ASHES TO FASHION:
ETHICAL BRAND WAWWA RELEASE THEIR NEW AW19 COLLECTION

Inspired by the flickering flames of the Saddleworth Wildfires, Can’t See the Wood is sending smoke signals about the environment.

Paris is burning – but so are Milan, London and New York. For all the flame emojis and ‘fire’ responses to new collections, there are far more physical flames flickering in fashion.

Manchester ethical fashion brand WAWWA, thankfully, are on the case. Their new AW19 collection is entitled Can’t See the Wood, its title stemming from our blindness when it comes to distinguishing between wood and trees.

Rainforest destruction, after all, is fuelled by leather handbags as much as it is by meat or wood. It’s well-known that high-fashion brands burn millions of pounds of stock to protect exclusivity. It’s something as consumers we have to think about.

The collection’s fiery roots are first-hand. Employees of the label saw the 2018 Saddleworth fires from their office. It’s smoky, red-orange hues charring the colour palette of the new capsule. ‘“As we were designing the collection, wildfires were burning across the globe, and we saw it as a devastating metaphor for what humanity is doing to the earth,” co-founder Sean said.

It’s no surprise then that reds, yellows and black details dominate. Nature is nurtured via deep forest greens, adding foliage to the brand’s distinctive monochrome focus. It’s a classic Autumnal tone – but with a conscience, too.

Sustainability burns brightly. The brand always uses climate-neutral manufacturing, recycled plastics, vegan methods and plant-based packaging. Strikingly, too, they plant trees to offset carbon usage. The fabrics, also, are stunningly natural. Organic cotton are complemented with corozo nut buttons; tees are printed with water-based inks. Nature feels, after all.

It’s clear that the collection, then, is a give-and-take from fashion to the forest. It does not appropriate nature, using its beauty exploitatively for aesthetic ends. Instead, it offers back what it has sampled. This relationship with nature is illustrated via the campaign. It follows a group of friends taking a trip to Snowdon, reimmersing themselves back in nature. It’s these snapshots that comprise the lookbook; mini-break pics of mates enjoying the great outdoors.

It all brings to mind that classic adage: “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Before, it might have fallen on deaf ears. Now, campaigns, like Can’t See the Wood, are attempting to make noise about environmental campaigns.

After all, from the burnt dip-dye sweatshirt to the ember oranges, it’s impossible not to think of wildfires when wearing WAWWA. “Can’t See the Wood will act as a reminder to not lose sight of the task at hand which is to protect the planet,” Sean says. Next time you go to comment ‘lit’ on a new collection, maybe you’ll think otherwise.

Check out the new Can’t See the Wood collection now on www.wawwaclothing.com.

Words by Kyle MacNeill

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