Cherish Your Wardrobe (Event Report)

I attended the ‘Cherish your Wardrobe’ event at Central Saint Martins yesterday, an event hosting a range of speakers who tackle sustainability from different angles. 
Designers from Gieves and Hawkes, From Somewhere, Pachacuti and TRAID presented their work and design journey. Their ‘sustainable stories’ connected them and really animated the cause. It was inspiring that every designer began with a limitation and designed this into their process and practice.
If innovation can be inspired from limitation: how can we push the boundaries and challenge the fashion industry? Over consumption is a huge problem and how do we make sense of an industry that has somehow lost control?
The designers urged the audience and consumers to emotionally engage with their clothing, to invest in fashion that will be cherished and loved. Quality was also an important issue, for clothing to be durable and with stand the test of time it needs to be well crafted and really beautiful. But are we as consumers willing to pay more?
Over consumption was addressed and TRAID stated that the average fashion consumer buys 35 garments per year. But if we explore fast fashion culture that teenagers are buying into, the number of annual garments consumed is significantly more. They asked the audience to think about how much they consume per year… how much do you consume?
So where do the answers lie? 
The Q & A session was really animated and the audience challenged sustainable fashion from their perspective. 
    * How do you convince consumers to buy into ethical fashion if it costs more?
    * How do we influence the fashion industry at mass?
    * Are trends important? Should we be buying into trend-less fashion?
    * Is fast fashion necessarily a bad thing? It’s democratic and allows everyone to participate…
    * Do the answers lie in current sustainable business models… can we explore, reflect and expand upon?
One audience member flagged up that she loves how everyone can express themselves through fast fashion… She felt that DIY fashion puts pressure on woman to return to the sewing machine and the whole stitch and bitch concept is possibly a step backwards? 
There was also a lot of discussion about the onus being put onto the consumer… the speakers responded that is because the power of the purse has a significant impact! Do retailers supply to meet demand? The urge for Government support for local production was also stressed as an important issue… new legislation and initiatives are required to urge designers, suppliers and businesses to work towards sustainable standards.
I think consideration needs to be applied to all viewpoints… its a complicated area and there is no complete solution or answer which will resolve everything. But lots of work has already been done and this can be expanded upon… 
The stereo-type of sustainable fashion is changing, new materials and process are delivering a better aesthetic and this could enable us to work towards challenging preconceptions. 

Cherish Your Wardrobe

Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops

 

Campaign Information
“We love fashion. But the clothes we buy in the UK come at a terrible cost. Millions of workers around the world suffer poverty wages and exploitation, producing cheap fashion for our shops. This can’t go on. We demand a fashion industry that respects workers’ rights. Our government must act now to protect the people who make our clothes.
War on Want is leading the biggest ever call for the government to regulate companies and put an end to the exploitation of overseas workers. We are asking people to add their faces, names and voices to our campaign against sweatshops. Our aim is to have 50,000 people join our call for immediate government action. It’s an ambitious goal, but together we can bring an end to sweatshops.
War on Want’s research on the sweatshop conditions facing the workers who make our clothes has made front page news and attracted attention nationwide. Yet in spite of widespread awareness of the issue, it is not always clear what practical steps members of the UK public can take to end sweatshop labour abroad. Asking companies to regulate themselves hasn’t worked. Boycotts have only led to further job losses.”
War on Want 2009
Access their website to read full reports and information on how to support this campaign. 

 

 

Global Sourcing

 

THE ANNUAL INDUSTRY MARKETPLACE FOR SUPPLIERS OF SUSTAINABLE FABRICS, COMPONENTS AND MANUFACTURERS TO THE FASHION INDUSTRY
20th-21st NOVEMBER, CHELSEA COLLEGE, LONDON
As a culmination of 2009’s Spotlight on Sourcing event series, the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) will be holding a two-day Ethical Sourcing Marketplace in London. The marketplace will bring together representatives of brands and retailers with manufacturers, suppliers and cooperatives working to high ethical standards.
At the event you can:
Meet a range of suppliers, see and feel products and discuss your needs face to face
Gain access to detailed information on exhibitors through the Supplier Directory -quickly identify exhibitors compatible with your work
Attend the series of short seminars during both days, introducing new products and exemplary supply systems
Access one to one advice from leading ethical fashion support organisations and initiatives
Network with other visitors and learn from others experience, share ideas and make key contacts
Tickets are available on site and student discount is available for £10 access saturday 21st between 1030 – 1300 … bring your student ID with you.
visitor information

 

North Circular

 

The North Circular is a knitting company who’s products are supported by supermodels and knitted by grannies. All of their products are produced using rescued Wensleydale wool which is dyed and spun locally (within 120 miles of North Circular route of Yorkshire).
A brand to emerge from an idea shared between friends (Katherine and Lilly) has sustainability as it’s core. The knitwear is handmade by skilled artisans (a team of highly skilled grannies), the materials are sourced from local sheep rescued from slaughter, the locality of their production process is kinder to the environment and the products are beautifully made to last…
5% of every sale and all of Lily Cole’s profits are forwarded to the Ethical Justice Foundation.
Visit their website for further information…

 

 

Co-Everything

I have uploaded a snippet from my presentation last Friday… Thank you so much to everyone who came along. It was a valuable exercise and I feel it really pushed me forward. 
Thank you for the questions and feedback… it gave me lots to think about and was a great opportunity to see my research from the viewpoint of others. I have lots to consider and look forward to developing the workshops and moving forward.
I will doing a series of presentations as the research develops… I will post updates and also advertise the workshops as they come into practice.

Hacking Design


The RSA will be hosting an event exploring the notion of “design-hacking” a term used to offer alternatives to traditional design, production and partcipation. This event will be chaired byScott Burnham (author of the RSA Design & Society pamphlet on design-hacking) and invites Dr Otto von Busch “haute-couture heretic and DIY- demangogue”.

Dr Otto Von Busch
 recently completed a PhD which combined a series of projects and experiments to explore fashion activism. His approach invites participants to actively engage in the fashion system and he has created a digital platform called >self_passage< which offers open source projects and proposed solutions. This is an excellent resource for designerspractitioners, researchers and fashion DIY enthusiast’s.

Event Description
As brave designers embrace this new frontier spirit. Design jam sessions of professional and amateur in cities and festivals all over the developed world unlock a creative energy that has, in fact, been ever-present in favelas and rural villages where necessity has always been the mother of invention.

Is design-hacking merely another post-modern phase in the history of design, or does it reveal a civic ingenuity and resourcefulness that a century and a half of industrially-fed consumerism has masked?

I have just booked tickets and really look forward to attending this event. I will update a new posting to summarise the proceedings.

Book Tickets or Further Information