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The Lowe Down: LCF students pave the future of sustainable design

Designers -Joao Maraschin and Olivia Ruebens. Photographer - Roger Dean.,
| Photograph: Designers -Joao Maraschin and Olivia Ruebens. Photographer - Roger Dean.
Written by
Jennifer Igiri
Published date
11 September 2020

London College of Fashion MA alumni Olivia Rubens and Joao Maraschin were featured in The Lowe Down documentary on Fashion, alongside award-winning designer Christopher Raeburn, as part of the LEON PRESENTS investigative series with Daisy Lowe that showcases environmental issues associated with everyday activities.

Focusing on the importance of sustainable practices within all aspects of design and the wider industry, this first episode of the documentary championed the work of LCF’s Class of 2020 MA Graduates and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion.

Joao’s collection Foreign Traveller was featured in London Fashion Week’s digital showcase and supports handmade techniques, looking at sustainable angles to approach fashion. Joao emphasises the importance of perspective as a designer: “Sustainability is non-negotiable. When you think of fashion, if [your brand is] not sustainable and if you don’t have a purpose, if you don’t really want to nurture or foster something that is protecting the people and the planet, there’s no reason to exist.”

The inspiration behind Olivia’s collection is identity and femininity. On the practicality and cost of sustainability, Oliva says: “every time you tackle one issue there’s another. You can never be 100% sustainable, [but] you can always be trying your best to make the least impact and hopefully make a positive impact too… The truth is you have to pay for [sustainable fashion] because you are actually paying fair wages, for things to be certified and in the right conditions. It is an investment, but it is 100% worth what you’re paying for.”

Sarah Needham, Knowledge Exchange Manager at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, says: “at Centre for Sustainable Fashion we’re made up of three core pillars – research, education and knowledge exchange, feeding that into supporting brands to start working and looking at how they can resolve some of the challenges that they face within fashion design... I think the current fashion system that we have is based on incomplete accounting, so we’re not really valuing the products that we make in an accurate way, or in a way that harnesses all of the natural resources and human effort that went into making those products... most of our impact is at the raw material level. That’s where we can really drive that transformative change across so many different perspectives including biodiversity, natural wildlife, ecology, water, pollution – the list goes on.”