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At Edun, Plastic Fantastic

Designer Danielle Sherman offers tactility in her wares
Edun Pre-Fall 2016 | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — For Pre-Fall, Edun designer Danielle Sherman's starting point was Akarova, a Belgian avant-garde dancer and choreographer who created her own world — from sets to geometric, zigzagged costumes. Hand-drawn patterns informed the wavy, almost zebra-like motif on a foggy-plastic shirt coat, and the geometric bird's eye print on a zipped-up skirt with patch pockets. Those graphic elements played against silhouettes inspired by traditional American workwear. There were patchworked shearling car coats, hip-hugging dark denim jeans, zip-up overalls and cropped jersey kick flares made out of a thermal viscose, all topped off with cool details like topstitching, exaggerated snaps and micro eyelets. The sharper lines of those utilitarian shapes were offset by tiered, micro-pleated plissé slip dresses that floated comfortably off the body.

It’s the year of the statement earring, and Sherman contributed to the conversation by adorning her models in oversize triangle and circles that were a nod to the Karamojong people of northern Uganda. Each piece was handcrafted from pieces of plastic car brakes and lights. The collection’s fat, tubular sandal also had an of-the-moment appeal.

The trials and tribulations of Edun are well documented. Like many brands that initially put an altruistic mission front and centre, instead of first showcasing the design, it's been an uphill battle to find a dedicated following. Since installing Sherman in 2013 — the third creative director since its founding in 2005 — the company has managed to find a place on the racks of the right retailers, from Net-a-Porter to Barneys New York and The Line. However, the designer has been criticised for taking what's in the air and referencing it a bit too directly. Yes, one can feel Phoebe Philo's influence here. But, it's also clear that Sherman has a good sense of what the young luxury customer desires, and she manages to execute it in a confident way. She's slick. A lot of that has to do with her choice of materials: the way she freely mixes manmade, almost-harsh plastics with lofty wools and soft leathers. The tactile feeling gives a wearer something to hold on to.

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