Some time has passed since we handed in and presented our bachelor thesis and product, and the date of our exhibition event is approaching.
My focus throughout my degree has been the fashion industry, primarily on design and pattern making. With my strong interest in sustainability, it felt natural that my bachelor should concern sustainability in the fashion industry. I decided to create a garment that was designed to convey a message of sustainability. This was also the starting point for the written part of the project. To explore how to convey this message through clothing, it was necessary to explore what sustainability in the fashion industry really entails. In addition, I have a sociological angle on how we consume and on how we carry symbols of who we are through our clothes.
There is no specific definition of sustainability, but there are many theories that deal with how we can change our ways to produce and consume. I can conclude that there are so many ways to work with sustainability in the fashion industry that you can not work with all at once. I can mention organically produced materials, minimization of transportation, recycling, fair trade and focus on working conditions, information regarding environmentally friendly maintenance, zero-waste (this means that there is not created any waste material by pattern construction but that everything is being used in the clothing piece), multi-functional design and much more. For the same reason it is also almost impossible to call a product 100% sustainable. However, one should use as many methods as possible and make a genuine effort to protect the environment and create good working conditions.
Like Kate Flecther writes:
Business as usual, or more to the point,
fashion as usual, is not an option.
As a fashion company I believe it important to consider sustainability but of course also the customer. The most important thing for the consumer is design, price and availability. If you want to sell sustainable products, they must therefore be attractive and beautiful. Consumers today are using clothing as part of their self-realization process and it is therefore not surprising that the design is essential when shopping.
With the dress I have made I sought to communicate a sustainable message. But based on my research, I came to realize that it is not certain that such a message would be welcomed by a buyer. There is also the possibility that symbolic value loses its deeper meaning when used in clothing context.
Later I'll put up pics with me in the dress. It does suit me better.