Sustainable fashion journey , part 1 December 10 2019, 0 Comments

Much is being said about the fashion industry and it's massive polluting effect on our environment . Coupled with the knowledge that some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world  are exploited , underpaid and even forced into labour in order to create the fast fashion fix we have come to expect in our shops .Collectively , we seem to have an enormous problem on our hands .

The big producers and sellers have been slow to react , or  seem to pay ' lip service '  only to the problem with  half hearted efforts such as small ranges of clothing made from organic cotton , or using a percentage of recycled fabric etc. It can seem that they are simply jumping on a bandwagon and that all this concern about the environment will pass and is a fleeting concern. 


In this picture from 1993 Shaolei wears a jacket and dress outfit which were from  a very successful recycled range with which I opened my first shop

Here is Shaolei again from the same shoot , which i took myself in 1993. the garments were all 100 % recycled and over dyed to create the unique look

These 2 pictures are of Shaolei in 1993. in both she wears items from a very successful 100 % recycled and overdyed range , with which I opened my first shop.

Here is Shaolei again , wearing a costume I designed 100% recycled for a fashion show at St. Andrews university, back in the 90s

 This was a costume I designed for Glinda the Good witch, form The Wizard of Oz ,a project by Nicola Keegan MUA , photo by Steve Allen .  This was again 100% recycled

 This costume was for 'Venus' a project by Duncan Holmes photography

 As  designer I have always tried to reuse fabrics , and make my impact on the environment a small as possible. I search for remnants , remake old clothes , upcycle , and use Scottish and British fabrics as much as I am able.


This recycled outfit was part of my collection for Nightwalk in 2013


 I often I make one off costumes and show pieces from recycled items , To draw attention to the subject. 

more recently a collection for R Sustainable social enterprise 2019

As a consumer of fashion we might feel that our small contribution may be lost or unimportant in the greater scheme of things, and it feels as though our voices are unheard, but the truth is that collectively our spending power makes us heard.

Consider how things have changed in our lifetime in supermarket shopping , all the things that are available now that were not , 10, 20 , 30 years ago and longer. The big players in the market bow to consumer demand.. The same consumer demand that is fuelling fast fashion and ultimately the  destruction of the planet. If enough of us change our habits then the sellers will have to also to cater for our demands.

We can make a start.

here's a few suggestions 

1 / make your clothes last longer. you can do this easily .. Use the tumble dryer less, mend small holes before they get bigger , re- sew on buttons etc

2/ buy better quality clothes that last longer anyway. just a few pounds more can be the difference between a piece of junk that will look good for a few wears and a better quality piece that might last a few years.

3/ Buy second hand. as we all know there is a wealth of second hand and vintage pieces which cost next to nothing. Make a point of trying to find what you need second hand before you go and buy a new one. you might just save yourself a small fortune into the bargain.

4/ Alter to fit . have adjustments made to second hand stuff , as well as those items lurking in the back of your wardrobe that just don't fit properly.

 5/ Consider a wardrobe remake. You probably have a few items , at least, kicking around that you have because you like the fabric , or they have sentimental value. Here in the shop , I can transform them into new garments , breathing new life into them or recreating them all together.

6/ When you buy new , chose smaller local makers who are making less of an impact on the environment with their practices. Locally sourced fabrics such as Scottish wool , and recycled fibres. Expect to pay a little more but remember you will get much more use out of them , as well as supporting the local economy.


 I have a facebok group called 'Sustainable clothing for everyone ' and I invite you to join. here is the link.  The idea of the group is to share our experiences around the subject and keep it accessible for literally everyone. so you dont need to feel daft if you have a question , or to share a simple sewing technique , or a great charity shop look you found. Myself and other businesses share our goods and services to it , so you can find new ways to shop.

 I will be making a lot of new recycled projects very soon. this is an example of garments I currently sell in my shop