Category Archives: Part 5

Reading the article on Clothing to Dye for which looks at how much water is used to dye textiles, and how the used water is the number one pollutant to the Environment, its devastating to realize the full impact its had on already marginalised people, for example in part lies in Tirupur, India,

Local dye houses have long dumped wastewater into the local river, rendering groundwater undrinkable and local farmland ruined. Despite tougher regulations, a watchful local press, and the closure of companies in non-compliance, water pollution has festered. The city’s 350,000 residents, not multinational textile companies, pay the price.

Reading on about how much more water and dye is needed to colour synthetic materials such as polyester, it makes you wonder, why anyone would want anything made out of polyester in the first place?

Synthetics textiles hold a nastier fate for the Earth, in the form of microplastics. Even after the garment has been manufactured with dye stuff and pollutants, probably made in a factory with unlivable wages, maybe by children, it is sold and worn, and continues to pollute the water every time you wash it.  Up to 1,900 plastic microfibers enters the water from one garment, every single wash.

Of course natural materials have a negative impact as well, the chemical pesticides and water needed to grow cotton for example alsongside dangerous fibers sometimes inhaled by workers, aren’t ideal, but compared to synthetics, they are a better choice.

Companies which recycle plastics into fibers and garments hoped to do good for the environment, but it looks as if they are causing more harm.

While Patagonia and other outdoor companies, like Polartec, use recycled plastic bottles as a way to conserve and reduce waste, this latest research indicates that the plastic might ultimately end up in the oceans anyway – and in a form that’s even more likely to cause problems.

There are articles writen up to 6 years ago, warning about the dangers of plastic in fish, but its far more advanced, plastic is in the water we drink, the food we each, and probably the air we breath.

Is it too late? Have we crossed the event horizon? How far does it have to go, until these mega companies actually care about the future of the earth instead of buying another super yatch?

Organic natural fibers, natural dyes, slow fashion, awareness and prevention.


 

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-16709045

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/20/microfibers-plastic-pollution-oceans-patagonia-synthetic-clothes-microbeads

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/earth/freshwater-microplastics/

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Sustainability

Sustainability in textiles means not only to maintain stable manufacturing process with as little impact on the environment, but improve the lives of workers by providing a living wage, with good working conditions, a long-term solution which is eco and human friendly.

A company has to be profitable to work, but this doesn’t mean it should exploit its workers or the environment. The third richest man on earth owns H&M, probably the fastest fashion store on the high street, by manufacturing in India and Asia, it sells dresses for as little as £4.50. With those margins, H&M produces 600 million garments a year, a pair of jeans alone uses 1500 litres of water alone to produce. How much oil, pesticides, electricity is used, adding to global warming, and water/earth pollution? H&M may not be the worst, and they make noise about being sustainable by redeeming your old clothes for store credit. I see this as a marketing ploy to get more customers in the door.

Big brands are not only to blame, the consumers are at fault, by demanding cheap prices, at the same time being influenced by the fashion industry who dictate a change with the seasons. Fast Fashion relies on a consumer, who want to change their look from month to month.

I have no problem with Fashion, but I wouldn’t never let it tell me what is “In Style.” If individuals acted more like individuals, with their own “look” being influenced by classic timeless clothing which always looks great by working with their body type, letting their personality shine through, fast fashion would not exist.

The glossy magazines never tell you to try to look unique by shopping at charity shops, their narrative only includes names, most of which, no one can afford. Top shop and other high street names simply replicate these designs at a reasonable price.

Personaly,  I am proud to say I can count on one hand the garments I’ve bought in a mall or from a high street, aside from pants and bras bathing suits, in 5 years. I always shop Vintage/ Charity shops, or make my own, of course. I remember how liberated I felt when I finally found my style, a look which worked with my body type. Since then, I know exactly what I want to buy, and am never persuaded by rich brands.

I believe strongly in the distribution of money, where am I spending, how can it affect the people/ Earth in a positive way, oppose to a negative. Of course, I know what it is like being on the other end, being an independent seller. I depend of on-line marketing (which I am pants at) and word of mouth… I find it challenging even talking about what I make. I prefer being a modest, quiet maker — but that doesn’t sell clothes.

Marketing exploits people’s vulnerabilities, making them feel as though buying something will make them happier.  I don’t really believe in this. I believe in intelligent design based products, hand-made preferably, durable, useful, and timeless. If the fast fashion shoppers saved their £4.50 each week, they could buy 3 beautiful garments a year, from an independent designer, which I am positive, they would wear every week. There would never be crumpled up unwanted clothes at the back of the closet, but garments would be hung with pride to bring confidence to the wearer by fitting beautifully.

Part 5 — Textiles

There are a few points in your life, when you think, I’m on the right path, I followed the correct sign post, and it has directed me to this incredible place, with a spectacular view. Reading through the projects of Part 5 — Textiles; Sustainability / Hand-made / Art based pretty much sums up what I am striving for everyday, in and outside of this course, towards my BA.

This is what I’ve been working towards this last 2.5 years, my shop, called

“The old is new again” 

Sustainability — I only use pre-loved textiles; vintage lace and trims / ethnic heirloom indigo batik and embroidered hand-woven hemp (made by Dao and H’mong women) / embroidered table clothes & napkins — the only fabric I use that is new is GOTS certified 100% Organic cotton, un-bleached and natural.

Hand-made — I try and make as much as I can myself, although I have a tailor, Hoa and her mother, to help me with some tailored shirts and to replicate original Victorian garments, such as bloomers, nighties, corset covers, and dresses. I have not got the 50 years of experience these women have on a machine, they are incredible.

I make all of the one of a kind pieces, blouses, tops and boro inspired skirts.

Art based design — Using fabric paints, I delicately re-create Kilburn and Morris inspired floral designs on tops and dresses, using traditional Brush Painting techniques, originating in Japan and China, using the same brushes, which I have practiced since 2002.

The Story behind my work — (copied from my website)

« Perhaps you’ve come to tell us, don’t forget, the old is new again, each birth enriching aged ol’ earth. »

– by Richard Work,
from his poem “To Five Day Old Alyssa Jeanne,
from her grandfather whom she hasn’t seen”

 

These words have stuck with me through the years, in everything I have done, the decisions I have made, the friends I have loved, and my appreciation for the old.

To me it means everything that has come before, should be cherished and remembered; ancestry, heirlooms, books, suitcases, songs,typewriters, letters, paintings,textiles, crockery, photographs. They hold the key to the past, when people past down skills from generation to generation, when objects were artfully crafted with such detail and care, never thrown out, like sadly, many things are today.

We are so quick to look forward, we forget to look back.

Like the sharing of folk songs, or following a family recipe, this world is so full of past beauty we need to share and bring into the present.

We need to create to keep our spirits alive, a bit of ourselves to be remembered by future generations, leaving something behind by sharing it.


I want to find the cross roads between art and design, to make more than something you hang on your wall, to integrate it with slow fashion/design movements, to improve with every piece I make, with the help of this course, I hope to look further into how I can progress, and perhaps sell enough pieces to make a living as a working artist/designer… that is the dream, right?