EcoLuxe Fashion Focus: Selina Cheong
As the fashion world descended on London early this week for the exciting reveal of what to look out for in designers’ Spring/Summer 2013 collections, the ethically-minded were heading for Ecoluxe London. A magnificent showcase of ethical fashion from across the globe, it has just celebrated its fifth season and boasted a contingent of over 30 brands.
Founded in 2010 by designers Stamo and Elena Garcia, Ecoluxe is a not-for-profit exhibition that provides designers with the same ethical attitude with a stage to promote their work. From casualwear to tailoring and upcycling to accessories, it was a colourful and positive array of products and characters who have committed themselves to helping the environment, investing in local craftsmanship and shouting about how ethical is the way forward.
This season was all about global, with designers from Chile to the Netherlands all converging on London and the selection of high-end tailored pieces, individually crafted accessories and understated elegance was a joy to behold. Established brands as well as fledgling upstarts that have only been founded in the last couple of months stood side by side to promote the values of Ecoluxe: quality, luxury and authenticity.
One of the many brilliant British designers gracing EcoLuxe this year was Selina Cheong, a hugely talented accessories designer whose range is in it’s second season. A passionate advocate of ethically intelligent shopping, Cheong sources locally and believes it is important to educate consumers on the importance of buying ethical. We caught up with her…
Describe Selina Cheong in five words.
Sustainable, luxurious, functional, timeless with style.
What is your history in the world of fashion?
I have worked as a freelance accessories designer/maker for the last six years with brands across the spectrum. With this wealth of knowledge and experience I have decided to launch my own range of bags.
What is at the heart of what you do?
Being aware of the quality of materials I use, where they are from and transforming them into a highly finished product that will last a lifetime.
What are your key themes this season?
Fresh mint leaves!
What is the role of sustainable practices in the modern world?
It is an essential role that needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, from the consumer to the buyers to the designers. I can see the popularity of sustainable pieces increasing but that means consumers also need to change the way they shop by buying fewer, more considered items. It cannot be seen as just a trend, it must be seen as a way of life and a necessity to look after our planet.
How long does it take you to complete a piece?
Sometimes it can take months sourcing leathers. I try to buy as locally as possible and make sure the tanneries have sustainable practices in place. Unfortunately a lot of the leather trade has moved abroad so it is difficult when you have a certain colour palette in mind and no one has the leathers you want. I also buy leathers that are left over stock from other British brands to help reduce landfill. Completing a bag can take a few months and I often rope in friends and family to test run the bag – the Chadwick took four different samples to get to the final size!
What has been your greatest experience so far?
Seeing someone on the street carrying a Selina Cheong bag.
What is next for you?
Asia! I have just sent out a collection to Taiwan to be sold with other British brands so it will be exciting to see where it takes me.