Thursday, July 15, 2010

Upcycle Fashion on YouTube

My first contribution to the online video sharing network is a short (and silent!) documentary film that I made after myself and coursemates went out onto the streets of Oxford Street to ask the general public (and many tourists) what their opinions of 'Eco Fashion' were if they even knew what it really meant in the first place. Fortunately it wasn't all an overwhelming sea of blank faces - but a mix of those who understood and acted upon their opinions regarding the damaging environmental effects of the fashion industry ... and those who had no idea. Interestingly it was the younger people who were more engaged and understanding of the issues. They seemed to have more of an awareness through picking up information in the media and felt like they were important issues for our time - mainly focusing on the issues of fairtrade, material waste and resource depletion. In general the older shoppers around Oxford Circus were not aware of the importance of the issues and what was being done to change things. One man commented that there was no point attempting to change anything, because ultimately 'what will happen will happen'. Not an optimistic mentality to be faced with when trying to spread positivity and optimism and raise awareness hopefully leading to life changing actions, but hey ho! It was a really interesting afternoon and I look forward to questioning more shoppers about their ethics and shopping habits.

Be The Change
(my first you tube upload - I attempt to improve the quality of my short films!)

Ethical Fashion Forum Network

Looking through the EFF network it is really good format and surprising to me that this social media has not been taken up more by young people of the generation that has grown up with facebook/bebo/youtube/myspace.

In line with my MA research I have set up a group on the ethical fashion forum network called Sustainable Textiles and Fashion GCSE

Through inviting members of the network to join, I hope I can develop a discussion and conversation surrounding the aims of my MA and I can drive the project forward with information from a new audience.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Today I visited the science museum to check out the temporary exhibit Trash Fashion. The display was within the new Antenna section of the museum that hosts shows exploring themes around science and technology. The Trash Fashion exhibit focused on designing out waste and included the work of Mark Liu and his zero waste pattern cut clothing, Suzanne Lee and biocouture garments (created from fabric that is grown from bio cultures and moulded into 3D shapes) and Sandy Black, showcasing her knit to fit garment processes based on 3D body scanning. All the garments on display were beautiful, and 'fashionable' - a world apart from the now extremely misrepresented stereotype of 'eco-chic' fashion. I would like everyone to see this exhibit, as it focused on the technology and innovation that is being incorporated into new clothing designs for a sustainable future. It is no longer enough to just design a nice frock or have a deep and dark design concept to produce an interesting collection - for me the garment needs to tell a story that is relevant and plays a role in changing the way we view our clothing - and improves the impact the system in which it exists has on the environment.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Call for Textile Design Teachers

If you are, or know anyone, teaching textile design at a secondary school, community workshop or adult education centre please get in touch!

Monday, July 05, 2010


Conversation#100 "VINTAGE PRIMARK"

I recently overheard a colleague complementing another on her dress. The dress wearer thanked her and, as is often unfortunately the case these days, told that it was from Primark. Except in this instance she had bought her Primark dress from a charity shop. Faced with a bizarre combination of something I love (2nd hand clothes shopping) with something I am not so keen on (consumption of mass produced, cheap clothing in a crap retail environment) I was slightly confused as to how I felt about the purchase. It is an unfortunate fact that many of the garments in charity shops are now cheap retail cast offs and garments the charity shop would find hard to sell for less than the original price of the garment. Can a charity shop justify selling any recent garment second hand for more than would have been paid for it on the high street? Often the answer is no, as this won’t make the money charities need to run many aid and development projects. Good quality items are essential for the charity shops, as people are willing to spend more on a quality vintage item, but won’t spend more than £5 for a t-shirt they can buy for the same price new. The need for good quality stock has lead to some charity shops requesting that Primark items are not donated, as to avoid the charity shop looking like a dumping ground for the worn out, faded fast fashion basics. However, for many people the destination for unwanted clothing is either charity shop or the bin...and with charity shops wanting to improve their image and encourage good quality donations, they simultaneously increase the proportion of ‘waste’ clothing that is 'worn out' before it’s time and has no destination other than landfill. Contributions to the growing waste stream of textiles is the last thing we need, so considering the aim of many charity shops the advise would be that if you are going to buy cheap clothing, don’t consider it to be disposable. Keep it. If possible, save up and invest in something you love so much you will want to wear every year. We all need basics but we don’t need these to wear out quickly – we don’t have to spend less money on more stuff. Value the materials that you buy...and slow down the unsustainable nature of buying clothing as if it’s going out of,

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Ten Ways to Use Less Oil

Taken from the Greenpeace website, I love these tips for living a less oil intensive lifestyle.

As more people are becoming aware of environmental issues, the conversations I am having with people are slowly changing from telling people about the issues to telling people how they can incorporate change within their lifestyle to make a difference. Many people are now aware of the issues...they understand that something must be done, but don't know where to start and need a nudge in the right direction. Telling people how to make the changes is a step forward to just telling them about the issues. People want to create change and this 10 step guide from Greenpeace is a great example for oil consumption...

In the wake of the ongoing catastrophe of the Gulf oil spill, lots of people have been asking us how they can reduce their oil consumption in their daily lives. Here's our top ten:

1. Carpool, cycle or use public transport to go to work.

2. Choose when possible products packaged without plastic and recycle or re-use containers.

3. Buy organic fruits and vegetables (fertilisers and pesticides are based on oil more often than not).

4. Buy beauty products (shampoo, soap, make-up) based on natural ingredients, not oil.

5. Choose when possible locally produced products (less transport involved).

6. Buy clothes made out of organic cotton or hemp - not from oil derivatives.

7. Use non-disposable items in picnics and summer festivals.

8. Quit bottled water.

9. Fly less.

10. Demand that your government encourage renewable energy instead of oil

Saturday, July 03, 2010



We are reaching a strange time in the history of approaches to fashion consumption. With many people wanting to pay the lowest price possible for a ‘fashion bargain’ on the high street and online, it is now possible for the consumer to buy new clothing for a lower price than 2nd hand garments. The common approach to acquiring new clothing only a few decades ago was to pass them between family members and friends or buy second hand clothing as a cheaper alternative to buying new clothing from the tailor or Marks and Spencer. The image of second hand clothing today however is still understood by many people to fit in with this second rate method of purchasing cheaper clothing - not as good quality as anything you could buy new. Yet today, when we can buy new clothing for cheaper than charity shop items sometimes of higher quality, the priorities of what we desire from our clothing have changed. The low cost poor quality items that classed as second rate and looked down upon for being ‘cheap’, have now become the new, trend driven, fast fashion items that are desired and sold to thousands of people every week. When did it become cool to wear a new dress every week? When did it become OK to spend £3 on a t-shirt? Over the years we have become increasingly proud to declare a new dress was bought from Primark, ‘it only cost a tenner – I’m skint’. With recession and student debt spiralling out of control, the mass market for fashion and mainstream appeals to the ‘fashion’ driven who can get it with a limited budget and no regard for what this destroys, how other elements of the system that creates this maximum choice effect the environment. We need to look at the bigger picture in terms of the fast fashion cycle and expose the unsustainable nature of the fast fashion age. Our skint nation has developed a dangerous addiction to maximum choice for minimum expense with no consideration for the consequences – hidden behind vibrant retail environments and distracting visual marketing...and now they’re hooked it’s going to be a dangerous habit to break.