Thursday, July 29, 2010

Designer Salvos?

So Today when the Salvos came to talk to us.  They set a challenge for us to make a garment out of unprocessed (clothing which has not been sorted and has come directly in from donations) in one hour.

Here I have constructed a play suit out of two garments; a peasant blouse that had applique embellishments on the bat wing sleeves, the hem. And a plain white V-neck long sleeve, drawstring waisted cover up. Here I have used the cover up as the base and use the peasant top as the trimmings.

I couldn't stop giggling when I actually saw this on the mani.  

So... the proportions are off. I know! Probably best suited to a short wasted person or maybe even a child. 

I wish it fit. I would actually wear this, but unfortunately I will most likely rip it in half or I will cut me into two. BOOOOOOO.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A visit to the Salvation Army Store

Today our class visited the Salvation Army store in Redhill. Where we were given a budget of $100.00 to pick out anything we wanted of the racks! These garments were to be used in our upcycling project. It was such a generous offer and somehow I was quite happy with 6 garments I had chosen that totalled up to $68.50.

After a lengthy hour trawling the racks one by one. I picked out garments which I instantly had a connection to. Most of my garments had an interesting pattern, embellishment or applique. The clashing of patterns and prints is a steady constant in my personal design aesthetic.

As we are looking into sustainability I have decided to be conscious to document where the garments were made, the fabric content and fibres where possible.
see below;

1). A black cotton peasant like skirt with batik and sequin border trim. sz 12 by Jeans West. Made in China.
2). A black cotton peasant skirt with white applique flower border with polyester lining. sz 8 by Katies. Made in China.
3). A black and creme cotton animal print peasant skirt with cotton lining. sz 12 by Rockmans. Made in China.
4). Devoure beige red and sheer button down blouse. sz14 by Callan Designs. Made in Australia.
5). A sheer button down blouse made in a polyester like fabric with glitter leaf pattern detail. Made in China
6). Handmade garment which appears to be of an Indian design. Fabric feels like a cotton/poly bend.

Total is $68.50

As part of this project I will endeavour to be more conscious of wastage. Hench my reservation to collect more garments just so I have $100.00 of value. I feel with these 6 garments I have more than enough to get started.

Biodegradable Clothing

In class on Tuesday we were discussing upcycling and recycling and the company "Loolo" was brought up as a company which is making biodegradable homewares such as cushions and bedspreads. (After some personal investigation into Loolo's website. I noticed website was not up to date and had not been updated since 2007.  I  have since made contact with the company via email and was informed by Joanna Nortin that the company on Sabbatical until 2010. Perhaps a sign they were ahead of their time).

Anyway it got me thinking about there design philosophy and how great it would be if we could reduce the waste caused by so many unwanted clothes that end up in landfill.

What if we could create a new product fashion line which would biodegrade and thus reduce the impact of landfill. Clothing and textile waste in UK is 2.35 million tonnes- 40kg per person with ¼ recovered (13% material recovery 13% incinerated to recover energy) (Fletcher, 2008). 

When we received the visit from the Salvation Army and looked through the bags of unsorted donated clothing, I noticed that there was a lot of underwear in these bags. My instant response to this was "Gross!!". The idea of even wearing secondhand underwear is unconscionable and I am sure I'm not alone in this thinking....
Someone would have to be pretty down and out on your luck to have to buy underwear which has been previously owned and used.

The underwear in these bags brought out a lot of questions in my mind about what happens to these underwear. As I believe I'm not the only person who feels that it just plain wrong to wear secondhand underwear. Most underwear would instantly be toss out with the weekly garage. The others that do make their way to clarity stores would most likely be sorted and then thrown away too as I do not think there is a high demand to buy them. (note to self - Need to research this further and find out some facts about second hand underwear).

So this got me thinking about what kind of clothing would be suitable to biodegrade? And the idea of Pyjamas and underwear instantly came to mind. My reason for this thought process is that firstly most people do not feel comfortable to drink recycled waste water that potentially contains urine so wearing secondhand underwear is also not for everyone. 

Why not make underwear biodegradable! Underwear & Pyjamas are items which are used a lot. In fact I have a whole draw full of very sad and tired looking underwear which I really to need to throw away as the elastic is going... and the material is become a little too transparent and any given day now a hole is going to appear but I just can't bring myself throw them. There are a couple of reasons why; firstly, It seem to me that it is quite wasteful to throw them as they may not look very pretty but they still serve their purpose. No one needs to see them. Secondly; I can't afford to buy new ones to replace them.

The life span of a pair of underwear does depend of the rotation of the wearer. They can last anywhere between 1 to 2 years. Maybe longer if they are only used for special occasions.

So my thinking is this...
Most women would have 10 everyday ordinary knickers and 5 lacey numbers for special occasions. The biodegradable under would replace the everyday knickers. As these are the ones which start to look pretty sad after a hard life being worn and washed quite regularly.

The same goes for nighties and pyjamas. I have so many of them as it seems to be the gift to be given. I also find that i have no quarms buying secondhand clothing but like to wear new pyjamas and new underwear. I also like to wear a new pair every year. Pajamas would also be a good product to biodegrade as they are something which everyone wants to wear "brand new" After a year of wearing the same pajamas I find I need a new set.

As the life of a biodegradable product would potentially have a shorter shelf life these two items are pieces of clothing I don't believe people would have a problem with them breaking down. Socks are another item which have a certain lifespan before they become worn out and would also make a great biodegradable product.

When looking at the bag full of unsorted donated clothing and seeing so many underwear. These were a few thoughts that went through my mind;

How come they have been donated?
Who would want to buy them? Do people buy them?
Are they clean? Gross... I hope they're clean. 
Who would want to upcycle/recycle them?
They will just end up as landfill for sure!!!

There is definitely a stigma attached to secondhand underwear which is that they are unclean or unhygienic when we know this is not the case at all.

Food for thought.

Perhaps biodegradable underwear made from cornstarch will be a thing of the future! It would have to be a product which was economical to produce and affordable to purchase and yet last long enough so that the consumer is happy with the lifespan of the product. If this product and not deliver all of these requirements it will not be a viable product for consumers to buy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So much to digest

Last Thursday we were given the final briefing for our assignment. There are quite a few elements to this project but overall I am feeling really excited and inspired with the possibilities that lay ahead.  

As apart of this assignment we are required to write & research a blog on sustainable issues  in a descriptive, researched and reflective form. We are also collaborating with local artist's on a collective outcome which will entail us to design garments out of salvation army's donated clothing, using the artists aesthetic as inspiration which will then be exhibited to the community in a collaborative theatrical fashion/artistic installation like event. (Wording is my translation of the brief). Apart of this project is also the combined forces of both 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What does sustainability mean to me?

There is a revolution happening. It began as a small trickle but now has become a very strong stream. A strong stream of professionals and industries taking a serious stand point on sustainability. Restaurateur's are ordering in fresh produce within a 200 kilometre radius to save on carbon emissions and to also support local producers. Magazines giants are now looking at online avenues to reach a larger audience and in doing so save trees in the process. Fast food outlets are using recycled papers to wrap their burgers. I could go on but I think you get where I'm going.

Sustainability is such a vast concept that at times it is hard to grapple with; as to what it actually means?  What is sustainable? How do I fit into being a sustainable professional? What changes can I make in my industry to improve it's sustainability?

There are so many facets to the notion of sustainability that the thought of just how big this issue is gives me an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness.  Where will this go? Where should I begin? 

Through this blog The Clothing Revolution, I will endeavour to explore and reflect upon these questions within my disciplinary field Fashion Design. Intuition tells me I will only begin to scratch the surface of this sociological cultural trend - Sustainability.