Christopher Raeburn is the young London-based designer behind “Remade in England”, a fashion forward and ethically aware label using sustainable and re-appropriated fabrics. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, Raeburn launched his label in 2008 and very soon after became well known for his innovative use of military fabrics to create functional and stylish outerwear. In 2011 he partnered with Victorinox, maker of the Swiss Army Knife, to launch “Remade in Switzerland” a limited-edition collection of mens and womenswear pieces made from reconstructed Swiss military fabrics.
What influenced you to design sustainable fashion?
It was the technical and design challenge that appealed to me. I wanted to explore how you can use what others would consider waste to create something new and premium. We have so much unused fabrics and textiles out there; you just need to be clever in how to use them.
Where were some of the places you worked before launching your own collection?
After I graduated from the Royal College, and while I was starting my own studio, I interned at a fantastic Japanese designer called Miki Fukai. I also worked as a pattern cutter for a year and a half and freelanced at various design houses in London
You’ve referred to the collection as being “Remade in England.” Is production being done any place else?
Every garment we make is produced in London; we do most of the pieces in our own factory in Hackney. Although we source fabrics from across Europe, each piece isRemade in England.
How do you see the collection evolving? Are there plans to add a full line in addition to your outerwear?
I’m always experimenting and exploring, so the collection evolves as I discover hidden fabric treasure troves, or a great garment to deconstruct. There aren’t plans to expand to a full line at the moment, but I am looking at exciting new products every day.
What differentiates the capsule collection you just did for Victorinox from your namesake collection? Will there be more collaborations to follow (with Victorinox or anyone else)?
The collection I’ve produced for Victorinox is about drawing on their own 127-year heritage and tradition while working solely with Swiss fabrics and finding a way to complete our production in Switzerland. In my own collection I’m free to explore a wider scope, but it was an honor to work for such an incredible company. We’re all keen on continuing the partnership in some way and we will see how it develops in the future.
I’ve noticed a sense of playfulness added to the collection from the use of pop colors and multiple printing. Is that intended to balance the military feel of the collection?
This collection has a modern military influence, but this doesn’t have to necessarily mean bleak or drab colors. We found vivid bursts and twisting patterns and took inspiration from parachute colors and the camouflage grading applied to battleships in the 1920s.
What is the significance of the stuffed rabbits/animals added to the collection?
In an attempt to avoid as waste as much as possible, we utilize the remaining off cuts to produce a different seasonal animal. They have become well sought after and are an engaging addition to the collection.