Nobody buys clothes out of pity,” says Katharine Hamnett, the fashion designer, appraising an outfit made by a student with ethical principles in mind. “People buy clothes they want to wear.
“They can’t look sustainable … sustainability is something you’ve got to sneak underneath.”
Hamnett is giving critical advice to budding designers in the final hours of a five-day workshop at the Hay Festival, during which fashion students have worked to create outfits with a focus on ethical production. A wide-ranging term, “ethical” used here means consideration of environmental factors, sustainability, animal welfare, traceability, fair wages and working conditions for manufacturers to name a few.
The Just Fashion Workshop is a joint project between the Hay Festival and the Environmental Justice Foundation, supported by Levi Strauss & Co and London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion.
Ten students were chosen to spend a week working with sustainable fashion experts Martina Spetlova and Jessica Mor, before presenting their work on stage at the last weekend of the Hay Festival.
Chloé is a second-year student at Falmouth University who would love to have her own flock of sheep to produce her own wool. At the workshop site, just outside Hay-on-Wye, she has put in a week’s worth of long hours to create her ensemble. One of her main fashion influences is Stella McCartney. “What I like about Stella is that it’s sustainable, and she doesn’t scream and shout about her ideas of animal welfare … she just says it should be the norm, and I like that. It’s just done.”
Chloé’s approach is different from the one taken by her fellow (Winchester School of Art) student Filipa Castilho, who is developing a new way to recycle denim. There are already organisations that break down old clothing into reusable fibres, but Filipa points out that this process is time- and energy-consuming. To shorten the recycling process, she has cut old pairs of jeans into strips, woven into the back of a new denim shirt-dress.
“Sustainability in fashion is not only about organic fibres or recycling garments,” she says. “There are many different ways to help solve a big problem. This workshop is a good opportunity to bring different approaches to the situation together, and find different perspectives on what can help.
“It’s been really lovely. I usually think a lot about equality, politics and human rights, and usually I don’t take any action. But the conversations we’ve had here made me think that even if I’m only one person, and I can’t solve the problem, if I take some action I can help in a small part – and actually do something instead of just being theoretical. If my idea was implemented in mass production, it could help a lot.”
The students had their designs modelled on stage at the Hay Festival as part of a discussion about the future of sustainable fashion with Katharine Hamnett and Dilys Williams.
Edited version of article written By Charlotte Runcie
Fran Heerey: This project explores the ideas surrounding a ‘Singularity’, in relation to Ray Kurzweil’s theory on the epoch system, of which he states we will have to combine our biological evolution with technological evolution in order to progress and advance into the future. This is something that is very real within the 21st Century. As technology ever more advances, we are quickly shifting our human based responsibilities onto technology, and as a result, we are becoming governed and drawn in by technologies’ power and aesthetic appeal. Science fiction based films and books will be referenced as contextual inspiration, with in particular focus on H.R. Giger’s works which inspired Ridley Scott’s films Alien and Prometheus, as well as referencing other science fiction films and writings such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Blade Runner, Robocop, Stargate, Surrogates, and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.
The main objectives for the project will be exploring identity, gender, beauty, and the body ‘ideal’ in relation to a biomechanical world; a world where humans are Cybernetic organisms (Cyborgs), a cross between mechanical and biological matter that is intertwined with artificial intelligence. The human body is a key element of research throughout the project, as this is where the interrelation between man and machine can really be explored and demonstrated to its fullest potential.
Fran will be graduating this year and we look forward to seeing Fran’s work in the WSA degree show in June.
Level two weave students went on a study day trip to Mary Restieaux.
In the morning, Mary presented her work and talked about her career in textile design and in the afternoon the students rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty in a dye and winding workshop.
Five of our level 2 weave students: Lauren Bates, Elissa Baldwin, Hannah Futcher, Emma Swinburne and Jess Smith attended along with a group of students and a tutor from Middlesex university.
MODE CONNECT – YOUR VIEW
Simply select the best image of your work and Tweet it with your name, age, city and add #modeconnect. Images must be tweeted before the end of April. If your profile is published on Modeconnect.com you know you’re in the competition. The overall winner will win £200 worth of Laurence King Publishing books. More details via modeconnect.com/fashion-competition
Also share with us via twitter: @_makefuture
From Yahoo! News: London, April 9
Part of the Wonder Street Fair
7 – 9 April 2013 / 12:00 (Foyers)
WSA Level two Fashion students work will be on show at the Barbican, London – This Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The photos were taken by Russell Sachs and they were taken at the Life Science lab at Southampton University.
We have previously blogged about the collaboration between our fashion students working with the Biology department at University of Southampton. Now their work will be featured at the Barbican, London over the next couple of days.
The models are Zhouyang Tan (Oliver) one of our 2nd year fashion students and Lucie Rutter a 3rd year at Southampton University. Its a big event, click on the link for more details:
Send us a Tweet/Instagram pic from the event @_makefuture
Jessica Walsh: For semester 1 of level three I wanted to push my boundaries within my work. I looked into experimental techniques and new technologies to further develop my work. The processes of laser cutting, flatbed and mimaki printing, thermo chromatic inks and the use of magnets were all used within the designing process.
| Jessica is in her third and final year and will graduate this summer.