Since the inception of Marques’Almeida a decade ago, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida have never played by the rules. Veterans of the London scene, the Portuguese husband-and-wife duo have created sustainable sub-label reM’Ade, transforming waste into new fashion, made exclusively with deadstock and recycled fabrics.
Shirley: Your designs prominently feature the use of multiple materials and prints, which highlights upcycling and the fine line between impulse and consideration. How do you balance it with original design ideas?
Marta: “If anything, the upcycling of materials is the most considered, rational choice for us. The sustainability aspect of our collections has turned into the real driver for creativity during the past year, meaning the biggest thing on our minds is how we become part of a solution to this problem. For example, when considering colours, we would opt for natural dye — it’s all very instinctive.”
S: What are the challenges in maintaining a hands-on selective process of upcycling?
M’A: “When starting, consider how to scale up a brand from surplus, from deadstock, from upcycled materials — there’s so much of it. Big brands have to be inventive to scale down the operation process while making the same level of income. Being near suppliers is good for creating a new way of working in fashion.”
Formerly under the Fashion East umbrella, Eden Loweth has been creative director of Art School since 2020. A melting pot of diversity and inclusion, Loweth’s collections are famed for tapping into queer culture while using a diverse and inclusive roster of models draped in voluminous smock dresses, waist-cinching outerwear and corseted bustier tops.
Melda: In the past year, we’ve seen brands and designers exploring different ways to showcase their collections digitally. Do you see your label continuing this?
Eden: “Embracing digital ways of presenting collections has been a really exciting way of developing the Art School world. We have created a kind of hybrid where we still create catwalk showcases, but they are filmed and edited without a physical audience to create almost feature-film style productions. I want to continue and evolve this hybridisation of real life and digital as we grow, and when time allows, combine it with a real-life audience.”
M: Can you talk about what goes into the process of celebrating individuality in the fashion industry with your designs?
E: “Representation, diversity and inclusion are at the very heart of everything I believe in and this is infused within the DNA of Art School. Over the past four-and-a-half years, we have worked to create a platform for marginalised and underrepresented communities in our work. Our castings form the basis of each collection with the models informing, educating and encapsulating the collection’s themes and content.”