Chinese-Canadian designer Izzy Du may be a fresh face in the fashion industry, but she has already been making waves with the sustainable puffer pieces she creates at her eponymous label. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp last year, she has released her first runway collection, Provenance, and a ready-to-wear line titled Izzy Du/Lifeline.
Recognisable for their voluminous organic forms, Du’s pieces feature dramatic shapes and subtle detailing. As the designer puts it, the concept behind her first runway collection can be described as “totem beings in a pellucid world of magnificent landscapes and aerial beauty”. When set against clear skies and rocky terrain, her designs look all the more futuristic. The rawness of natural landscapes is, in fact, one of her biggest inspirations.
Playful as they are serious, Du’s garments have a lot of character. Throughout the process of establishing her label, she shares that she made it a point to place sustainability at the heart of her business.
When discussing the responsibility that young designers now have to shape an eco-friendly fashion industry, Du says: “It’s easy to feel your actions are inconsequential in the big picture when starting out as a small brand. But any positive impact, great or small, matters.”
The designer also notes that sustainability isn’t one big, loud move. Rather, it’s an accumulation of micro changes made at every production stage that forms a sustainable process. Sharing the brand’s approach, Du highlights the use of new and upcycled materials in her runway and ready-to-wear lines.
Instead of non-biodegradable synthetics with a heavy chemical production process, Du’s puffers are stuffed with down feathers and covered in waterproof, recycled polyamide. Other materials found in her collections are cotton, silk, and a water-repellent, bi-stretch polyamide tech fabric for comfort and breathability.
Meanwhile, minimal packaging materials and online orders are shipped in recyclable mailers instead of heavy cardboard boxes. Currently, some of Du’s best selling items include her Halo and Fury puffers. Microgravity pants that sport a wide balloon-leg silhouette and X-shaped tank tops are also popular pieces found on her website that might prove more suitable for Singapore-based customers.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the designer envisions garments embedded with wearable technology for a sustainable future. Ideally, they can eliminate the built-in obsolescence within the nature of clothing and slow down the industry’s fast-paced cycle.
“I have been working on an idea for wearable energy for two years now. It’s an endeavour that will take a few more years until fruition,” says Du. “Essentially it’s a smart garment with dynamic functionality that can be activated when needed and imperceptible otherwise.”
“It’s easy to feel your actions are inconsequential when starting out as a small brand. But any positive impact, great or small, matters.”
As for what’s next? The London-based designer is preparing a show room for the brand’s wearable line come January during Paris Men’s Fashion Week 2023. A few collaborations are under way too.
With plans to work on her brand during the holidays, Du adds that it’s important to take moments to rest and breathe. After all, there are always highs and lows when we’re pursuing our passions, but that’s where we find the happiness that sustains us.