Thursday, 10 May 2012

Slow Fashion, my own brand

My most recent design development and portfolio brief stated that I should develop a range of garments that conform to the 'slow fashion' ethos. After reading widely around macro ethical and sustainability issues it was Lucy Siegle's book 'To Die For' that helped me develop an idea.  I became passionate about waste prevention and decided that I would base my project around this topic. I was gobsmacked at the statistics in the book and can still not believe that every year we will accumulate on average 28 kilograms of clothing. We now demand roughly four times the clothing we would have done in the 1980's this shows that waste is an  increasing problem that needs tackling.

I read around the problems of waste such as landfill and realised that we need to change our consumer behaviour as it is having serious effects on our environment. Fast Fashion needs to be slowed down. 

In attempt to change consumer behaviour to prevent waste I looked at some of the cause's of this behaviour. 

I also conducted a questionnaire and carefully analysed the findings. The results from my questionnaire showed that the participants only wore a small section of their wardrobes and I wanted to know why. To try and answer this question I asked some of the participants of my questionnaire to self audit their wardrobes. 

 I asked the participants to remove the garments from their wardrobes that they had not worn in the past 6 months. I noticed a clear mix of colour and pattern demonstrating a want for variety. I also found that the most common reasons we keep unworn garments are because they have sentimental value, or they are too expensive to through away or consumers hope to fit back into them again soon. I realised that it would be hard to prevent waste and decided to look at a cure for waste. I looked into turning waste into loft insulation, swap shops and many other different ideas. 

Researching swap shops gave me lots of ideas for my own brand, At the end of a season I could rent out the left over stock instead of adding the garments to a sale. This would generate more profit for my brand as I could rent each garment out more than once instead of selling the stock off at a low cost. People could also swap their unwanted garments for other garments in the renting section for a low cost. I decided that my brand would be named 'Made By' Inside the garments there would be the brand name followed by the name of worker that had most input on the garment, such as Made By Matt. I felt this is a strong brand name as it provides recognition to the workers and adds a personal touch to the garments. 

The brand will be in store. On arrival at the store customers will have 3 options, Purchase the garments as normals. Or purchase pieces of garments to adapt their existing garments. This prevents the old garments from becoming waste as they can now be worn differently. Or they can return unwanted garments previously bought form the store and receive 25% off their next garment. The final option is to rent a garments form the clothing library. These garments will be made up of returned stock and clothing lines that would normally have gone into the sale. 

Here is an example of a typical 'Made By' customer.

I research lots of ethical fabrics for my collection such as compostable fabrics. However I decided to use durable fabrics so that I could rent the garments out for longer before they become waste. I also made sure that each garment was made from one fibre type to make it easier to recycle when the garment became worn and unable to rent anymore. 

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