Asymmetrical flounces, mélanges of prints, and a plethora of tomboy-style party dresses: This collection looked—no offense—like Preen by Thornton Bregazzi business as usual. It was not. The real departure was an invisible one. The designers had composed the collection from a mix of leftover fabric from previous seasons; sustainably sourced viscose; and, in the case of some of the sheer dresses, “georgette that’s made from recycled plastic bottles and textile waste.”
“What?” exclaimed one of the models backstage as Justin Thornton explained the provenance of the beige semisheer dress she was wearing. “Well, yes—I didn’t know you could get georgette from plastic either,” Thea Bregazzi replied. “We are constantly asking suppliers if there’s a more sustainable alternative to the fabrics they’re offering. Better solutions are beginning to come all the time if you look for them.”
The urgency of the climate crisis is sharpening minds across London’s fashion community, but for this couple, implementing change is a matter of circling back to first
principles. Thornton’s earliest job was working for London designer Helen Storey in the ’80s. “She had a collection called Second Life, which was made from repurposed existing fabrics—and that was my job, finding the materials, learning how to do it,” he recalls.
All Thornton and Bregazzi had to do was look in their storage space in Notting Hill to realize they had more than enough fabric to get that going again. Since their design aesthetic has involved using contrasting materials in the past few years, anyway, it was a no-brainer. “It means that some things will be limited runs—and pieces might be a bit different from one another,” said Thornton, pointing out a chunky white coat and a beige patchwork utility jacket as examples. “These too,” offered Bregazzi, moving along the line to some dresses made from curved ripples of prints chopped up from previous seasons’ leftovers…
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