The starting point of garment construction is consideration of the fabric to be constructed from, and so in consideration of the sustainable properties of textiles, it figures I should go to the root of fibre production.
So in the linear system we have become accustomed to, as a designer Ihave always selected a fabric based on how it has felt, or looked, or the level of technical difficulty involved in working with it. And even when I measured out how much fabric I would need, it would be measured down to factor in how much more expensive it would be to purchase excess fabric.
So yes, I am a guilty, ignorant designer.
In researching textile waste for an assignment last year, I referred to the 2009 discussion paper on Sources of Textile Wast In Australia, and I've pulled out a few extracts to start at the root of the issues of textile sustainability.
And it starts before it even reaches the consumer:
2.2.1 Pre-consumer textile waste
Pre-consumer textile waste is manufacturing waste that is generated by processing fibres, (be they
natural or synthetic fibres) and the production of finished yarns and textiles, technical textiles,
nonwovens, garments and footwear, including off-cuts, selvages, shearings, rejected materials and/or
B-grade garments. Whilst “cabbage” (over estimated fabric meters and off-cuts of saleable size) has
for many years, been resold into markets or made-up into smaller items, most pre-consumer textile
waste in Australia is simply sent to landfill. (Sources of Textile Wast In Australia, 2009)
The thing which speaks to me the loudest about this is the point about textile 'cabbage' going straight to landfill. I.e all the fabric roll cut offs and excess fabric scraps that designers like me dispose of when we've bought too much fabric to start with.
I refer back to my previous post, You Call It Drab, I Call It Innovation where I uploaded an image of Colin Firth's wife, Livia Giuggioli’s Oscars gown this year. It was made from pre-consumer waste of high-end Italian design manufacturers: end-of-roll fabric, discarded silk and organza offcuts, as well as silk chiffon plucked from unfinished petticoats and other cutting process leftovers, designed by Orsola de Castro of From Somewhere.
The following is the vision statement from From Somewhere's website, to explain their efforts in sustainable fashion:
"From Somewhere is a creative sustainable fashion label run by Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci. All womenswear collections are made with lucyru designer pre-consumer waste such as proofs, swatches, production off-cuts and end of rolls - upcycling high-end fashion and textile surplus into beautiful clothes that take into account the balance beetween consumption and disposal."
In reflection of this, I have made a concious decision to regulate how much excess fabric I waste in the initial stages of garment construction. Even thinking about other things that can be made out of scraps, like accessories or shoe coverings, bags....button coverings, it all comes down to consideration.