Christopher Raeburn has always been interested in sustainability. “Remade, Reduced, Recycled” are the core tenets of his namesake brand, with the label dedicated to using surplus or recycled material and producing small runs and locally-made products to minimize waste and emissions. So it’s no surprise for his inaugural collaboration with cult skincare brand Aesop that our current climate crisis was a central theme.

Designed with our daily routine in mind (albeit a slightly more pandemic-friendly one than usual) the collaboration consists of an “Adventurer Roll Up” aka a neat little bag designed to cleanly store all your on-the-go essentials. The pack comes with a trio of handcare items — rinse-free hand mist, hand wash, and hand balm so you can sanitize and moisturize without smelling like you just dosed yourself in vodka.

The collab consists of two parts — a wide-release grey-on-black pouch made from pre-consumer recycled cotton, and 300 limited-edition pouches made with reclaimed 1960s aeronautical navigation maps. Raeburn is self-described as being “obsessed by maps” and he built an archive of Air Force maps around the world. Handmade in East London, where Rabeurn has his studio, the maps highlight places that are particularly suffering from the effects of environmental degradation.

“One of them is around Borneo and the Java Sea; an area heavily affected by deforestation and Palm Oil plantations,” Raeburn tells Highsnobiety. “I think there is something quite symbolic about working with a map from the 1960s and reworking it in 2020 because that 40-year period is where we’ve seen the catastrophic acceleration of deforestation environmentally impact climate change.”

“The second map is showing the Aral Sea, which was already being highlighted as disappearing back during my A-level Geography studies in the late '90s. It has now been replaced by desert, with ships standing as tall relics in the middle of what used to be rich waters. Looking at the Aral Sea as you see it on the map in the 1960s, it is significantly larger than what we see from above in satellite image — it’s a stark contrast. Ultimately, we’ve chosen these two specific locations because they signify the environmental impact we are having on the planet. But beyond that, maps bind us all together as people, globally.”

As part of the collaboration, Raeburn is making the pattern for the pouch open source and available on Aesop’s website. Describing the project as a “crossover of digital and physical practicality,” Raeburn explains that he “wanted to bring in the creative element, to democratize craft and allow individuals to make their own version of this product at home.”

Raeburn isn’t new to collaborations, in the past the designer has worked with The North Face and Timberland (where he also serves as Creative Director), and most recently he's relaunching two labels founded by Italian fashion designer and garment engineer Massimo Osti. However, Raeburn tells us he's interested in “working outside the traditional fashion scope,” and this marks his first foray into skincare.

“At RÆBURN we recognize that cross-industry collaboration is key in addressing sustainability at-large. We all need to work together and combine forces to drive that momentum forward.” With this collection overall, Raeburn hopes that it will reach new, like-minded consumers and “hopefully inspire something meaningful beyond that.”

The Aesop collab will be available from March 1 at Aesop stores and online.

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