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This Designer’s LFW Catwalk Showed a Who’s Who of Sustainable Suppliers

London’s Patrick McDowell, one of a host of emerging designers putting sustainability first, unveiled his latest eco-conscious line Monday at London Fashion Week.

The soccer-themed “Cinderella Shall Go to the Football” collection features a range of sustainable technologies, including biodegradable materials from Evolved By Nature and Tencel. Each piece will be available on a made-to-order basis to further reduce waste.

“For me, making clothes is a form of storytelling,” McDowell, the founder and creative of director of his self-named label Patrick McDowell, said in a statement. “It’s about feeling and looking great without a huge impact on the planet.”

McDowell’s latest includes four biodegradable leather styles—a handbag, sports bag, leather puffer and leather jacket—finished with Evolved by Nature’s biodegradable Activated Silk. The biotechnology replaces the petrochemicals typically found in leather coatings with a new material designed from silk protein. According to Evolved by Nature (EBN), Activated Silk offers “premium” leather performance, quality and durability.

Dr. Greg Altman, who co-founded Boston-area Evolved By Nature and serves as CEO, appreciates the industry’s growing interest in designing fashion with impact in mind.

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“If you have an awareness of the titanic scale of the leather and textile industry, it’s easy to believe how even a small amount of toxic chemical usage amplified across that scale could create an inhospitable planet. And that finding replacements might save us from that fate,” he said.

Collaboration is key to solving these challenges, Altman continued. “If we are going to achieve these solutions, it will come from creative, outside-the-box thinking,” he said. “And we are scientists, so we love the opportunity to engage the part of the brain that appreciates the synthesis of form and function and design—also known as ‘style’. Patrick McDowell is that part of the brain.”

The collection’s other styles, meanwhile, featured Lenzing’s increasingly popular Tencel Luxe. As of July, the Austria-based fiber company was on track to increase its Tencel Luxe production capacity 25 percent in 2022. The material has appeared previously in collections by Italian sustainability ambassador Flavia La Rocca, multi-disciplinary artist Osman Yousefzada and eco-couture house Peet Dullaert, among others.

The showcase also included multiple items made with recycled materials, such as Manteco’s recycled MWool and Thermore’s Ecodown wadding. Chargeurs PCC provided eco interlinings made with “sustainably sourced and natural” materials, and Nativa wool paddings incorporating certified recycled and corn-based binders.

Fabric printing was undertaken by Esce-tex in the U.K. using “sustainable printing sources and techniques,” Patrick McDowell said. The Italian mill Taroni provided vintage silk, while Harris Tweed Hebrides supplied woven tweed.

Designed to remix the “opulence and magic” of Cinderella with “culturally iconic” sportswear, the showcase also included multiple references to European football. Boots worn by the Lionesses’ star player Alex Greenwood at their Euro-winning game in July walked the runway. Color blocking, meanwhile, referenced the rivalry between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, reimagining, combining and juxtaposing the competitors’ kit colors.

McDowell was not the only fashion designer embracing sustainability at London Fashion Week. Romanian designer Ancuta Sarca collaborated with Lee Jeans to repurpose its deadstock denim into bralettes and skirts. Priya Ahluwalia built upon her namesake brand’s use of recycled and organic materials by adding QR codes to each garment that detail the piece’s materials and origins.

Outside London Fashion Week, however, climate activists remained skeptical of the fashion industry’s claims of sustainability. Protestors from the Changing Markets Foundation and Extinction Rebellion protested Monday with banners and flyers directing people to, an interactive site targeting the supposed eco-friendly practices of dozens of companies, including fashion giants like H&M, Nike, Adidas, Shein and Zara. This comes after Boohoo’s ethical fashion talk went sideways at a U.K. trade show earlier this month.