Sustainable Fashion – what is it?


I aim to make all of my items out of secondhand materials, fabric scraps and donated goods most often than not destined for the landfill. That makes it more of a challenge to make my pieces and ensures each and every piece is original. Mostly I look for wool blankets, table cloths, unlined curtains, duvet covers and patterned sheeting, silk scarves, pashmina scarves, fabric scraps of any size basically anything that has enough material to cut up and make into something else.

By recycling materials I am quite limited in how muchfabric is available to use and it enables me to think differently about usage layout and specific design features to make the best use of what is available. The fabric leftovers usually go into a drawer and are used later for embellishment pieces or creating accessories and also for test samples of techniques to catalogue (like above in the image of canadian smocking).

I would like to think I have a very low percentage of waste as a result. I want to be at the level of zero waste eventually, I am working on a plan. Check out Timo Rissanen and his thesis on fashion creation without waste it is very inspirational and sobering to know that there is a way to achieve this and it basically comes down to approaching and thinking about the process differently.

Basically hippy values without the hippy look 

Eventually I would love to build a fashion brand that is known for it’s well constructed one-of fashion pieces that has a unique focus of recycling and supports sustainable practices with a green environmental focus. Above all, well constructed quality garments with classic style appeal….. Basically hippy values without the hippy look. Sustainable Fashion is a very interesting concept. Actually looking into the fashion industry as an end to end process can be quite an eye opener.

Sourcing of fabrics, chemical treatments of fabrics, people working in impoverished conditions producing these textiles, the environmental damage, rivers polluted, the waste produced at each and every step of the process that ends up in landfills around the world…….. the list goes on and on and at the end of it a T-shirt is purchased cheaply and thrown away when it’s no longer in style.

There is a fair amount of controversy about the ideals and practice of Sustainable fashion

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia. (full article is ‘here’ and is available on Green WIKI at the end of this post).


Though all cotton has a large carbon footprint for its cultivation and production, organic cotton is considered a more sustainable choice for fabric, as it is completely free of destructive toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many designers have begun experimenting with bamboo fibre, which absorbs greenhouse gases during its life cycle and grows quickly and plentifully without pesticides.[10] Even with this, bamboo fabric can cause environmental harm in production due to the chemicals used to create a soft viscose from hard bamboo.[11] Some believe hemp is one of the best choice for eco fabrics due to its ease of growth, though it remains illegal to grow in some countries. These facts make recycled, reclaimed, surplus, and vintage fabric arguably the most sustainable choice, as the raw material requires no agriculture and no manufacturing to produce. Recently, another alternative to sustainable fashion has emerged that uses synthetic fibers with a process called AirDye technology that eliminates all water from the dyeing and printing process. While critics still point to the chemicals used in making synthetic materials, this method significantly reduces water consumption and pollution, while cotton (organic or not) uses a tremendous amount of water during the growth and dyeing phases. – excerpt from Wikipedia

If you are interested in this topic please ‘google search’ – ‘sustainable fashion’ there is some scholar texts available and so so much information out there on the web regarding this subject

a few of my favs are:

Timo Rissanen’s paper on types of fashion design and patternmaking practices – 

Timo Rissanen’s website –

Centre for sustainable fashion, London college of Fashion –

Green Wiki –