Category: Design Philosophy

23 May

Author Maker

Image

Up-cycled patchwork couture‘ better describes my craft, as each garment is very carefully hand made from scratch, using cut up recycled clothes.  My casual women’s wear: dresses, jackets, skirts, dressing gowns, coat-dresses, pinafore dresses and robes are real ‘slow’ fashion; unique one-off garments.

All garments are made exclusively from recycled fabrics; good quality cotton, linen, viscose and silk, with viscose or polyester linings, chosen from the plethora of good clothes in the charity outlets which proliferate in the UK high streets.  I used to abhor polyester, but In 2018 I started using polyester dress prints as inside linings to garments, as it never degrades it must be used.  The design process is one of being inspired by the groupings of fabrics into colourways, weights and textures.  These are collected and added to the ‘colour baskets’ whenever I have found a new piece for a colourway I have in waiting.  Many ‘ladies-in-waiting’.

 

Image
WPPB Image Addons
Image
WPPB Image Addons
Image
WPPB Image Addons

Silk paintings are sometimes included in the patchwork garments, and a relevant informative blog will also appear in this site along with their composite garment.  Videos are available of some silk painting works.

Ahimsa ‘Peace’ silk (which allows the silk worm’s cycle to complete) is used for my silk painting when available as offcuts from a fashion maker; not as shiny as new Habotai silk, already stocked, but does have a lovely sheen after natural plant dyeing.  Kniazeff professional silk dyes are used, which when steamed, impregnate and fixes the colour through both sides, (unlike some silk paintings of surface-only fabric dyes).  Garments with silk painting have all been machine washed and even the darker colours are proven not to bleed dye.  (Note: these wonderful dyes are no longer available from my supplier and I continue to eak out their remaining existence.)

After ceasing 6yr solid stint in commercial freelance textile design selling through international trade fairs with London studios, I moved to Devon, with two children ready for high school, in 1994.  I brought along to Chudleigh Wheelcraft Centre craft studios, £200 worth of silk dyes and started learning the techniques directly applied onto pictures and cushions; also starting dress silk panels. (add old photo links)

All fabrics are washed at 60 degrees, to prevent shrinkage at variable rates.  40 degree wash thereafter is recommended. 

Five garments may go into one new garment, giving a basic materials cost of £15 – £40 on average: not a cheap option, which needs appreciating when considering final garment costs, but the new creation process is nevertheless very satisfying.

Detailed information about the designing process, cutting and sewing, are often uploaded to this site during making and when a garment is finally finished.  There is sometimes a delay between finishing blog and garment appearing in ETSY shop, but all enquiries welcome by email

This blog site is to be a portfolio of garments made and sold, (plus the dye processes).  Newer garments will appear on a new site layout.  I started selling at local craft events, and have and some garments are available in my ETSY shop.  ( Online Shop  currently under re-construction. )  Half of the garments on the website shop are now sold, but they stay as an example of making, to inspire others, and as a guide to what commissions may be possible.

For bespoke commissions with your own up-cycled clothes, using garments no longer fitting, or print designs you would like to give a new life – and a silk painting if wished – contact me via email.

Email Amelia J Hoskins (owner)

Shamanic Nights Fashions Board on Pinterest (Amelia Jane Designs)

23 May

Clothes treasure paradigm

upcycled fabrics dress

A new fashion paradigm being experienced by designers, businesses and consumers is one by which clothes are treasured and valued for a variety of reasons based on overall sustainable production. This contrasts greatly with the existing buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.

 

UP-CYCLED – RECYCLED – ETHICAL FASHION

Vintage fashion is enjoying a wave of popularity, as consumers look for more individual, original garments, which now have a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes from high street boutiques and chain stores

Why the growth in up-cycling?

The slow fashion CONSUMER is happy to spend more on garments which are sustainably produced.

The slow fashion DESIGNER or maker is happy to take longer on manufacture.

The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, of sustainable, ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless. (witness the popularity of ‘vintage’).

Dress, recycled fabrics

 

 

These days there is a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation caused by fast fashion trends and cheapness of garments. Charity shops are brimming with last season’s clothes. Textile recycling and disposing companies are selling old clothes to Africa, impacting indigenous economies by reducing artisan production.

Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. ‘Stonewashed’ Angles above, uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress, by Amelia Jane Hoskins, owner.

UNSUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

STOP OR REDUCE LANDFILL

Textile waste statistics are alarming; 13 million tons per year in USA.  Organisations are growing to help with this problem.

High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete with so called ‘demand’. But the demand is created by designers and companies who put out seasonal ‘fashion trends’, providing them cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season, to be ‘in fashion’ but obviously the main reason is to increase companies’ profits. Many of your clothes are made in sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is cheap.

People are finding labels from makers, as cries for help, in their garments.

http://www.ecouterre.com/two-more-primark-shoppers-find-worker-cries-for-help-in-their-clothing/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/19/rana-plaza-uk-pressure-compensation-fund-victims

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

Slow fashion entrepreneurs and companies wish to change the unsustainable fast fashion model created since the industrial revolution. Their main criteria is to use ethical fabrics and/or small scale production; and to provide fair wages for garment makers.

Some designers are choosing to use ecologically produced textiles, some choosing to use pre-worn clothes and discarded textiles to remake into new originals for the discerning ethical buyer.

Ecologically minded consumers and fashion businesses support the development of sustainable fabric production and sustainable garment manufacture. Rather than relying on mass production, with associated use of cheap labour and possibly poor manufacturing quality guidelines.

SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

Ecologically friendly fibres such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, grown without pesticides. Expensive pesticides leach into water systems causing health problems. Textile production is the second biggest contributor to water pollution globally. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from treatment and dyeing of textiles.

 

Textiles produced in small quantities by artisans in small scale village communities, provide rarer originality of fabrics to be treasured by end customers. Natural dyes may be used. Collections may be limited. ‘FAIRTRADE’ cotton is available. Wages must be fare.

ORIGINAL FASHION

My personal philosophy is that there is already enough fabric in the world! Rather than buying new fabric, I’m personally committed to finding the best second hand garments to cut up, to recycle the best unworn fabric and combine in new ways. The result is a tailor made, freshly designed, totally original and new garment.

We must value our work in the new paradigm – unique and sustainable is best, and probably more expensive, rather than falling in line with the old paradigm, where cheapest is better despite the cost to the environment and peoples’ lives.

Some good books are:

TO DIE FOR ‘- Is Fashion wearing Out the world’? by Lucy Siegle.

SHAPING SUSTAINABLE FASHION‘ Changing the way we make and use clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan, pub. Earthscan.

REFASHIONED‘ Cutting Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown

22 May

Design Philosophy

Harmonisation with Discarded Fabrics

Design inspiration comes from seeing themes evolve between disparate fabric prints and colours, rescued to be recreated into a new unique garment artwork.

As an artist and trained textile designer, I have a keen eye for the illustration and patterns in textile dress prints. The prints I source and collect are variously of classical floral illustrative, mille-fleur coverage (tiny flowers), geometric, and astral (space cloud blurred, dotted and muted effect).  A combination of all these together with coordinating plain colours makes a good patchwork.

Not all prints are of personal favourite by themselves, but depending on their colours, I will see a way they would contrast or blend within a theme.  A dress full of rose bouquets can be cut up to introduce patch areas highlighting the best flowers.  A smaller piece of fabric can become more special than the full repeated print area.

Cotton lace tops (often cotton/acrylic mix) are another good find, as they can be layered over other colours.  Most synthetic lace fabrics also surprisingly take up plant dye to some extent, which removes any stark whiteness, too brilliant for patches amongst colours.

Choosing a print fabric to start with, start to make a pile with other colours and prints (5 is usually sufficient to start with).  As you do this, one choice may be removed and replaced with another, as the combined effect literally ‘shouts’ too dark, too light, too blue, too pink, etc., depending on the theme in mind. The most subtle patchwork is when the overall effect is of fabrics of a similar tone; i.e. nothing too light, nor too dark, on its own.  I often do include black with a strong colour collection, due to its fashion favouritism, but am more careful with lighter tones and darks mixed, when making patch-worked garments using panels larger than traditional patchwork.

Silk Painting Inspirations

The print designs in each fabric collection suggest new design themes using their elements to create a silk painted panel, or I may simply use some elements to copy combined with other images of my own.  It may inspire towards a new design theme to be developed further again; .  Colour mixing dyes to match the existing prints is an essential skill.

Scale can be considered here: a specific image from existing prints can be enlarged as a feature.

 

22 May

Ethical Fashion Commitment

Fascination with Fabrics colours and prints….

…continues to inspire my garment creations: unique, casual, sometimes luxurious: ethically sourced from recycled fabrics.

Fast fashion has encouraged the spendthrift and waste of textile materials.  So many cast-offs! Year on year, the plethora of higher quality garments donated to the ubiquitous high street charity shops increases.  Fabrics from high street store fashions have an incredibly long shelf life, but are sometimes discarded after one season’s wear or if the garment no longer fits. Even household fabrics are renewed more often than years ago. Such quality clothes have a long life left in them, often hardly worn at all: so the fabrics used can continue to be made into quality robes, dresses, skirts and jackets.  Clothes thrown out years ago, are still here, piling up in landfills. Rather than throwing away, we need to recycle all textiles as much as possible.

We need to discourage ‘fast fashion’, where profits come before cheap labour,  human energy waste, and resource depletion; particularly water.  Internationally based workers are paid lowly for many hours hard work just so someone can buy many things cheaply, only to cast them out after a short while, due to fashion dictates.

Shamanic Nights makes a personal commitment to hand crafted ‘slow fashion’ and ‘Up-cycled couture’  which better describes my craft work, as each garment is very carefully hand made from cut up recycled clothes found in Devon Charity Shops.  Results show how recycled textiles can still be beautiful, worthy and robust when discarded prematurely.

Linens are wonderful to work with: one pair of trousers provides large pieces, as does a flared skirt. Dresses and blouses provide prints and lace.  I choose good quality cotton, linen, viscose and silk mostly, for summer dresses. Previously I wouldn’t work with polyester due to the chemicals used in manufacturing, and the issue that it never biodegrades, however, now to save some from landfill, I have started using polyester fabrics as lining for dresses and gowns. Synthetic fibres like polyester for clothes are one of the worst inventions ever! They don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, and eventually leach their chemicals out of landfill.

Every garment I make is unique, governed by the limited supply of printed fabric components available for each garment, usually at least three, and up to seven different fabrics create the patchwork.

Patchwork joining Cherry Fluzzie B   Patchwork joining Love Never Dies

Patchwork joining ‘Aldebaran‘            Patchwork joining ‘Purple Shimmers’

Composition of colours and cloth

Penny's Pinafore in blue linen, black embroidery anglais, and vintage print of French cafe life.
 
Design starts with assessing which colours I have to coordinate with.
Then whilst dwelling on the appearance of the different prints and plains together, a garment style may present itself.
 
Penny’s Pinafore in turquoise blue linen, black embroidery Anglais, and vintage print of French cafe life is a good example.  The black outlines in the French Cafe print inspired the use of black lace; the blue-green of the print matched will with the blue linen.
Sold to Penny on first showing at Exeter Phoenix crafts day.
 

 

Growing and processing COTTON – requires a lot of water.  Avoid pesticides by buying organic.

In wealthier western nations, there has been a ground swell of interest in organic cotton; grown without pesticide use, as more people become aware of soil contamination.  Fertilizers are expensive for farmers in poorer countries, making crops less profitable.  Whilst organic cotton is all the rage, cotton itself requires so much water to grow and process, that in the long run it’s not sustainable.   It takes 8,500 litres to make enough cotton for a pair of jeans. This is clearly unsustainable,  even immoral, when many areas of the world suffer drought.  The Aral Sea has dried up due to the over use of its water for Uzbekistan cotton growing.

 

Using what we have already

For these reasons I believe more businesses will take on this challenge; to produce textile products from recycled fabrics, that customers will want just as much as new. Up-cycled Clothing has become mainstream, with increasing numbers of inspired fashion designers making clothes from UP-CYCLED and VINTAGE fabrics and sharing their ideas on Pinterest and selling on ETSY.  One of the best things everyone can do is to stop buying more new stuffTake a fresh look at what we already have. Look in your wardrobe; if you don’t wear something, but love the fabric, then it can be taken apart, cut it up and made into something new; enhanced by adding another recycled garment-fabric to the mix.   I can take commissions using your own fabrics.

Good quality fabrics can last many years.  The only fabric which will not wear well is mixtures with acrylic or polyester, as the acrylic polymer threads always ‘catch’ and ruck up bobbly, making a garment surface look ‘worn out’ and certainly undesirable.  Visose is an ideal fabric.

My unique colourful one-off bespoke casual leisure garments are available to buy online. (Shop under revised construction) Alternative is my ETSY shop

Some Shamanic Nights garments have painted silk designs by  Amelia Jane Designs  on my other site, where you can find textile designs – paint on paper – remaining designs from 1990’s international freelance textile works.

A motivating factor for recycling is also linked to awareness of other pollution in the environment from the use of chemicals : In water, crop growing pesticides, fracking, fabric manufacture, industrial dyestuffs.   [Articles have been moved from the now closed Google Plus site on to synthetic-agenda.com – site under construction – with more being added regularly.]
Shamanic Nights background image