London Fashion Week has the reputation for being the more creative and daring of the four main trend presentations across the world, with more and more pressure on brands to perform and deliver impeccable and boundary pushing designs every year.
German twins Daniela and Annette Felder, of London based design duo Felder Felder are acutely aware of this and took their design down a totally new pathway to celebrate their 10th Anniversary at LFW. Looking into exclusively up-cycled and sustainable fabrics, the duo took inspiration from BMW i's electric vehicles to come up with a striking "carbon dress" that is basically made from a car.
The dress, to be precise is made from carbon fibres, the same as are used in BMWi cars, and reflects the true personality of Felder Felder totally. The metallic skater dress they created for spring/summer '17 has fantastic fringe embellishment and took the pair over 100 hours to make, but where do you even start with such a project? IBTimes UK spoke to the design duo on their latest project.
The beginning of the twin sisters' relationship with BMW goes back to childhood when their father used to race touring cars, working with BMW for many years. As Danielle mentioned "we grew up driving BMWs on racing tracks so for us it's a very special collaboration.
However, the idea to use carbon fibres came by chance when the pair saw how the changing stages of carbon lent themselves perfectly to fashion.
"When we started talking to BMWi about creating something special for London Fashion Week of course we wanted to work in sustainable way" Anette explained "We tracked back to see how the cars are designed and its amazing to see that every process in production is sustainable and they had this amazing material, carbon fibre. When you look at it in its original form it comes in materials and ways that are actually very suitable for designing clothes from it."
Impressive and extremely elegant with a delicate hair-like quality it is amazing that these fibres are the same that make the shell of a car as well as well as being fully sustainable. It took Felder Felder quite a few phone calls and favours to get hold of enough material for the collection, and they ended up sourcing it from the same place as BMW buy the carbon fibres for their electric and plug-in Hybrid BMW i cars. "Everyone was really helpful and in about a week we got a lot of the materials we needed, so it was actually very quick moving" Danielle said.
The sheen and edgy quality of the fibre in perfectly in keeping with their brand's rock and roll aesthetic, which was very important to Danielle and Annette throughout the process, although they were enthralled with discovering how to use the product initially.
"When you get the carbon fibre it comes [spun] on a big roll and it has a hair-like quality, and it's very soft." Danielle explained "Then we you develop it and put through the different stages it becomes likes this really soft material which almost has fabric quality." It is this 'fabric' that they used for the main body of the dress. After this stage the carbon fibres can be pressed further to be harder and harder, which the Felder's said was very beautiful, however as Danielle said "they wouldn't have been that suitable to use for a dress because that [material is] actually going to end up being a car."
The collection in full carries the brand's trademark style with flash electric motifs and elegant cuts, although this season every piece was carefully created through up-cycled garments from their last decade of work. Digging through their archives they created new from their old designs, always with an emphasis on creating a fully sustainable label.
"I think for us its really important to bring awareness towards sustainability, sexy sustainability, as I like to call it" said Danielle, and they have done just that by using their old work, although like any move towards more eco friendly and sustainable style these things take time, and this is just the start for the Felder twins.
"For us its really important to have showpieces and examples that will also get people interested" said Danielle, "and eventually it is our goal to create sustainable collections that also have a commercial value." As Annette explained, the twins have been looking into ways as to how they can make our brand more sustainable for the past few seasons as well as in their personal life, so this looks to be a new trademark of the brand that is here to stay.