London Fashion Week F/W 2023

14th February 2024




Behind the scenes with my rail

The catwalk run through before the show

It was last year in February 2023 that I took part in London Fashion Week with 'Creativeth' & 'London Fashion Week' at the London Stadium to show my latest ethical luxury occasion wear collection. I was able to show ten special occasion wear looks all created from ethical fabrics which I myself classify as ethical due to their various low environmental impact qualities. The categories of which meet that criteria would include newly developed and engineered fabrics, recycled fabrics, deadstock and remnant fabrics, fabric made in the UK, luxury or natural fabric, thus making a way for my designs to have little or no impact on the environment.


A piece of pineapple leather

Swatches of the collection

A piece of  hemp fur 

Designing with ethical fabrics can create some challenges especially from the perspective of creating a luxury occasionwear garment or product. Equally this scenario can inspire original and innovitave designs due to the complexities of using sometimes untraditional and unusual types of fabrics for occasion wear, which I spend a considerable time sourcing and researching. I try to steer away from polyester fibres where possible, although if this is a deadstock or remnant cloth then it has already been circulated in the supply chain I may use it and would not have purchased it from a new source in order not to add to that supply chain demand. This way of developing my garments can be challenging but also an important learning proccess, albeit one in which interests the designer in me. 

A few inspiration images

In recent years the UK fashion industry has been claiming to create positive changes within the supply chain to try and stop the expolitation of workers who are often subject to low wages, long hours, unsafe working conditions and slavery, all to create cheap fashion. There seems to be a slow move towards the use and development of new sustainable fibres and fabrics often by small artisan businesses, which is of great interest to me in the development of my own sustainable brand. It might appear to be difficult to scale up such a business model but in my opinion not impossible for a small brand. Over production of wasteful surplus garments is not an ethical way to keep manufacturing. It was never my intention to try and grow a brand by producing huge quantities of the same garment but to keep the quality and create small quantities of individual garments.  

I always start with a bit of draping in the mirror

My initial designs for this collection were all based around a certain structured silhouette which I created which would hold itself away from the body when worn giving a dramatic effect. To create the silhouette and structure I used segments or shaped panels so this would enable the fabrics to be cut in smaller pieces and mix various colours and textures, which I could explore further. In a couple of designs I used pleating in segments to create a texture feel using the fabric.


Sewing one of the bodiceS together

Pressing the panels with the wooden tailors clapper above and the silk panels stitched together below

I believe that if there is only a small scrap of fabric left from making a garment then it could potentially be incorporated into a design feature. Wastage or remnant fabrics, even perhaps for example a small piece of beautiful silk, could possibly become part of something whole and unique such as a jacket rather than being discarded, could be given a new lease of life. I used my initial silhouette design and sketched several ideas or versions from that until I narrowed down the designs I wanted to make for the show.

Mood board and notes for the collection

Laying out the pattern to cut the silk jacket

I think it is worth producing only a few limited edition pieces which use the same or similar style but can translate into very different fabrics giving the design a new identity when finished. I have a real passion for beautiful fabrics which seems to be lost in most modern day clothing. Value  and margins are the priority and sustainabilty is a word used mainly to describe a few ethical cotton garments and that is where it seems to end. I want to create beautiful garments which should hopefully not be only worn once, but be valued for the quality of the cloth, cut and finish as well as the design, colour, fit and purpose of the garment. 


A sketch from the collection, see last image below of the finished look at the show

My design development will always have sustainability at it's core aiming to be mindful of the environment but primarily the goal is to create beautiful wearable designs.


Waiting to open the hat box!

I had an amazing day at the show and was thrilled that milliners Mille Fleurs of Otford had agreed to collaborate with me on several looks for the show. I was lucky enough to be given some fabulous hats and head pieces to compliment not only my designs but my ethical requiremnets too and as you view the images, please note the beautiful head wear as well as my dresses! 

Two tone panel mini dress and me doing the walk

mini silk dress with matching hat from Mille Fleurs
Hemp fur trim silk panel dress and matching neck ruff on the catwalk 
Animal print dress with raised seam detail

Silk  hooded and panelled wedding dress above and cream silk and pineapple leaf bodice maxi dress below

Panelled dress with contrast fabrics

Burnt orange silk cocoon shape dress with raised seams

One of my looks from the show using pinapple leather, see sketch above




With special thanks to Mille Fleurs of Otford for the loan of the head wear @millefleurshats

Thank you to all models hair and makeup artists, photographers and to the organisers @londonfashionweek @creativeth @fashionshowlive

Original content by @caroline.bruce.designs 2023