ethical + eclectic: abbey rich
Ethical fashion, AKA eco-fashion, is having a moment--and we hope it lasts. Big brands like Reformation and Everlane are two of the most in-demand environmentally-friendly clothing companies, worn by the likes of today's It Girls Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and boho-babe Vanessa Hudgens. From the factories where their collections are made to investing in employee growth, labels that deeply value transparency and sustainability are popping up across the globe with the same mission: create wearable, affordable clothing without the social and environmental repercussions of fast fashion.
But it's not just big brand names that are finding their way into the closets of the masses.
Meet Abbey Rich and her namesake label Abbey Rich. Based out of Melbourne, Australia, Rich entered the fashion world in 2015 while studying a BA Textile Design. According to her website, she partnered up with Laura Clark, a designer/dressmaker, in order to bring designs of her own to life. The result was Abbey Rich, a perfect combination of classic silhouettes, bright, visually enchanting prints, and imaginative storytelling. For a relatively new designer in the fashion industry, her expertise in textiles effortlessly shines through in each piece and invites potential customers to explore what is not just fashion but works of art.
In the 'Self Romance' collection, Rich collaborated with Australian artist Frances Cannon. As stated on the Abbey Rich site, Cannon's work "focuses on the female body and the female psyche" and "examines what it is like to be a woman in contemporary times; looking at ideas of body-love and body-loathing, anxiety, relationships, sex and sexuality, gender, and bodily functions". The collection is a cohesive selection of wearable, timeless pieces that celebrate the individual.
The designer most recently released her 'Flesh or Bone' collection which features, well, flesh and bone patterns in soft, neutral tones contrasted alongside graphic, oversized grid and organic amoeba-like prints. The 'Flesh or Bone' pencil skirt dons exposed spines and the naked female form all pencil sketched and digitally printed onto the canvas material, according to the Abbey Rich website. Similar to 'Self Romance', Abbey Rich plays bravely with loose-fitting, boxy shapes that could easily overwhelm a person, but instead, the clothes fall gracefully on the wearer's body.
Each of Abbey Rich's collections are handmade, made-to-order, and for the designer it's very much a conscious decision. In an interview with Rotunda in 2016, Rich says, "creating handmade pieces means I am in control from start to finish and those who buy my work know that they are buying something that was created lovingly in my north Melbourne studio". She goes on to discuss how fast fashion has somewhat taken over the fashion industry in a way that is unavoidable, but advises consumers to value the pieces that go into our wardrobe rather than indulging in the latest trends to satisfy our itch for the shiny and new.