Rushemy Botter, along with his partner Lisi Herrebrugh, have been delivering strong conceptual collections for his eponymous label for the past 4 years and their Spring 2022 presentation was no exception. They took a deeper dive into the theme of aquatics and the current climate emergency, aptly naming the collection Global Warning.
For the creative pair, the damaging impact we are having on the environment and particularly the oceans, is an issue that needs to be addressed. During the pandemic, they worked to set up a coral nursery off the coast of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao (where Botter is from) to restore reefs that are being killed off as a result of rising sea temperatures. This personal concern and responsibility seeps through the entire philosophy of the brand and is communicated powerfully through their most recent collection. “It’s not enough to just make clothes anymore”, Botter said.
This season, BOTTER collaborated with the nonprofit environmental organisation, Parley for the Oceans. Out of the whole collection, 60% of their fabrics were produced by Parley from recycled plastic retrieved from the world’s oceans. The garments have a story, and through the materials they show the long journey that had to be overcome before being worn on a body. It evokes the feeling of being part of something bigger and pride to be wearing the piece – a form of “modern luxury”.
Modern luxury is not only explored in the pertinent themes behind the clothes, it is also expressed through the juxtaposition of sharp tailoring and more aquatically avant-garde qualities. The collection was cut close to the body and trimmed of any bulk, featuring lightweight and aerodynamic layers of scuba-inspired pieces. A blazer incorporated an optional dive suit double closure at the neckline and a bomber was constructed on a neoprene vest so it could be slouched off the shoulders. A collaboration with an umbrella manufacturer called Piganiol led to a number of upcycled rain jackets with angular architecture, mirroring the origin of the material, and some dramatic umbrella-hat accessories. Other accessories included tinted scuba masks, mini bags in the shape of flotation devices and chunky necklaces featuring colourful fishing lures.
Global Warning was digitally presented during Paris Fashion Week as a short film, creating a visceral experience through sound and visuals. Dark and mysterious like the depths of the deepest ocean, an industrial warehouse space in Berlin was filled with rippling textures and atmospheric lighting which washed over and highlighted the clothes.
It is clear BOTTER has committed its design platform to focusing on important social issues, expertly crafting conceptual yet wearable fashion inspired by themes of water, sustainability and the co-creator’s Caribbean roots. The current state of things is brought to the centre of the conversation – exactly where it should be – but in a way that is hopeful, radical and experimental, through looks that dare the consumer to dream.