Sunday, 28 November 2010

“How ethical is your fashion?”

This shocking article covered by BBC journalist Madeleine Holt discusses the burning issue of “how ethical is your fashion?” This question is a raising topic of concern within the textile and fashion industry today. Within the society we live in, it is evident that high street fashion is making a huge impact on the environment. Consumers are so addicted to shopping and having the latest fashion or celebrity trends for as cheap as possible that the issue of how well designed the garment is, where the materials were sourced or how ethical just simply don’t get given a thought the majority of the time.

The key question posed within this report would be how we can help reduce landfill and become more sustainable. It seems that it is a matter of raising awareness and educating people on how buying sustainable and ethically made fashion will reap huge benefits long term. However, in this report Jane Sheperdson reckons there is a gap in the market for quality, beautifully designed pieces that last. (Holt, 2008) If this is true then we as designers need to address this issue before the consumer can make a difference. Madeleine Holt states a few shocking statistics. We are buying around 2m tonnes of clothes every year and nearly 1.5m of this ends up in landfill. This means we are buying a third more clothes than we were a decade ago. (Holt, 2008) Figures such as these back up the seriousness of this argument that sustainability needs to be addressed and quickly.

The conclusions we can draw from this article are that the public needs to buy less and hang on to clothes longer as this will have knock on effects such as less landfill, less pollution and an overall positive effect on the environment. Dr Corner, London College of Fashion states that we need to find the fun in holding onto clothes for longer. She says, “Customise them, exchange them with other people, eventually recycle them into something different. I think it will be much more fulfilling for people in the end than the throwaway frenzy we have now." (Corner, 2008)

If the sustainable, ethical clothing market took off and became available to the public on the high street it is assumed that people will want to support this. We are assuming that the general consumer cares about the environment and ethical issues enough to pay that extra few pounds for something similar they could have purchased in the fast fashion high street for cheaper. Are morals really going to rise above this cheap fashion fetish which has become like an addictive drug to our society? Through this article awareness will be raised of both the social, economic and environmental implications of fast fashion versus the ethical clothing market. This could have the potential to spark and inspire both designers and consumers to take a bigger interest in this subject as a whole. Without raising awareness and education on such a global and important issue nothing will change. We will simply stay stationary with the possibility of slipping backwards but never moving forwards.

M.Holt (7 Feburary 2008), How ethical is your fashion?

‘Cradle to Cradle’

This novel ‘Cradle to Cradle’ written by Michael Braungart and William McDonough focuses on how we can avoid environmental disaster. From reading this book it gives the reader a totally new perspective on the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ which is so commonly used when discussing environmental issues. They challenge us to take a new, innovative approach, to turn your thinking around and instead of focusing on eco-efficiency to apply direct concentration on eco-effectiveness. It discusses many pressing issues which commonly aren’t thought about for example the real implications from recycling.

The key question posed within this book is how it is time for a paradigm shift from trying to make products ‘less bad’ and figure out how to be ‘good’ i.e. minimizing damage isn’t good enough. The authors discuss how up-cycling may be the secret answer to this global problem. We need to rethink our design processes.They discuss how the use of the ‘cradle to grave’ approach to product cycling which many environmentalists are using ends up producing waste and how this needs to transform into the ‘cradle to cradle’ approach which is a natural process. This approach enables the change of one material to enable and nourish another. A good example of this would be how the decomposition of a leaf enables nutrients to be released into the soil resulting in providing more encouragement of growth. This brings ‘cradle to cradle’ to the conclusion that waste simply does not need to exist.

Throughout the book the authors use various diverse examples and key sources to back up their theories and opinions which makes it easier to visualize just how important it is to take this suppressing matter so seriously.

I found the last chapter entitled “Putting Eco-Effectiveness into Practice” the most engaging and informative. We are told in this chapter Albert Einstein cleverly observed that if we are to solve the problems that plague us, our thinking must evolve beyond the level we were using when we created those problems in the first place. (M.Braungart & W.McDonough, 2009) It all seems to come back to being innovative to the highest possible level of our ability and through our creativity constantly challenging our design processes. Braungart and McDonough in this chapter have come up with 5 key methods with are vitally important in relation to putting eco-effectiveness into practice. We as upcoming designers need to address these ideas and take them onboard otherwise eco-efficiency will never fully transform into eco-effectiveness.

One of the main assumptions made by the authors in my opinion is that everyone is willing and ready to truly fight for these issues discussed in this book. They assume that every designer and consumer sees the need and has the desire to come together to combat this environmental problem rather than sit back and watch it slowly perpetuate. If we do take their approach and line of reasoning seriously a huge environmental transformation could potentially be reached which would sustain the precious world we live in today for many future generations. This could also have an enormous effect within design and how innovative we can become. We need to address the other side too, the implications for us if we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously. If we ignore them I think it is pretty clean cut, if we continue using the worlds resources as we are now and wasting too much we are facing an environmental disaster which is mind blowing so much so I feel we could face an end to society concerning the worlds design industry.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Above is the winning design for the V&A competition for Dundee. It was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. It was broadcast on BBC news. Click here to read more about this exciting and innovative project which will further the artistic and design community within Dundee.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


I love these paper cut out installations by Bovey Lee, the sheer intricate detail is incredible. They are all made from chinese rice paper. The shadows create an atmospheric mood which I feel adds depth to the installations. Check out her blog here.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The 5 senses.
My new project is based on these words. I have to interrupt any of the 5 senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste in whatever medium or manner I feel inspired to.
I have decided to take the concept of sight and obscure it therefore seeing objects and environments in a different light. I want to explore the natural hidden beauty which the eye normally blanks out.
To do so I took a tripod, a canon 7d camera and went to Tentsmuir where the journey began. Through my motion imagery I aimed to capture the emotions evoked through my personal experience of the journey. I used my friends Vimeo account to upload it. Check out the video below.