Staying true to his values, renowned British designer Christopher Raeburn invites consumers to personalise catwalk items, using Unmade technology.
Christopher Raeburn: award-winning British fashion designer who brings sustainable design to a mainstream fashion audience, combining luxury with integrity.
Sustainability and provenance are central to Raeburn. Like Unmade, he considers the material impact of everything he creates.
His brand was built on the REMADE line, which adapts surplus military pieces into tailored contemporary garments and accessories. Perhaps the most exclusive of these is the Silk Map collection, which sees items tailored from original Royal Air Force silk escape and rescue maps. REMADE is all made in an East London studio factory.
Raeburn wanted Unmade to help reinterpret his original brand and allow his customers to interact with part of his Spring/Summer 2016 (SS16). He needed the technology to make this happen. Although no stranger to collaborations, Raeburn has questions for each new venture. Are we going to be able to bring anything new to the company that we’re working with? Are we going to learn something?
Raeburn wanted on-brand business benefits and a unique, technology-driven experience for his customers. Each could create a personal version of his catwalk collection. A one-of-a-kind to cherish. But it was also vital that each item fit the creative concept of Raeburn’s SS16 collection.
The Unmade fashion team found a starting point for the digital update in Raeburn's Map Sweater. This men’s knit reflects Raeburn's fascination with vintage maps of Borneo and the exploits of British explorer Tom Harnett Harrisson (1911-1976), who was perhaps the embodiment of solo adventure.
The women’s Ribbon Sweater design followed. Its free-flowing look refers to Harrisson’s parachute-landing in Sarawak, Borneo. It was 1945 and, as a British Army officer, he was on a mission to rescue US airmen.
The traditional bundle-dyeing techniques of the Sarawak people inspired the women’s Dye Sweater design. The process mirrored traditional methods too. Blue came from the leaves of the woad plant and deep yellow from the spice turmeric.
Unmade technology let customers interact with each garment, while preserving the unique DNA of the Raeburn brand. As the Unmade editor works on mobile phones, customers could create while out exploring. The map designs were ideally suited to the tech.
“Christopher Raeburn has a history of looking at how he can use technology in and around fashion. But not for the sake of it. He uses technology in an appropriate way to add to the fashion.”
‘We see clothes as a series of parameters,’ says Alun-Jones. ‘We control some of them; Christopher [Raeburn] has controlled some of them, and we've left one open for the customer to control.’ Made-to-order production meant no wasted stock. Files were sent to industrial knitting machines at the Unmade factory studio in Somerset House, London. And a unique collection was born.
Unmade X Christopher Raeburn was showcased at London Fashion Week SS16. The styles dressed the windows of Selfridges, London, as part of a celebration of new talent – Bright New Things.
“Really good collaborations are very much about two companies or individuals pushing each other to do something new.”
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