As a member of UCL MODO fashion society, and having always been quite nifty when it comes to DIY: I decided to participate, as a designer, in the annual sustainability fashion show.
It is no secret that the fashion industry is harmful to the environment, the show takes this into consideration and raises awareness of the necessary change for a sustainable future in fashion. Designers set out with the aim to each create a sustainable collection, by thrifting, recycling, and up-cycling, and boy did they do a good job. The talent exhibited in each design was extreme: especially given most of the designers are self taught. The show really was amazing, a really exciting experience.
The process of making clothing, from designing to creating the garment, is long. Alongside university, I didn’t have tonnes of time on my hands, so I opted for a small 5-piece collection. 4/5 pieces were reconstructed old suit pieces, and 1/5 pieces was a handmade satin skirt. I designed one male and one female look.
Suits: represent power, action & superiority – an ideology that should be taken with regards to combatting climate change.
Detailing: Green metallic thread represents the environment. Loose threads/ metal staples represent mere attempts at holding together a world/garment that is falling apart. Frayed hems represent distress, damage and imperfection.
Black roses: Rose being my name and a fundamental part of my brand idea, they are black to represent fatality.
Slogans/imaging: making a statement about the problems we face. I was happy with the reaction I got from the crowd. 1. Hot Earth, crying with ‘HELP’ in green. 2. ‘The world is getting warmer’ with a cartoon sad face.
I was inspired by a lot of things and a few designers. I’ve always loved a power suit, so they really represent a part of myself. Additionally the embroidered ‘RED’ and the black satin roses, also very much a representation of myself, I’d say these are quite an integral part of my brand image, I plan to use these in my future designs. In terms of designers: I was inspired by a lot of Savile Row tailoring, early Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford, Djerf Avenue. I also used pinterest quite a lot.
LOOK 1: Modelled by Jason Abraham
Blazer: Purchased from a charity shop, adapted by cutting/stitching, stapling & added in an additional collar/lapels, loose green thread (a central theme to my collection) representing a ‘falling apart’ aesthetic based on the dire climate situation.
Suit trousers: Purchased from a charity shop, reconstructed – removing and stitching patches back in, loose green threads again.
T-shirt: Purchased from a charity shop, cut to small pieces and stitched together with an external seam using green thread, a messy aesthetic again to represent global calamity. ‘RED’ brand name scruffily stitched into the collar in green metallic thread.
Styled with Air Force 1s.
LOOK 2: Modelled by Lakkaya Palmer
Cropped Jacket: A gorgeous charity shop piece selected because of its large lapels, reconstructed and cut to create messy crop. Loose metallic green stitching again, common of theme. Black satin handmade roses, as described earlier.
Satin Skirt: Handmade from scratch, with a frayed hemline and a slit, representing falling apart. Zip at back.
Each designer set the bar high, and all in all really showed how high fashion can be achieved sustainably.
I’m definitely going to design again, the next show is in march, with its theme ‘Opulance’. I plan to design 2 extravagant and lavish dresses, with the common theme of ‘RED’/ black satin roses.
Sustainable changes are slow and costly, and unfortunately 100% sustainability is an achievement that lies far into the future due to the size of the industry. However, change is being made whilst upholding fashion house opulence, brand integrity and uniqueness, this is key to progression.