Clothes Treasure Paradigm

upcycled fabrics dress

A new fashion paradigm being experienced by designers, businesses and consumers is one by which clothes are treasured and valued for a variety of reasons based on overall sustainable production. This contrasts greatly with the existing buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.

UP-CYCLED – RECYCLED – ETHICAL FASHION

Vintage fashion is enjoying a wave of popularity, as consumers look for more individual, original garments, which now have a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes from high street boutiques and chain stores

Why the growth in up-cycling?

The slow fashion CONSUMER is happy to spend more on garments which are sustainably produced.

The slow fashion DESIGNER or maker is happy to take longer on manufacture.

The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, of sustainable, ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless. (witness the popularity of ‘vintage’).

Dress, recycled fabrics

These days there is a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation caused by fast fashion trends and cheapness of garments. Charity shops are brimming with last season’s clothes. Textile recycling and disposing companies are selling old clothes to Africa, impacting indigenous economies by reducing artisan production.

Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. ‘Stonewashed’ Angles above, uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress, by Amelia Jane Hoskins, owner.

UNSUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

STOP OR REDUCE LANDFILL

Textile waste statistics are alarming; 13 million tons per year in USA.  Organisations are growing to help with this problem.

High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete with so called ‘demand’. But the demand is created by designers and companies who put out seasonal ‘fashion trends’, providing them cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season, to be ‘in fashion’ but obviously the main reason is to increase companies’ profits. Many of your clothes are made in sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is cheap.

People are finding labels from makers, as cries for help, in their garments.

http://www.ecouterre.com/two-more-primark-shoppers-find-worker-cries-for-help-in-their-clothing/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/19/rana-plaza-uk-pressure-compensation-fund-victims

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

Slow fashion entrepreneurs and companies wish to change the unsustainable fast fashion model created since the industrial revolution. Their main criteria is to use ethical fabrics and/or small scale production; and to provide fair wages for garment makers.

Some designers are choosing to use ecologically produced textiles, some choosing to use pre-worn clothes and discarded textiles to remake into new originals for the discerning ethical buyer.

Ecologically minded consumers and fashion businesses support the development of sustainable fabric production and sustainable garment manufacture. Rather than relying on mass production, with associated use of cheap labour and possibly poor manufacturing quality guidelines.

SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

Ecologically friendly fibres such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, grown without pesticides. Expensive pesticides leach into water systems causing health problems. Textile production is the second biggest contributor to water pollution globally. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from treatment and dyeing of textiles.

Textiles produced in small quantities by artisans in small scale village communities, provide rarer originality of fabrics to be treasured by end customers. Natural dyes may be used. Collections may be limited. ‘FAIRTRADE’ cotton is available. Wages must be fare.

ORIGINAL FASHION

My personal philosophy is that there is already enough fabric in the world! Rather than buying new fabric, I’m personally committed to finding the best second hand garments to cut up, to recycle the best unworn fabric and combine in new ways. The result is a tailor made, freshly designed, totally original and new garment.

We must value our work in the new paradigm – unique and sustainable is best, and probably more expensive, rather than falling in line with the old paradigm, where cheapest is better despite the cost to the environment and peoples’ lives.

Some good books are:

TO DIE FOR ‘- Is Fashion wearing Out the world’? by Lucy Siegle.

SHAPING SUSTAINABLE FASHION‘ Changing the way we make and use clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan, pub. Earthscan.

REFASHIONED‘ Cutting Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown

Kimono-Dress or house-dress ‘Purple Shimmers’

Purple and print patchworks

Back view
GMP ANNOTATED - Finished (VVG FRONT LENGTH) 2018-03-27 1000px
One pocket at front
GMP annotated - Finnished, (VVG BACK DRAPED) all length, shadows and light 2018-03-27

Shape is cut for fitted bodice front and back with bat-wing (kimono – like) sleeves extending from shoulders to high waist.

Front lacing over gusset, adjusts bust size from 36″ to 40″

Sleeves have cuffs which will turn back at the seam for tasking.

GMP annotated - Finished (VVG LACINGS) collar close up 2018-03-27

Notice collar, although a proper one, is caught down into high waist seaming at front, which could be thinner if copying idea, and stitch down to a point where it meets gusset (which I would do for a smaller summer dress)

GMP annotated - Finished, (VVG FRONT, SLEEVES)clear bright right sleeve 2018-03-27
Gorgeous patchwork colours form treasure trove arrangement.  Generous fit up to 40 bust:  Sleeves are kimono style loose, starting from below bust line.  Lace ties ensure fit under bust.  Back bodice top is already fitted to body, with gathers below

To buy ‘Purple Shimmers’or to commission similar, visit ETSY shop

Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey

Purple fabric collection on floor - 800scale_2018-01-29
Purples ‘collection’ as garments from charity shops.  Plus bottom right hand plant-dyed silk
Purple fabric collection_edited_2018-02-03

Three or four plains and three to four prints, with maybe another contrasting plain works well.  At least 7 different fabrics are needed for a good patchwork result.  I used all these fabrics except for the hand dyed silk 3rd from right.  (It will go into a similar one)

Charity shop fabrics, purples, hangers_2018-01-15_ 002 - annotated
Charity shop finds to match existing purple fabrics.  The shiny dress will become lining.
WDPS Purple line dress, collar, button welt cut- off

When cutting up garments for patchwork, cut up along the sides of all seams.  Sometimes cotton and linen seams can be ripped undone, and more fabric saved.  Overall, unpicking is not worth the time it takes.

WDPS Purple, black, green blouse, cut-away at seams_2018-02-13

Sometimes there is fabric strain near darts or side seams as there were in this blouse.  In such case, don’t undo the seam where stitches have pulled.  This blouse had strain around the front dart seams.  Due to inherent weakness in the loose weave, this fabric will be quilt-machined onto a thin cotton backing, to ensure it stays firm.

Many parts of a garment can be recycled into a different new garment, such as this lace-styled neck.  It won’t be included in the kimono, but it will form the start of another dress, likely to be with navy, if only the lace is used, or navy and pink if the print is kept.

This top is from a stretch cotton fabric, so will be quilt machined onto a cotton, for firmness, to be similar in weight to the linen and taffeta.  If used only in its stretch state, it may cause a slight ‘baggyness’ in parts of the patchwork.

Cutting of patchwork pieces to follow soon  ……….