Meet the London-based double act turning ocean plastic pollution into a fashion moment

Interview
Plastic Fantastic Lovers

Fyodor Golan

Meet the London-based double act turning ocean plastic pollution into a fashion moment

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Bold details aren’t the only statement on the fashion week schedule. With politicised presentations a permanent fixture, designers are weaving deeper meaning into their collections, and none more so than Fyodor Golan. Joining forces with Plastic Oceans UK, Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman take on marine pollution for Spring/Summer 2019, staging their ocean-inspired collection among a haunting entanglement of dredged up fishing nets. Back in February, when the runway installation hit a pop-up space in-store, we spoke to the duo about denting ocean plastic through creative means.

How did the collaboration with Plastic Oceans UK come about? The SS19 collection was inspired by the ocean. Fyodor and I are very close to nature and constantly explore the human connection between nature and modern lifestyles. It was important for us to address the issue of ocean waste with its overwhelming scale and environmental impact, using our stage to have important discussions – but simply talking is not enough.

So, we have collaborated with Plastic Oceans to see how we could help our oceans; along with teams of volunteers, Plastic Oceans have been collecting abandoned fishing gear across the UK, whilst campaigning for more sustainable models of fishing. We used the collected nets to create a backdrop to our London Fashion Week catwalk show and now we have recreated the installation within Liberty. Following the installation, the nets will finally be recycled.

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Why did the issue of plastic pollution resonate so much?We felt the sheer scale of ocean plastic pollution is something we need to address and, whilst as designers it is our role to inspire our audience, we wanted to use this stage for a conversation worth having. Creating a collection inspired by oceans, we could not ignore these issues.

Describe the Fyodor Golan aesthetic.The Fyodor Golan collection represents Positive Intellectualism a movement of passionate self-expression, which comes across in vivid colours and use of tech fabrications merged with progressive sportswear aesthetics.

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"It was important for us to address the issue of ocean waste with its overwhelming scale and environmental impact, using our stage to have important discussions."

What challenges come with sending a message through fashion?Fashion is a fantastic creative medium which is strongly in the public eye, though it is often viewed with very critical eyes since it is also an industrially-based business. We try to focus on local manufacturing and craftsmanship to retain our integrity and standpoint. We believe our customer appreciates the work, design and attention to detail that goes into every Fyodor Golan item and this fact engages her to have these important conversations with us.

How did you channel the spirit of the ocean into the clothes?Sporty, surfer details are mixed with soft sailing silks, gathered, exaggerated and embroidered to create experiential environments for the wearer. Castaway elements found on beaches – from seashells and pearls to plastic waste – influences fabrications and detailing. Protective translucent sequin scales are sewn into fragile silhouette. Contrastingly strict graphics and oversized flower bloom prints create paradisiacal culmination. Washed out hues of recycled denims and cottons are contrasted with raw silks of bold fuchsia and cyan tones.

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"Fashion will continue to open up to environmental and social challenges and we believe that it will grow to lead the way into sustainable living whilst inspiring the consumer."

Where else did you source inspiration for the collection?The collection was named "Lost and Found”; washed ashore, abandoned elements from various eras are revisited. Evaluating colour combinations and collaged pieces were inspired by American painter Jamie Adams and photographs of pastel discarded waste sculptures by Thirza Schaap.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind the set too.The runway set is sculpted to emulate coral covered driftwood, made of flowers and abandoned fishing nets. A new reimagined landscape of old and new, conveying a positive message and supporting ocean clean up and repurposing waste.

How are you hoping to emulate this in the pop-up?We are very happy to have the opportunity to team up with Liberty on this pop-up! We are reusing the nets used for our London Fashion Week show but, again with the help of Plastic Oceans, we are adding new rounds of clean-ups so the viewer will really be able to sense the repurposed nets and the scale of waste that is routinely just floating around us. What other place than an island like the UK is better for focusing on maintaining clean oceans.?

What other efforts have you taken as a brand to safeguard the planet?We have stopped all single use plastics such as bags and all our packaging is now fully recycled. We are also continuing to develop our collections using recycled materials and environmentally friendly organic cottons.

What do you predict for the future of fashion?Fashion will continue to open up to environmental and social challenges and we believe that it will grow to lead the way into sustainable living whilst inspiring the consumer.

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