Vision for garment display

Now that the Vena Cava boys have indicated the potential fashion film effort will be with everyone’s garments, I am coming off the idea of a fashion film.

While this is something that still definitely appeals to me, I think I would like to explore it at some later point as an individual project.

Today I have been thinking about how to incorporate the display outcomes of my garment with Jasmin’s work, allowing her artistic process to shine.

Inspired by Madebyproduct photos I keep thinking I would like to produce a fashion image where Jasmin’s artwork is used as part of the set.

Madebyproduct AW 1011

I feel so inspired by the zero waste concept at the moment, I just can’t seem to shake this work from my mind…

So I am thinking of photo like this but imagine Jasmin’s art on the wall… one of those ornate square scultpures. Then I was thinking of arranging the candles in a geometric pattern on the floor to further reference Jasmin’s work.

However, the photos here are quite stylised so I am thinking of creating something with a more urban edge to it – perhaps in a warehouse style room, something that references the interior of a Brisbane urban space. See photos below for ideas about a grainier, edgier image.

by Luc Braget via http://www.lifelounge.com

Luc Braget via http://www.lifelounge.com

by Lucy Carr-Ellison via http://www.lifelounge.com

by Lucy Carr-Ellison via http://www.lifelounge.com

Oh and I want to do something like Jonsi’s makeup – just coz I love him at the moment – I think I blogged about how his new look was inspiring.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Design philosophy

As I have writtent this blog, I have often pondered my design philosophy – just quick observations here and there. Tonight I realise I have not answered the most important questions so here goes – questions adapted from class notes.

What are my views on design/ what do I think of as good design/ what do I aim to produce?

I believe the entire process is important, from start to finish. In design I value concepts and aesthetics – the story behind a collection, the symbiotic visual outcome. For the finished product I favour quality – high attention to detail in luxury fabrics with neat finishes. I aim to produce clothes that communicate considered steps in every step of the design process – from concept to finished garment and beyond that to ensuring the garment will fit into a wardrobe and be valued for many years.

What am I influenced by? What types of things continually inspire me?

I am influenced foremost by beauty – natural and man made, tangible and intangible. Art, literature, nature, life’s moments all provide emotions, colours, shades, sensory feelings that I translate into my work. Not only the happier moments but the darker side of life where melancholy and despair meet. I like to look at the collision between light and dark. I am inspired to create a nuance of fantasy via beauty, to provide a reprieve from the mundane.

What methods do I use- how do I approach design?

I embrace form and function – form is the creative part, the translating of a vision into shapes and fabrics while function is the quintessential problem-solving aspect of taking that form and making it meaningful in a modern way. Clothes must suit our lifestyles – without function they cease to be clothes and become art pieces to be admired from a distance. Both form and function inspire and impinge on one another continually through the design process yet result in a useful and beautiful garment.

While starting with concepts of shape and silhouette, I also believe in the natural law of design – in letting the fabric, the garment ‘flow’ how it wants, in changing the design to suit an evolving idea.

What materials do I like to work with?

Natural fibres – silks, wools. I like plain fabrics and mixing fabrics to create contrast.

I like interesting trims and finishes – vintage lace, studded elastic

Who is the target customer for my designs?

In many ways, I am just evolving this philosophy from last semester – the consideration of concept, translation of this concept to create a high quality garment, adherence to an organic process of 3D conceptualisation. This semester, I continue to evolve as I embrace ideas of zero waste (which I would love to explore further) and sustainable fabric options.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Visual presentation: the challenge

Ok, now there is only a day to go before I have to hand in this assignment and I have no idea about the visual presentation part! I mean I have no ideas! Well, I have a few, but they just don’t fit.

The problem I am having is that I designed this garment so organically – with no inspiration in mind, I just unpicked it, looked at the pieces and draped it on the mannequin, then stitched it up… voila!

The inspiration was process based – I used Jasmin’s ideas of constructing in time and space as a basis and off I went. As I was designing I considered a few key trends – the Celine collection, leather trends etc – but no image to set the mood or tone. The garment appeared and dictated the mood.

So what can I do for this part? How do I visually represent natural law, organic processes without confusing the viewer as to the aesthetic message (that is there was no aesthetic reference).

I did look at fashion film and this still might be a possibility though after speaking with the Vena Cava boys they assured me they would be directing and shooting any film so it seems to be a bit pointless to make up our own storyboard?

I think I just included a short storyboard is the only way I am going to be able to represent this.

Elements the film needs to translate: organic contrasted with construction in relation to a body, an emotion, a feeling of confidence, of beauty constructed in time and space, relative to what is going on at the time.

What girl is wearing my leather jumpsuit? It requiers con

Nuances – nothing obvious, just a nuance of this and that, like a Norman Cavazzana fashion film.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zero waste: an epiphany

I have reached that point… that epiphany point! Where a meaning has crystallised from a jumble of facts, figures and opinions, when I don’t feel so pulled this way or pushed that way because I have my own way.

I brought some pre-existing convictions re: sustainability to this project – in a nutshell, I knew fast-fashion was bad, consumers were blind, and that I didn’t want to hurt anyone in my own design process. This I knew as from a very young age, I have been taught quality is always paramount to quantity.

So I started to research more and discovered the potential for luxury to deliver sustainable outcomes. I looked at textiles and alternatives and learned a lot – my assumptions of natural reigning over synthetic were broken as I discovered the ethical and environmental issues involved in all textiles (as outlined in Eco-synthetic article by Annuziato 2001, there is an argument that natural is not always best as biotechnology-based textiles become increasingly available). I found some alternative textiles and hope in the future was restored slightly.

But something was still missing. And that was to do with a paradigm shift.

Last night I was reading a thesis SOMETHING and was challenged by statements within that thesis claiming ‘in the age of mass production, designers have become the most powerful shapers of our work and environments’; ‘designers have more responsibility for material selections… than manufacturesrs and retailers’ and the most confronting ‘80% of the environmental impact of products is deteermined during the product design phase’.

[I remember reading an interview article with Stella McCartney a few months ago where the reporter asked for Stella’s view on this. I can’t remember her response but it is interesting such a statement is associated with that group of designers who demonstrate strong commitment and consideration of fabric selection.]

This thesis puts forward a new apparel design process which includes fabric selection and product life-cycle outcomes as another step in the design process and a further way to communciate with customers.

The principle underlying this is the “cradle to cradle” model – discussed in earlier posts. When I was researching leather alternatives, I could only find one text that outlined a model of using leather tanning by-products as part of a pollutant loading scheme. This is the closest thing I came across that approached the cradle to cradle model.

While using new textiles interests me greatly, again it is that concept of just perpetuating the system. I can’t see TVL replacing leather in the long term, nor is organic cotton going to outdo cotton any time soon. That is why paradigm shifts are so important – changing the actual industrial process so that it becomes a zero waste, biofeeding system where every part of the process is utilised.

So that brings me to my actual epiphany: zero waste. The epiphany is that this is the model that suits me most. It is a thousand leaps and bounds ahead of recycling and reusing and just makes sense – a fundamental change at the all-important design process.

Zero-waste design strives to create clothing patterns that leave not so much as a scrap of fabric on the cutting room floor. This is not some wacky avant-garde exercise; it’s a way to eliminate millions of tons of garbage a year. Apparel industry professionals say that about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.

(from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/fashion/15waste.html?_r=2)

MaterialbyProduct is one label combining tailoring and draping techniques to create zero waste garments. Designers Susan Dimasi and Chantal Kirby develop modular systems and tools to enable them to design garments that reduce waste and consumption – a funny aim for a fashion label. Check out their beautiful designs below – this completely changes the way I feel about eco-fashion, this is intelligent and inspiring, not just about taking a piece of organic cotton and making a t-shirt. This is the next movement in eco-fashion, a true understanding of paradigm shift…

All images from http://materialbyproduct.com

Then there is David Telfer who also has developed tools and systems to not only minimise waste but address sustainability in all areas of the fashion process with innovations such as Minimal Seam construction, DIY Garment kit, 1 piece construction and publishes his views and design philosophy on his website, delivering complete product information to the customer about the underlying philosophy and sustainable outcomes of his work:

David's sustainable design musings

David's sustainable design manifesto

David’s philosophies and approaches:

LESS SEAMS = LESS MANUFACTURE TIME = LESS COSTS = INCREASE WAGES

MINIMAL SEAM CONSTRUCT SYSTEM is a project that recognises that for a new designer’s work to compete with the mass market steps must be taken to reduce costs. The seams are designed to be manufactured in under 20 minutes and it’s the way the pattern pieces work best together that develops the design rather than stylist choices made by the designer.

DIY GARMENT KIT

The DIY GARMENT KIT is a make it yourself garment pack. The pack includes pattern pieces with holes cut out and string attached, large sewing needle, buttons and detailed instructions. The idea is that this garment is a simple way of allowing consumers to be sure that their clothing is fair trade as the fairest trade is your own.

Then another amazing designer, Holly McQuillan. Look at this zero waste attempt at a hoodie:

This image gives me some kind of idea of the visual presentation of my garment (which I haven’t worked out yet – will discuss in another post).

But back to Holly McQuillan, she, like David Telfer, has also given considered thought to her design process and aims and shared these with her public in the form of instructions for creating a zero waste pattern. Click here. The most interesting point she makes is that of using negative space to create attractive shapes – that way those shapes can be used as part of the garment. Also she doesn’t use these extra shapes as decoration – when I first pulled apart my garment, I was focused on sticking the extra bits and bobs everywhere over the garment for the sole purpose of using all the pieces. It didn’t feel right and now I know why.

So there we go… zero waste. What a discovery. How inspiring. I feel like starting my whole assignment again. I feel refreshed. Now I know there is an intelligent approach.



References:

Kaul, S.N., Nandy, T., Szpyrkowicz, L., Gautam, A., & Khanna, D.R. (2005). Wastewater management: with special reference to tanneries. New Delhi, Discovery Publishing House

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Trends Directly Affect Fast-Fashion Workers

Came across this blog post on http://www.ethicalstyle.com > with my mind firmly focused on the dire consequences on third world countries, it just goes to intensify the despair I feel with this industry right now…

August 10, 2010

How Trends Directly Affect Fast-Fashion Factory Workers

In a provocative piece for The Guardian, ethical living columnist Lucy Siegle writes about how consumer demand — even something as small as button placement — can have a very real impact on working conditions in factories far, far away:

A CMT (cut-make-trim) factory in India, Bangladesh or Cambodia must be hyper-responsive to cope with design changes from offices in Europe. A last-minute fax insisting that a button needs to be moved sends a poorly funded, badly managed factory into a panic. Third-world firms will never tell western retail superpowers that an order is too difficult, so workers simply must finish it. …

It’s tempting to cast retailers as Dickensian ogres but fast fashion is driven by consumer appetites. We love fashion but we also dump two million tonnes of textile waste (mostly clothing) in landfill each year, which suggests we don’t value it. We get the type of fashion retail we deserve and ask for. We need a new plan.

So the next time you eye the trendy pleather boots that mimic the ones a starlet just wore in this month’s W, consider that they may have cost a garment worker in a developing country her lunch break — or more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leather… shocking!

I am just in the middle of writing an assigment plan for another subject and in keeping with my theme for this semester, I have chosen to write about sustainability and leather.

Some shocking facts, here goes…

Ethical concerns with leather

  • Mistreatment of animals “In India, animals are being slaughtered primarily for their skins, with meat a by-product. They are notoriously cruel, marching the cattle hundres of miles” Andrew Butler, campaign coordinator for PETA (Vartan 2002)
  • Exposure of tannery workers to carcinogens leads to site-specific cancers, as well as disorders caused by hazardous dust and chemicals. Study in Istanbul found tannery workers more likely to have respiratory and gastro-intestinal problems (Yegenoglu et al 2007)
  • Workers handle toxic chemicals with little protective clothing > in Harazibag, general population 31% more likely to suffer from skin diseases, 17% to have kidney problems (Robins & Roberts 2000)

Environmental concerns with leather

  • To dry 1 tonne hide requires 20m3 of water (Ludvik 2000)
  • Tanning one metric tonne of hide produces 20-80 cubic metres of toxic and foul-smelling waste water which contains chloride, sulphide, pesticides and other biochemicals (World Bank Group)
  • Deliming produces ammonia, dyeing releases solvents into the air (World Bank Group)
  • Up to 70% of the original hide weight is in waste including trimmings, hair and degraded hide (World Bank Group)
  • In Kanpur (major leather manufacturing city in India) in 2003, 22 tonnes of chromium-laden waste were being dumped in the open every day (Sharma 2003)
  • In Croatia, 4-5% of water pollution is from tanneries: each year 27000 tonnes of leather consumes 800 000-1 000 000m3 of water (HDKO 2000)

I struggled to find much info about the actual landfill of leather but was shocked nonetheless at what goes into producing leather and moreso, what is permitted to go on in its production. The environmental impacts not only hurt the physical landscape but by doing so, it seems thousands of people, both workers and people living in leather manufacturing areas, are having their health compromised.

I just glanced at my much loved Mimco bag and don’t know if I feel quite the same about it. I have always valued its buttery leather and the way it wears but now… I don’t know, what’s the right thing to do? I can’t really buy into the belief that pleather is better in many ways – though the thought of cruelty to animals really does make me question whether pleather is a far more ethical choice.

I have been naive, I admit. Since leather is such a luxury good and I have always sourced those made in Italy, I never really considered that it could be manufactured in third world countries and then exported. Mind you, in my readings, it mentioned the top quality leather is made mainly from free range stocks in Europe however this represents the very pinnacle of the market with most leather of lower quality being imported at cheap prices from India. It seems the US is the top importer from India whereas Europe imports a lot less from there. I guess in the US, leather goods are quite widely mass produced into cheaper leather items (think those leather shoes with synthetic uppers and soles) whereas in Europe, in places like Italy, there is that conservation of the artisanship of leather shoes. I am pretty sure the EU has protection laws on some of this and will aim to find out more.

I just can’t stop thinking about those poor people subject to such conditions and the shocking stories that emerge from areas such as Kanpur – in this article it describes the open practice of trucks dumping tannery waste into the waterways and areas of the villagers. How sad that commerce is not only valued more highly than the environment but than human life (and the two do have a closely tied relationship).

So there is definitely a problem: what is the solution? Though I found 100s of websites claiming the sale of ‘vegetarian shoes’, ‘cruelty free handbags’, as far as I could tell, in many cases this was just the greenwashing of a cheap, fashion follower product. It may be cruelty free to animals but what about the environment? Also, pleather may be a subsititute for leather but it is not a match.

So I looked upwards from the fashion followers to the fashion dictators – Stella McCartneyso well known for her animal free stance. Yet while the Stella McCartney label definitely takes a stance on animal rights, there is no reference to what alternatives are actually used. While I suppose hiding her sources is part of keeping the product exclusive, it also goes against the concept of a transparent life-cycle process. For me, as a young designer, looking for alternative materials and citing Stella McCartney as a major inspiration in this field, it is very hard to consider taking her lead without any information available about the product’s origins.

One company that has gone a slightly different way, as I was suprised to find, is Hermes. I stumbled across Hermes through discoverin Treetap Vegetal Leather:

  • Treetap vegetal leather (TVL) has emerged as the most environmentally friendly alternative > hand-crafted material made of natural latex on a cotton backing, which is produced by rubber tappers and Indians living in the Amazon rain forest supports bio-diversity as well as provides income for Indians
    • Introduction into marketplace via NAWA inc for Deja Shoe (Campbell 1994)
    • Product is by-product from sustainably harvested trees (Campbell 1994)
    • Families are trained in process for lands under their custodial care (
  • In 1999, Hermes used TVL for bags and accessories (Jordan 2001) > indicates the possibilities of sustainable luxury

TVL Laptop bag by HER DESIGN LLC, seen on http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/12/a_look_inside_h.php

Now, I have never seen TVL so it would be interesting to know how it feels, what it looks like. However, I think the biggest promise of TVL is that it is a leather alternative that is not so synthetic – there is a story behind and exotic association with the Amazon that makes it conducive to luxury. Click here to see a famed Hermes Kelly bag in TVL.

An alternative like TVL is what gives me hope. Though there is little info on it yet in terms of the latter part of its life cycle, it represents a fundamental shift in the thinking about leather products. This is not just finding a cheap substitute like replacing wool with acrylic, silk with polyester – this is about finding a new textile that can be imbued with new meaning. The sustainable aspect of TVL, the story behind it and the benefits for Amazonian Indians aligns it with both ethical and environmental objectives.

Post script – as I searched from some Treetap products, I found a site that mentioned a photographer, whose site mentioned he made a short film entitled ‘Amazon Guardians’ – treetap led me to fashion film.

References:

Campbell, M. (1994). Deja Shoe pioneers use of Rain Forest material in its footwear. PR Newswire. Aug 09, Sec 1 p 1 (accessed through ProQuest 20 August 2010)

Jordan, M. (2001). From the Amazon to Your Armrest – Daimler, Hermes and Aveda Find Rain Forest Products Help Farmers, Save Trees. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). May 1 2001 p B.1 (accessed through ProQuest 20 August 2010)

Vartan, S. (2002). Pretty in Plastic. Emagazine. Vol XIII, no. 5 http://www.emagazine.com/view/?1104&src= (accessed 20 August 2010)

World Bank Group.  Pollution Prevention and Abatement Handbook – Environmental Guidelines for Tanning and Leather Finishing. Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency,. http://www.miga.org/documents/TanningandLeatherFinishing.pdf. (accessed 20 August 2010)

Yegenoglu, Y., Erelel, M., Çalak, B., Agbas, N., Issever, H., Özdilli, K., Özyildirim, B.A., Hapçioglu, B., Ince, N., Ince, H. Isik, E., & Akçay, E. (2007). Respiratory Problems in Tannery Workers in Istanbul. Indoor and Built Environment, volume 16: 177 http://ibe.sagepub.com/content/16/2/177 (accessed 20 August 2010)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leather vs pleather

As I continue to read and research sustainbility, I came across an interesting article in emagazine called Pretty in Plastic by Starre Vartan.

The summary of this article jumped out at me as I work with leather on this project and had considered the possibilities due to seemingly endless supply of dated leather clothing in op-shops.

What makes leather interesting is it is considered a premium textile yet, in the form of a garment, is often discarded, despite the high quality of the textile, due to the style falling out of fashion. While plenty of 80s looks have been reintroduced as fashion trends (prom dresses, bodysuits) 80s leather jackets are yet to make a comeback (and I predict never will).

In the article, Vartan presents both sides of the debate about elather  – firstly that advocates for pleather point to the unethical issues surrounding barbaric treatment of animals, poor conditions  and pay for workers, as well as health concerns within tanneries. However, leather substitutes of PVC and PU create environment specific concerns such as poisonous emmissions and a dangerous plastic product that isn’t biodegradable.

Basically, you have PETA on one side advocating for human and animal rights and Greenpeace on the other worried about the environment. There seems to be no real solution amidst the debate.

My own basic feelings on the issue are a preference for leather – it feels healthier wearing leather. You don’t get that strange sweaty sensation, don’t get that rancid plastic smell and used in shoes, they always seem so much more comfortable and supportive. Yet these are superficial reasons I know.

At this stage, from a design standpoint, I have a preference for leather – if leather is more embued with ethical, rather than environmental concerns, is there a way I can, as a designer, mitigate the ethical concerns?

PETA is concerned with how animals are slaughtered in cheap leather manufacturing hubs such as India. There is also a lack of labelling laws so that any animal can really be used for skin. For people in the industry, there is research suggesting the health harming effects of processes within tanneries, with claims of heightened risk of testicular cancer and reproductive illnesses.

One designer who chooses not to use leather is Stella McCartney. here is a designer who produces garments and goods far removed from the tacky fast-fashion PVC looks I associate with pleather.

Eco studded faux suede bag by Stella McCartney

The Stella McCartney label uses faux fur suede instead of leather – an amazing feat considering the prices are still designer. As a fan of all leather shoes (made in Italy preferably) I remember being dumbstruck by a pair of Stella McCartney boots in a Russh magazine years ago – there they were, those most gorgeous of over-the-knee boots, with eyelets at the top, laced up like a little corset. I loved those boots, researched them and was shocked to find out they weren’t leather. That is how I truly stumbled onto Stella McCartney and have been impressed with her stance and achievements ever since.

Stella’s design choices are highly influenced by her lifestyle choice – she herself is a vegetarian – and she proports a lifetsyle of organic food and low environmental impact. You can see how this lifestyle is reflected in her brand and also informs her design philosophy (though not her desugn aesthetic). Check out the ‘green’ section of her website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Early in my blog, I posted some reflections about myself as a consumer – this was after an in-class exercise that asked us to think about this. The lecture presented us with possibilities: reusing, recycling, reclaiming… a whole bunch of R’s that promote sustainability.

So I now return to looking at the R’s but this time from a design point of view. Much of my focus as a designer has been about luxury as key to sustainability though I haven’t really considered yet the most important ‘R’: resources – which ones I choose to use, where I am sourcing them from and what the future implications of using those resources are.

Of course, this is a huge issue so I start with a simple overview – the textbook Sustainable Fashion & Textiles by Kate Fletcher.

After providing an overview of Reduce – Reuse – Recycle, Kate offers a balanced critique of these methods looking at both the benefits, challenges and disadvantages.

Fletcher talks about The Fiftyrx3 project http://fiftyrx3.blogspot.com/ - a 1 year project where Danyelle used the 3R principles to guide her everyday fashion choices. Above is the 'Umbrella dress'

The point is made that reusing and recycling as sustainable strategies doesn’t truly alleviate the problem, they just “bolt-on” to currently inefficient industrial systems whilst continuing to support fervent consumerism. From this viewpoint, recycling is a transition phase rather than a long term strategy.

Outdoor wear label Patagonia uses recycled & organic textiles - but is this a long term solution to reducing waste? http://www.patagonia.com

The concept of zero waste is then introduced – via the field of industrial ecology – where fibres from one product are broken down and transformed into yarns that are then used to create quality products. This deviates from the down-cycling model so prevalent in sustainable efforts – zero waste would promote materials being purposefully used to create an end product of either the same or more intrinsic value.

In her Doctoral thesis, Hae Jin Gam aims to create a “Cradle to Cradle” model of environmental guidleines for design, which Kate Fletcher also outlines. This model is basically summarises to waste = food, a closed-loop supply change when the end result is as useful and valuable as the input. There is now actually a green accreditation of this label – see here for labelling guidelines.

Cradle to Cradle, written by William McDonough and Michael Braungart http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm

This model opens up further possibilities and places the 3R’s model in a different light. I start to think reusing and recycling systems mirror the trickle down theory of fashion – that model which perpetuates the fashion cycle and promoted the need for new fashion trends to emerge with the purpose of defining social standing. When the wealthy are done with their clothes, they pass them onto the middle class. In the same way, recycling takes a high value product, reconstitutes it and places it back in the marketplace as a product of lower value – the original purchaser of the high end product is likely not to purchase the lower value product. Just like hand me downs, I imagine it would be hard to entice consumers to purchase such products.

This notion of a paradign shift was also presented to us in the lecture yet it is only now I feel I can truly grasp the importance of it.

But change doesn’t happen overnight – it will take time to truly challenge a system that has been prominent for centuries. I believe current sustainability efforts by emerging designers should be championed as they are leading the way in inspiring consumers and the industry at large to at least think about sustainable making models. On the otherhand, the current sustainability practices used by companies can be brought into question – is it just an easy alternative that allows them to appear green whilst still promoting the green-adverse fashion system?

References:

Fletcher, Kate. 2008. Sustainable Fashion and Textiles : Design Journeys. Earthscan.

Gam, Hae Jim. 2007. Development & Implementation of a Sustainable Apparel Design & Production Model. Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University: School of Philosphy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leather trend

Just a quick one here – while I was going through netaporter I noticed all the great little leather pieces.

Bottega Veneta dressAlberta Ferretti dress (wool & leather blend)

Leather is definitely a key trend and was popular even on Australian catwalks recently. Given the ethical issues around leather, it is interesting to consider its sustainability potential – leather is such a trend driven look hence the racks and racks of leather jackets and skirts in op-shops. However, the flip side to this is that it is readily available (and often in great condition) as a reuse fabric.

I know myself, I have these funky leather pants which, inspired by this assignment, I am planning to turn into some shorts. Look at me, reusing!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Minimalism

So in true fashion student style, there is now 5 days to go until our presentation and I am still designing, still finding the best solution for my garment.

While I had this vague idea based on sketches and pinning, the garment continues to morph into existence. I have never worked this way before – this process has revealed to me how different the sustainability approach can be, especially when working in a reuse way.

The main thing I keep focusing on is letting the garment structure itself so as to reduce wastage. On another level, it allows me to develop as a designer, get the cerative side of my brain thinking while resisting traditional forms of dress making. It is a thoroughly modern process yet given the old garment factor thrown in, it is a true blend of the old and new (think they call that post-history?)

So this brings me to my aesthetic for this assignment: minimalism. Tonight I pinned the garment on my sister and noted how simple it seemed. I have always taken an avant-garde approach to my designs yet this time, the process has led me to a different look. There are still my original ideas in there – soft structure, layers that peel away, neutral colour palettes – yet they have been edited, simplified because the garment wanted to be that way.

Minimalism has emerged as a major trend right now. See the spread in the recent netaporter magazine which notes the ‘austere beauty’ in this look. So while on trend, I also see this minimalism as a small part of sustainability – it seems luxury focused rather than design focused. Luxury for it has been made hand-made, made by an artisan (or so I will call myself for the purpose of this assignment). And luxury often embraces a timelessness – time is given to the product with the intention of it lasting for a long time.

Minimalist fashion…

Calvin Klein SS10

Jonathan Saunders SS10

Stella McCartney dress from netaporter.com

Preen skirt from netaporter.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment