Fast Fashion & Co-Design: Working Together

I designed and facilitated a workshop last Friday for MA Textile students at Chelsea College of Art & Design. The workshop was part of a piece I am working on for TED’S Ever & Again publication on upcycling textiles. It is an outcome of an AHRC funded research project directed by RebeccaEarley .

The workshop was titled Fast Fashion & Co-Design: working together

I used co-design to “orchestrate creative conversations” a term coined by Leadbeater (2009) to inspire collaborative concepts. We borrowed IDEO ‘s 3 core concept of design thinking to structure the workshop… It was divided into 3 sections… empathy, prototyping and storytelling.

I really enjoyed working with the students to explore these concepts and they presented some really interesting ideas and exciting solutions.

The F Factory – LIMITED EDITION experiences

Fendi will be playing quite a role in the event this year, introducing the F Factory, a limited-edition retail project in the Miami Design District’s Moore Building (home to Zaha Hadid’s “Elastica” permanent exhibition), starting November 30 2009 and running until Christmas.


The shop will feature the brand’s most coveted bags, complete with Fendi’s Roman craftsmen on-site to personalize each one. But in true Basel form, art and culture will infuse the retail. Graffiti artist Andre is creating three needlepoint panels live in three 60-minute “performances” in the space, which will then be stitched into a unique Fendi bag.

You can buy your own Fendi Baguette Needlepoint Stitch Kit, designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi for $995!

Other collaborations include Moritz Waldemeyer’s collaboration with Fendi to create six custom-made Gibson guitars with Silvia Venturini Fendi, which will project lights on the walls when played by American band OK Go.

The Limited Edition Experiences program in the Miami Design District. Launched by Dacra, a real estate company that owns 80% of the 18-block area that constitutes the Miami Design District, Miami’s Limited Edition Experiences program brings together designers like Cynthia Rowley,Duncan QuinnChristopher RossMaison Martin Margiela, and Marni, all of whom engage consumers with a series of initiatives ranging from pop-up stores to limited-edition wares, in-store events, documentary screenings, and more.

Luxury fashion engaging in experiential goods and services… could this be the new Eco Luxury market of the future? I can’t wait to see how these pop up projects proceed!

For more info visit website

Make Do & Mend

Build Your Own Dress

Studio 28 Couture offers a bespoke dress service allowing customers to co-create their own clothing via a “build your own application”.
This easy to use application allows the user to select dress shape, fit and apply colour or pattern via swatches provided, the fabric swatches change seasonally. The options presented provide lots of variations regardless of opting for either cotton or jersey fabrics.
Their service is marketed to provide affordable clothing that is unique and invites the consumer to participate in the design process. All dresses are made by hand in NYC and take approx 3 weeks to arrive.
I think it would be interesting if there were more fashion experiences presented this way. Studio 28 Couture are offering a similar solution to style|shake another bespoke dress creator website which I blogged about a while back…
A Style|Shake Creation
Style|Shake are evolving rapidly and have integrated a wedding service into their service! They offer affordable personalised fashion and their dresses retail between £35-65.
I have uploaded a youtube video of the Style|Shake process:
Both are a fantastic add on to traditional online shopping and a great way to personalise your wardrobe or even create that dress you have wanted for a long time but haven’t been able to find or don’t feel confident or skilled enough to produce independently.
But, how could these services be expanded upon to allow consumers to participate further in the design process? Can such services support upskilling or integrate upcycling into their business models?
I think it’s fantastic that both solutions are affordable and easy to use and cant wait to see how they evolve.

Junky Styling “Wardrobe Surgery”

Junky Styling “Wardrobe Surgery” by Kerry Seager and Annika Sanders is available to purchase via their website. Junky Styling are a fashion brand who upcycle clothing to create new wearables and they offer a wardrobe surgery consultancy service that allows consumers to update their wardrobe using existing garments.

Working with used and already constructed clothing can be restricting but they have engineered this element into their design aesthetic and the overall look of the transformed garment is both stylish and wearable. A must have book for any fashion DIY enthusiast or any fashion consumer. Wouldn’t a few tips and tricks to update our wardrobe be valuable?

Fashioning Now

Fashioning Now, changing the way we make and use clothes is an exhibition and symposium at University of Technology, Sydney 28 July – 28 August 2009. The exhibit features innovative research projects from Australian and International practitioners including three members of staff and research from LCF Prof Helen Storey MBE, Dr Kate Fletcher and Jennifer Shellard.

Fashioning Now addresses all stages of the clothing lifecycle exploring the production and use of garments and addressing how and why they become discarded. The work has been submitted in an array of different mediums from garments,textile objects, time based art, photography and fashion illustration. The designers have used upcycling techniques, zero waste production, slow fashion, bespoke services, traditional craft and many more methods to present a series of sustainable solutions and poise scenarios for further research and development.

Visit the Fashioning Now website which hosts information about the event, the exhibitors and their work. Case studies are available to download and the website will be updated regularly making is a valuable resource for those with in an interest in sustainable fashion and textiles.

Pa++ern “Twitter your T”

Pa++ern is a project (launched by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi) which allows users to customise a t-shirt via twitter. 
It’s an interesting mode of interaction which combines digital media and an existing social networking platform to captivate an audience. Syncing twitter with their digital sewing tool is fitting as it has been ranked the 3rd most popular social networking site and 50Th most popular website in the world! 

Nike Considered

I came across an interesting sustainable design case study “Nike Considered” on the Design Council website.
The case study uses the pilot re-launch of the Nike Pegasus Shoe to illustrate how the sportswear brand are adopting new sustainable standards as part of their production and approach. 
In the 90’s Nike hit a public backlash due to criticism around sustainable production and practice. Through their new “Considered Design” strategy they aim to rethink their practice and process. Under this framework Nike designers were encouraged to integrate sustainable smart materials and processes at the concept stage. This coincides with an earlier report published by the Design Council which argues that 80% of environmental impacts are a result of decisions made at the concept stage of the design process.
Nike sought consultancy from the Natural Step, a non profit organisation who are dedicated to promoting sustainable practice and research. This collaboration has allowed Nike to integrate the Natural Step Framework into their design process and adopt a more sustainable approach by considering the problem, response and result from the frameworks perspective. This has allowed Nike to measure the products overall impact on the environment and identify further opportunities to tackle sustainability. 
This case study only tackles one area and Nike claim to be exploring further alternatives such as biodegradable materials and design for diss-assembly. They are in the process of designing and developing a tool to allow their designers to become agents of change within the company. This tool is titled the “Considered Index” and rates the overall carbon footprint of a design prior to production. The purposed tool aims to make designers aware of the environmental consequences of their design decisions and promote the most sustainable solutions.
In the case study Nike’s President and CEO Mark Parker states: “We are designing for the sustainable economy of tomorrow and for us that means using fewer resources, more sustainable products and renewable energy to produce new products.”
I think this is an interesting way of evidencing a sustainable argument in a measurable format. Sustainability is such a large field of enquiry and as designers it can be very difficult to navigate around this field. Within my practice and research I try to identify the most sustainable solutions where possible and I would welcome a tool that would allow me to quantify these solutions to evaluate how sustainable they really are. 
Visit the Design Council Website to read the full case study. 

Very Fashion & Style

very fashion

Images sourced from Very’s flickr account

Very – is a new online fashion brand who have integrated social networking and digital media tools like you tube, twitter and flickr into its social platform.  This will allow members to converse about clothing with others including expert stylists and celebrities!

The VIP lounge will open its digital doors tomorrow,  hosting a live chat with Vogue TV presenter and stylist Louise Roe.  The VIP lounge will allow members to discuss fashion and style with support. Louise is an industry expert who writes style columns for a number of fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue, she interviews top designers, celebrities and reports each seasons key trends for Vogue TV. So having access to her knowledge and expertise is an opportunity not to be missed! Guest speakers will follow on every day this week from Miranda Levy, Simon Webb, Fearne Cotton and Caprice.

The platform is said to evolve around the response of its users. I think its fab that Very are putting their members at the forefront and really paying attention to their interaction. We all love shopping (well I do!) and in the current economic climate and concern over environmental issues it can be very difficult to make fashion decisions. High street fashion has made clothing accessible to everyone but we have so many decisions to make… this can allow fashion to become lost in translation and maybe even take the joy away if shopping becomes more stressful. Therefore I welcome a platform that will provide support, allow us to ask questions and source style advice.

I love shopping but its not just the joy of walking out of a shop with a new garment (unless its something I been coveting for ages) but also the experiential value associated. Shopping can be a really social activity… we support each other and offer advice on what to wear and when.  Fashion is an important part of our lives it performs functionally but it can also promote well being and self confidence.  Finding a place and time to chat with friends and share fashion stories can be difficult to slot into our everyday lives but through using the internet we can communicate with our friends on the move…

Its great that Very are allowing us to apply digital media tools which we are already familiar  to fashion. Will it improve our fashion, style and allow us to make new friends in the process? Hopefully, we will need to watch that Internet space….

very fashion flickr

Slow Textile Workshop

I recently attended a “Slow Textiles” workshop by Dr Emma Neuberg.

I arrived with an embroidery hoop in hand at a lovely studio space in West London. Emma introduced Chinese Floral Embroidery and showed us some images to introduce the theme and provide inspiration.

An intro to the historical context gave me a greater sense of purpose and I began to associate a deeper symbolic association with the craft and process. After being introduced to satin stitch I attempted to apply the technique to upcycle some fabric. It was great being in a nurturedenvironment to sew collectively. There was lots of discussion around slow textiles, symbolism and sustainable thinking.

All participants were encouraged to bring a garment or piece of cloth with them for discussion and I really enjoyed this part. Some vintage clothing was used and each piece had a story or detail which reflected something special. 

I left feeling inspired and continued to sew all weekend. I loved working within a shared space and it sparks all kinds of conversations. I think this is a great way to share knowledge, skills and expertise in an interactive way.

Dr Neuger will be hosted a series of new workshops and forming “The Slow Textiles Group” visit her blog for more info.



 will be continuing a series of workshops and forming the slow textile group, visit her blog for more information.