MESSAGE IN A BOTTER
BY HAILEY GABRON
Bright, carnival blues juxtaposed with chocolate browns. Hands encapsulated by bright water-filled condoms. Heart cutouts exposing models’ bare chests. These were just a few of the ground-breaking designs showcased at Botter’s Spring/Summer 2023 show in Paris. Botter is an up-and-coming eco-friendly brand, headed by designers Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, revolutionizing how science and sustainability can work with haute couture.
Botter and Herrebrugh are both of Caribbean descent: Botter is from Curaçao, while Herrebrugh from Dominican Republic. While the label was founded in the Netherlands and is based in Paris, the pair weave their Caribbean culture in each collection through their use of bright hues and colorful designs. After officially leaving Nina Ricci in January 2022 as co-Artistic directors they embarked on their next endeavor after founding Botter in 2017. Since its inception, Botter has rapidly captivated the fashion world, amassing an almost religious following for its eccentric designs, carefully curated collaborations, and sustainable ethos.
The distinctive garments and accessories within their latest collection brought the natural world onto the runway. Botter transformed a fashion runway into a platform to engage the audience from beginning to end. Attendees were handed edible water bubbles using algae membranes in collaboration with Notpla, a startup devoted to replacing single-use plastic packaging. This use of intentional collaborations with companies outside of the fashion sphere is just one way Botter is able to disrupt the traditional runway show. The element of water was apparent throughout Botter’s accessory designs as well. Models strutted down the catwalk sporting handbags resembling ice blocks created from disposable plastic bags and appeared to float due to the translucent resin surrounding traditional Adidas soccer sneakers. Designer Botter noted his models should appear “floating in tranquil water moving gracefully.” Botter’s incorporation of themes such as water and science are disrupting the fashion industry and spreading awareness surrounding the sustainability movement in a way we have not seen before.
Beyond accessories, Botter’s science driven approach resulted in jarring dresses constructed with kelp, chosen because seaweed absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequesters millions of metric tons annually. In a fashion world where relevance depends on keeping up with the cyclical nature of trends and reinventing old designs, Botter’s integration of haute couture and organic material driven by technological insight sets them apart.
Just this year, Botter won the renowned ANDAM Fashion award. The ANDAM award focuses on highlighting “emerging talents of the global contemporary fashion scene” and Botter’s win speaks to their fresh and innovative designs. They will invest the $314,365 USD in material research and direct-to consumer channels. While they want to expand their 40-store network and increase profits, Botter remains committed to effectively communicating their brand proposition to consumers and exclusively collaborating with retail partners that share their corporate values. The designers noted, “We would love to see Botter as more than a fashion house. It should be more like a platform, a form of new collaboration with nature, with bioengineers, with people who can really help us to make the next step in fashion and reduce its impact.” Botter’s commitment to protecting the environment not only dismantles the classic fashion system but gives back to the world.