We speak to the founders of rêve en vert, an online shopping location dedicated to the best of non-disposable fashion
Just a few weeks ago the fashion press was alive with the news that long-time trends forecaster Li Edelkoort had pronounced fashion is dead. It seems she was partially referring to the crazed clothing landscape that changes almost daily at destinations like Zara and H&M with low enough prices that shoppers can buy new items at a similar pace, so-called ‘fast fashion’.
There are enclaves of people already figuring out what a more sustainable future of fashion might look like, a few of whom are proudly based here in London. Natasha Tucker and Cora Hilts started rêve en vert (R.E.V) in 2013, an online shopping experience imbued with organic cottons, up-cycled leathers and luxury items made with integrity. They stock an ever-expanding selection of brands that are in line with the R.E.V sustainable style ethos, including ‘re-made’ british bags from Christopher Raeburn, classic environmentally-sound womenswear pieces from Svilu as well as awesome jewellery from Pamela Love crafted with ethically sourced stones. Their definition of sustainability is purposely vague. The girls admit, “a definition of sustainability is always going to be open to some debate. In terms of defining it for us, we put together four base principles: ethical, sustainable, local and independent.” They explain further, “we want to champion independent designers in East London and people making things by hand, maybe they’re not using recycled silver for their jewellery but they are still doing things in a more considered way. We want to applaud those who take small steps to reject aspects of this huge homogenised machine-like fashion monster."
The R.E.V girls aim to re-frame our relationship to fashion. “We believe that sustainable fashion is the way it should be – it’s a little more art, more considered, more investment, it’s getting people to think about what they’re buying and then loving it and keeping it and cherishing it.” As the girls point out, this disposable relationship to our clothes is a relatively recent thing, our grandparents were dressed in home-sewn or individually tailored pieces. "It was a totally different way of looking at fashion, you would wear things over and over again because they looked so good. Today people buy a Zara top, wear it once and realise it’s actually not that great, then throw it into landfill and it doesn’t break down for like 700 years. We want to get rid of this constant cycle of fashion, fashion, fashion that’s frankly not that original and not that high quality."
Another possible future fashion voice heralds from the girls at young London-born business, Birdsong. The online marketplace was founded late last year with the aim to bring a feminist stance to fashion – they sell beautiful clothing lovingly made by women’s groups with a vow of no sweatshops and no photoshop. They too are trying to change the status-quo of the fashion world to something more real, to an industry that empowers women in need rather than using them to power our manic consumer desires.
The R.E.V girls sum up their vision for the future of fashion perfectly, "The dream would be to have more high end, reputable, well respected designers saying that actually things have to change. The only way this movement is going to be furthered is if sustainable fashion is just fashion."
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