Fashion / Style

Houston Design House’s Recycled Clothes Captivate London Fashion Week

Nonprofit’s Small Budget Can’t Hold Its Uplifting Message Back

BY // 03.12.18
photography Runway shots Simon Armstrong; Behind the Scenes shots Dawn Marie

Magpies & Peacocks – Houston’s nonprofit design house, known for its up-cycled clothing and accessories – recently achieved a huge and prestigious milestone. Its Re:ne(w) By René Garza for Magpies & Peacocks “Impermanent Flora” collection debuted at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018.

The avant-garde, brightly colored tropical and rainforest-inspired line debuted in front of more than 300 in London’s Freemasons’ Hall as part of Fashion Scout London, the largest showcase of independent designers during London Fashion Week.

Shown at LFW in collaboration with Fashion For Conservation, an organization that champions sustainability and preservation, Re:ne(w) was designed and curated by René Garza, the in-house lead designer (and executive board member) for Magpies & Peacocks, who’s also a celebrity stylist in New York and a multi-media visual artist. (His clients have included Naomi Campbell, Sofia Vergara, and Alicia Keys, and even a Die Antwoord album cover.)

As part of Fashion Scout, the United Kingdom’s largest independent showcase of up-and-coming progressive and pioneering designers, Magpies & Peacocks can lay stake as part of a revered and eclectic showcase lineage that has played a part in launching the careers of designers and houses like Phoebe English, William Tempest, and Pam Hogg (famous for styling icons like Siouxsie Sioux and Debbie Harry).

An evening look not for the faint of heart.

The work by Magpies & Peacocks is notable for using exclusively up-cycled materials, which is the re-use of waste, or commercial byproducts into new products. (Up-cycling is such a big deal, that the NBA‘s new jerseys and basketball shorts designed by Nike integrate a percentage of up-cycled materials in their pieces.)

Stay tuned: After its Fashion Week debut, Magpies & Peacocks will host a capsule runway show and meet-and-greet with Garza as part of tis annual student design exhibition Catwalks & Classrooms inside their Eado design house on Saturday, April 21. Further, Magpies & Peacocks, a current grantee of the Houston Arts Alliance, will present the Re:ne(w) collection at the HAA Dinner Concert, Thursday, April 5 at Hotel ZaZa.

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Besides Garza on the ground in London to take a bow, M&P’s Ahshia Berry flew across the pond to take in the experience as the nonprofit’s communications director. Berry says of her catwalk time at London Fashion Week,

“The show was absolutely amazing. Also, Women’s Wear Daily interviewed us. I’m still floating on cloud nine!

“As a small nonprofit from Houston, Magpies & Peacocks has worked relentlessly, and often on a small budget, to divert post-consumer textiles from landfill and spread our message of sustainability in design – so it was wonderful to see our zero waste, up-cycled collection Re:ne(w) By René Garza For Magpies & Peacocks selected to grace the prestigious runway at London Fashion Week.

“Working for an environmental arts social enterprise nonprofit, I often have to tell our story in quite a unique way, so to garner this type of success internationally has been beyond our wildest dreams.

“Literally using everything from scrap fabrics, old clothing and bolt ends to discarded table linens, our lead designer René Garza knocked this collection out the park and this will forever be an exceptional moment in time for our organization and our message”.

Click through the slideshow for examples of this surprisingly glam recycled collection. 

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