Eco-friendly Retford bio-designer wins national award for creating clothing using foraged plants and mushrooms

An eco-friendly fashion bio-designer from Retford, has won a national Young Innovator Award for her design creations, putting environmental issues at the heart of her collection.

Monday, 14th February 2022, 4:28 pm

Basing her fashion brand on sustainability, 26-year-old Aurélie Fontan uses dyes made from plants and flowers foraged from the roadside,creating locally crafted, low impact garments, and has established herself as a designer challenging the concepts of fashion.

The items are set to be launched later this month online to coincide with London Fashion Week.

The Young Innovators programme is a partnership between Innovate UK and the Princes Trust, which is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 offering annual cash awards of £5000 and one-to-one business coaching for talented young people from all backgrounds with ground-breaking business ideas, and who have the potential of becoming future leaders in innovation.

Aurelie Fontan Bio-fashion designer

Out of 520 young entrepreneurs who applied to the programme, and following a tough and detailed assessment process, there were 63 overall winners including Aurélie – one of two from our region.

She said: "I am over the moon to become a Young Innovator Awardee, as my in-depth work and commitment to sustainable fashion is being validated, giving me so much more passion and energy to move forward with my regenerative fashion brand Osmose Studio.

Now that I am a professional designer, I am trying to incorporate some craftsmanship back into a fashion industry that has become so disconnected with its workers”

The young entrepreneur has been working on her designs at her studio, ‘Osmose’, where her innovative creations push the boundaries of fashion and design with a fresh and creative strategy applying natural ways to produce sustainable garments. Some of her clothing collections are made from a new biodegradable leather, which is made from locally sourced wild mushrooms, and is as versatile and durable as animal leather.

Fashion, textiles, and crafts have always been a passion for the designer, with the French side of her family owning a Couture embroidery house in Paris in the 1900s, she has also worked with major brands such as Marks & Spencer and Michael Kors.