publication dedicated to thoughtful—and positively charged rather than reprimanding—conversation in eco issues. We caught up with Von Guttman and Niedzielski, who were dialing in from London and Brazil respectively, to talk about the new issue, “Ever Conscious”; what’s next for eco-fashion; and, as co-editors of System magazine, just how they feel about that Nicolas Ghesquière-Balenciaga lawsuit.
Tell us about the new issue.
EVG: This is the third issue. Each time we take a different theme. This one, since it was partnered with H&M, is so much bigger than what we’re used to. Before, we did one with Gucci, which was great, but it was much more exclusive and luxury-oriented. This one was a great opportunity to talk to a bigger audience and also to make sustainable fashion a bit more available and affordable. We collected all these amazing people we had met throughout the years who have inspired us in different regions—fashion, design, activists, celebrities—and gave them a platform to explain all the wonderful things that they’re doing. We included Pharrell Williams, who has a new company called Bionic Yarn that does all this tech stuff with recycled plastic; Elettra [Wiedemann], who is obsessed with food; and Dianna Cohen, who is an activist against plastic.
I love the cover.
EVG: It’s kind of funny, no? It’s a little tongue-in-cheek. We wanted to show some humor, too. We always collaborate with different artists, and this one was Carsten Höller, a great contemporary artist. He did the big slide. He’s been obsessed with consciousness. So there’s this thing that you do with chimpanzees, and he actually did it with his newborn baby. You put your baby in front of a mirror with a dot on its forehead and the moment where the child rubs the dot off its forehead, that’s where you realize that they gain consciousness. So this is the inspiration for the cover. It’s about the theme of self-reflection and awareness and consciousness.
I think that’s where this whole project started: around the self-consciousness idea and also the selfie. The selfie was added as a word into the dictionary last year. Selfies are so…everyone in the industry does selfies. It pushes this idea of self-consciousness but not always in a positive way. What we were trying to do was change that idea and to raise the awareness of collective consciousness. We wanted to make a conscious selfie instead of just this or selfish selfie. Through a social media campaign, we want to open it up to the public and ask people to take conscious selfies around the world.
From a sustainability standpoint, how do you feel the industry is changing?
EVG: I think that maybe trying to be a bit more transparent. That was not the case at all a couple years ago. People are starting to open up, and I think this is a good thing because no one should do great things on their own. People are much more educated and they are finally realizing that sustainable fashion is not only about organic cotton. But there’s still so much to do. That’s why it’s so important to keep on persisting and create more awareness and to propose ideas about how to create in better ways and more responsible ways.
AN: I think the customers and the brands have gained more consciousness over the last few years. The customers are demanding more information from the brands. It’s like a few years ago in the food industry—the customers demanded more organic food and now there is. That has to transfer to the fashion industry. If there’s more demand for these kinds of products, I think companies will produce more ethical products and more beautiful clothes.
They have to be desirable, as well as sustainable.
AN: Yes. You don’t want to just go buy something because it’s green. You want to buy it because it’s beautiful and also green. I think there are more and more brands, like Maiyet and Suno, that are doing great things. People are realizing that we can have both. There’s no compromise anymore.
So what are some things that we as consumers can do?
AN: We have a choice every time we purchase. I think they need to show it by buying something that they think is responding to their needs, and being responsible should be one of them. Elizabeth and I—we’ve changed along the way. We’ve consumed more responsibly.
EVG: We can just be a bit more informed. Information is out there now. Take a little bit more time before you purchase. Think twice about it.
I wanted to ask you as well about System, and the process of publishing more intellectual magazines in a climate where everything is about tweet-size consumption and being easily digestible.
EVG: We need content. We need consistency in content. So much of what is out there is a lot of the same, and that’s why we’re always trying to work and make new ways. I think it’s about pushing yourself constantly, about pushing the limits and redefining the limits. That’s what we’re trying to do with all the projects we do.
AN: I think, also, when we print something, we want it to last. We’re obviously against disposable fashion but also disposable printed material. We want to print passionate products—more like objects—and something that you can pick up a year later and it’s still relevant.
What are your thoughts on Balenciaga’s legal action following Nicolas Ghesquière’s words in System? You gave him the space.
EVG: Obviously, this was the kind of hot topic of the season. This is not really what we’re about. We’re not looking for the scoop. We’re just looking for great stories. We turned out to be the scoop of the season. But it’s not what we looked for.
AN: I think [Balenciaga] moved on. Most of us have moved on from the drama and tried to do great things. [Alexander Wang's] first collection was great, and I think there’s so much to look forward to. I just hope everyone has moved on, because it’s a shame to rest on the little quarrels, and I think everyone should be above all of that by now. There are so many other things to focus on for everyone.
This season, H&M has tapped Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski of sustainable fashion and design think tank Ever Manifesto to design its environmentally friendly Conscious Exclusive collection. Founded in 2009 by von Guttman, Niedzielski, and Charlotte Casiraghi (the former two women are also behind independent magazine System), Ever Manifesto aims to act as a catalyst in highlighting innovation within sustainable production, manufacturing, and communication in order to create a design-led ethical product.
Inspired by flamenco dancing and Spanish bullfighting, von Guttman and Niedzielski’s H&M effort, which debuts exclusively here, features ruffled dresses, sharply tailored bustiers, and jackets with rich embellishments. Also on offer is a dramatic navy gown, a romantic floor-length lace wedding dress, and, for the first time, shoes and accessories. All garments are made out of sustainable and ethically sourced fabrics such as organic cotton and silk, vegetable tanned leather from an organic Swedish farm, recycled polyester, and Tencel. If you’re not already enticed, get a load of the price point: Pieces range from $17.95 (for a headband) to $549 (for the wedding dress). “The great thing with H&M is that we can really prove to people that we can make beautiful clothes in a responsible and transparent way that is affordable at the same time,” explained Von Guttman.
Alongside the collection, H&M and Ever Manifesto have also collaborated on a magazine called Ever Conscious, a portrait publication whose purpose is to raise awareness about the gravity of purchasing power and consumer choices as sources for sustainable change. With a cover by artist Carsten Höller, the magazine boasts interviews with more than twenty environmental activists and cultural tastemakers from the worlds of design, gastronomy, music, and science. Lily Cole, chef Daniel de la Falaise, artist Matthew Stone, and renaissance magnate Pharrell Williams—who discusses his role as creative director for Bionic Yarn, a material created from recycled plastic—are just a few of the issue’s compelling profiles.
The Conscious Exclusive collection and Ever Conscious magazine will be out in selected H&M stores on April 10.