Fast food, fast cars and now there is even fast fashion – a contemporary term used by retailers for the cheap and trendy throwaway clothes we buy from budget suppliers. These garments might be perfectly good at the time of purchase, but they soon both fall apart and out of fashion. According to Fashion Focus, it is estimated that we now buy 40% of our clothes at ‘value’ retailers – which is having a massively damaging impact on the environment.
It is a sad reality that fashion has been named the third most polluting industry, contributing three million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emission.
However, three students are aiming to raise awareness of this issue. Second year Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) students Daniela Groza and Immy McAndrew – studying Jewellery and Architecture respectively – are joined by Milda Lebedyte, a University of Edinburgh Chemistry student. By combining their creativity and knowledge of science, they hope to offer long-term solutions for both the ethical and environmental repercussions of consumeristic culture.
Alongside Daniela and Milda’s designs, the show will feature work from 10 designers. “We also plan to have an exhibition space around the catwalk with pieces inspired by the issues and perhaps to propose a solution to the social and environmental issues surrounding the linear consumption of the fast fashion industry - we have about 15 artists on board for this”, said Immy.
The R-Sustainable team are collaborating with ASCUS, an art/science lab based in Summerhall. It is there they have been experimenting with dying fabrics with bacteria, with a fourth year student taking that one step further and creating material from the bacteria found in kombucha tea.
The theme of the show is ‘Cycles’ – which explores the concept of expendable clothes and accessories transforming into ‘wearable pieces of art’. “Cycles is a broad term and it could refer to things such as the cycle of life or even the process of regeneration that rocks go through on the Earth’s surface”, said Daniela.
Sustainability will be present in both the ideas and the materials, they will be collecting surplus materials from art galleries, charity shops and supply stores. “These will contribute to the final designed pieces, giving designers an interesting challenge in working with surprising materials that they would not normally encounter”, said Daniella.
As well as offering solutions to the sustainability issue, the trio also invite people to consider the moral repercussions of their fashion choices. “Sustainable fashion to us is innovation and collaboration but also ethical buying - buying second-hand or upcycling and considering who has made them and what the makers are getting paid”, said Immy.
They aim to make the "Six R’s" the focus of 2018 - Reinvent, Reconfigure, Restyle, Reproduce, Recreate and Reclaim!
The R Sustainable fashion show will be held at ECA’s West Court on the 3rd of March at 7:30.