2019 has been a big year for the fashion industry, and we're only half way through. The overarching topic of sustainability is hard to escape and more retailers are pledging to adopt sustainable practices in years to come. Sustainability was prominent in the LCF BA19 show at Here East, where graduates used sustainable methods and materials to create their collections. At LCF, we encourage students to research and implement sustainability within their work, but how do these principals differ as a consumer?
Hi, I'm Molly Lockley and I am a Fashion Design and Development Graduate from London College of Fashion. Originally from Nottingham, I have spent the last four years working towards my degree. During my year in industry I knew my final project would focus on the ways I could reduce fabric waste. I began specialising in bi-degradable materials but made in a way that they could be matched with a street-wear aesthetic. Throughout my degree my person style changed as well as my ideas towards the fashion Industry, as we were taught more about consumer culture and the impact the fashion industry has on the planet.
A little intro into the title and idea behind your final collection?
My final collection titled 'Powerundress' is developed from the phrase “power dressing”. My modern day representation of this is that women don’t have to dress like men to appear powerful and, in-fact, they can dress “sexy” if they wish and that this is not an objectification of themselves. My brand was made not to change the world, but to inspire women to take back control of the narrative.
What sustainable materials/methods did you use?
I wanted to throw away as little fabric as possible, so not only did I drape and sample using old and unusable material, I kept all my scraps from the pattern cutting process and this became the start of a new fabric.
Using liquid latex as an adhesive to bond the fabric scraps together came about from a trip to Thailand where small, family owned businesses use the local rubber farms to create bio-degradable environmentally friendly bags and accessories. This inspired me to combine this raw material with the waste product resulting in a new core material to start the design process again, inspiring a circular economy.
Aside from a design perspective, how do you maintain your principles as a sustainable consumer?
As a consumer I am aware of the cost that an item should be. When I go into shops and the clothes are so cheap it worries me because it makes me wonder who is paying the price? Therefore, when I go shopping I tend to buy brands that are known for making sustainable choices. A high number of people I talk to about this topic don’t share my opinions and this is usually influenced by the cost.. Personally, I would rather pay the price for an item that is a fair price to the workers making it as well as the environmental impact, as I have found that these two go hand in hand .
What inspired you to take an interest in sustainable fashion?
I think every designer needs to think in a sustainable way. Working as an intern in the fashion industry, I have seen how much fabric waste is thrown in the bin each day and this didn’t seem to bother the majority of workers. This had become the norm. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world but its not as obvious to the everyday consumer because it doesn’t directly effect them.
There is so much wrong with the fashion industry in terms of sustainability. I have tried to focus on one issue which, for me, is fabric waste going into landfill.
Do you think that entirely sustainable fashion will eventually take priority within the fashion industry, or do you believe that the concept of fast fashion will always win?
Fast fashion will win if there are no laws in place to stop them. Money makes the world go round and these major high street chains turn over so much profit. Shops like Primark are so cheap and this raises the argument that this is all some individuals can afford. However, I think, if the consumer was given no choice they would adapt and change their shopping habits and perhaps buy less often and treasure the items they own. Not only is the quality of this “throw away” fashion so poor that these easily accessible clothes only last for a few weeks, this isn’t being relayed to the everyday consumer. This issue of fast fashion winning, should be changed from the people in power. The blame is always put on the consumer, however if someone is given a cheaper alternative they would naturally find it harder to not choose that.