Here’s some of my favourites from the finalists of the 2009 Fashioning the Future awards, an international student competition run by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion which aims to challenge the fashion industry’s wasteful attitudes. In 2009 the theme was Water.
Make Do Re-Do Mend, Zoe Grace Fletcher
She was a winner with these hand-knitted pieces that can be fastened on to basic wardrobe staples to create a an adjustable wardrobe. I’m excited about this because it’s knitting (yay knitting!) and I think it reinforces what we all know, that it makes sense to invest in good quality basics, and then accessorise them with jewellery, scarves or these cute little knitted thingies. Genius!
I do wish that she had used more colour though! That’s my one problem with the entries in this competition, and sustainable fashion in general, that so often it only comes in muted, ‘natural’ colours. I don’t think it’s even so much that it isn’t possible to create bright colours sustainably (it MUST be, or somebody should make it their priority to develop an environmentally friendly dye), but that there seems to be the preconception that that’s what sustainable fashion should look like. Spare a thought for us bight colour addicts!
Reinstated Fibre Project, Karina Michel
Just a runner up this one, but my favourite because of the lovely colours. This project was about working with a garnment manufacturer and organic cotton producer in India to reduce fibre, energy, and water consumption by sourcing from self-generated factory waste. The fabric used is ‘reinstated’, i.e. recyled from the waste. I couldn’t find any more information or more pictures unfortunately.
Another winner. These are clothes that reduce the need for washing, based on evidence that for the majority of garments, the largest environmental burden in terms of water usage is the repeated use of washing machines. I’ve always thought this, because I get through an inordinate amount of washing all the time and I dread to think the amount of electricity this uses as well as the water. One of the reasons I’m big on layering is that it lets me reuse the top layers a few times without washing, but still I run a full washing machine 1-2 times a week at least. Again, I couldn’t unfortunately find any pictures of these clothes as they look when worn.
Miriam Rhida, UK
The final winner. This uses hemp satin, hemp being renewable and eco-friendly (and presumably less water intensive than cotton?). The dress is made from a single 100cm x150cm piece of fabric, which is wrapped and folded to create zero waste. The beautiful detail is created by fraying the fabric strategically. It’s also dyed using natural dyes.
On Ying Lai
This one went for the ‘reuse’ angle. The dress is made from an entire vintage flag, with zips that are sewn into flags to replace the seams to give the dress its shape. When the garment is unzipped, it will instantly transform back into a flat rectangular shape.
Great stuff all round!