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This season’s Considered Craft movement confirms that fashion has well and truly fallen out of love with all things fast.

The spring summer 2020 fashion presentations marked the first seismic shift within the industry toward a more sustainable, conscious future. At Dior, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri showed her collection under a canopy of trees to outline her mission that respect for diversity and nature will set us free. Meanwhile at Chloé designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi delivered her most pared-back collection yet, a considered move toward giving customers a timeless offering, rather than trend-driven perishables.

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Alexander McQueen’s catwalk show where Irish linen and crochet was at the forefront of his spring summer collection

No one set a more poignant tone, though, than Sarah Burton at McQueen. The fashion house’s spring summer collection was an ode to heritage artisanship. With so much of the fabric industry already lost, or facing extinction, Burton took the opportunity to champion the best of slow-fashion. She and her team spent two days in Northern Ireland learning about the linen craft from legendary producers including William Clark in Co Derry to Thomas Ferguson in Banbridge, and then took the ancient skills they had uncovered back with them to their design studios in London.

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Fergusons Mill in Banbridge has a long history of creating world class Irish linen. Sarah Burton worked with the last linen weaver in Ireland to create beautiful fabrics for her collection at Alexander McQueen.

When McQueen spring summer 2020 hit the runway, it was William Clark’s beetled linen that opened the show, a puff-sleeved dress, bleached by the sun and moon. Later, an ivory dress featuring damask 100% Irish linen wowed, woven and hand-embroidered by the Banbridge Fergusons. It was a moving and modern presentation, one in which Burton asked us to pause for thought; these are the last remaining examples of these techniques, and when they are lost, much like our planet, they will be gone for good.

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Sarah Burton, Creative Director, Alexander McQueen

Brown Thomas Fashion Director Shelly Corkery says the focus on intricate techniques is not only updating designs with refreshing and unique character but “it’s also incorporating a sense of human connection in the design construction and a traditional approach to workmanship.” Perhaps that is the real takeaway from the Considered Craft movement; that beyond the trends and must-have designs lies the need to connect with each other through the beauty of fashion. Creating a sustainable collection might mean going back to basics, in the best possible way.

Intricate techniques incorporate a sense of human connection in the design construction and traditional approach to workmanship.

Shelly Corkery, Fashion Director

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Details from Alexander McQueen’s catwalk show where Irish linen and crochet was at the forefront of his spring summer collection.

From the sustainably created fashion sets to the recycled materials, artisan techniques and altogether more thoughtful approach to the spring summer collections this year, the tone has been set for better fashion. For the weavers and linen producers in Northern Ireland, it was the first time in a long time their work was exhibited on such a global stage, in such a couture way. Perhaps this will spark a new movement, one that will last far longer than the season; one in which we consider all parts of the fashion process, and choose to celebrate a slow-fashion future.





See more beautiful linen and lace looks from Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen in 7 Trends to have on your Radar.