Blog Post 1: New Innovative Yarns & Fabrics
Upon beginning my research, I decided to deconstruct an article called ‘Fibres and Fabrics’ written by Philippa Watkins, Spring Summer 2018, ‘Textile View’. It provides an overview of some new, innovative yarns & fabrics being produced at the moment. The article being discussed has only two pages of text, so I have decided not to include a page reference. I have chosen this article because of the public’s increasing awareness of being responsible for the environment and how I believe this will have a profound effect upon the manufacturing of materials in the future.
Philippa Watkins is a well know theorist and a lecturer at the University of South Wales. She addresses sustainability, recycling and the circular economy by discussing new innovative yarns, fabrics and zips which have been created with a social conscience. She draws attention to the fact that there are now new alternative processes in making fabrics which are more sustainable. I’ve found the ideas presented here have changed the way that I view my own work significantly. Hence, I would like to strive towards including as many elements of such processes in my own work too.
Philippa Watkins (2018) has stated, in ‘Fibres & Fabrics’, that ‘as environmental awareness grows….the industry is dedicating time and effort to find sustainable, transparent supply-chain solutions.’ She highlights how this message is being spread through highly renowned textile and fashion companies such as Gucci. Philippa Watkins draws attention to the fact that this has started with localisation, nationalisation & then globalisation.
She names fabric companies, where they are located and how they produce the yarns and fabrics in an ethical and sustainable way. She makes it clear that these processes are invisible as far as the fabrics are concerned but that they are incredibly important factors connected to climate change and fashion. So, the point she is making is that the aesthetics can remain the same but be produced in a more socially justifiable way. Hence, this is a win-win situation and one which I would like to incorporate into my work.
Philippa Watkins identifies that recycling is a huge part of creating sustainable fabrics. She combines this with the circular economy theory which is based upon recycling waste and using it for new materials. This is something which I am very conscious about and I often do it myself within my own garment making. She mentions ’Marchi & Fildi’, who have created an ‘Ecotec’ collection of yarns made from shredded, leftover, cotton from factories. ‘Euromaglia’ and ‘Tessuti ’ (Italy), as well as ‘Marimekko’(Finland) have used these yarns, as they are renowned for searching and sourcing sustainable materials.
Evidence she puts forward that creating new innovative yarns and fabrics can correlate with cleaning up the plastic pollution in our oceans is given when she states that a company ‘branded Seaqual’ use ‘waste which is dredged from the Mediterranean seabed’. A Spanish company called ‘Antex’ is now using the recycled ocean plastic to make yarns. Ocean pollution is another hot topic in our world at the moment. So, as Philippa Watkins states, if creating more sustainable materials can link with removing waste pollution in the oceans, it’s a winning combination. Two problems can be partially solved at the same time. This concept, to me, promotes something which is truly fresh and unique.
I have visually shown the significance of this in my garments and accessories too. As part of the Biomimicry assignment I have been doing primary research and creating watercolour paintings of sea creatures in their habitats. The design development process then involved me going onto adapting the images digitally to create new images which could be digitally transferred to fabric. As Braddock S.E. (lecturer in Textiles has said in ‘Techno Textiles’ (1998), ‘The ultimate challenge is to combine pure creativity with the computer…..aesthetic decisions can only made by the artist’. The initial watercolours and the digitally modified images were developed to create the final print which was digitally transferred to fabric, to make trousers and a hairband, which can be seen below.
This article also mentioned how hydroelectric dam generated energy and solar energy factories, in Friuli, is another way in which Botto Giuseppe manufactures yarns in a socially responsible way. These strategies save electrical energy, by using renewable sources and processes, hence being environmentally friendly.
As well as yarns and fabrics being made in an ethical way, a company called ‘Lanfranchi’ is creating zips which are made from organic cotton. A brand called ‘Par.co Denim’(Italy) which uses 99% organic cotton and 1% elastane now use these zips as they are so eco-friendly. Indeed, as a fashion designer, this idea has significant value to my work because I want my clothing brand to be known worldwide as being a sustainable one for our planet. I will therefore endeavour to contact this company to gain an insight into how to go about sourcing their zips and using them in the garments which I design and construct. I will also talk to the company about the whole process and ethics of the zip manufacturing which they provide.
The overall style of the article is rather formal. I feel this is effective because it bares relevance to the seriousness of this topic and how we must all strive to change our ways to provide a better future for our world. As Philippa Watkins states, high end fashion brands such as Gucci are already in partnership with fabric companies such as ‘Re.Verso’(Italy) who recycle wools and fine fibres. At a Copenhagen Fashion Summit, ‘Re. Verso’ won the Design Challenge prize. This suggests that Gucci are currently at the cutting edge of being socially responsible and that other companies will be likely to follow suit with the trend that they are setting. It also inspires me to design and create garments where the materials have been sourced from circular economies, as well as recycling materials of my own.
So, I conclude that the future of my design work will most certainly include materials which are regarded as being sustainable and have limited negative impact upon the future wellbeing of our planet. I will be researching sustainable fashion companies and going to the Denim Premier Vision event (December 2019) as a consequence of my research. In my view, this is a very contemporary and exciting area of research indeed.
Watkins, P. (2018), ‘Fibres & Fabrics’, ‘Textile View’, Issue 120 (Generosity), Pages 19 – 25
Braddock S.E. (1998), ‘Techno Textiles’, Thames & Hudson Pub. (P.166)