Friday, 27 May 2022

Philip Karto brings sustainable attitude to Saint Tropez

Written by Bilal Mahmood
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Philip Karto

Originally from Cannes, designer Philip Karto fell out of love with the fashion industry a decade ago, unable to reconcile the huge levels of waste associated with designing clothes and accessories for fast fashion.

Famous artist and sustainable fashion designer Philip Karto opens up his first retail premises in St Tropez selling signature luxury recycled vintage bags alongside his ‘Prohibition’ clothing line.


The true story might make you think of the hit Netflix series “Emily in Paris” featuring an eccentric Parisian brand bearing loud reworked luxury luggage designs. We can’t be sure if Philip Karto inspired the script, but the real tale of these handbags selling fast in Paris were born from an endearing ethos leaving the fashion capital speechless. Explore the artist’s values and how far reaching his designs have spread.

It All Started with a shabby old Luis Vuitton Keepall

In 2017 Karto famously borrowed and painted his mother’s Louis Vuitton Keepall to give it a new lease of life; its newly eye-catching, bold appearance meant he was unable to walk down the street without being asked where he had bought it. On a whim, Karto purchased a handful of vintage Louis Vuitton bags and proceeded to deconstruct and clean them before replacing leather pieces with sustainable recuperated snake or crocodile skin and swapping steel parts for 925 silver trimmings and fixtures. Each piece was then transformed with his colourful, tongue-in-cheek designs featuring painted characters, irreverent objects and graffiti-style tags. He asked a friend at Paris’ celebrated Montaigne Market to take the upcycled bags on consignment: they sold out in two days and the Philip Karto brand was born.

High profile celebrities support sustainable collection

Today each piece is handmade in Karto’s Miami atelier using his philosophy of ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle’ and painted using designs to inspire positivity, passion, love, humour, hope and peace. The Philip Karto collection spans unique bags, luggage, motorcycle helmets and more and lists Bella Hadid, Miley Cyrus, Puff Daddy and Floyd Mayweather as fans. Karto has collaborated with high profile designers including Karl Lagerfeld; a ‘Rock’n’Roll Hermes’ line is currently underway.

Karto’s ready-to-wear Prohibition line follows the same principles of recycling and transformation. The collection features ‘worn’ clothing from denim to hoodies and T-shirts which are intended as a luxe antidote to fast fashion, inspired by the passing of time.

The concept behind the Prohibition ready to wear collection from the man himself

Philip Karto commented: ‘I like to wear a piece that has lived; that is why my Prohibition line smells of life. I wash and re-wash worn out or damaged garments. They are then stained and ‘cleanly soiled’ so that all pieces in my collection give my clients the impression that they have worn my clothes their entire lives.’

The Philip Karto collection of customised luxury handbags are currently sold in 87 stores across 17 countries, but Philip Karto St Tropez is a first standalone store for the luxury brand and signals a return to the French designer’s roots.

We love the loud and beautiful harmony between luxury fashion and art to encourage sustainable wearable pieces.

A huge shout out to fashion houses to consider reusing their dead stock and welcoming damaged pieces for repair and restyle. Who knows? The possibilities are promising and we can't wait to see more from this brand and others inspiring to do the same.

For more sustainable brands and limited collections, discover our next event this summer on June18 2022 in London, exclusively for eco conscious clothing and style.