A London College of Fashion graduate, Rubens takes inspiration from 18th-century fashion and the Rococo aesthetic to design her knitwear pieces. Keeping sustainability in mind, the U.K. and Canada-based creative repurposes waste for her designs, comprised of materials such as ethical alpaca, Tencel, organic wool and linen. These fabrics are fused with vintage crochet lace tablecloths, as well as old kitchenware and empty shampoo bottles.
For “Photosynthesize,” the designer worked with Post Carbon Lab to give life to the clothes, allowing them to breathe like plants by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. Rubens commented on the project: “Our overall goal for this project is to redefine the meaning of our relationships with our garments, and to empower people with individual agency in climate change solutions.” She added: “By caring for these photosynthesizing pieces like plants, and displaying them in homes like objects, we hope the nurturing nature of this relationship will strengthen bonds between people and their pieces, watching them transform and thrive over time, while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.”
MACHINE-A’s founder and buying director Stavros Karelis continued: “At MACHINE-A we always aim to support and showcase emerging designers that apart from their creative talent, their proposition to the future of our industry is such, that creates new ways for everyone to think, to be inspired and to bring positive change.” He further said: “‘Photosynthesize,’ a project by Olivia with the support of the Post Carbon Lab, is the scientific result of transforming garments [into] living organisms and how do we keep them alive in the environment we are in with our care.”
Olivia Rubens’ “Photosynthesize” collection is available now exclusively at MACHINE-A.