Australian label Kitx to show at Buckingham Palace

A once in a lifetime opportunity presented by the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange for artisans in British Commonwealth nations.

On February 19, sustainable fashion will get a stage most designers could only dream of: Buckingham Palace. Livia Firth, the founder and creative director of Eco-Age, has launched a new initiative called the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, which partners designers with artisans in British Commonwealth nations to create pieces that are environmentally conscious and highlight each country’s heritage crafts. The finished products will be on display at a reception at the tail end of London Fashion Week.

Kitx was a no-brainer to include. The Australian designer Kit Willow has been dedicated to ethical and low-impact design since she started her brand in 2015, and takes it about 10 steps further than her peers. For her Fall 2017 collection, for instance, she used pailettes made from recycled bottle caps that took years to develop; in this fast-paced industry, that sort of patience is hard to come by. It earned her a fan in Emma Watson, Hollywood’s most ardent supporter of ethical fashion. Willow’s main concern is the sourcing of materials: She uses 100 percent organic silk when she can, or switches to cupro, which has a similar feel but is made from recycled cellulose, a byproduct of cotton. She also uses tons of linen, which is organic and requires less water and fertilizers than cotton, and often mixes cupro and linen together for a surprisingly glossy, satin-y hybrid. “Fashion is the second-biggest polluter in the world, and a lot of it comes down to the materials,” she explains. “We forget that fashion starts at the dirt level. It starts with the farmers, the cotton crops, the dyeing, the deforestation of trees for [wood-based fabrics like] viscose . . . . It has a profound effect on water and land, which is where we’re seeing the impact now.”

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