The research point asked to take a look at Mary Katrantzou’s work, looking at an article in style magazine and answer a few questions regarding the article. The article is no longer accessible;
http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2011RTW-MKATRANTZOU [accessed 03/03/14] What do you make of the article’s reference to ‘the room on the woman’ and ‘the woman in the room’?
I have instead decided to you my own research into a different designer, who I love, the label is called The Age of Reason, by ALI MAPLETOFT.
Age of reason is based in Brighton, we’re I found them after my friend raved about their scarves. It was only until today that I spent the morning reading through all of their blog postings and mission statements, that I began to fall further in love with them. The designs are fierce, strong, and uncompromised, whilst remaining ethical, environmentally sound, supporting British industry and celebrating women of every age and distinction, highlighting uniqueness and individual beauty.
Here’s how Ali explains her company:
It’s a design company with an anti-sweatshop ethos. It’s all about making fun, playful prints – cushions, scarves, womenswear – in a way that’s ethically sustainable. We’re not exploiting anyone. There are no children working on it. We’re trying to do as much as we can in the UK and we source as many sustainable products as possible. We use wool to stuff our cushions that comes from Orkney sheep that eat seaweed! They’re the most sustainable sheep in Britain, apparently. We also believe in inclusivity and sharing. We’ll share our supplier details with anyone who wants to know. If a university student wants to know, we’ll tell them. If another brand wants to know, we’ll tell them, because we believe in moving that ethical community forward. Some people view that as sharing trade secrets, but that’s not the secret. The secret is the creativity. That’s the bit that’s important. We also believe in helping women, which is why we use older models, street-cast models and models.
Reading through their process, I was inspired by their transparency. Ali writes about wanting to share her manufacturers details, sharing the love, by not keeping any secrets from those who perhaps would like to produce their own designs. She walks through her steps from initial ideas, onto sketches, collage, then digital rendering, ready for print. You can appreciate the time and talent it takes her, true artistry, vision and style.
What I learnt is digital printing is very eco-friendly as there is no ink wastage which can pollute the water. I’ve always been a keep supporter of natural dyes, but they are not suitable for garment manufacturing as the colours fade and run. You need a chemical mordant to set the colours, which as harmful and toxic to both the environment and person. A lot of water is needed to rinse or boil off dye resists such as bees-wax or otherwise. There are traditional practices which with the right environment, such as in Japan where they use the local mud and rivers to create and wash dyes, on an industrial scale, this type, or any type of dyeing pollutes or uses a lot of water.
Digital printing is a way for artists/ designers to produce large-scale work (135cm x 135cm) + onto silk or cotton with little impact on the earth. The colours are so vivid, and allows for grades of shades and tones, which previously would be impossible with block printing techniques, used in industrial printing. You would have to layer your colour to create form, with digital printing, you can be more creative, with more ease and accurate results.
I hand-paint fabric, it’s what I love to do, creating one of a kind works of art, never to be replicated. I love the way the age of reason keeps the integrity of its work, but creating a limited number of scarves. Instead of mass production, churning them out, they make sure what you are buying is as special as can be.
Ali says this about Fast Fashion
I’m really excited about how fashion is changing, with more emphasis on individuality and less on trends and seasons. People used to think of sustainable fashion as beige and boring. That’s changed so much, and it’s great to be a part of the movement.
Ali put women artist and designers on pedestals by promoting them in England and America, as well as being sure she contributes 10% of everything she sells to the charity called Womankind Worldwide. It’s about empowering women globally.
If I could choose a mentor, it would be Ali Mapletoft.