Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sustainability in Fashion

I few years ago I read and article about the ethical fashion designer Orsola de Castro. I can't remember where it was, but I do remember how interesting and inspiring it was.

A few years back speedo designed a super-duper, hi-tech, professional swim suit, but it wasn't long before athletes where banned from wearing it in competitions, as it was deemed to give the wearer an unfair advantage. So Speedo had a massive problem, what where they to do with all these swimsuits they had manufactured, but had become unsaleable? Landfill?

This is where Orsola de Castro stepped in. Castro started her London based fashion label, From Somewhere, in 1997. Initially she breathed new life into second-hand clothes that would have been destined for landfill. For example, creating something beautiful and unique from a moth-eaten cashmere cardi, by hand crocheting around the holes. But in 2001, on a visit to a knitwear factory in Italy (that manufactures for designers such as Yves St Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld) she realised that with the huge amount off offcuts on the floor, she could make a whole collection from scratch, not just the one-offs she had been making previously.

Speedo gave 5,000 of these obsolete swimsuits to Castro and she set about creating them into a 10-peice collection of cocktail dresses. The collection was launched at london fashion week and Selfridges, promptly placed an order for S/S '11.

I think it is a very slow process, but I do do believe that the fashion industry is becoming more conscious of sustainability and ethical manufacturing, with big companies such as H&M, M&S and Tesco working towards improving ethics. Personally, I do shop at Primark on occasion, but I also believe very strongly that it is important for us to try and change the way the industry thinks. It's not about all designers recycling and upcycling, but it is their duty to find a use for their waste textiles, or to give it to someone who will find a use for it, it shouldn't just go up in smoke.

Sources & further reading:

No comments:

Post a Comment