KEZAKO began as an inside joke, a label invented to credit one-offs created for fashion stories. Here, its upcycled pieces get a shoot of their own, while model EDIE CAMPBELL offers a personal take on the trend for greenwashing

Photography by Oliver Hadlee Pearch Styling by Charlotte Collet Text by Charlotte Collet and Edie Campbell

Kezako, by Charlotte Collet

While preparing for this shoot, it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember why we started making handmade pieces for my shoots. So, I asked my collaborator Henda Giarratano how Kezako came to be.

He remembered quite clearly. “It started with that Pop magazine shoot where you were so frustrated because you couldn’t get the Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane look you desperately wanted.” Out of frustration, or perhaps delirium, the night before the shoot we decided to sew a patchwork top out of little bits found here and there.

Kezako was born. The top first appeared in Pop’s autumn/winter 2015 issue, photographed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, and for its second time in the story here. Since then we have made custom pieces for many of my shoots, crediting them to a brand called Kezako. Maybe some eagle-eyed readers of the credits always wondered, “What is Kezako?” Well infact Kezako could be translated from French slang as “what is that?”

I guess it was as good a name as any to define our absurd practice, making clothes and accessories that need to work for one picture only, made out of whatever we found in our path. Always last minute; always making us laugh.

With sustainability and repurposing coming to forefront of the conversation of many in the fashion industry, I thought now would be a good time to push it to the next level. In the last issue of More Or Less, a Kezako dress appeared. This time we are going for the full show.

All fashion by Kezako. Hair: Kiyoko Odo at Bryant Artists. Make-up: Jen Myles at Streeters, using Saint Laurent Beauty. Nails: Typhaine Kersual at Artists Unit. Model: Edie Campbell at Viva London. Casting director: Piergiorgio Del Moro at DM Fashion. Light technician: Jack Day. Photographer’s assistants: Pablo Freda and Romarine Ronzon- Jaricot. Stylist’s assistant: Emmanuelle Ramos. Hair assistants: Miki Ishimoto and Asami Maeda. Make-up assistant: Sayuri Yamashita. Thanks to Henda Giarratano, Yichia Chen, Nicolas Lallemand, Anais Folloppe, Angele Chatenet, Sophie Mechri, Michael Gunthe

“Greenwashing is when you put the onus on the consumer to make the ‘right’ decisions; when really we know that we consumers are merely putty in the hands of capitalism and marketing budgets.”

Greenwashing, by Edie Campbell

We live in a post-truth world. There is no longer any shame in being completely full of shit. Which is why we get the politicians that we currently have. It is also why brands know they can get away with,for example, gifting  “carbon-neutral water bottles” to the press, the editors and the glitterati that have just flown across the world to see said fashion house’s show. This is greenwashing, in its most eye-watering form. A “destination”fashion show that hundreds of people have to fly to, many on private jets. And everyone is gifted a carbon-neutral water bottle. The air is heavy with irony,and heavy with carbon dioxide.

Those water bottles are to the climate movement what “grrrl power”T-shirts are to gender equality – devoid of substance or meaning. (Just like me, then.) They are an idea cooked up by the marketing department, not by the science nerds. Shouldn’t we have a boffin advising a fashion house on how to become greener, not a PR team?

In 2019, Boohoo said it was no longer going to stock wool products, in the name of the climate crisis. Which is both weird and misleading. Firstly, because wool is one of the more sustainable textile-components, and secondly because Boohoo didn’t stock any wool garments anyway. It was…drumroll… simply trying to pull the wool over our eyes!

If I were less of a cynic, I might say that greenwashing is a step in the right direction, at least. I might say that it is better that ecological issues are being acknowledged at all. Perhaps I should be grateful that people are thinking about the environmental impact of their business – but I’m not sure I can kid myself that it is a good thing. When we say that it’s important to at least “have the conversation”, we convince ourselves that having the conversation is all we have to do. When we congratulate people for that, we never go any further than the discourse. It all ends up being virtue-signalling, superficial, carbon-neutral water bottles. You can’t have the conversation, and then buy theT-shirt.

You have to have the conversation and then not buy the T-shirt. Greenwashing is when you put the onus on the consumer to make the “right” decisions; when really we know that we consumers are merely putty in the hands of capitalism and marketing budgets.

Greenwashing is also when a model – someone who puts food on the table (just joking, I don’t eat) by hiring her face out to sell more clothes to more people – writes a piece about greenwashing. For a magazine about the environment. We’re all greenwashing. What did you expect, substance? From the fashion industry? Come on!

For full shoot, please purchase our print edition here