What is fashion really about? A fast paced turn-over of low quality, low price, wear it once garments or cherishing the luxury products made to last? Undeniably in the last few decades the latter has drifted out of the picture allowing disposable fashion to create and feed a constant hunger for the next big thing.
However, a number of contemporary designers are bringing our grandparents make-do-and-mend mentalities back, creating hope for a sustainable fashion future.
British designer Christopher Raeburn is turning the process of design on its head, sourcing fabrics before he’s even started to form an idea. Despite their less than glamourous beginnings, the excitement of Raeburn’s designs comes from the reconstruction of a textile pieces concept and function. From cotton factory scraps to military life boats, Raeburn is proving that second hand fabrics certainly have no lack of originality.
The ultimate form of sustainability. Creative director Jeffrey Wang created a collection of wearable sculptures out of second hand clothing in collaboration with Levi Strauss jeans. However, these sculptures went beyond second hand and into the third. After the pieces were finished with, they did not become obsolete, but were deconstructed and continued their uses as wearable pairs of jeans.
Lingerie designer Clare Bare breathes new life into vintage fabrics with limited edition lines of beautifully hand-made underwear. Along with organic cotton and bamboo jersey, she uses second hand fabrics to create retro inspired (and slightly risqué) designs that echo the fabrics romantic beginnings.
German flour sacks, French mattress ticking and military tents may not sound like the most glamourous of fabric choices. Tamara Fogle, however, uses just these to create her unique bag designs in a family run workshop in London. Inspired by a background in antiques, Fogle likes her designs to tell a story about the fabrics past, meaning rips and repairs are more than welcome, believing they add to the vibrancy of second hand fabrics.
Fashion designer and textile artist Juana Diaz uses fabric scraps and topstitch to create simple kimono style tops and wrap dresses. The simplistic shapes of her designs emphasize the highly coloured and textured surfaces created by the complicated overlaying and stitching of fabrics. The careful placement of the diverse range of fabrics used in her pieces creates interesting contrasts of colour and texture.