Designer Lucian Matis from Canada exchanged with artisans Omba Arts Trust from Namibia to create a bespoke The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Lucian Matis has created a gown made with a wool blend fabric, and embellished with black Swarovski upcycled crystals, inspired by the most recent oil spill in the East China Sea and the destruction caused to our oceans and ecosystems. To accompany the gown, a classic roll necklace was created by three Ju/’hoansi groups living in the eastern region of Namibia. The method for creating the beads is believed to date back 60,000 years, using ostrich eggshells that are broken in to small pieces, clipped into circles and pierced with a hole. The beads have been heated to create different colours, from a pale grass tone through to black.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.