Thursday, February 28, 2008
Via a Google alert on eco-fashion came this. Whilst I have absolute respect for people with convictions, 'eco-fashion' and vegan fashion are not the same thing. I don't know, it's like a thousand 'fashion is bad' posts I've read before and speaks to the converted only.
Excitingly, a new journal: International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, from Taylor & Francis. Call for Papers is downloadable from the button at top. From the 'Aims and Scope':
Aims & Scope
International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education aims to provide a high quality peer-reviewed forum for research in fashion design, pattern cutting, apparel production, manufacturing technology and fashion education. The Journal will encourage interdisciplinary research and the development of an academic community which will share newly developed technology, theory and techniques in the fashion and textile industries, as well as promote the development of excellent education practice in the clothing and textile fields.
Contributions suitable for this new journal should fall into one of the following three categories:
(1) Research papers presenting important new findings
(2) Technical papers describing new developments or innovation
(3) Academic discussion papers dealing with medium to long-term trends and predictions.
All published research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymous refereeing by independent expert referees.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I do believe that bought, old, fabrics already in existence are better used than not. So, I will use some of the fabrics I've had lying around for four or more years, since I walked away from the label (including some 100 metres of cotton jersey). If I were to mass produce the garments, I would substitute the conventional cotton jersey with an organic alternative, if I were able to find one of the same quality. Two weeks ago a friend donated ten metres of a double wool she'd had for ten years, with good intentions but no outcomes. Anyway, arguably the fabric to date has been passively wasted, and so for me to use it is to make the most of the effort and resources that went into producing it, just like with the fabrics I've had collecting dust.
I will use some fabrics and trims that I've bought in second-hand stores. This would pose a challenge if I were to mass produce but I have no plans to do so; nevertheless, I will discuss later how I would tackle the particular challenges - various options do exist.
Finally, some fabrics will be bought new, and it's here I will make the effort to find the most sustainable option, as long as the compromise to quality isn't too great. So, denim will most likely come in a hemp/cotton mix (organic cotton if possible) and hemp canvas may provide the canvas for some hand-painted pieces. (Painted how? Let me read Fletcher's book, fresh out of the box, and I will get back on that.) I've also seen a hemp-silk mix that might work for some of the shirts.
But, I do aim for the collection to be at the high-end of things in terms of quality and level of finish and some painful compromises may come my way. And of course, I will try to educate myself as thoroughly as possible, every step of the way. For example, in her book Fletcher questions the antibacterial claims made about bamboo fabrics (ppp. 32-34) although TreeHugger has discussed some studies done in the area. There are also some research requirements for the fabrics that I need to meet, for example, using stripes and/or checks, and one-way prints, to see the implications for a no-waste approach. At the end of the day, my project is about not wasting fabric, and to keep it firmly focussed within the time frame I have, some high ideals may need temporary ignoring.
Synthetics: some still take a zero-tolerance approach to anything synthetic (a verbal attack against a carpet manufacturer by an audience member at one of the d factory talks on sustainability last year comes to mind), but to me the infinite recyclability appeals. Kate Goldsworthy's research in particular is worth looking into. To me, the problem with synthetics is more to do with comfort and wearability - I wear them little myself (an old nylon Miyake jacket notwithstanding) so I do have trouble proposing others to wear them.
Then there are the trims and notions... Many will be reclaimed (e.g. buttons from second-hand shops) and I will avoid creating natural/synthetic mixes with trims - for example, applying a polyester braid to a hemp pant. Overall, I find this a problematic area and will discuss further as things progress.
A short post on a complex topic but life beckons. I will return to this, no doubt.
Oh and next week I'll be attending the IFFTI conference in Melbourne. Some very interesting papers though not much on sustainability.
Evolution/Revolution: The Arts and Crafts in Contemporary Fashion and Textiles at The RISD Museum of Art, curated by Joanne Ingersoll.
Encyclopedia of Life is now online. Some background from the BBC.
This BBC article on greenwashing reminds me of a project I taught in, where the students had to come up with logos promoting sustainability that did NOT include a sphere/circle/globe, a plant or the colour green.
That'll do for now. But, with the endless Google Alerts, more to come soon.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The amount of waste? HUGE, much bigger than the figures put forward by Cooklin and others. I work as a patternmaker, making patterns according to the designer's sketch. These generally aren't negotiable. Yes, I feel awful about it, but at the moment working is about keeping me fed to the end of my PhD, and I still don't know how most companies would go from a conventional, wasteful approach to wasting little or none. Anyway, unlike many of the awful cheap fabrics (result of people demanding ever more awful and cheap clothes, I think) I've had to work with over the years, this was quite beautiful and the print was begging for a creative no-waste approach. It wasn't to be, but I will be using some conventionally repeating prints or patterns (e.g. checks) in the collection to see what the implications are. I may also use -gasp- digital printing although 99% of the time it looks too much like, well, digital printing. It seems that anyone capable of operating a scanner and/or Photoshop is a textile designer these days. But there I go digressing again. (Need to discuss collection fabrication in detail here soon, too. Very problematic, if a holistic approach is to be adopted in terms of sustainability.)
The collection... The working title is 'Bad Dogs', for reasons I'll explain another time. A lively conversation about related stuff today produced 'Do Not Iron the Poof', which might just work as a title. But time for sleep now.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Kate Fletcher: Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys, available from here.
Janet Hethorn, Connie Ulasewicz, Yvon Chouinard (editors): Sustainable Fashion: Why Now? A conversation exploring issues, practices, and possibilities, available from here. (This is the book I wrote a chapter for.)
Also worth a read, the WWF 'Deeper Luxury' report, from here.
That's it, for now. In coming days I'd like to summarise some of the articles on futurefashion (NY fashion week) and Esthetica (London fashion week). I have, however, a lot to organise for my exhibition as well as one I'm co-curating for 2009 so it may not happen.