Saturday, 12 November 2011

Eco-sustainable clothing

As you know I am on my third year of fashion at the University of Lincoln.

I'm doing my dissertation as a study of the progression of eco-sustainable fashion and what impact the clothes industry has had on the planet and individuals. The research that I have undertaken has undeniably made my blood run cold. I have been sitting in the living room of my student house fixated in this book called "The Rough Guide to Ethical Living". My housemate watched my jaw drop at certain intervals.

What I don't understand, is that all of us aren't being warned today of the process of manufactured clothing. It is something that needs changing immediately, we are too acquisitive. We are indoctrinated by media that encourages us to buy brands which we have know clue about.  Only small varieties of people stop shopping at certain retail outlets which have been given a bad name for child labour. But there is so much more to it. It's every outlet, 1000s of men, women and children die a year working on the cotton fields because of the pesticides used. The "Pesticide Action network" have said that there are as many as three million poisonings and 20,000 deaths each year. These people end their lives using the very pesticides that forced them into dept.

And then comes the manufacture of the conventional cotton cloth where thousands of synthetic substances are used such as chlorine bleaches, heavy-metal dyes and treatments such as formaldehyde to lessen creasability and minimise shrinking. Many are highly toxic and cause environmental and health problems if not handled and disposed of correctly.

Organic cotton is now much easier to source. Certain clothing manufacturers and farms are certified by the Fair Trade movement, a logo which we are able to trust as they define the standards and certify that accredited products really are produced in accordance with them. They implement a trade auditing system which checks that every fairtrade-labelled product sold to a consumer has indeed been produced by a certified producer organisation.

The other day I was in Stamford my home town and couldn't help noticing that there was a wonderful new shop on St. Marys Hill. From what came to me as a surprise and prosperity for my dissertation as it is a "fair trade" certified shop which sells organically made clothing from certified manufacturers such as "braintree" and "Greenpiece". Being very excited by this new awareness I did some shopping to try out these sublime materials, my new socks made out of bamboo, my hat made out of organic wool from Nepal and a nice warm top made out of organic cotton. I wasn't the only one so excited by these new fibres, my mum also made a few purchases for my dad and her. The fabrics are excellent, they survived in the wash, they all kept me warm, and I'm amazed at how soft the materials felt on my skin, so much softer than the chemical fabrics, especially the bamboo. What I loved was the way each garment seemed to have a story, it was like buying a new rabbit or a dog, you get a little piece of paper which explains the fabric and how to take care of it. The shop had toys for children as well, with the name of the person who made it on the tag. It's a wonderful shop, and to be honest not over the average prices that people would pay. Similar prices to Topshop in fact :)

One thing I hope for the future is that we all go into fair trade and terminate those substandard organisations as it also will plummet our unemployed people who loiter the streets into jobs which will be much more well being.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Sensational Sunday at the Bridal Show

A long day it was yesterday at the Bridal fair with Laura who modeled for me. She looked exquisite, wearing a charming pearl necklace resembling the detail on the front and a veil with an ivory ribbon trim and pearls on the comb complimentary with the dress. After all I had accomplished I was overjoyed by the final outcome and the commendations I had from people at the fair.

I was promised by the business I got the work placement from that I would have the wedding dress shown on the catwalk in the Bridal show, one reason why I put a lot of effort, time and money in making it. The business told me the day before the show, trying to trick me to believe that I had miss heard them from the beginning that my dress wasn’t to be shown on the catwalk and was to be walked around the fair promoted with my cards. The business acted very unprofessional purposely choosing accessories which ruined the look of the dress. In a professional manner I kept calm with them and exceeded in getting accessories which complimented the dress. I also still gave myself the opportunity to promote myself around the fair. I didn’t manage to sell the wedding dress on the day but I have been able to get some contacts and ideas in creating a business in the future. The dress is still for sale if anyone is interested.
I am now making jewellery and altering clothing for people as something to do in my free time while I’m in my third year of university. I’m going to start selling some drawings online and people will be able to pay me to draw what they want in a particular scale. This will hopefully start happening by next week. I will keep you up to date with the whole shebang.

I’ve been looking through the Spring/Summer 2012 collections recently, they look very exciting with beautiful shapes and inspiring motifs. Sarah Burton’s work in Alexander McQueen’s collection of ready-to-wear is definitely something you should imitate with sublime necklines and sensational detailing. 

It has been a very busy few weeks with lots of uni work. I am working on “Phantom of the Opera” as my theme for my negotiated project, with Baroque furnishing in mind from the marvelous Opera houses of the 1800s to the wonderful clothing by the renowned fashion designer Charles Worth. It’s gonna incorporate mysteriousness with a feeling of fear or agitation within the clothing at the same time as it being alluring and beautiful.