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Neoss AW16
Neoss AW16Photography Bradley Lloyd Barnes

The label with a fresh take on sustainable fashion

The designers behind Neoss discuss their brand and why they’re so adamantly opposed to fast fashion – plus, see the brand’s AW16 lookbook and campaign film

Fashion is terrible for the environment – in fact it’s the world’s second most polluting industry, just after oil. The environmental and social impact of making clothes – particularly cheap clothes – is enormous. However there’s a wave of brands trying to change the tide – from big names like G-Star Raw and Stella McCartney to rising stars such as Faustine Steinmetz and GmbH. Another label that’s resisting this culture of disposable fashion is Neoss, which the brainchild of Georgie Charalambous and Natalie Bouloux who met at school.

The pair started Neoss about a year ago, when Charalambous was at London College of Communications studying book arts and design and Bouloux was in New York interning with body positive lingerie and swimwear brand Chromat. Fuelled with a desire to create a new kind of sustainable fashion, the named their brand after the Greek word for “something new, modified” – which simultaneously reflects their desire to pioneer “a new way of buying clothes and a new way for women to dress”, the first material they experimented with, neoprene, and Charalambous’s Greek Cypriot heritage.

Here, alongside Neoss AW16 lookbook and campaign film (previewed exclusively here), the design duo tell us more about their label, why they’re to actively opposed to fast fashion and what inspired their most recent collection. 

Why are you so opposed to fast fashion?

Georgie Charalambous: We are very aware of the habits of high street shopping, especially the way in which we consume fashion nowadays. Instead of creating four collections per year, we want to create things that are timeless. We want people to respect the way things are made rather than buying something cheap and disposable. What we’re doing is creating pieces that we think can take you through several seasons that you’d be happier to spend a little bit more money on and you know that we have made them ourselves in our studio in Manor House.

Natalie Bouloux: We are also anti-waste. We try and do something with all our scrap fabrics because we’re aware of the impact that we have as fashion designers. Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries in the world. Particularly because of this culture of fast fashion. People buy clothes and then just throw them away, so we’re making an effort to be more responsible with what we’re doing.

“We try and do something with all our scrap fabrics because we’re aware of the impact that we have as fashion designers” – Natalie Bouloux

How do you describe Neoss’ aesthetic?

Natalie Bouloux: Well our aesthetic is informed by texture, and the ability to manipulate the perceptions of texture. We also try to enforce this idea of a female aesthetic that ignores the idea of ‘flattering’ the female figure. Our shapes are big and empowering, they engulf you.

How do you want them to be empowering?

Natalie Bouloux: Through how you feel when you wear them. You feel like a bit of a badass when you wear our bomber jacket. I mean that’s kind of biased coming from us, but I feel it.

Does your Greek heritage come through in any other aspects of the brand?

Georgie Charalambous: My dad is actually a massive influence on what I design. He’s a builder and he wears a lot of utilitarian trousers and interesting workwear. This was a big influence on aspects of the collection such as the combat trousers and bomber jacket pockets. We almost wanted to embellish the functioning aspects of our designs by putting them in strange places with an asymmetric quality.

Were there any other specific inspirations behind this particular collection?

Georgie Charalambous: A lot of our projects start with garment construction. I guess you could say that that is the common denominator between Natalie and I. We are fascinated with the way things are put together. This collection started with us taking apart a man’s shirt and re-imagining it. You can see echoes of this in the corduroy jacket.

Natalie Bouloux: We then started to be playful by taking key features like collars and classic seams and moving them around the garment to see how easy it was to skew perception. We had been studying the way line changes in water after seeing Kelly Klein’s Pools photobook alongside images from Gilles Rigoulet’s series A Parisian Summer Poolside. He played around with angles and took photographs above and below the water. The way the body had become so distorted was instantly something we wanted to play with in garment form.

What’s the concept behind the lookbook?

Georgie Charalambous: There is shop on Archway Road, near to where I live and I’ve always wanted to shoot there. I noticed it had a closing down sign on it and went in and asked if we could shoot our lookbook in there because I didn't want to miss the opportunity. The owner said yes. We wanted to create something warm and autumnal pulling references from Lena C. Emery and Mark Peckmezian.

What about the film?

Natalie Bouloux: The film is just one of the creative narratives. There are two girls in it and they just sort of own the camera. They’re there, wearing our clothes and they look strong and powerful. It’s a very short film but it’s got quite a bit of attitude. The music by Zoee worked so well and added a real ethereal quality to the video.