New York City welcomed one of the fashion industry’s most iconic events last week: New York Fashion Week. The city’s bustling streets were transformed into a runway where leading fashion brands unveiled their Spring/Summer ’24 collections.
One particular fashion show that captured the internet’s attention was presented by the high-fashion label Collina Strada, led by Creative Director Hillary Taymour. Earlier in the year, Hillary Taymour and her talented team harnessed the power of AI technology to craft their innovative collection, showcasing AI’s potential as a creative tool in the fashion industry. These AI-generated sketches were then skillfully adapted to bring real-life garments into existence.
The beautiful designs were revealed during New York Fashion Week with a unique twist to the show. The models graced the runway, flaunting wide, eerie smiles. Behind this intriguing scene lay a deeper purpose. In an interview with Vogue just days prior to the show, Hillary Taymour declared, “The world is on fire, but we’re doing a fashion show because that’s what we know how to do.” In the collection’s show notes, she wrote, “As we smile and endure the exciting present, where the world burns, and reproductive, trans and human rights, in general, are threatened, we invoke the strength of radical softness.”
In acknowledging the challenges faced by marginalized communities, Collina Strada sought to uplift these voices by embracing a feminine approach to fashion.
But, next to its extraordinary shows and designs, Collina Strada is famous for its commitment to sustainability. That’s why, for this post, I would like to take a closer look at the brands’ sustainability initiatives.
Collina Strada's Commitment
At the heart of Collina Strada’s sustainability efforts is a commitment to ethical sourcing and production. The brand takes great care in selecting its materials, opting for eco-friendly options whenever possible. Among the notable materials used by the brand is rose sylk, an organic cellulose fiber derived from the discarded parts of rose bushes and stems. This material boasts biodegradability, making it an amazing substitute for conventional materials. Additionally, Collina Strada frequently incorporates certified recycled cotton into its designs.
However, Collina Strada’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond just choosing sustainable materials. The brand actively engages in upcycling and repurposing deadstock fabrics. Deadstock materials are leftover textiles from previous collections or other brands that would otherwise go to waste.
Another aspect that sets Collina Strada apart is its dedication to gender inclusivity. The brand’s runway shows frequently feature models of all genders, challenging traditional beauty standards and norms within the industry. Collina Strada’s designs are often gender-neutral, demonstrating its commitment to a more inclusive and diverse fashion world, as can be seen in their SS ‘24 collection.
Furthermore, Collina Strada wholeheartedly embraces activism, with Creative Director Hillary Taymour frequently speaking on critical matters. I had the privilege of attending her talk during one of the discussions at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, where she passionately emphasized the significance of using existing materials and her unwavering dedication to sustainability. Beyond these impactful discussions, Hillary’s activism extends to the brand’s fashion shows and promotional campaigns, where she diligently shines a spotlight on pressing concerns like climate change.
The production of Collina Strada takes place in New York, where the brand is located, as to reduce the environmental impact. In addition, the brand traces most of its supply chain. However, the labor rating for Collina Strada on Good On You only receives an “It’s a start” because the brand lacks a code of conduct, does not audit its supply chain, and there is no evidence that the brand ensures a living wage for its workers.
The overall rating for Collina Strada on Good On You is also “it’s a start,” which I find rather surprising. However, Good On You elaborates that there is a lack of information on some important aspects, such as labor practices and whether the brand is actively minimizing textile waste, which explains why the rating is lower than expected.
Still, I believe that Collina Strada, under the guidance of Hillary Taymour, is a trendsetter in the sustainable fashion realm, and I expect we will see many more amazing things in the future.