Saturday, 5 March 2011

New Materials for Fashion

I’ve been both a little slow in reading Shaping Sustainable Fashion as well as blogging recently. However, a forty-five minute bus journey recently gave me plenty of time to delve into the text. So far I have not come across anything overly new or innovative, mostly upcycling and fibres, which is another reason why I have not blogged.

A case study that did catch my attention was New Materials for Fashion (page 39), which discussed the potential to explore and develop new materials as possible sustainable solutions for fashion. I know exactly why I was drawn to this text; my MA Final Project was in many ways an exploration of this. Another reason would be that this research is ‘little explored in the fashion industry’. The unknown always fascinates me.

Jennifer Shellard is a textile designer who combines technology with traditional craft skills to create textiles with a colour strip that changes colour. The colour change is ‘slow and measured’ to create an ‘intriguing and meditative’ viewing experience. Her work fits into the new body of research exploring methods of engaging with consumers through transformation. Adaptive clothing has the potential to encourage a relationship or emotional response with the owner, thus reducing the need for the owner to further consume.

Shellard’s work is interesting and appears well thought out; however I feel that consumers need something more than colour change to feel connected to their clothing.

‘A central problem with fashion is that often a garment is disregarded before it ceases to function’. I totally agree. The text continues to promote the need for emotional attachment to sustain interest with the owner as being the ultimate challenge. True, but another method could be explored: to create garments that engage for a short period of time, for example the length of a trend and be safely disposed.

Fashion is and most certainly will always be fuelled by trends. We can either embrace this by searching for methods to sustain it, or turn anti-fashion and focus on maintenance and emotion. To be honest, I believe in both these methods: my own work explores the possibility of safe disposable garments that can be trend led yet there are items in my wardrobe that I have developed an emotional attachment to also. Perhaps the future will hold a happy medium for both. What do you think?