We live in a time where there is an abundance of everything, from clothes to food, experiences and travel. My shopping habits have changed, I now only buy a garment when I need it, when holes appear in my jumpers and the shape begins to naturally distort, or my favourite dress that I have worn a 1000 times starts to fray at the bottom and colour begins to fade. I would rather spend my money on an experience or a holiday rather than a flashy materialistic thing or extra clothes that I don't have space for! I don't need more in my life, I need less, and this is my ethos when it comes to my bridal work.
Abundance- I think we have become so accustomed to having everything when we want it. But I think we need to start thinking more about our planet, and what we should be doing to save it.
Textiles, including fashion and bridal wear is contributing to a huge carbon footprint. Consumers need to begin to buy less, buy good quality pieces, check labels for fabric compositions or buy second hand garments. Businesses, will alternatively begin to change by making less, producing good quality items that will last and create designs that are environmentally friendly. Fashion brands are beginning to grow ethical products, but are large retail giants doing enough? For example, if you google “ethical fashion brands in the UK”, ASOS is on the second page of google because they have tights made from recycled nylon, can they put an ethical stamp on their brand? Large retailers keep producing more and more clothes, some that are non-biodegradable, and where it is estimated that the fashion industry uses 79 billion cubic metres of water per year and this could potentially double by 2030. (Common Objective https://www.commonobjective.co/article/the-issues-water) I work in the bridal business as a designer, and I have to consider all possible solutions for an ethical brand. Where and how is it made, what fabrics I am going to use, how much is going to be made, where can you buy the dresses? If I make one dress, I may use up to 6metres of fabric. If I do a collection, times it by ten! This is a huge amount of fabric and then add more for having several stockists, and what if the stockists are worldwide, wouldn’t that be contributing to the carbon footprint?
The changes that I have made for my bridal business are small, however I am only a small independent business so it may be easier for me to adjust. The collections are done on paper and toiles are made from organic bamboo for brides to try on.
'Royal' Dress sketch
Royal Dress from paper to real life.
However, would brides buy a wedding dress that isn’t complete, even when it is supported by a mock design, illustrations and fabric samples with guidance from an expert? This year’s collection ‘Rainforests of the Sea’ was presented to a boutique, Willoughby and Wolf in Marlborough, Wiltshire, a town where I grew up. My lookbook included eight to ten bridal illustrations with fabric samples, and the owner, Victoria chose three designs to stock in her shop. The Lyra dress, ‘Great Star’ and ‘Royal’ all made in London and lined with organic bamboo. If Victoria believed in my work from sketches alone, is it possible for consumers to do too? At least I won’t be over producing, I will be making one special gown for that one special bride plus three designs for a bridal boutique to demonstrate the quality. A made-to-order style minimises waste and use of raw materials which is a big tribute to sustainable fashion, why make more when there is already so much and an estimated £140million of clothing per year ends in landfill (http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/clothing-waste-prevention). I am not sure how bigger brands are going to adapt but, they need to make bigger changes to support the planet we live in and selling recycled tights is not enough!
I will be at Casterley Barn on Sunday 24th February 2019 with my bridal sketches, a few samples and toiles so please do come and have a chat with me.
"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." Ekhart Tolle
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