Photos courtesy of Malcolm Tam
Last week was Brighton Fashion Week, which is becoming quite a significant annual event in our fair city. At the industry networking evening, I had the amazing good fortune of bumping into Valerie Goode, Creative CEO of Kitty Ferreira. Valerie founded the label in 2013, after working in China and witnessing horrific pollution and environmental degradation there. She says, ‘I returned to the UK vowing not to contribute to that by sourcing upcycled materials in the UK and, where possible, British-made materials to keep my carbon footprint as low as possible.’
Valerie is a trained commercial designer who produces eminently wearable clothes. She designs timeless and elegant ethical pieces that dispel the ‘hippy’ connotations of sustainable fashion. Her clothes have featured at London Fashion Week and have won several awards.
I saw her simple and chic spring/summer 2016 collection at the Sustain Fashion Show on the final evening, held in the imposing All Saint’s Church in Hove. The clothes were definitely elegant and wearable, had sex appeal (without being clingy), and featured some of my favourite elements: long fluid silhouettes, a mainly monochrome/neutral palette and gorgeous silky fabrics. I particularly loved the semi-sheer silk transparent jacket and black trousers.
Catwalk shows are usually about art rather than wearability, but I could picture myself meeting a client or attending an event in one of her dresses (or the jacket/trouser outfit). Moving away from the neutral palette, Valerie also showed a vibrant African-inspired print top with peg-shaped trousers.
And the name? Valerie named the label after her grandmother, who lived in the Caribbean and was upcycling long before it became a fashionable term.
Valerie told me, ‘Brighton Fashion Week was excellent and I’m so excited for ethical and sustainable fashion right now. Being the only UK platform for ethical and sustainable fashion is a huge step towards cleaning up the industry and creating awareness for the end customer.’ Her long-term vision is to rival non-ethical brands on the high street, and I have no doubt she will succeed.