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You might associate couture with all things Luddite, built as it is on painstaking embroideries and delicate lace, but van Herpen finds her futuristic techniques to be just as viable. “Craftsmanship and couture has always been about innovation,” she says. “We tend to forget about it sometimes. But if we think of very traditional techniques, like early lacemaking, or even the America’s Highway get your Historic Route 66 kicks shirt Also,I will get this sewing machine—at the time, they were highly innovative.”

America's Highway get your Historic Route 66 kicks shirt

Van Herpen tells me her goal is to eventually make her collections from 100% recycled materials. The theme of this show, she says, “connects really beautifully to the America’s Highway get your Historic Route 66 kicks shirt Also,I will get this sustainability focus that I’ve been diving into, because fungi are now being harvested to clean up nuclear fallout, but also plastic waste.” (Not to mention that for fashion designers, mushrooms “are probably going to be very important collaborators in our near future,” in the form of biodegradable fabrics grown from mushroom spores.) This season, she incorporated fabric made from recycled ocean plastic, part of a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans. Van Herpen met Gutsch years ago at a dinner in Paris, where they fell into a two-hour conversation about the environment and the role of designers in driving change. Later, she visited their offices in New York to learn more about their work. Parley for the Oceans has collaborated with a wide array of brands, including Adidas and Stella McCartney, but couture is a new avenue for them, and brings with it a new audience for sustainability. (Gutsch tells me he prefers the term “eco-innovation.”)

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