Andrew Thompson on... Embracing the slow roads to social and environmental Impact 2022
As we get into the swing of things in this new year, we embrace common place conversations surrounding optimism, mindfulness, wellbeing and good vibes for 2022. In that spirit I thought I would cover a roundup of fashionable brands that have piqued my interest, capturing the imagination of new generations seeking something beyond commodities and more in line with personal ethos, values and storytelling.
First up, Mulberry has unveiled their latest collaboration with London based designer Nicholas Daley on a range of capsule bags, reworking one of Mulberry’s most recognisable styles “Antony”. This particular collaboration combining an ultra-traditional accessories brand with a community and cultural centred contemporary brand interests me greatly. The bags themselves are inspired by reggae, jazz and rock'n'roll musicians from the 60's and 70's, as well as incorporating details that reflect Daley's own Jamaican and Scottish heritage.
Slow made and thoughtful product creation will continue to be notable, re-contextualising social commentary, rethinking materials or consumerism. I personally love product creation built around personal tales that express key social issues of our current time. In addition to building desirable items with integrity that can be cherished and handed on to generations.
Adidas and Prada have aligned their sustainability goals for the third time to create a Re-Nylon collection made from plastic waste. The collection fuses Prada’s Italian craftsmanship with Adidas’ sportswear innovation. Combining signature details from both brands’ aesthetics to create elegant, monochromatic sports silhouettes. Prada’s Re-Nylon project is the product of a partnership between Prada and the textile yarn producer Aquafil. An Italian company with over half a century of expertise in creating synthetic fibres. This project was initially launched in 2019 and was created through the recycling of plastic waste collected from oceans, fishing nets and textile fibre waste. Aquafil can be purified and recycled infinitely, with no loss of quality. Re-looking at the design process to create new perspectives always excites me, especially if this might advocate solutions for dealing with waste and promoting longevity or repair.
Timberland have recently launched a ‘taking back product’ intiative, thus giving items new life through their Timberloop program. By “closing the loop” and keeping products and materials in circulation for as long as possible, this is a fantastic way of finding inspiration from waste. Fixing throwaway culture will take more than repairing, recycling and reviving but this contribution towards their road map to zero waste is great. Instead of creating new items reusing, recycling, updating and sharing becomes more prevalent. Generating services and communication to consumer about circular chains such as this facilitate consumers making the right decisions.
Last but certainly not least is Story MFG. A fanatic brand which have a joyful and playful approach to product creation. They have a complete focus on using sustainable materials whilst mastering honest craftsmanship. The brand’s entire collection is naturally-dyed using ancient dye plants, heartwood roots, berries and earth. The collection also features traditional techniques such as hand embroidery, hand crochet, hand prints, hand knits, hand dyeing and hand weaving. In addition their production facilities are almost entirely powered by renewable energy.
It’s always inspiring to hear about new brands or movements exploring and challenging topical issues affecting our world, and ultimately changing the way we design, make and consume.
In 2022 I wonder what design shifts will change the way we live and work in order to allow people to gain a better balance in finding new and better ways to work around problems. As we embark on renewed creativity for 2022 its great to acknowledge what can only be described as turbulent times over the last year or so and Fully embrace optimism surging forward.
Andrew Thompson has over twenty years’ experience as a footwear Trend Forecaster and Design thought leader.