As we hit the half way point of London Fashion Week and the H&M x LCF Designing for Sustainability showcase, today we take a closer look at the display at Bond Street. Imperfection is Beautiful, by LCF students: Kayla Satzger, Sourena Ghaffari, Yuntao Ma, Jiaxin He and Wei Qi Lim draws upon the pre-lived nature of recycled garments as the foundation for their collection. Rather than disguise the old garments as something completely new, they have carefully preserved selected elements of the recycled pieces they worked with – in an effort to engage the wearer in the origins of their design process and an alternative perspective on fashion. I interviewed Kayla to find out more about her experience working on this collection.
Can you describe what it felt like as a designer to experience first hand the clothes that are being discarded at the end of the fashion cycle?
There is such a discrepancy between hearing about clothing being discarded, and then witnessing it first-hand. Seeing the masses of clothing that were being thrown away almost seemed like an utter waste of someone’s time and energy in regards to labour and production. So many clothes are being discarded with little concern also feeding on an environmental issue we can’t seem to keep ourselves away from. It is astounding how disposable our society has become. It’s almost like everything is designed for single-use these days. We as a society we are getting used to things being built to break through cheap mass-produced clothing markets. Because public consumers only “hear” about clothing being discarded, they don’t really believe or feel the extravagance until they see it in person, as I have come to realise.
Did you find yourself designing in any way differently to past projects? How so?
Absolutely. When I deconstructed garments I was really inspired by the original pattern shapes. In constructing my final jersey top, I used the same pattern pieces of two deconstructed sweatshirts to make one new garment. Almost all of the pieces I kept untouched such as hoods, I used to create volume and shape. Also, in regards to sustainability, using the same pattern pieces reduced waste maximising the discarded garments. Keeping these patterns inspired me to design garments I would never have initially thought of.
What were the biggest design challenges you faced during this project?
Initially it was a challenge trying to figure out how to use discarded clothing in an efficient, resourceful way, whilst staying true to my personal design aesthetic and aspirations. I found it important to choose a sustainability goal before beginning design development. My group decided to focus on creating an emotional connection with the customer by enforcing the fact that someone’s trash can be another’s treasure. With that, we wanted to design clothes that did not hide its history. This influenced my design process immensely. I focused on using raw edges, original patterns, 3d shapes, and combinations of a variety of fabrics. From this I was able to design for myself and a sustainable purpose successfully.
Having completed the project, do you feel you know more about fashion and sustainability? How do you think this might influence your design work in the future?
The whole process was a learning experience, but it especially taught me that even though input always exceeds output, sustainable clothing can be made from discarded clothing with the right design choices and craftsmanship and still be marketable and desirable. Every year huge quantities of clothes are being thrown away, no longer serving the purpose they once held. This ongoing issue is beginning to be addressed as more people realise the potential these clothes still have. It is during this project that I realised the beauty that can come from waste, redefining its meaning altogether. With this I will continue to innovate and when appropriate, consider the use of discarded clothing in my design work.
Read more about this project in the previous blog post and go and see all of the collections up until 20th September at the following locations:
H&M Oxford Circus – 4th floor lounge
H&M 174-176 Oxford St – Window (facing Great Titchfield St)
H&M 360-366 Oxford St – Window (Near Bond St tube)
H&M 27-29 Long Acre – Window (Covent Garden)
H&M 426-427 The Strand – Window