Animal print abounds in the Flying Solo show at Paris Fashion Week

Australian designer Ella Jackson stole the second Flying Solo show with Catholic Guilt Clothing.

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Evyn Bileri Banawoye

The Flying Solo fashion collective presents its Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week. (Evyn Bileri Banawoye for WSN)

Unlike most brands, New York City-based fashion collective Flying Solo aims to collaborate with other designers rather than compete — a rarity in the fashion world. A few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, Flying Solo’s second show was presented at Paris Fashion Week. the work of 16 clothing designers.

Held in La Galerie Bourbon, a historic building decorated in luxurious 19th-century Parisian style, the intimate space allowed viewers to interact closely with each designer and their pieces. Unfortunately, not all of the clothing was as impressive as the ornate building that housed the show.

Most brands featured clothing that felt unoriginal and predictable. A wide variety of themes were on display, ranging from basic designs including ruched-sided black minidresses to garments covered in oversized tacky prints. Repetitive cuts like one-shoulder dresses with simple patterns looked like the ones we’ve seen too many times at Shein or Fashion Nova.

Some brands in particular failed to bring something original to Paris Fashion Week, presenting ill-fitting clothes in garish colors. The new Maui X Lolita collection featured striking animal prints on swimwear. Unfortunately, the designs fell flat on the runway, looking like clothes that can be bought at any fast fashion store. With bold prints like an orange and black tiger print on basic bikini tops, it was nothing fashion hadn’t seen before.

Another designer, Maison Yunique, showed off a design that looked like a cheap, colorful animal-print blanket worn as a dressing gown. The tunic was paired with a white patterned shirt and white pants, an outfit that looked like nightwear. The giant robe featured various prints, from cheetahs to large floral designs, none of which complemented each other.

However, one designer stood out from the rest. catholic guilt clothing, founded by Ella Jackson, is a Melbourne, Australia-based slow fashion label that creates upcycled pieces from dead leather and metal material. In addition to promoting ecological sustainability, the brand also advocates for social responsibility. Recognizing the legacy of colonialism in Australia, Jackson’s brand donates 10% of all proceeds to Pay the Rent, a grassroots collective supporting Aboriginal communities.

For this collection, Jackson created functional chainmail designs mixed with leather straps and stitched with stainless steel. One model sported creepy all-black contact lenses and an intricate piece of chain mail, combined with a fierce attitude that really sold the outfit. The chain mail had dangling crosses, barely covering the model’s body.

“I was inspired by Catholicism and how Catholicism leads to sexual repression,” Jackson told WSN. “And so there’s this contrast between the revealing nature of the clothing and the underlying pious themes.”

Jackson’s passion for his art form was evident as the models walked the runway. Each garment was beautifully and precisely tailored, and each model’s look appeared carefully curated. By repurposing pieces and materials from previous designs, Jackson’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility went beyond the empty promises we often hear from the fashion industry.

Contact Zainab Rizvi at [email protected]