My final year work focuses on ethics, sustainability and its intersections. I use fashion as a vehicle to discuss colonisation’s consistent legacy applied to aspirational fashion within the present day.
In my final year I aim to be explicit about how we can change our consumer identity and the way we value our clothes as all these issues are linked to consumption (fast fashion, climate change, colonization and globalization) and have been exasperated by middle class and wealthy people in white dominated countries. Currently ‘greenwashing’ is turning our solutions into pure capitalistic endeavors by mostly only promoting and upholding people from one socio-economic background and race.
My graduate collection will be made entirely from second hand or otherwise discarded fabrics, largely displacing the loss of life to animals, environmental destruction and worker exploitation in addition to confronting our lethal desire for newness, and the people we champion in the pursuit of sustainability in fashion.
Our current fashion industry has been designed in a linear system, all trade routes for cotton, silk and many resources used in the industry, as well as labour, correspond exactly to historical colonial routes, and this makes us see how the fashion system is one of oppression and exploitation.
I struggle with the current fashion waste displacement system as it is again a structure where people of the Global South are dependent on the West’s unwanted products and strips them of the opportunity to control their own textile economies and local businesses.
Charity shops are embroiled in commodity chains which perpetuate poverty, yet this shouldn’t stop us from donating our clothes, however we do need to be more open about the power dynamics involved in ‘thrifting’.
This is all quite heavy information to handle, but we can try to do our best once we have been educated about the truth. The most impactful ways we can radically do the right thing is by:
• Shopping second hand.
• Supporting small local businesses.
• Mending what we already have.
• Consuming less, of higher quality (will you wear it more than 30 times?).
• Hiring and empowering more women, and women of colour.
Throughout my final year I have applied responsible design measures such as:
Intersectional Design – Prioritising inclusivity and intersectionality as a follow on from research on post-colonisation in fashion.
Repurposing – All of my developments have come from materials which would have otherwise gone to landfill- not once have I bought anything brand new.
Zero Waste Partnerships – Collaborating with GSA Sustainability in Action, Bridge of Weir and Oxfam Wastesaver Factory.
Education & Policy – Blog post and film for GSA Sustainability in Action Group, Managing GSA Halls Social Media and Recycling Marketing, Lead Rep Experience Advocating Recycling Points at GSA.