Sunday, 30 October 2011

Essay on Sustainablity

For the current brief which I have been talking about for a while now one of the tasks was to write an essay on the issues surrounding sustainability.  Here is my essay:

Sustainability is an issue that is becoming more and more important in the world of fashion, and more and more brands are designing their labels and collections around this issue.  Sustainable design is where the environment, workers and ethics are considered and cared for throughout the whole process, or at least an element of it.  Eco-conscious methods and fabrics are very important to the designers that support this issue with every step though out the design cycle considered to make sure that their carbon footprints among other issues are kept to a minimum.  There is a saying that states:

‘Clothes are as much to dress the body as they are to dress the mind’
In my opinion this explains ethical and sustainable fashion perfectly and describes the feeling that it gives us; clothes without the guilt trip.

The most predominant designers that support this issue are people such as Stella McCartney, Edun and Gary Harvey.  They have created their brands around their personal interests and concerns for the environment and also the world that our future generations will have to live in.  They use sustainable methods, fabrics or recycled materials to make their brand ethical and sustainable.  Stella McCartney is a strong supporter of this issue and it has been reported that she stated her ethic terms in her contract.  She has described her brand’s sustainability by saying:

“I would always touch on an element of a sustainable or eco collection in everything that I do. So in my lingerie collection, I have a part of the collection that is organic, or with my Adidas collaboration again there are organic materials or recycled materials in the bags or shoes, and every part of my design at some stage comes into contact with that.” 
It is my belief that this shows that she takes the issue of sustainability very seriously and incorporates it into everything that she does in one way or another.  Another designer who is currently at the forefront of sustainable fashion is Christopher Raeburn.  He creates men’s and women’s wear out of old military fabrics.  His AW10 collection was featured in American Vogue, where they told us all to:

‘Remember the four R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Raeburn’.

To me this shows that the work he is creating is recognised and is creating the publicity for sustainable fashion that is needed.  His garments are made out of old army garments, parachutes and more; if that wasn’t enough to give him the sustainable designer title then the fact that he uses all the discarded fabric to create hand-sewn rabbits really shows his dedication to the ethics of fashion.  Fashion Personalities such as Gok Wan have also taken sustainable fashion on board he has said:

Don’t be constrained by a garments primary identity. Think outside the box and use your existing wardrobe to create new pieces”
This shows that it is not just designers that have the responsibility to support sustainable fashion it is also people in the public eye that will be able to promote the ethical message.  The amount of designers concerned with this issue is quickly growing and now there is even a section of fashion week devoted to these green brands referring to them as the ‘Green Shows’ and ‘Estethica’.  Designers such as Ada Zanditon, Christopher Raeburn and Monsoon show in this section of the week.

Sustainability has become so important to the world and many designers due to the impact that years of not caring has had on the environment.  With the environment now fighting back, and issues such as fossil fuels running out and the hole in the ozone layer becoming more important to people who previously took no notice, they are forced to think about them and make changes to the impact that they personally create.  Situations that make this subject so important are based around the way different things are manufactured; there is the way that fabrics are manufactured for example, Silkworms are boiled and killed so that they don’t damage the silk cocoon, this is a big concern in silk production and even though there isn’t an organic silk option available things such as Peace Silk (where the silkworms aren’t killed) mean that we can make a choice between how we want our fabric to be manufactured.  Then there are also the insecticides and pesticides that are used on things such as cotton crop, these chemicals can kill other insects and animals which are unnecessary deaths and damage to the environment.  This damage is shown shockingly in the depletion of the Aral sea, where the issue is shown to us clearly through the way it is deteriorating.  If customers had the opportunity to buy the organic and ethical choices, it would mean a stop to the damaging ways of production that are around now, meaning that hopefully the ethical production methods will become a bigger part of our society.

In my belief it is important for designers to take responsibility for their choices within their brand.  This is because customers have no choice in the way that the products they buy are manufactured, even though they could buy the organic and ethical options there is not that many out there to choose from, therefore if designers made sustainability a priority in at least one part of their brand, it will give customers the incentive to buy sustainable items and help to change the impact that other methods have on the environment.  If they were to all follow in the footsteps of brands such as Asos, Topshop and George who have assigned a section of their companies to the organic and ethical methods this incentive might be created.  If designers were to include these ethical methods customers will be able get the items they want with the satisfaction of knowing that it is ethical.  Stella McCartney once said:

‘I enjoy it when customers look at an item and think ‘I love that’ and then later realise that it is environmentally friendly’.
To me this shows her dedication to sustainability and her love of creating ethic garments that her customers will love. 

Designers have the responsibility to stop the unethical methods of manufacture from continuing.  They have the responsibility to stop the promotion of these methods and promote the more ethical and socially acceptable methods instead.  That is why it is my belief that it is more important than ever for designers to take responsibility for their actions and their impact on the environment.

To introduce these changes we all have to be open-minded and patient but hopefully, the industry will eventually become parallel with sustainability.  In her book ‘Sustainable Fashion and Textiles’ Kate Fletcher said:

‘A zero-waste vision for the fashion and textile sector changes the goals and rules of the bigger industrial system and aligns them with sustainability.  It requires a bold and innovative set of changes to the way our fibres and fabrics (as part of society at large) are designed, produced, consumed and discarded.’
It is my belief that this explains how every cog in the industry has to change to make the goal of ethical production possible and that even though a huge part of the problem is in the designers hands the customer also has to think about how wasteful they are being with the way that they look after the garment and discard of it.

My research and beliefs have made me come to the conclusion that sustainability is a growing trend not only in the world of fashion but in manufacture and other industries as well.  In my belief designers have the responsibility to include sustainability in their brands whether it is just the carrier bags they supply made of recycled materials or choosing organic and recycled fabrics to create their garments, anything they do will make a positive impact in a world damaged by the inexperience of the generations before us. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

LCF Open day

Last Saturday I attended the open day at London College of Fashion were I was able to get a feel for the uni and the atmosphere that comes with it.  I really liked this uni and am definitely considering applying here.

Here are some photos of the buildings and some interesting architecture and graffiti that I saw.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Design your own...

After I completed the previous pocket tasks I was given the chance to design and make my own pocket.  We could make it any shape and use any design features that we wanted.

Here is the one that I made, I have used pin-tucks to create a different texture on the surface.

To create this I created my own pattern and inserted the pleats and then constructed it like I did the lined patch pocket.

Self Faced Lined Patch Pocket

After we completed the first pocket we started to look at different variations.  The next type we looked at was the self faced lined patch pocket.  I really liked this type of pocket and think that the top edge comes out really neat.

Here is how I did it:

Sew the lining and the shell together with 1.5cm seam allowance, make sure that you leave a gap in the middle.

Press the seam open.

Fold the piece in half (right sides together) so that both curved edges meet, press.

Sew 1.5cm seam allowance around the edge.  Make sure you don't sew the top edge.

Reduce bulk.

Bag out the pocket through the small gap we left earlier and press.

Secure the opening with a short line of stitching, as close to the edge as possible.

Sew the pocket to the base where ever you would like it and secure down using a double row.

Sew the first line closest to the edge and then the second line inside the first.

I found it helpful to use the foot as a guide.

Lined Patch Pocket

The next thing that we created was a lined patch pocket.  I liked starting with this pocket as it showed me how pockets are basically put together and allowed me to get the hang of it before trying the more difficult designs.

Here are the steps:

Sew the lining and the shell together, right side to right side, using 1.5cm seam allowance.  Making sure to leave a gap at the bottom so you are able to turn it the right way round.

Reduce bulk leaving the top and curving the edges in near the gap you have left.

Bag out the pocket through the gap you left and press.

 Sew it to your base (where ever you might like the pocket) as close to the edge as possible, create a triangle at the top.  (Don't forget to leave the top edge open so you can put your hand in)

Bias Binding Samples

In our last pattern cutting lesson we started by looking at bias binding.  I have used this technique to create straps but before now I haven't used it as a substitute to a facing to finish an edge.

Here is how I did it:

Cut a strip of fabric on the bias.

Place it onto the edge you are sewing it so that the right side of the bias strip it against the wrong side of the main fabric.

Sew a 1cm seam allowance.

Reduce bulk.

Press the bias strip up and then fold the rough edge under and press.

Fold the bias strip again so that it covers the stitch line on the other side, press.

Sew the strip down as close to the edge as possible.

Here is another example of a bias binding on the opposite curve, the steps are the same.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Who will I be designing for?

So for the current brief I will soon be designing a capsule collection.  Before this could happen I had to be given a brand to design for.  So who will it be?

Stella McCartney; I am really pleased with this brand and feel that I can be influenced by the elements of design that the label is known for.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Fly Zip

In our last pattern cutting lesson we looked at inserting a fly zip.  I found this really interesting as it is the first zip that I have tried which uses separate pieces as well as the zip and main garment pieces.

Here is how I did it:

Sew the crotch area 1.5cm seam allowance up to the fly notch.

 Then notch around the curve.

 Sew the two Placket/Fly Shield pieces together along the curved edge with 1.5cm seam allowance.

 Reduce the bulk.

 Bag out the Placket/Fly Shield, iron and overlock the straight edge.

 Overlock the curved edge of the Fly Facing.

 Fold down the top of shorts and sew in the fly facing down to the fly notch.  Reduce bulk making sure that you curve the bottom.

 Press the Fly facing open.

 Measure 2cm above the bottom of the fly facing and place the zip on face down to the stopper lines up with this point.  Make sure that the edge of the zip lines up with the seam that was just created.

Tack the zip to the facing and fold up the bottom of the tape.

Secure the zip by sewing down the middle of the zip tape and curve the line under the stopper.

Press the other side of the zip opening under 0.9cm until just above the fly notch.

 Tack the zip tape to the newly pressed opening and close the zip to make sure it lies flat.

Pin the Placket/Zip Shield to the back of the zip making sure it covers all the zip.

Sew a line of stitching as close to the edge of the fabric as possible.

 Remove the tacking.

This is the finished Fly Zip.

To add some extra finishing touches to the zip secure all the layers together using a short line of stitching; making sure you go over it  few times to secure it.

 You can also sew through the layers on the inside making sure that you leave the front layer so the stitches aren't seen.

Why don't you give it a try?