As stated in my previous student blog “Sustainability,” I wanted to continue this mini series with fashion design. This year faculty member Kathryn Hagen introduced the idea to us, especially the senior class, “Reconceive the preconceived.” How can we turn a familiar style or silhouette into something fresh? That is the challenge we all face when designing. Sometimes, it’s researching historical items, such as my Chinese circus/opera project. Or maybe it’s using unconventional materials or reusing materials into something different. With apparel, the process is unfortunately unsustainable for the most part. The leftover fabrics from production gets dumped, and annually we always throw away old clothes. Where do they go? Most likely landfills.
Ever since I came to Woodbury University, I wanted to explore more into sustainable fashion. What items can I play around with to reuse it? What are some innovative ways to construct a garment to save fabric? I am excited to see in some of my fashion classes, my professors have discussed the idea on sustainability and have even assigned us repurposed projects. Here is a throwback of two recycled projects I did in my freshman year:
This repurposed project was in my Core Skills class freshman year. My professor gave us some existing garments, and our objective was to make something new out of it. Whoever used the most fabric or had the best transformation would win a mini prize. I happened to have won “Best Transformation.” I started out with a plaid coat and two knits.
I used the two knit tops to create my new “yarn” that I would soon knit into a hood for a cropped jacket.
My final result:
My second project was with the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The Aquarium has always promoted human stewardship over our oceans, being that my hometown Orange County is on the coast. Eco-care, the main theme, is what is depicted through the Trashin’ Fashion Show, where designer finalists have the opportunity to showcase their most creative and eco-friendly designs.
The materials that I used were plastic bottle caps and plastic bags. The bottle caps were threaded together to make the outer piece, and the plastic bags were knitted together to create the fitted dress beneath. Plastic bags and bottle caps present many issues that harm the environment. Both of these materials are usually not recyclable. Caps usually jam the process of recycling. Furthermore, plastic bags are rarely recyclable. Most recycling facilities are set up to take in rigid items like plastic bottles, soda cans, and glass bottles. Plastic bags are soft. And of course, these items are polluting our oceans and beaches. They are also entering into our food system. Using these items into fun crafts and projects is a great way to reduce pollution and environmental damage.
And yes I did place first earlier this year! This is probably one of my most proudest accomplishments in fashion design.
How have you “reconceive the preconceived” in your major or other work? It doesn’t have to be recycling trash bags but maybe use a traditional method in the past? Or using the norms in history as the new inspiration.