If Masha Popova’s debut spring/summer 2023 runway show, entitled RUSH, was a fast-paced drive around the block, then her sophomore catwalk outing, MONSTER – a “seasonless” offering that combines autumn/winter 2023 and spring/summer 2024 – is a thrilling, adrenaline-fuelled ride. Seated in – or spectating – a monster truck, to be precise.
The roaring abilities of these metal beasts directly inspired the details seen throughout the MONSTER collection. Snaking muddy tire tracks adorn floor-sweeping maxi skirts, wheel splatters become intricate patterns on trouser hemlines, and rusting paintwork is brought to life as unique dye patterns. Familiar motifs that have defined Masha’s previous collections, including spliced stars reminiscent of sparks flying from tools at a mechanic’s shop, also make their presence felt.
One aspect that remains a constant in Masha’s collections is her obsession with denim manipulation. For MONSTER, she partnered with ISKO, a leading circular denim manufacturer, to take her signature fabric to new heights. Denim has been treated in every conceivable way to achieve a “rugged effect” – from over-dyeing and flocking to patchwork, scratching, fraying, and her signature “close and reveal” technique. These denim creations come in an electrifying color palette inspired by iconic monster trucks, featuring a luminous “Grave-Digger” green, “Max-D” silver paying homage to Maximum Destruction’s “sleek design,” and a vibrant “Bigfoot Blue.”
But what sets MONSTER apart from many other runway collections is its unwavering commitment to circularity. Circular fashion, a concept gaining momentum in the fashion industry, emphasizes sustainability and the reduction of waste. It promotes the idea that clothing should have a life cycle that goes beyond a single season or trend. Masha Popova’s MONSTER collection embodies these principles in several ways:
1. Sustainable Material Sourcing: Masha’s collaboration with ISKO, a circular denim manufacturer, ensures that the denim used in MONSTER is made from recycled materials. This not only reduces the demand for virgin resources but also minimizes waste in the production process.
2. Durability and Longevity: The rugged denim treatments in MONSTER are not just for aesthetic purposes; they also enhance the durability of the garments. These pieces are built to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements and contributing to a more sustainable wardrobe.
3. Ethical Production: Masha’s decision to primarily craft the collection in her homeland, Ukraine, showcases her commitment to ethical production. It supports local artisans and reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance manufacturing.
4. Closing the Loop: Circular fashion is not just about producing sustainable clothing; it’s also about what happens to the garments at the end of their life cycle. Masha Popova’s MONSTER collection encourages responsible consumption and recycling, ensuring that even when these garments are no longer in use, they can be repurposed or recycled.
In recent years, the fashion industry has often been criticized for its environmental impact, and this is a great example of how runway fashion can align with sustainability. It’s a collection that not only pushes the boundaries of creativity but also proves that fashion can roar like a monster and still tread lightly on the planet.