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Ethical fashion trends: Is the Speedo cocktail dress on your “must have” list?

June 7, 2011
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On the Telegraph (UK) web site, I read an item about Estethica, a group in the European fashion industry that focuses on sustainability and “ethical fashion.” I like clothes, I study ethics. (I once had a fake leather jacket that was so convincing I had to give it away; an animal ethicist loses some credibility when she shows up wearing a “leather” jacket. Explaining that it’s actually a good fake made of carbon-belching, non-renewable fossil fuel derivatives – surprisingly – doesn’t win anyone back.  But I digress…)  So I googled Estethica and wandered around until I landed on a site that features their wares.

Click on “Speedo/From Somewhere” and you’ll be treated to a slideshow of what appears to be Speedo swimsuit/cocktail dresses, like the one over there on the left. Think Sue Sylvester’s track suit wedding dress, only weirder. I clicked through to see if it was a joke and came to this:

Which somehow didn’t improve matters.

The Sensible Sartorialist in me was about to rear its huffy little head and dismiss the whole ridiculous collection, but I decided to go back and read the fine print on the splash page. Ah ha! These creations came about when FINA banned full-body swimming suits such as the one worn by Michael Phelps in the Beijing Olympics. Speedo had already ramped up production on the suits, which now had no place to go, so they paired with From Somewhere (a British fashion label that recycles surplus, scrap and sample textiles) to “upcycle” the suits and materials. Cool! I mean, I still think they’re ridiculous looking, but I like the back story.

 

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