British Label Rapanui Stages World’s First Fashion Show Aboard a Hovercraft

British sustainable label Rapanui brings eco-fashion to sea by staging the first-ever fashion show held aboard a commuter hovercraft.

I’ve seen fashion shows in many strange places, but never on a hovercraft. Probably because it had never been done, until this past week when British sustainable fashion label Rapanui staged a guerilla-style fashion show on the Isle of Wight ferry crossing.

The show, which was held in advance of London Fashion Week, was a collaboration between the award-winning eco-fashion brand and Hovertravel, the company that operates the high-speed energy-efficient hovercraft crossing service across the Solent, from the Island to Southsea.

“Rapanui are a great eco-friendly clothing brand based on the Isle of Wight,” Loretta Lale, commercial and marketing manager of Hovertravel, says of the collaboration. “We are always keen to work with local businesses from the Island, especially ones that aim to make a genuine contribution to sustainability.”

The ship’s crew – turned catwalk models for a day – showcased the 2012 collection by walking down the aisles of the Hovercraft during its regular 8am crossing, surprising the hundreds of commuters onboard. The collection consists of casualwear made from organic cotton in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory. Rapanui is also known for the award winning traceability and eco-labeling schemes the company has developed for their clothing.

Rob Drake-Knight, co-founder of Rapanui said: “We were really excited to bring fashion week to the Island in such a quirky way, giving the commuters a taste of the catwalk in their seats as we crossed Solent.”

It’s unclear what the commuters thought about the show, but one thing is for sure, they spent some time thinking about sustainability and fashion that day. Who knows what kind of effect small disruptive interventions like this can have? We’d like to see more of it, and we’re looking at you, New York Fashion Week.

Johanna Björk

Johanna is a sustainable fashion writer currently based in Ojai, CA. Read her weekly On Trend column to learn what's new in eco fashion.