When I was in Paris for Cop21 last December, I caught up with designer Etienne Jeanson for a drink. After a few cocktails, the idea of presenting a Green collection of his designs emerged. The objective was to promote sustainable fashion show an eco-collection at Green Fashion Week.
Very concerned about climate change, Etienne Jeanson presented his Fall Couture collection #Blue Heart for the Earth during our Green Fashion Week 1st edition at the Abu Dhabi Fashion Sustainability Experience.
This Collection was made exclusively from eco-friendly fabrics with the idea of showing how fashion can reduce its environmental impact. In addition to organics fabrics, all garments were handmade in his Parisian workshop.
The beauty of creating the ribbon lace from organic cotton is that the cotton is not bleached, which gives it that natural ecru colour and avoids polluting the environment by bleaching the cotton white (which is a normal step in the fashion production process). In addition, organic cotton isn’t sprayed with seriously harmful chemicals the way regular cotton is.
Additionally, the blue-gray fabric is in recycled cotton, which gives a new life to old cotton fabric, meaning of course that less energy and fewer resources are used to make the clothing.
The finished details are in silk or viscose (all naturally derived) and goose feathers are added for a ‘furry’ feeling. As goose feather grows naturally, like wool, and because geese naturally lose some of their feathers thrice annually, it can be done ethically.
The accessories are compound bracelets with a silk satin ribbon and a handmade blown glass drop, without added lead. Each piece is unique and handmade crafted in France by a master glassmaker.
This event was a first step of a new collection concept. Etienne Jeanson wants to show that “fashionable” can be eco-friendly, and that all brands can use it without hurting their creativity. Moreover, that every day can be an act for the planet, the environment and the future.
Etienne explains that “fashion is essential for each society and is one of the strongest social symbols since antiquity. This requires that fashion adapts to the challenges of our time, including the protection of our environment. Each personal initiative seems small compared to the colossus of the entire population, but it is step by step that behaviors evolve. There are still too few vendors offering really organic or eco-friendly products, but by creating the offer, we can create the interest in this needed demand and it is in that way that we must direct the productions.
Without being 100%, if most designers can produce mainly their collection in an eco-friendly way, reducing as well the transportations, in the coming years we will already have made a huge step forward”.
A graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to the House of Christian Lacroix, after Anne Valérie Hash, and with occasional experiences at Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, Etienne launched his eponymous house in 2009 offering only unique pieces. In 2014, he launched his wedding capsule collection, which completes the couture and ready-to-wear of the exclusive pieces.
“My clients are happy to know I am behind the drawings but also the sewing parts and that nobody else will have the same outfit. Everything is handmade in Paris and I almost meet almost all of my clients. This specificity allows me to respond to demands for weddings, bridesmaids, cocktails, evening and day dresses, and allows me to follow my customers in most of their occasions” he says.
Always concerned about the environment, he drives an electric car in Paris and consuming organic food. Etienne sees his long-term objective as a successful return to ancestral, non-polluting know-how.
He says: “We have to create the demand by influencing it with beautiful sustainable offers, highlighting the handmade and reduce transports, for example. Since 2009 I have made everything by hand, limiting travels by buying French or European materials. In 2016 with the first eco-friendly capsule, the purpose is to propose, including wedding dresses, biological materials and in each collection create new eco-friendly pieces into a signature.”