Mojito-shoe-by-Julian-Hakes-sq2

You know it when lightning strikes. Lightning doesn’t let you ignore it. For us, most recently it was upon seeing this shoe by London architect Julian Hakes, which he called “The Mojito.” (Yes, that’s a shoe!)

Made from carbon fiber to to endow it with strength and give, and plated with rubber on the bottom and surplus furniture leather on the insole, the creation doesn’t look anything like conventional footwear. But by the strictest standards it is, in fact, a shoe. The ball of the wearer’s foot doesn’t touch the ground, and the heel is supported. Hence, a shoe.

It served as a good reminder of all the technological and design innovations that are sweeping the fashion industry today. And best of all, many of those enhancement and advancements are reducing waste, growing more-sustainable crops, shrinking and strengthening packaging materials, improving factory conditions, lengthening the life-cycles of clothing, and generally making fashion more and more mindful of the world at large. Not a small feat.

In homage to the designers who are pioneering such extraordinary techniques and materials, this issue examines a sampling of the designs that have seized our attention with an iron grip.

Kara takes a magnifying glass inside your shoes to see what makes them so durable that you can literally walk in them for miles.

Ethical collections from up-and-coming designers rocked fashion weeks across the globe, but if you didn’t make it to the one nearest you, here’s a summary of what you missed.

Naomi from MyGreenLipstick, our favorite British eco-boutique, returns with her top picks from the winter collections. And in the spirit of the season, she bestows a 20 percent off code exclusive for E.S. readers! Click here for more info.

Madison put together this year’s slideshow of the best of winter’s coats in the hottest proportions, since you’ve probably got your eye on one.

And speaking of proportion, this season has been a veritable cornucopia of exaggerated silhouettes. Here are a few choice examples of designers tackling the trend in a big way.

But before we go, let us point you toward Seam Ripper, our regular round-up of the best posts we’ve written on design on the Behind the Seams blog.

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