Animal print abound in Flying Solo show at Paris Fashion Week

Australian designer Ella Jackson stole Flying Solo’s second show with Catholic Guilt Clothing.


Evyn Bileri Banawoye

Fashion collective Flying Solo presents their Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week. (Evyn Bileri Banawoye for WSN)

Zainab Rizvi, Staff Writer

Unlike most brands, New York City-based fashion collective Flying Solo aims to collaborate with other designers instead of competing — a rarity in the fashion world. Just a few blocks away from the Arc de Triomphe, Flying Solo’s second show at Paris Fashion Week showcased the work of 16 clothing designers

Held in La Galerie Bourbon, a historical building decorated in luxurious 19th century Parisian style, the intimate space allowed viewers to closely interact with each designer and their pieces. Unfortunately, not all the clothing was as impressive as the ornate building that housed the show. 

Most of the brands presented clothing that felt unoriginal and predictable. There was a wide variety of themes on display, which ranged from basic designs including black mini dresses with ruching on the side to garments covered in oversized, tacky prints. Repetitive cuts like one-shoulder dresses with simple patterns resembled ones we’ve seen one too many times on Shein or Fashion Nova.

Some brands in particular failed to bring something original to Paris Fashion Week, bringing out ill-fitting clothing in gaudy colors. Maui X Lolita’s new collection featured loud animal prints on swimwear. Unfortunately, the designs fell flat on the runway, looking like garments that could be bought from any fast fashion store. With gaudy prints like an orange and black tiger print on basic bikini tops, it was nothing fashion hasn’t seen before. 

Another designer, Maison Yunique, showcased a design that looked like a cheap colorful animal-print blanket worn as a robe. The robe was paired with a printed white shirt and white pants, an ensemble that resembled nightwear. The giant robe featured several prints from cheetah to big floral designs — none of which complemented each other.

One designer, however, did stand out from the rest. Catholic Guilt Clothing, founded by Ella Jackson, is a slow fashion brand based in Melbourne, Australia, that creates recycled pieces from deadstock leather and metal. In addition to promoting ecological sustainability, the brand also advocates for social responsibility. Recognizing the legacy of colonialism in Australia, Jackson’s brand donates 10% of all proceeds to Pay the Rent, a grassroots collective that supports Aboriginal communities. 

For this collection, Jackson created functional chainmail designs mixed in with leather strips and stitched together using stainless steel. One model sported eerie all-black contacts and an intricate chainmail piece, paired with a fierce attitude that truly sold the clothes. The chainmail had hanging crosses, barely covering the model’s body. 

“I drew inspiration from Catholicism and how Catholicism leads to sexual repression,” Jackson told WSN. “And so, there’s this contrast between the revealing nature of the clothing and the underlying pious themes.”

Jackson’s passion for her art form was apparent as the models walked down the runway. Each garment was beautifully and precisely tailored, and every model’s look appeared carefully curated. By reusing pieces and materials from past designs, Jackson’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility went above and beyond the empty promises that we often hear from the fashion industry.

Contact Zainab Rizvi at [email protected]