Old Textiles, New Looks by Chien-Yu Chen

Fast-fashion and throwaway fashion has a long-term effect on the environment. People throw away huge amounts of clothing that have worn only a few times. Most retired clothes end up in landfill sites, causing environmental problems that influence climate change. This issue has led to sustainable design. A great deal of brands are beginning to show awareness of green concepts, green garments and brought out new products with this in mind onto the market. Likewise more purchasers have started to become concerned about issues such as: Can their clothes be recycled?  Will the products have a negative effect on Earth?  Indeed, how to make our environment better has been questioned by everyone.

The aim of my work is to take the environment into account by creating a series interior collection to show how old textile could be and through the process explore what sorts of textile have upcycling value. My work is based on sustainable design through the reuse and recycling of waste materials to extend their lifespan, and to reduce the use of hazardous substances and toxic pollutant emissions during the process of production as the pursuit of a better quality of life should not affect the rights of future generations. Old textiles are given new life by being printed with new patterns, being re-dyed, stitched and patched with different textures of old fabric to create eco-friendly and innovative pieces. Eco-friendly design is not just beautiful, but rather a whole new outlook on life, healtch and fashion. 

Even though old clothing is no longer fashionable, most of them are high quality and durable. A great number of old items can be reused and remade into new clothing or interior fabric. There are countless possibilities through redesign. Moreover, through studio practice I have explored what kinds of textiles have upcycling value, which I expect in the future will contribute to textile design, providing designers with information on materials which have reuse value and assisting them in considering these elements when they design in the future. 

E-mail: Cheinyu0513@gmail.com

Second-hand Cultures by Bree Croon

Thread Flower Sample by Bree Croon

My design practise explores second hand cultures and imagined histories; thrift, folk craft and emotional value in design. I am particularly interested in the late 1960s to mid 1970s ‘Back to The Earth’ style and way of life, which involved home repairing and sewing and crafts. I feel this ideal is very relevant today.

Artist Jeremy Deller regards the jumble sale as the "modern archeaological dig". For me, foraging in jumble sales, car boot sales and vintage markets is second nature, and a resource for material and inspiration.

I aim to create highly decorative multimedia fashion / accessory pieces. My current design inpiration stems from my own drawings of self seeding flowers which grow wild, particularly hollyhocks. I have been looking at flower symbolism, 1970s Victoriana, British folklaw and home made dancing costumes.

Initially, the TED 10 theme I felt was most related to my work was Number 2: Recycling/upcycling, due my key element of reworking second hand materials. However, once I started researching, and during the our group's talks and discussions throughout the weeks, the key theme I responded to naturally as my work progressed was Number 6: Design that looks at models from history. For me we can learn from the late 60s to mid 70s ‘back to the earth period’ and its historic examples of extending the life of a garment through repair and customisation;. Alteration, darning, re-use, decorative patch work and repair infused clothes with emotion. Each piece was regarded as special rather than throw away. Craft skills were used for contemporary contexts, by reworking materials with surface design.

Number 1: Design to minimise waste.
Recycle and re-use of materials. Inspired by a stitch workshop I attended with Designer Naomi Ryder where we were encouraged to stitch with her box of vintage fabric scraps, I like the idea of other people using my collected matererials to make their work. I have been thinking about the need for newness: Can something old be new? If it is new to me.

Number 8: Design to replace the need to consume.
My work celebrates vintage, personalisation and customisation. I am intersted in Emotionally Durable Design and Slow Design. An integral part of my design process is the sourcing of second hand or vintage materials and tools. This is very important and for me a rewarding and exciting part of the process- the thrill of the hunt, a time consuming and continual process.

Threads and thread flowers:
After being given a long-time stored box of coloured threads last summer, with which I embroidered a thread flower based on my drawings This spurred me to really take notice of the threads and the sewing tins within
other peoples' habberdashery stashes- the contents of imagined history. I have been hunting, collecting wooden spools of thread in specific colour ways, brightly colured Sylko threads being my favorite finds. I have been using cotton sewing thread as the material itself, rather than just the material that holds fabric

I have been scanning in my ‘thread flowers’, exploring scale and texture, and digitally printing onto cotton to then stitch into. This has led me to question whether I comprimise on my ideal of using only second hand material, as I am limited to using ‘new’ fabric that has been professionally coated to print at our University digital print studio. At this stage I am weighing up the pros and cons.

Reading, researching, discussing, and listening to my peers, tutor and guest speaker around a theme during each reading group has been highly informative, sometimes surprising, and highly inspirational. However for me things become truly clear when they are physical and I am putting themes into practice.

I experimented with different textile techniques to put my own stamp on a roll of vintage velvet. I now want to laser-cut flowers based on the silhouette of my hollyhock drawings, then dip dye each flower. I spent 2 days in the dye lab dying and and printing with acid dyes, finding the right shades of sherbet pastel, using tiny amounts of pigment in a very diluted dyebath. It really made me think about the chemicals and water consumption used during this process ( 3- reduce chemical impact and 4 design to reduce water use).

This inspired me to attend a natural dye work shop the following weekend at Hackney City Farm- Dinner to Dye For- by the Permaculture Institute- talking about foreging seasonal herbs, plants and weeds and learnng about dying with them, then having a dinner made from the ingredients.

I feel I am more aware and ever conscious of impacts (the bigger picture), and each decision in the design process is an important one.



Traditional Needlecraft & Folding by Huimin Liu

Traditional Needlecraft & Folding
My studio practice is to research how the traditional embroidery crafts can inform a new approach for sustainable textile design. I am combining traditional Counted-thread embroidery and free embroidery with functional materials to design a series innovation interior textile collection. Specifically, I am mainly researching Glass fiber and yarn, as well as how to apply traditional textile craft on it for interior textiles design.

I explore the ways of sustainable design and minimal environmental impact in textile design, stress the positive and creative role in finding solutions to alleviate current textile unsustainability.

Design to minimise waste and design to replace the need to consume were two main aspects that involved in my studio practice with long-lifespan and function to reduce the textile waste in terms of the consumption.

I found that although glass fiber is low elongation and sensitive with abrasion, it has excellent properties such as being able to endure high temperatures, good electrical insulation, fireproof, durable, robust etc, it can be applied both industry and interior decorative purpose.

Vitrulan Textile Glass in Germany supplied me with a large quantity of glass fiber and raw glass yarn from them to research and design. I tested different ways of knitting, stitching and dyeing with it. I need yarn and materials with properties such as durable, strong, long-lifespan, fireproof etc. The analysis of tests show Classic Plus to be good for both hand and machine stitching and printing in good clear colours, for me to design and explore a variety of applications.

Consequently, I will design lampshades, wall covering, kitchen pads, screen and awnings by using glass fiber’s properties. In terms of TED’S TEN issues, first, I need to do the test of heat transfer printing on glass fiber in order to reduce chemical impact during the print process. Secondly, glass fiber is really durable and with a lifespan of more than 20 years, I think it can reduce the textile waste in terms of the consumption in a large extent.

My studio practice is closely bound up with TED’s TEN strategies, however, more test and experimental needs to be explored and how to use traditional textile crafts properly to design sustainable textile products, so that my work could contribute to the knowledge of the subject. 


Experience digital print on paper silk by Qing Shen

I have a better understanding of the textile environment design now that we should design for sustainable and better environment. I found design that explores clean and better technologies is close to my own practice. It is important to keep on developing appropriate technologies to improve the environmental problems. How can we use a wide range of technologies that are not only better for the environment, but also maintainable? The clean and better technologies such as laser cutting, water-jet cutting, sonic welding, 3D print, digital print, air dye, Bio-GM technology, are used to reduce waste, resources usage, chemical impact, and to simplify manufacturing processes.

Digital print will be adopted in my current practice to present my concept. As a designer, we should design for better environment, however, that’s not enough, the more important thing is to spread idea of environment protection. To achieve this, arousing people’s awareness is the most direct way. Therefore, I photographed some pictures of air pollution, I choose digital print to display these images. After printing, I will make garments to show my theme.

Digital print still requires a pre-treatment to hold the ink  and a post treatment such as steaming or heat setting the print, which requires water and chemicals. By searching the eco-friendly dyeing, I found that the air-dye is a revolutionary way to print without any water. I tried to contact the company, but unfortunately without any reply from them. So, at this step, digital print is my only choice. However, by using paper-silk, I can print on the fabric without pre-treating it. Thus, it reduce chemical impact. But it still needs to steam the print to achieve a better colour.

To be an echoligical designer, I will use the results of my research to explore the concept of sustainability to my costumer.

-Design to explore clean/better technologies to reduce the pollution.
-Design to reduce chemical impact.

Email: sherryshen333@hotmail.com

Connecting Personal Histories by So In Yoon

Sainsbury’s knitted bag:
Firstly, I was interested in easily discarded objects such as plastic shopping bags, bus tickets, etc. The plastic bags are definitely needed when we shop but we normally use those plastic bags for trash bins to put rubbish after shopping. I thought the plastic bags are similar with forgotten/ or unrecognizable precious memory. Because people normally do not thank for the moment that they are having right now, but they miss the past as time goes by, since they cannot have the exactly same time as before.

Refill paper:
As the same vein of the sainsbury’s bag, refill paper represents easily discarded objects. Because it is very easy to find refill note pad around us, and it is also very easy to tear the pages off from the note pad and throw away if you don’t like your writing. By making exactly same refill paper through knitting and stitching, it shows the same image but make the viewers to re-think of ‘value’ of refill paper.

My main area of investigation is making a connection between personal histories and knitting/stitchin/printing. I am researching how I can approach ways that combine my diary and personal history with recycled materials.

My project is about ‘memories’. Since I am documenting them like a journal, I believe that memories are the best materials for me to ‘denote’ my life, which is an accumulation of the days that I live. However, what I want to achieve through my art, is not merely describing my major theme, memories. Instead, I want to ‘rediscover’ the traces of my life through memories, and remind viewers of the preciousness of the things that cannot be brought back ever again. Since we are not normally aware of the preciousness of everyday we are living, since we are carried away with flatness and wontedness - daily lives that we always face. People usually feel no emotion but that of boredom in their fixed routine of everyday lives, rather than feeling grateful. 

To represent these ideas, I have emphasized the value of  my working process as well as the selection and use of the material. I am adding value through delicate working process, (knitting/stitching/felting/drawing/printing), to discarded objects. By using this subject matter, I can play the oppositional meanings between being thrown away and being treated worthily.
The reason why I have chosen those discarded objects was to represent histories beyond the objects. My main idea of memory, which is unawareness of preciousness, is kind of related with over consumerism for somehow. That is to say people today are easily bored with things they already have - largely oblivious of our time, careless of what we have already bought, we always have strong desire to get something new. Plus, consumerism is very much connected to socialism as many people are perturbed by surroundings. So, I can say that sustainable design is basically connected to societal discussion, and it should guide us towards new ways of consumption and production, as traditional approaches lead only to postponing the unavoidable resource crisis.
To sum up, making sustainable design means not only means using sustainable material but also it could mean ‘design’ itself. In other words, we, as designers, should design products which people can be attached to, so they can cherish what they have, in order to prevent over consuming.


Sustainable Identity by Saba Rahbar

 I have been inspired by Persian kilims that have been passed down in families for generations and altered throughout time.

The TED reading group really helped me understand the different aspects of sustainability that I would like to capture in my future business.. I noticed that I started to be more critical about companies and products that claim they are sustainable and eco friendly, it made me take a closer look past the barrier of marketing and try and take a closer look myself.
I found that the TED’s ten was a clever way of trying to break up the broad term that is sustainability. I was disappointed that it was mostly fashion based, however, since my work is based solely on interiors.
I started my own blog about sustainable textiles and I have found it really helpful in terms of having my ideas in one space. It has also assisted me to get in touch with companies and people in the industry. 

My work links with four of the ten guiding principles.
Design to reduce chemical waste : I have been working with natural dyes that do no require mordants after realising the harm they have on our water systems. I’ve tried to find alternative ways of fixing the dye onto fabric, such as mixing myrobalan and cows milk etc.
Design that looks at models from nature and history : In exploring my roots, I have been looking at Persian textiles for inspiration such as kilims that have been passed down in families for generations and altered throughout time.
Design for ethical production: I am sourcing sustainable materials from the Philippines such as Pina and Abaca and have solely been in contact with manufacturers that provide work for women.
In order to make sure that the companies are doing what they say they are in terms of helping underprivileged women and not using child labour, I am going to go for a site visit on the 16th April, in order have a stronger connection with the producers and to have a clear conscience that what I am using is ethically sourced.
Design to dematerialise and develop systems and services : I have edited my business plan for post MA development, to include a repair service for my customers in order to reduce textile waste. It seems like such a simple addition yet I had never even considered it.
Overall it has been a very educational and positive process for me and I am glad we had the chance to have this experience.


Fashion Basketry by Wiriya Techapaitoon

          From traditional hand-woven cloths, household basketry and simplest garment pattern, to seamless body-moulding Fashion

First of all I would like to talk a little bit about my studio work. What I’m doing is to ‘basket’ the clothes and to interpret traditional clothing skill into modern language. The material I’m using at the moment is cotton webbing. Many household implements that contain basketwork such as cooking fans, toys, steaming bowls, or sleeping mats are studied and experimented on how the elders learnt to finish the rim or how to hide the joining mark. As my project is to explore new ways that clothing, at the same time, can revive both the traditional Thai clothing pattern and the domestic basketry skills, I see this process as Design To Reduce Energy and Water Use, Design for Ethical Production and Design Activism.

Design To Reduce Energy and Water:
By applying the basketry to the textile production, the sewing part has eventually been removed since all the materials are the strips that run around over the patterns. I designed the entire weaving angle to 45 degree on purpose so that the strip won’t get stuck when it comes to the edge; the strips will be folded to the opposite direction and carried on their jobs. At this point the strips can be any materials; customised or upcycled, natural or synthetic.
Design for Ethical Production:
The pattern itself is also very simple to create; the traditional Asian tunic pattern is made of just one piece of paper, folded, centre-front cut for opening, neckline, without sleeve pattern done separately. These strip works and flat pattern are basically the mat hand weaving. This mat hand weaving skill, or any other hand crafting skills, is dying slowly in Thailand. This project has potential to give them back the jobs. My pattern at the moment is made out of just one paper for both front and back. It’s easy to learn. Time saving and energy saving. It’s very plain. It will suit many workers’ basic skills.
This proposal will be sent to many textile producers in Thailand. They will be asked to produce the strips which can be both cotton and silk, very thin or super texture. All materials will be made in Thailand.

Design Activism:
The entire cloth-basketry process will be recorded by taping and photography. My next step is to create the ‘Cloth-Basketry Kit’ that anyone can do at home. By using local textile material such as cotton and silk this clothing is suitable for Thai weather and the gaps between strips make a really breathable piece. Changing and mixing the strips’ quality can make the piece different and contemporary. I’m hoping to see both wearable tops made out of just cotton webs and at the same time a luxury gown made of lavish silk strips.