LFW: CHRISTOPHER RAEBURN F/W 2014

Sigh. First it was screaming girls. Now, it’s revving engines. Snow mobile engines, I assume, given the polar theme of this Christopher Raeburn Fall/Winter collection. The kind of engine really doesn’t matter. Concrete floors were vibrating. People are on temporary seating. I was a bit anxious.

Christopher Raeburn is a designer with a conscience and it shows in the clothes he creates. All of his fabrics are sourced from military excess and throw-aways. All of his production and assembly work is done in Great Britain. What you get is quality garments, excellent styling, and the knowledge that you are participating in sustainable fashion practices that are not harmful to the earth. Where you see sheepskin and fur, know that it has been utilized on other garments or for other purposes previously.

This is a very warm, very snugly collection. Heavy on coats, jumpers and sweaters, this is a line of clothing designed to keep one warm while giving you the flexibility to stay active. Part of this is due to the high-tech nature of many of the fabrics. When Raeburn receives products from military sources across Europe, the pieces are completely deconstructed and separated. Synthetics, such as those used for the outer layering of coats, are completely re-worked and often re-woven. The result is a very flexible and very warm garment that is light weight and easy to wear.

Sweaters and knit caps, too, come from threads re-loomed and then dyed and knitted. The polar bear motif woven into many of the garments is not only cute, but reminds one of how serious we must take our responsibility to the planet.

All that being said, there are a couple of curious elements. One is the mid-calf hem on pants. Given the otherwise very warm nature of this collection, that decision seems to be counter productive and more than a bit drafty. I know of many locations where the snow this winter was higher than the hem of those pants and bare skin gets frost bite quickly.

The other is his choice of footwear. While practical, the high-top velcro-fastened shoes have a large base that reminds me far too much of the boots worn by the cartoon character Olive Oyl, Popeye the Sailor’s girlfriend. Thin legs going into over-sized shoes causes one’s feet to look large and imposing.

Nonetheless, this is a very earth-friendly and very warm collection, one that was extremely popular with the crowd this afternoon and I am certain it is likely to do similarly well at stores.

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