Tag: landfill

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

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