Category: Ethical Fashion

22 Aug

Clothes Treasure Paradigm

VINTAGE FASHION FAIRS are enjoying a wave of popularity as consumers look for more original garments which offer a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes.

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Shamanic Nights original, 'Guinevere', modelled at Cockington Court Vintage clothes fair.
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'Stonewashed Angels' - (Angels in the silk painted panels) Designed by Amelia Jane Hoskins

 

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 other than a traditional economical 'brand' and the buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.

THE SLOW FASHION CONSUMER enjoys clothes with individual stories which use upcycled fabrics.

Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. 'Stonewashed Angels'  uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress.

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.  There are now ethical fashion companies sourcing fabrics more carefully from local communities, such as small scale silk producers, and embroiderers.  

STOP CONSTANTLY MAKING CLOTHES - TO REDUCE TEXTILE LANDFILL

High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete.  Perpetual demand is created by companies who put out seasonal fashion 'trends', providing clothes cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season: and every week.   Cheap clothes are only possible due to sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is very cheap, in order to increase companies' profits.  The Rana Plaza factory collapse alerted everyone to slack business practice outside of countries with safety regulations.

This merry go round results in a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation.  Textile waste statistics are alarming: 13mn tons per year in USA.  UK statistics ?  The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, textiles of ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless.

A CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR TEXTILES

Organisations are growing to help with this problem: via the Circular Economy. (Repair company. Hiring company.)  [ADD Video Nov. 2020]

SOME GOOD BOOKS

'To Die For' - 'Is Fashion wearing out the world'? by Lucy Siegle

'Shaping Sustainable Fashion' - Changing the way we make and clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan.  Pub. Earthscan.

'Refashioned' - Cutting edge clothing from up-cycled materials - by Sass Brown.

22 May

Design Philosophy

Harmonising Designs

Design inspiration comes from seeing themes evolve between disparate fabric prints and colours, rescued to be recreated into a new unique garment artwork.

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Print patchworks in 'Jade Garden' robe

Textile Prints

As an artist and trained textile designer, I have a keen eye for colour harmony and the illustration and patterns in textile dress prints. The prints I source and collect are variously of a mix: classical floral illustrative, mille-fleur coverage (tiny flowers), geometric, abstract markings and astral space.  A combination of all these together with coordinating plain colours makes a good patchwork.

Not all prints are of personal favourite by themselves, but depending on their colours, I will see a way they would contrast or blend within a theme.  A dress full of rose bouquets can be cut up to introduce patch areas highlighting the best flowers.  A smaller piece of fabric can become more special than the full repeated print area.

Choosing Fabrics

Cotton lace tops (often cotton/acrylic mix) are another good find, as they can be layered over other colours.  Most synthetic lace fabrics also surprisingly take up plant dye to some extent, which removes any stark whiteness, too brilliant for patches amongst colours.

Choosing a print fabric to start with, start to make a pile with other colours and prints (5 is usually sufficient to start with).  As you do this, one choice may be removed and replaced with another, as the combined effect literally ‘shouts’ too dark, too light, too blue, too pink, etc., depending on the theme in mind. The most subtle patchwork is when the overall effect is of fabrics of a similar tone; i.e. nothing too light, nor too dark, on its own.  I often do include black with a strong colour collection, due to its fashion favouritism, but am more careful with lighter tones and darks mixed, when making patch-worked garments using panels larger than traditional patchwork.

Silk Painting Inspiration

The print designs on fabrics in each bundle of coordinates collection may suggest new design themes, using their various elements, to create a new design as silk painted panel.  I also use some elements to copy combined with other images of my own.  While working, I may be inspired towards a new design theme, to be developed yet further again.  Scale can be considered: a small image from existing prints can be enlarged as a main feature.  Colour mixing dyes to match the existing prints is an essential skill.

 

Videos are available of some silk painting works.

Ahimsa ‘Peace’ silk  has similar thickness to viscose: it is made by allowing the silk worm’s cycle to complete. I buy offcut remnants from an Irish fashion maker. Habotai silk (also used) is shiny.
Professional Kniazeff silk dyes fixes the colour through both sides when steamed (unlike some silk paintings of surface-only fabric dyes).
Machine washable, recomended at 30-40deg, Even the darker silk dyes are proven not to bleed out.
(Note: these wonderful dyes are no longer available from my supplier and I continue to eak out their remaining existence.)
Images copyright Amelia Jane Hoskins Please email for use permission.