BREATHE TOGETHER: Designer Patrick McDowell is teaming with Rambert, Britain’s oldest dance company, for his spring 2024 runway show on Monday and will see the dancers take to the catwalk.  

McDowell’s collection was inspired by Rambert’s archive and focuses on the company’s first-ever performance, “A Tragedy of Fashion.” Staged in 1926, it tells the story of a famous dressmaker who kills himself with his shears.

McDowell sourced vintage outfits and fabrics from the Rambert costume department and has reimagined them for the show.

Post-show the designer will work with Future Movement, Rambert’s outreach program, which runs a 20-week program focusing on circular design and stage costumes made in a sustainable way. Future movements students will sit front row at Monday’s show.

McDowell said that collaborating with Rambert has been a long-held dream.

“For as long as I can remember the art of dance has inspired me. It combines so many creative elements to create one breathtaking performance,” he said.

“The ability for a company such as Rambert to act as one and ‘breathe together’ is incredible to behold. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Rambert more closely over the last few years and it’s been such a delight to find an organization that has such a rich history and yet so determined to continue pushing into the future.”

Benoit Swan Pouffer, artistic director of Rambert, said he was happy to see “art, dance and fashion entwined” in the show. “I am forever seeking new ways of pushing art forms forward and this collaboration is a great example of working together to create something beautiful that celebrates the past, present and future of a company like Rambert.”

McDowell founded the brand in 2018 and works solely with recycled and sustainable materials.

The denim pieces in the spring collection have been made from deadstock Lee, and have been unpicked and pieced together at the designer’s studio. The designer said the team spent more than 100 hours repurposing 170 pairs of jeans into one-off pieces.

Instead of plastic, McDowell has used Ecovative mushroom mycelium padding, which requires less energy and water to manufacture. Fabric printing has been done sustainably while vintage silk has been provided by the Italian mill Taroni and the Rambert costume department.

The Italian fashion brand Pinko handed over deadstock chiffon and silks while Bananatex donated the wovens, which are made solely from naturally grown, sustainable abacá banana plants.

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