Green fashion doesn’t have the best rep, and one doesn’t have to look far to understand why.
Too often are brands making sustainability the centerpiece of their brand marketing, meanwhile compromising on the quality and design of the products themselves. Only a handful of brands like Stella McCartney, Noah and sneaker brand Veja have been able to successfully balance both, without losing desirability or credibility.
Emerging London-based label Zilver, which showed its sophomore collection at The Vinyl Factory in London’s Soho earlier today, is next in line on that list. While the brand is young, its founder and creative director Pedro Lourenço, isn’t anything close to emerging.
Lourenço grew up to some of Brazil’s most famed designers, Reinaldo Lourenço and Gloria Coelho, who brought him to Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto shows and photography exhibitions of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon at a young age. Once he turned 12, Lourenço took over the helm of his mother’s diffusion line, Carlota Joakina, showing his first collection at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in 2002.
By the age of 19, Lourenço launched his critically-acclaimed namesake womenswear line in Paris — it was shut two years later. A brief stint as creative director of lingerie brand La Perla followed before founding Zilver in 2018, which was born out of the designer’s frustration for the lack of well-designed, eco-conscious garments.
“It’s about merging responsible design with creating basics that have the values I believe in,” he tells Highsnobiety about Zilver during a preview of his new collection. “Classics of the future” Lourenço call them.
Creating products that are less harmful for our planet and for the people that make them is just one of those values. “It’s also about disrupting the societal need to categorize things.”
As such, Zilver doesn’t adhere to traditional seasonal trends nor does it classify itself as a unisex or gender-fluid brand. “There’s no one Zilver man or women. The proposal is for everyone and it’s about defining an aesthetic that if a boy, girl or trans person dresses in it, they’ll be part of my aesthetical code,” he says, adding that Zilver acts as template for how luxury brands need to approach issues like sustainability and gender going into the 2020s if they want to meaningfully connect with the next generation of luxury consumers.
What that looked like on the runway was modern, monochrome riding boots along with Zilver’s signature “Helmet” bag, sported by all genders. So were the traceable Icelandic shearling and certified organic leather outerwear; the sturdy recycled denim created with reused water (inspired by Swiss photographer Karheinz Weinberger’s book Rebel Youth); and the numerous adaptable duvet puffer coats made in post-industrial recycled nylon and insulated with used plastic bottles, eliminating the need for animal down.
The latter being a reference to comfort and physical pleasure, key traits of the Taurus zodiac sign — each season Zilver takes inspiration from the archetype language of astrology, last season starting with Aries. That system makes sense of the large bull on the show invite and why the white organic cotton and poplin dresses resembled soft bed sheets. It also explains the inclusion of short boxer underpants, these came in unconventional recycled denim variations.
Other eclectic references were made to 1960s NASA uniforms, Supersonic aircraft outfits, as well as Swedish interior design, which formed the base for sharply-cut trompe l’oeil stone grey suiting. All came in luxurious heavy-weight fabrics. After all, both the material world and structure are two more Taurus traits. It’s those buried references, along with the label’s overall ethos, that will get the brand recognized by press, stockists and ultimately consumers in no time.