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.
Composition of colours and cloth
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 stuff. Take 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.