Saturday, 1 January 2011

Trash Fashion

Trash Fashion is an exhibition looking at ways to ‘design out waste’. In society nowadays, there is a heightened awareness of pollution and environmental issues. However, the textiles industry doesn’t accurately reflect this change in attitudes. There is a huge amount of waste in all stages of textile processes and 60% of textiles that are thrown away could be recycled or reused. Trash Fashion shows works of innovative designers who have come up with ways to try to combat the problems and make the textiles a much more ecological industry.
‘Knit to Fit’ is one approach shown in Trash Fashion. This new concept looks to dramatically change the way clothes are produced, by a new made to measure method using a 3D body scanner. The scanner creates a virtual image of the customer’s dimensions, in 6 seconds. The customer can choose the style, fit and colour they prefer before it is connected up to a computer knitting programme. The machine will then knit a perfect fitting garment. The garments are seamless which eliminates the wastage of material involved in the cutting process. The customer’s dimensions and preference can be saved on a card so that each time a customer goes into a shop to buy something, their stored information can be brought up straight away. Knit to fit, as the name suggests is only for knitted garments so I don’t know if it could completely take over the textiles industry. However I do think it is a clever idea, if it caught on as it would help make bespoke knitwear affordable.
Another equally as innovative idea is shown in the piece entitled ‘Bio-culture’. It shows how we don’t need to use harsh chemicals and non-degradable fabrics because we can grow our own using bacteria. The bacteria, which are actually microbes that ferment green tea, are left to grow in bathtubs and then the material is shaped, dried and cut down to size. The result is a garment that is completely bio-degradable and once it is worn out it will completely disappear if buried under the ground. Because the material absorbs water it can be quite heavy and gooey but the finished product looks very delicate and organic. It looks as though it might crumble if not treated with great care. However, it may not be as fragile as it appears. If this idea was to catch on and become used widely it would hugely reduce the amount of waste produced. However, I would guess that initially it would be a very costly to get this idea into production.

Keep Trim by Mark Liu was in my opinion, one of the best ideas. Unlike some of the other ideas, this one doesn’t seem to need to make any compromises. The bio-culture idea, although very clever, doesn’t look very wearable. Keep trim on the other hand, wouldn’t look out of place in any shop. Every inch of the fabric is used but yet it has a filigree appearance. The pattern is cut out of the fabric using the idea of a jigsaw. The pieces of the pattern fit together perfectly but are attached slightly misplaced so that they don’t fit together, and so give the filigree effect.

This idea cuts down on wastage in the making process, however once the garment is discarded there is still the problem of the fabric not being bio-degradable, unless it can be combined with one of the other ideas.

 This exhibition definitely shows that there is a lot of good work being done to make a change for the better. Although disrupting the way the textiles industry works may be costly at first, something needs to happen to change the way we waste so many resources and pollute the world. All the ideas shown in Trash Fashion are inspiring and an essential area of research and development.

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