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LFW AW20: ToBeFrank x Molyneaux debuts

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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After several seasons away, PPQ’s Amy Molyneaux rejoined the London Fashion Week schedule to showcase her new collaboration with Frankie Phillips, creative director of sustainable, affordable fashion brand, ToBeFrank.

The new label, ToBeFrank x Molyneaux has sustainability at the core, with a collection that is 90 percent sustainable, using no virgin materials, and was born out both creative directors wanting to prove that consumer don’t have to “compromise style to save the earth”.

The collection features jerseys, wovens, denim and leather that have all been developed from creatively sourced sustainable fabrics, explained the new brand, including recycled fibre, vegetable dyed cotton, vegetable leather, and compressed apple juice waste, using state-of-the-art factories in Turkey that use zero water technology washing.

Utilising ToBeFrank’s sustainability background, the label has become known for its lux daywear featuring satin created from seeds, organza made from recycled plastics and chrome-free leather.

The new ToBeFrank x Molyneaux label will also share the ethos and framework of making clothing that aligns with ToBeFrank’s ‘innovation, responsibility and transparency’ checklist: People – living wages and development programmes supported by its foundation; Planet – continually striving to do better - with a goal to be at the helm of innovation including materials, methods of procurement, production and delivery; and Profit – ensuring that all prosper equally through our supply chain with a celebration of the artisans who create its product.

New sustainable label ToBeFrank x Molyneaux debuts during London Fashion Week

For its debut collection for autumn/winter 2020, ToBeFrank x Molyneaux’s silhouettes comprised of Elizabethan inspired high necks, tailored monochrome one-pieces and high cut playsuits. The designs featured recycled laces trims with organza woven from recycled plastic and A-line chiffon cocktail dresses made from spun left-over cotton husk, while recycled wool coats were showcased in two-tone off white and black with recycled buttons.

The label also took its sustainable message one step further than most designer labels on the London Fashion Week schedule, it shared a detailed transparent list of the material information from the collection from recycled and organic cotton to herb dye fabric, denim made from plastic bottles, and creating fabric from seeds.

“We are aware that each fabric we use, or that anyone uses will have some form of impact on the environment (much like anything else). But, it’s about using fabrics which are better, which do not drain away our natural resources or fill our skies with awful chemicals, that will make the biggest difference,” explains ToBeFrank and Molyneaux. “So, after much time thinking creatively and out the box, we are able to present you, our fabulous looks, which have all been made thoughtfully and with fabrics, you would’ve never of dreamed of - such as, jacquard organza made from recycled plastic bottles, 100 percent recycled wool and recycled satin to name a few.”

ToBeFrank x Molyneaux transparent about sustainable materials in collection

For its recycled cotton T-shirts and shirts the label worked with a recycling plant in Istanbul to make its recycled cotton and polyester. This recycling plant takes in 800 tonnes of unwanted fabric cuttings every month which would normally go into landfill. This unwanted or waste fabric is the offcuts from production runs, fabric that has never been used, washed or worn and the recycling plant breaks the unused fabric down into fibre and re-spins it, making a new fabric.

The brand’s denim was made from plastic bottles collected from the oceans from Repreve, who clean, sort, and melt the bottles into pellets which are then melted down into polyester yarn. This fibre can be used for many types of fabrics and for ToBeFrank x Molyneaux they used it as a replacement for virgin polyester to create its slim fit denim styles by blending this plastic bottle fibre with organic cotton fibre. On average nine plastic bottles make one pair of denim.

For the faux leather trim patches seen, ToBeFrank x Molyneaux created these from apples, technically the waste from apple juice production, which was collected and then dyed and compressed onto an organic woven patch to secure the apple waste into the needed shape.

ToBeFrank x Molyneaux also utilised herb dye fabric, where they use an old process dating back to the Egyptians where fabric is dyed with herbs, weeds and tea bags. Combining the old way of colour production with modern-day machinery, smooth colour and colour fastening can be achieved. The label uses this process to dye jersey T-shirts and denim with Turmeric, Hena and Rubia, these are picked and dyed by local communities. As well as this they also dyed with tea bags sourced from the supplier’s kitchen.

Another innovation is the use of fabric made from seeds, Cupro, which is a regenerated cellulose fabric made from cotton waste. It’s made from cotton linter, the small fluffy fibre covering the cotton seed, which is left over after the cotton harvest. It’s produced in a closed-loop, which means that the non-harmful chemicals used can be extracted afterwards and the water can be recycled.

While vegetable-dyed leather has been sourced from the by-product of the food industry, with sheep skins used to make its leather jackets, which are then dyed using natural dyes from vegetables and the leather is tested and approved as chrome-free which is good for the environment, workers and the wearer.

On top of all this, ToBeFrank x Molyneaux adds that producing with less water is also a key goal, and they use Ozone and laser technology to finish its denim. On average this reduces water usage per denim by 50 percent, however, the brand states that it is currently working with suppliers to try and reduce this even further.

ToBeFrank and Molyneaux, added: “We are overwhelmed with all the love and support that we received at our debut show at LFW. Thank you so much to everyone for coming and we hope you absolutely loved how fabulous our looks are.

“We are so excited about this new collaboration and we hope to continue to show you how you can still look fabulous while saving the world."

Images: courtesy of Tobefrank x Molyneaux

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