Hiphonest – Open Source Sustainable Fashion & Design Trends

Goodlifer: Hiphonest - Open Source Sustainable Fashion & Design Trends

With fashion week season now underway in cosmopolitan capitals globally, there is no doubt that the careful scrutiny of the latest style trends and designer collections will be the preoccupation of hipsters everywhere. The good news is that there are some major inroads being made in sustainable fashion, specifically in terms of materials, sourcing, and media attention. The not so good news is the lack of clarity about what it means to be a sustainable label with standards that are inconsistent and certification that is still optional. Quite often, the best way of measuring the true value of design is to put the test to the people, and this is what Annouk Post of Hiphonest has done. Her open source ‘blog notebook’ follows the trends and brands of sustainable fashion and design, and invites readers to participate in a discussion about true value and style.

Slow design textiles by Marie-Ilse Bourlanges and 35 layer paper chair by Jeroen Wand.

Slow design textiles by Marie-Ilse Bourlanges and 35 layer paper chair by Jeroen Wand.

Nanna van Blaaderen knit textile experiments exhibited in 'Beauty Can Save Our World'

Nanna van Blaaderen knit textile experiments exhibited in ‘Beauty Can Save Our World’.

Hiphonest is a great resource for the trend watcher as it is chock full of design tips that are thought-provoking and often not featured in print, stores, or galleries. Annouk Post’s fashion finds are state-of-the art in terms of construction, wearability, and their eco-friendly quotient, highlighting the best of fashion-forward thinking in Europe and beyond. (I am rather partial to her curation of slow design goodness, specifically accessory and textile designers Wieteke Opmeer and Marie Ilse Bourlanges).

Hiphonest exhibition, 'Beauty Can Save Our World', at Berlin Fashion Week's The Key (June 2009)

Hiphonest exhibition, ‘Beauty Can Save Our World’, at Berlin Fashion Week’s The Key (June 2009).

Woes van Haaften's 'I Am You Are Me' recycled business card collection from years of travel and exchange with hand-written personal notations layered over type

Woes van Haaften’s ‘I Am You Are Me’ recycled business card collection from years of travel and exchange with hand-written personal notations layered over type.

Post and Ingrid Horsselenberg recently served as co-curators of ‘Beauty Can Save Our World’ at Berlin Fashion Week’s The Key. The show was created as a visual trend forecast and green design showcase for leading Dutch designers Nienke Sybrandy, Wieteke Opmeer, Marie-Ilse Bourlanges, Nanna van Blaaderen, Marianne Kemp, Bomdesign, Jetkse de Groot, Jeroen Wand, House of Origin, Woes van Haaften, Cay Schröder and Kentroy Yearwood. Part conceptual art/part sustainable fashion/part seeds of change, ‘Beauty Can Save Our World’ was as a welcome counterpoint to the hype and haste of fashion week shows and their seasonal focus. Curator Ingrid Horsselenberg commented prior to the opening: ‘We will show that sustainability is not just a theme but more and more a natural starting point for shape and material concerning design. Our aim is to inspire visitors. Sustainability will be most durable when you do it on your own way.’

Wieteke Opmeer's 'seeds of wonder'/'sowing jewelry' collection paired with Marie Ilse Bourlanges' slow design fashion collection which shows wear and 'decay' in an abstract manner.

Wieteke Opmeer’s ‘seeds of wonder’/’sowing jewelry’ collection paired with Marie Ilse Bourlanges’ slow design fashion collection which shows wear and ‘decay’ in an abstract manner.

Marianne Kemp's woven horsehair textiles inspired by travels and research on sustainability in the Far East, specifically Mongolia.

Marianne Kemp’s woven horsehair textiles inspired by travels and research on sustainability in the Far East, specifically Mongolia.

Detailed view of Marianne Kemp's intricate knotting and looping process of fiber in the creation of her horsehair woven surfaces and textiles.

Detailed view of Marianne Kemp’s intricate knotting and looping process of fiber in the creation of her horsehair woven surfaces and textiles.

As a suggested guideline for figuring out how exactly to do it your own way, Hiphonest proposes a set of S-Values to consider when assessing the sustainable goods in your life, home, and workplace. These values can overlap and also influence each other. A few that I particularly like are ‘statement’, ‘sincere’, ‘slow’, ‘science’, ‘shape’ and ‘social’. Annouk explains that respect for people and the planet is embodied in the S-values, and perhaps these are simply ideas on the path to living the good life while also creating a positive, enthusiastic, more sustainable existence. With current fashion week coverage floating like a sugary cloud of cotton candy over a fragile and ailing planet, it helps to have a few alternative images to call upon when defining the future of chic or the very real shape of things to come.

Oslo fashion label FIN offers new milk fabrics produced from 'surplus milk proteins' not intended for food. Milk fabric garments are apparently super soft, with a luxurious 'creamy' texture.

Oslo fashion label FIN offers new milk fabrics produced from ‘surplus milk proteins’ not intended for food. Milk fabric garments are apparently super soft, with a luxurious ‘creamy’ texture.

Nienke Sybrandy's ‘Grondvormen’ project discovers new possibilities in everyday things, as with this ready-made terrarium and it's micro-macro view of the world.

Nienke Sybrandy’s ‘Grondvormen’ project discovers new possibilities in everyday things, as with this ready-made terrarium and it’s micro-macro view of the world.

Hiphonest display and exhibition statement for 'Beauty Can Save Our World' at The Key (Berlin Fashion Week).

Hiphonest display and exhibition statement for ‘Beauty Can Save Our World’ at The Key (Berlin Fashion Week).

The good news is that ‘Hiphonest’ is not a term or a label that one might own or market. Though it was branded by the YOI Foundation network (with Annouk in 2003), it is meant to be used an inspirational tool to help us define the road ahead. It’s transparency and open-source spirit really aims to takes the negativity out of a words like ‘trendsetting’ or ‘fashionable’. Fashion need not be a dirty word, if dirt (soil) is something that we learn to understand and integrate. Granted there is a certain eco-fabulous quotient that we still expect each fashion week season, but with the introduction of a new value system and the dissemination of smart ideas, we might grow to love and desire those designs that we can genuinely live with.

About author
An internationally exhibited fiber and environmental installation artist, Abigail’s eco-textile artwork is featured on Greenmuseum, Art Cloth Text, Landviews, the Textile Arts Center blog, and in the handbook, Green Guide for Artists. She has been a regular contributor on sustainable style and textiles for EcoSalon, Ecouterre, HAND/EYE magazine and her own art and fashion blogs, Ecco*Eco and Lost in Fiber. She is also a curator of exhibitions and events related to ideas about “fashioning self and the environment.” Future dreams of melding art, family, and sustainability include the thrifty recycling of textile scraps from her domestic sphere, teaching family recipes to her twin toddlers, and building a house from scratch in the American Southwest with her very resourceful and dashing husband.
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