Design Centre Stories

Heading for Utopia

Hodsoll McKenzie’s Utopia collection (available from Zimmer + Rohde) represents its first steps towards a more sustainable future. The fabrics explore the many ways that the textile industry can become kinder to the planet, from using locally sourced fibres and recycled materials to focusing on a more efficient use of resources, both in the field and in the factory.

Materials such as linen are at the forefront of this vision: the linen for the lightly textured ‘Antilia’ was grown in Belgium – cutting down on ‘design miles’ – using no pesticides and significantly less water compared to cotton. The brand has also turned to the oldest textile known to mankind, hemp, for ‘Terra Nova’, which Hodsoll McKenzie’s design director Fredericke Winckler described as a “new heritage” material as she introduced the collection in the showroom at Focus.21. Hemp is currently being reappraised for its sustainable qualities, explained Winckler: “It grows even faster and higher than flax, and needs no pesticides or irrigation. We are trying hard to make this industry grow again.”

Hodsoll McKenzie is also championing recycled materials: recycled cotton and polyester have been used in the smart herringbone ‘Howland RE’, while ‘Burdwood RE’ incorporates post-consumer cashmere that had a former life as knitwear. “One of the most important obstacles we have to tackle as textile experts is that waste can be as beautiful as a raw material. We have to move on,” said Winckler.

Subtle texture and detail are a hallmark of the collection from the delicate embroidery of ‘Superb Bird’, its motif adapted from an early 1960s print by designer Lisa Grönwall (pictured above left) to ‘Rosevear’ (pictured top, as bedspread), a jacquard with a loose geometric pattern. The palette is subdued but punctuated with hits of bright colour such as tangerine, teal and moss green.

Watch Fredericke Winckler. introduce the collection at Focus/21 here.

Zimmer + Rohde, Ground Floor, North Dome