March 18, 2018

Revisiting: Refashioned

Photos ⎮ kuvat:   "ReFashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials"

ENG It's Global Recycling Day, and to celebrate I'm revisiting some themes I've explored during my five years of blogging. ReFashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown (Laurence King, 2013) is a beautiful book, just read Natalie Chanin's (Alabama Chanin) foreword:

"During my years of working in the fashion industry, I have seen first-hand the effects of newer, faster and 'better' ways of living and buying. Ultimately, choosing faster and cheaper can equate to unwitting disregard for humanity and the environment. 
It is often much easier to consume what is convenient without thinking too much about the larger impact or consequences of our chooses – particularly the continuing use of toxic chemicals, haphazard disposal of these wastes, unprotected workers and unsafe practices. These conditions simply cannot be sustained long-term if we are to continue living on this beautiful blue planet. As globalization makes our fashion production more and more transparent, we are no longer blind to manufacturing methods. As the processes become understood by the end consumer, customers begin to make choices.

Patti Smith once said, 'I choose Earth'. I see a future where we all choose Earth. 

I applaud the work of Sass Brown and all the designers and innovators who are working toward that future. I believe that the greater 'machine' can be slowed and reined in, and that beautiful ways of working can grow from that restraint. Those outlined in this book are individuals and companies that make me hopeful and are making a difference in the world today. 
For instance, the work of MAYER Peace Collection includes handcrafted tailored jackets and coordinating separates made from antique fabrics, and perfectly illustrates the beauty that comes from upcycling material. Piece x Piece offers a personal response to the overwhelming amount of waste produced by the fashion industry by using waste cuttings from other garments producers. What would traditionally be considered trash and would find its way to a landfill is now the basis of stunning limited-edition pieces of clothing. As I read through Sass's book, I clearly see beautiful new values emerging on every front. 
My journey with textiles spans my entire life, beginning with memories of my grandmother's sewing circles during humid summers in northern Alabama. The magnificent quilts made then are now considered valuable treasures, but were commonplace and practical at that time.

These women 'upcycled' out of necessity, using fabric taken from salvaged flour sacks and outgrown Sunday dresses that had seen their last wearing.

While these seamstresses surely never used the words upcycled, recycled or sustainable design, their common-sense approach and practicality are characteristics we should emulate and applaud. 
My experience of over a decade with my company Alabama Chanin tells me that recycling and repurposing texts lends to the complexity, artistry and value of a finished design. As people, our many roles change and evolve over the course of a lifetime; I love the idea that textiles can do the same. Sass Brown's work proves that reviving something in order for it to serve a new purpose can be a beautiful act of conservation, design and art.

FIN Tänään on maailmanlaajuinen kierrätyspäivä, ja ajattelin juhlistaa sitä nostamalla esiin joitakin teemoja, joita olen käsitellyt viisivuotisen blogiurani aikana. Sass Brownin ReFashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials (Laurence King, 2013) on kaunis kirja – riittää, että lukee Natalie Chaninin (Alabama Chanin) esipuheen (yllä).

Love (refashioned), Katja K.

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