By now, Jonathan Anderson is well known for his exploration into the subversive and surreal. Both at his eponymous brand JW Anderson and as creative director of Spanish luxury brand Loewe, the designer is fashion-famous for putting gender- and mind-bending ideas onto the runway. His footwear in particular has become a calling card of fashion’s more curious arm, with eggshell and rose petal heels or oversize hardware knots punctuating his looks as creative objets.
Anderson took that curiosity and transplanted it to existing notions of sustainable fashion at Loewe’s spring summer ’23 men’s collection — literally. Using plants grown on a series of materials that took about 20 days to cultivate to desired look (and were grown in a polytunnel on the outskirts of Paris in collaboration with Paula Ulargui Escalona), the designer affixed grasses and plants to garments and shoes, creating a collection intended as “a fusion of the organic and the fabricated,” according to the brand’s show notes.
The grass sneakers are already a social media hit, longish stalks of grass or a group of micro greens (Chia plants) growing on the uppers of a shoe giving an anthropomorphic image to the idea of circular fashion.
But there were other examples, too. “Ozone-treated” cotton was treated as such to make it look as though it had been buried underground, and tech relics (old earphones, a pen drive, a phone case) decorated a leather coat. The emphasis was on the organic as a way of looking at circular fashion.
However truly sustainable the runway show was or the collection will actually be was not revealed, echoing fashion’s current indecision on the matter: Is it better to show an idea of circular fashion or actually do the work needed behind it? And can the two objectives synch up with one another?