Abigail Gurney-Read talks the future of fashion with Nina Marenzi and Amanda Johnston of The Sustainable Angle.

It was around this time last year that I first met Arizona Muse.

Despite having graced the covers of more glossy publications than you can shake a stick at, it was in Arizona’s ambassadorial capacity for The Sustainable Angle – a not-for-profit initiative, which seeks and supports the minimising of fashion’s environmental impact – that she joined me at London Fashion Week. Fast forward to now, and the foundation is on the cusp of its biggest industry event to date...

Currently in its 8th season, the Future Fabrics Expo is the largest dedicated showcase of sustainable fashion materials and textiles in Europe, bringing thousands of suppliers, brands and innovative solutions together under one roof.

"There had to be a platform where they could find each other," explains Nina Marenzi, Founder and Director of The Sustainable Angle. "So that’s exactly what we created!"

Amanda Johnston, Arizona Muse and Nina Marenzi of The Sustainable Angle.

I’m meeting Nina at The Conduit (London’s newest member's club, which itself boasts a keen commitment to ethical practice and a green philosophy) alongside Amanda Johnston, the organisation’s Curator and Education Consultant.

The two women originally came together in 2010 via Dilys Williams of London College of Fashion who – as Director of the University’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion – shares in Nina and Amanda’s drive towards positive change in the industry. Ever since, they have been working to create awareness, reversing the tides of fast and unethical fashion through education and demonstration.

"The key has been to create a critical mass," Amanda tells me. "It’s about the dissemination of ideas. We’ve reached a point where, politically, we’re seeing a lot of galvanisation and people saying ‘I’m outraged by that!’ and then becoming motivated."

"It's about the dissemination of ideas..."

Johnston has a point. In the 12 short months since first learning of the full breadth of work done by The Sustainable Angle, I have already witnessed a monumental shift in both the quantity and the calibre of conversations around ethical and cyclical fashion. More and more, brands on every side of the pond and on every scale are wising-up to the realisation that this way of thinking is the inevitable, non-negotiable direction of fashion – and the only way to future-proof the industry. "This is where the excitement is," says Nina. "This is, quite simply, where creativity is."

"An educational background was lacking before," she goes on. "It was never really supplied, which created a lot of misunderstandings in the industry and beyond."

"Education," continues Amanda, "plays a massive role. Our job is to excite people, and make them curious."

"This is, quite simply, where creativity is."

As well as University programmes and individual advisory work, the annual Future Fabrics Expo is Nina and Amanda’s main industry touchpoint and event for The Sustainable Angle throughout the course of the year. For 2019, in collaboration with G Star RAW, the event will encompass 22,000 square foot at London’s Victoria House, as well as a two-day seminar programme featuring talks and panel discussions between key voices in the effort towards ethical fashion. An Innovation Hub will spotlight emerging materials and technologies, shedding a light on the new textile developments, as well as those that are very much 'the now'.

"The whole point," says Nina, "is that we want to show the huge breadth of what’s out there. There are some fabrics that are made from waste; there’s a Japanese company that’s dying their textiles with food waste; we have biodegradable sequins that are made from starch and recycled polyester; there are leaves of the Elephant Ear plant, which can be carefully harvested, tanned and laminated onto a backing, and which end up looking like leather."

"We try as hard as we can to provide as many opportunities to showcase the industry’s diversity," Amanda continues. "The idea of the Future Fabrics Expo is to show what the solutions are, and that these can be different for different brands."

"After all," she concludes: "It’s one thing talking to people about the principles, and it’s another thing entirely giving them tools to do it."

The Future Fabrics Expo runs from 9am on the 24 January, 2019 until 6pm on 25 January, 2019. Click here for the full schedule including seminar discussions with Arizona Muse, G Star RAW's Adriana Galjasevic and Orsola de Castro of Fashion Revolution.  Click here to purchase tickets. 

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