The goal for my masters project was to create a holistic system for making clothes.
One where process, materials, output and marketing were all equally considered for their ecological and ethical impact.
By combining natural dyes, patchwork construction and a bespoke service, I have been able to make the entire process of making and consuming clothing beneficial not only for the environment, but also for the wearer.
Scroll to discover more...
WHY NATURAL DYES ?
Natural dyes offer an alternative to the industry standard toxic dyes derived from petrochemicals.
Chemical dyes have a huge negative impact on the environment and on those working in the global fashion industry today.
By working with natural dyes these issues are avoided.
However, it's not all plain sailing... the problem with dyeing naturally is that a lot of water and dyestuff is needed to produce a strong and even colour.
So, by creating bespoke garments to each customer's specification, I prevent dyeing more than I need and use each bath until it is exhausted.
I also only dye with materials that are either food waste or plants grown in Britain.
The pictograms (below) are used as symbols to identify where each dye has been used.
WHY PATCHWORK ?
In smaller dye vats, like the one I use, it is difficult to produce even colour results on larger pieces of fabric.
By using patchwork garment construction, I can use smaller pieces of fabric and achieve a better quality colour finish.
The many pattern pieces also means that options for adjustment and personalisation are plentiful.
The illustrations show a few examples of how adding, removing, and changing the triangle pieces can transform a garment pattern.
Fabric, colour, print and embroidery choices can change this drastically too. Allowing plenty of scope for creating clothing as individual as you are.
Also, by using pattern pieces with only straight edges, I can reduce fabric waste when pattern cutting.
Any waste that does occur is saved for future makes, such as mending or customising existing garments.
Strappy cropped / full length top - finished example back detail and illustrations of pattern variables.
Wrap top / open shirt / jacket - finished example and illustrations of pattern variables.
Dress / skirt - finished example side / back detail and illustrations of pattern variables.
Wrap skirt - finished example side detail, illustrations of pattern variables and another finished example.
WHY BESPOKE ?
Providing a bespoke service helps reduce waste across all stages of design and production by only creating exactly what the customer wants.
With fabrics ranging from thick wool to silk organza, any piece can be made for any season at any time.
The patchwork construction also means these patterns can cater for a variety of sizes.
Whether your shape changes over time or as briefly as in between meals, these garments are designed with various ties and fastenings so you can adjust the fit whenever you need to.
By creating a garment with you, I hope that you will proudly tell the story of how your garment was created and treasure it for years to come.
This is also in the hope that you will be more likely to want to fix or update your item if/when the time comes.
To read and see more about each customer's journey to co-creating their garment, please visit the blog.
If you are interested in creating a garment with me or have any other questions about process, please do get in touch (see contact link below).
Photography of finished garments by Gabriela Silveira