Artistically Political – Dörte Lange’s journey into Sustainable Fashion
It’s a late Friday afternoon at Impact Hub King’s Cross and the typical British weather has been messing with our heads, giving us warm summery temperatures one moment and freezing cold wintery ones the next. I am seated on padded green cushions with Dörte Lange, in one of Impact Hub King’s Cross’s cleverly-designed-nooks.
Friday afternoons, since last winter, have been our planning time for Threads: Rethinking Fashion. Today, however, we decided to change things up and I’m interviewing her to give you the opportunity to meet one of people behind the sustainable fashion event series.
Dörte, an artistic director by trade, is one of those people that once you have met her, she is hard to forget. She is possibly one of the most softly spoken people I have encountered, but also passionately steadfast in her vision for a balanced and sustainable world.
For anyone who has been a part of the Impact Hub community for anything more than five minutes, you will know that everyone has a story. One question I find myself curiously asking members over and over is ‘how did the world of social entrepreneurship and sustainability become a part of what you do?’ Today I posed this question to Dörte and she shared this:
“I have been wondering about it myself, thinking back to what really triggered it. (After a short pause) I guess it stems’ from the blend of two interests. I always loved fashion in a performance related way; loving to dress up and dress my friends in order to put on theatre shows etc.
“On the other hand, I’ve been very political. Having an interest in politics and history, but the two interests didn’t really go well together. My political side felt my fashion side was frivolous and on my fashion side I simply felt concerned about so many things. For a while, I didn’t really connect fashion with the negative impact it has on the natural world.
“Looking back I can see a number of significant jolts; like the positive impact of the slow food movement and more recently the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, in Bangladesh.
“Now I’m just excited I’ve found the overlap; a way to balance two interests that have very much been a part of who I am. It is out of this that The Lissome, my online fashion guide for sustainable fashion was born.”
As a subscriber myself, I describe Dörte’s digital publication as strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. Something I attribute to an experienced art director that has laid out spreads for Elle magazine (Germany).
It was not long after Dörte became a member of Impact Hub King’s Cross that the Alessandro Palmieri, our chilled Community Manager started to join up conversations with other members to form a core team to create the Threads: Rethinking Fashion event series.
“Threads is about creating a forum to inspire people and giving them an opportunity to learn more about sustainable fashion and its related topics; showing them they can create some positive impact themselves. Already I have had great conversations and met with incredible thinkers through our Facebook group ‘London Sustainable Fashion’. We started the group in December 2015 and it has close to 200 members. Dörte says with a big smile.
As our time begins to run out I squeezed in one last question giving us a moment to look to the future ‘how do you see yourself fitting into this growing sustainable fashion movement? ‘At the moment I have lots of ideas; being around all these social innovators at Impact Hub is inspiring in itself. My focus right now is on the media, it would be great to simply see more beautiful & sustainable brands in the mainstream fashion media. Beyond this, my hope is to build The Lissome up to become a brand in its own right. A brand, which, showcases and unites ethics and aesthesis.
Dörte Lange is an Impact Hub King’s Cross member and founder of The Lissome, an online fashion guide that unites aesthetics and ethics and connects a growing movement of eco-innovative fashion producers with a global audience of conscious fashion lovers. Dörte Lange, an accomplished art director who has previously worked for ELLE Magazine as well as various lifestyle publications and design studios in London, Berlin and Munich.
This member’s insight was brought to you by Gabrielle Bey.