The idea of recycling clothes is not new to our society. Who does not remember wearing clothes, accessories or even shoes that belonged to older sibling, parent, or grandparent? Exchanging garments in close circles of friends, or even going online in order to get rid of unwanted garments, and gain new pieces? Designers, as well as consumers have been reshaping and remaking old clothes, giving them new life and unlimited possibilities for decades. There is a reason it is especially important in 2016, that we maintain, or even enhance the recycled fashion business. Industries are having a massive damaging effect on both environment and people’s health that is only continuing to grow. The increasing damage to our planet at the hands of the fashion industry shows no signs of slowing down.
Researching denim practices gave me a good grasp of knowledge and different dimension into our Prêt-á-porter, fast fashion culture. Considering all the statistics and information about how fashion industry, and especially denim industry impacts the life on earth, (for example how the very common practice of applying acid-washed texture onto denim, using carcinogenic chemicals, adds to deaths of the factory workers) I decided to create a wearable sculpture using vintage denim purchased in Charity Shops.
I used a combination of trousers and jackets in different shades of blue, ranging from very pale to dark navy. It helped me create broad spectrum of tonal value, as well as provide different textures. I ripped the denim garments into thin strips, and braided them into one long plait. The next stage involved spinning the plait into tubular knit design and connecting the rows, to create a tube scarf. I used a regular beige coloured thread to stitch the piece together.
When I started making my piece I had this idea of wearable sculpture in my head. The denim seemed like a perfect choice for this transformation, because of its qualities. The fabric is incredibly durable, staying strong even after several alterations, rips and cuts. The denim also typifies the lower end of fashion, and is such ubiquitous in our society; almost everyone can identify himself or herself with it. Recycling denim creates the unique pieces, very personal and limited, in opposition to mass production. In this sense the practice is technically closer to haute couture and tailored-for-the-customer niche, creating the triangular structure of the three fashion ends in each corner [haute couture, fast fashion, recycled fashion].
Fashion can be an amazing, creative process of expressing one’s personality, artistic skills, historical knowledge, and political views. People find support in fashion community and opportunity to develop, sharing the practices and techniques, collaborating with other fields, such as science, music, hospitality, and technology. Finding a connection between art, craft, and fashion makes me feel inspired, aware and open minded; this is why I find it really hard to ignore all the problems that lie in operation of constructing garments. There are people and animals suffering greatly, for the sake of the customer getting their online order within 12 hours, buying really cheap fashionable clothes, or demanding traditional resources, such as fur, leather, silk, to be used in making clothes for masses. By being creative and recycling what we already own, or what someone else owned, we could make a huge difference to out culture, society, and environment.