The Dutch designer draws inspiration from mycelium and harnesses upcycled ocean plastic in her Roots of Rebirth collection
Words by Francesca Perry
The Spring/Summer 2021 collection from innovative Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, titled Roots of Rebirth, looks to the world of fungi to inspire unusual and intricate designs. Van Herpen has also collaborated with Parley for the Oceans to use fabric made from recovered and upcycled marine plastic waste.
Known for her trans-disciplinary approach and embrace of advanced technology, van Herpen has with this collection focused her creative energy to exploring the complexity of fungi and their powerful role in the natural world. In concept and aesthetic, many of the collection’s designs draw on the nature of mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus which consists of an intricate mass of branching, thread-like hyphae.
Roots of Rebirth comprises 21 looks; in one, an off-white lasercut venation formed by multiple hovering fins sprouts outwards. Van Herpen harnesses both hand-made and high-tech craftsmanship, from delicate hand embroidery to parametric lasercutting.
The designer also collaborated with Parley for the Oceans, an organisation bringing creatives together to tackle the degradation of the planet’s oceans. Van Herpen used Parley’s trademarked Ocean Plastic fabric, made from marine plastic debris that has been intercepted by the organisation on remote islands, shorelines and waters before being upcycled into yarn. Van Herpen printed the Ocean Plastic fabric and cut it into thousands of fine trilateral tessellations for use in her semi-translucent Holobiont dress (see top picture).
Photography by Myrthe Giesbers