Saturday, December 18, 2010

thank you

Coming to the end of an amazing year, it is time to acknowledge and thank the people who I've had the privilege to work with. Back in July, this neglected blog had 40 or so followers. There are now 102 of you. Apologies for the lack of posts (I was doing it but not writing about it), and thank you for your support. Many of you found me via the New York Times and Helsingin Sanomat. Thank you NYT, kiitos HS. I taught my last zero-waste class for the semester yesterday and there is still much catching up to do but just a quick thank you for the sustained interest and support.

After recent events, I didn't expect Julie Gilhart to be in my class yesterday so to have had her there was a beautiful privilege. My thanks go out to Julie (the students and I were blown away - thank you!) as well as to Scott Hahn of Loomstate and Rogan Gregory of Rogan, who also came. Scott and Gregory didn't just come to the class to share their wisdom and expertise; they made so many things possible through the semester, I don't know where or how to begin to thank both. Thank you; I cannot wait to have the next conversation with you both.

Students: thank you! Each of you went through such a unique process, and each of you taught me so much. Prior to the zero-waste course, I suspected this would be the case but I didn't anticipate the richness of processes you shared with me. Thank you; I learned so much from each of you. I very much look forward to each of you graduating, and making a change in this industry of ours. Please keep me posted on the work you do.

At Parsons, there are a number of people I want to thank. Fiona Dieffenbacher, Director of External Projects, emailed me in October 2009 about proposing a zero-waste course. I was still living in Australia, in the midst of a challenging semester at my alma mater, UTS. Safe to say, neither of us had any inkling of how amazing things would turn out. Fiona, thank you for your foresight, and the support throughout this year.

Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion, thank you. You make things work. Yvonne Watson, Director of Academic Affairs, thank you. You afford me the ability to see possibilities. Now, this might look like a suck-up to my bosses. I don't give a shit. Simon and Yvonne make good things possible and that's all there is to it. I'm just not sure they get acknowledged enough, hence my inclusion of both here.

Jonathan Kyle Farmer and Shelley Fox, thank you. You inspire me daily. A true privilege.

Caroline Priebe. You're such a gift. Thank you.

Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose. None of us would be anywhere without you. Thank you.

Kathleen Fasanella. You're a guardian of the industry. Thank you.

Mum and dad. Thank you both for all of the support, and all that I've learned from each of you.

Heli, Sami and Juha. You're my bedrock. Thank you.

George. It's been an amazing nine years; I can't wait to see what we do together next. Thank you.

My friends: the other bedrock. Thank you.

There are countless others. For example, Holly McQuillan, Julian Roberts, Yeohlee Teng and Zandra Rhodes inspire me daily, as do Cameron Tonkinwise and Sally McLaughlin. Thank you.

2011 is full of possibilities. Thank you all.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Kudos to IVANAHelsinki (and shame on Ivana Trump)

Two weeks ago I managed to squeeze in an hour at NY fashion week to catch IVANAHelsinki's show. My shoddy video of the finale above, made even shoddier by Blogger. IVANAHelsinki is a Finnish brand led by Paola Suhonen, with Paola's sister Pirjo playing an integral role, too. Congratulations to both, and thank you for your hospitality! It was great to be surrounded by so many Finns in the audience.

During that week IVANAHelsinki received perhaps more publicity than they'd bargained for. Ivana Trump, primarily known for divorcing and posing, is suing the brand. The whole thing is hilariously ridiculous in that only-in-America kind of way. New York Post wrote on the story here. A British documentary on Ivana Trump (at 4.55):

Anyhow, below are some of my favourites from 'Where The Fuck Is My Sailor?' by IVANAHelsinki for SS2011. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hupparin kaava ja linkkejä kuviin

Jos minulla suomalaisia lukijoita on, tämä on teille.

Kiitokset Helsingin Sanomille ja Terhi Widthille asiallisesta artikkelista. Huppariohjeiden nettiversiosta jäi hupparin kaava pois, joten se on tuossa yllä; toivon mukaan siitä on apua. Hupparista löytyy kuvia täältä ja täältä.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Waste management hierarchy

Image from the Wikipedia article on waste management hierarchy.
In the wake of the NYTimes article and it going viral, it's perhaps timely to reiterate a few things. A number of people have left comments on various blogs as well as emailed me directly about various textile recycling options. Thank you all.

Where waste is unavoidable, reuse and recycling are of course solutions. It is, however, always better to try and avoid creating waste in the first place, and this is the premise for my research. A fairly simple idea: that when making clothes, it is NOT ok to not use all of the fabric in a garment. A look at various recycling schemes for pre-consumer textile waste have only strengthened my view on this, as often the resulting product is of lesser value than the original textile. I played with this when I did the exhibition Bad Dogs in 2008: two garments were made from a military blanket that was made from textile scrap; bits of jersey were still visible in the felt, and my apartment was filled with fluffy dust after I cut them out. McDonough and Braungart, amongst others, called this reduction in value through recycling downcycling in Cradle to Cradle. A lot of the time, I'd argue, recycling is a 'band-aid solution' to a problem. Waste avoidance and minimisation are preferred. Nevertheless, textile waste isn't going anywhere fast, and a couple of solutions merit a mention. Perhaps the most common thing people have emailed me is the use of denim scrap as insulation, as covered by Treehugger. Nevertheless, given the huge impact cotton farming has in certain parts of the world (Lynda Grose deals with the complexity of cotton farming beautifully in her chapter in Sustainable Textiles), I'd say waste avoidance is better here, too. A somewhat better option in that the function of the cotton fibre is retained through recycling is R.E.U.S.E Jeans. On this, the retention of function in recycling, I'd recommend reading Paul Palmer of the Zero Waste Institute.

The two garments are below. I hope it's obvious but in case not, I aimed to make a beautiful coat and an ugly waistcoat from the coat scraps. Get it?

There is a lot of other misinformation out there already, which I'll address in coming days, time allowing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New York Times on Parsons and Loomstate

Thank you to Stephanie Rosenbloom at the New York Times. Sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning the article on the Parsons and Loomstate collaboration went live, and life has been somewhat busy since. I'd like to welcome all my new followers, and apologize to all of you still waiting on a response to an email or phone message; I'm getting there slowly. 

It's an absolute delight that so many deserving designers have received additional attention as a result.

'Normal' posting to resume soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Updated: zero-waste and less waste designers

Update August 2nd: to be as transparent as possible on this blog, I should note I've joined the Amazon Associates program. I will only link to books I have personally found useful and worth buying.

Update July 27th 2010: Sometimes those closest to you are the easiest to ignore or forget. Very much part of this list should be Fiona Buckingham of Kyotap by Fiona Buckingham. We've been friends for over 14 years and there are no bounds to the respect I feel towards Fiona's work. Fucken oops!
Last August I attempted something of a list of zero-waste designers that I was aware of; since then a few more have come to my attention so here's an update on that list. I also omitted some researchers because I've probably taken their work for granted for too long. Please don't hesitate to email me if you know of someone not listed here. This list also aims to include research on the topic that precedes current projects. As for the purpose of this list? I hope it will initiate interest in the included designers and researchers' work. I'll keep updating this as comments come in and as my poor memory decides to remind me of someone.

The pioneers
Dorothy Burnham: Cut My Cote from 1973 was a seminal text that summarised decades of Burnham's research into cuts of traditional dress.
Claire McCardell: Bernard Rudofsky included some of McCardell's work in Are Clothes Modern? in 1947 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. My understanding is that only a few of McCardell's pieces were zero-waste (or close to).
Bernard Rudofsky: He put some of his research into practice in Bernardo Separates, a clothing line in the early 1950s.
Zandra Rhodes
Yeohlee Teng
Julian Roberts: a pioneer for me in the sense that he has for a long time discussed fashion design, patterncutting and sewing as a holistic one.
Materialbyproduct: the company doesn't - wisely, I might add - make zero-waste their primary selling point but the respect for fabric is evident in their collections going back to 2004.
Alabama Chanin: while the designs aren't necessarily zero-waste, the zero-waste policy that governs everything the company does is a delight to read.

More recent, in no particular order:
Holly McQuillan
Carla Fernandez/Flora 2 (Download the book!)
Mark Liu - check out the article by Mark in Ecouterre
Tara St James/Study NY
Jennifer Whitty
David Telfer
Andrew Hague
Caroline Priebe - she'll be the first to tell you she's not a zero-waste designer but she knows more about it than most.
Samuel Formo
Tiffany Ouyang

Also important to look into:
Center for Pattern Design/Sandra Ericson. Why? Here's one reason.
Fashion Incubator/Kathleen Fasanella. Designing manufacturable things is crucial and there is no better place for fashion on the topic than this. Her book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturingis a must.
All the old texts on world dress by Max Tilke, like Costume patterns and designs: A survey of costume patterns and designs of all periods and nations from antiquity to modern times
The wonderful books by Janet Arnold.
Winifred Aldrich's Fabric, Form and Flat Pattern Cutting
Thayaht's tuta.
Betty Kirke's Madeleine Vionnet

Credit should also go to Lynda Grose at CCA and Arti Sandhu at Columbia College Chicago for encouraging students to engage with zero-waste.

The bottom line is, keep your eyes open and have fun with it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Terry Fox, Resurrectine, 2007

The Junky Styling Wardrobe Surgery is an extension of Resurrectine, a fantastic exhibition at the Ronald Feldman Gallery. I spent a good hour again yesterday checking it out. The exhibition has been extended by a month to July 23 so do see it. I don't have images for two of my favourite works but I'm going back on Saturday to say goodbye to Annika and Kerry so will get photos of them then. In the meanwhile, I adore the things I've included here.

The artists include:
Udi Aloni, Elaine Angelopoulos, Eleanor Antin, Cory Arcangel, Ina Archer, Kenseth Armstead, Conrad Atkinson, Brandon Ballengeé, Guy Ben-Ner, Sanford Biggers, Chris Burden, Luca Buvoli, Nick Cave, Gordon Cheung, Sue Coe, Liz Cohen, Brody Condon, Keith Cottingham, Chris Doyle, eteam (Franziska Lamprecht & Hajoe Moderegger), Alessandra Exposito, Roy Ferdinand, Terry Fox, Yishay Garbasz, Rico Gatson, George Gittoes, Leon Golub, Brent Green, Jane Hammond, Kelly Heaton, Christine Hill, Shih-Chieh Huang, Junky Styling (Annika Sanders & Kerry Seager), Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, Suzanne Lacy, Deborah Lawrence, Jae Rhim Lee, Ellen Levy, Jane Marsching, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, David McDevitt, Lori Nix, David Opdyke, Pepón Osorio, Sarah H. Paulson, Frank Perrin, William Pope L, Erika Roth, Christy Rupp, Jason Salavon, Alan Scarritt, Dread Scott, Andrew Sendor, Marie Sester, Paul Shambroom, Todd Siler, Eve Sussman and Melissa Dubbin & Aaron Davidson, Mark Tribe, Mark Wagner, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Wilke.

From the press release:
The Feldman Gallery will present Resurrectine, a large-scale group show of more than fifty artists. The selection of artworks embraces the notion of transformation – the creative act of taking form, appearance, nature, character, or meaning, and making it new again. The title of the exhibition is based on the name of the fictive elixir which restores life as imagined by Raymond Roussel in his 1914 novel Locus Solus and “rebottled” by the conceptual artist Terry Fox in 2007.
Resurrectine, the exhibition, is a guide to the always changing possibilities of language, signifying a rebirth and an expansion or narrowing of language, which in turn is linked to the visions of artists. In the spirit of the fanciful conceit of Roussel’s potion, the theme introduces new ways of thinking and the power of creativity.

As a form of time travel, the artworks incorporate contradictions: a low budget home video reenacts Moby Dick; a Medieval painting of the Resurrection becomes a video game; a flash animation combines the looting of Iraq’s antiquities with 3-Card Monte; trees inhabit libraries and museums exhibit human taxidermies; a mirror transforms the viewer’s reflection into that of Andy Warhol; doilies are stained with menstrual blood and Audubon prints are productively vandalized. We are also engaged by the invention of nursing, fallen angels, a parent’s footsteps to a concentration camp, remembered spaces, the story of the Black film industry, escapes from death, Old Masters reborn, a Cheshire Cat, apocalypse management, a living electronic painting, reenacted famous protest speeches, and dozens of other resurrectines. Resurrectine is a state of mind, and multi views have been welcomed.

Special thanks to Sean Elwood, Director of Artists Programs, Creative Capital.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 – 6:00. Monday by appointment.
31 Mercer Street, New York, New York 10013
212 226-3232 fax 212 941-1536

Rico Gatson, Angela, 2007

Kenseth Armstead, Spook poster Jamie Foxx, 2010Dread Scott, Triangle Shirt Waist, 2001

Rogan and Loomstate sample sale

Sorry to miss this; Finland beckons in three days!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Junky Styling - Wardrobe Surgery

Annika and Kerry from Junky Styling are here! From today until Saturday they have a pop-up shoppy thing at the Ronald Feldman Gallery as part of Resurrectine, an exhibition I'd highly recommend. You can take an old garment for consultation, and Annika and Kerry will perform their magic to resurrect it. The details are:

Ronald Feldman Gallery
31 Mercer Street
New York NY 10013
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm

Resurrectine provides an amazing surrounding for Wardrobe Surgery, and I'll try post about it later in the week. What a week this is turning into...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Julian Roberts & J.R. Campbell NYC workshops 11-12 June 2010

Firstly, to those 1265 of you waiting on me to respond to emails etc. I am so very sorry. I am currently doing about three full-time jobs' worth of work (in fact, about to head to the office on a Sunday morning) while dealing with the excruciating stress of being far away from a very sick grandmother and a very sick sister. I will be with both in a week, still hoping for a different trip to my last in October 2008. Anyhow, all will be up-to-date within two weeks or so. Not good enough in so many respects but this is how it is.

Yesterday and Friday were a fantastic break from some of the above; I left the workshops with Julian Roberts and J.R. Campbell inspired and reinvigorated. Thank you both, and thank you Sandy Ericson from Center for Pattern Design for organising, Matthew Stewart from Kent State University NY Studio for looking after everyone and Rachel Poulter for the constant encouragement and help. If Julian is coming to a town near you over the next month, attend! Sandy has the details; it seems Ryerson is already sold out so folks in Vancouver and St Helena, get in quick!

Cutting to the chase, here are my photos from the two days:

I want all of these posters:

View from Julian's living room:
My notes:

Some of Julian's teaching tools:
What Julian prepared earlier:
What Sandy prepared earlier:
Printed fabric by J.R. Campbell, sewn into a tube with a black and white stripe fabric. Leave one end of the tube open.
The man in action:

My play after Julian's demo; thank you Shelley for helping out with fabric! Of course I couldn't resist making a non-subtraction zero-waste subtraction dress (I used slashes instead of cutting out circles to make the tunnel). I will eventually unpick the garment, take a proper pattern and share on here; mine was made with three holes:

My colleague Yvonne Watson working with Sandy on her dress and the beautiful result:

Photos from the show and tell; congratulations to all:

Julian and J.R. showing the tube; pattern by Julian, textile design by J.R.; J.R. with the finished dress:

Some of my textile play. I'm working on something for the 2010 International Fashion Art Biennale in Seoul; this was kind of a quick hybrid of that and Julian's pattern:

Sydney September 2010 dust storm meets Julian Roberts:

Give it a go!

To finish off, the most beautiful off-cuts I've seen: