Eco Fashion Picks of the Week: ReMade in USA Upcycled Bags, A Look at the Design Process & Undressing.

Via on Sep 29, 2011

Love fashion? Love it even more when it has a green twist? Then you’ll love EcoSalon’s weekly roundup of eco fashion picks. Enjoy!

Did you know that the average American throws out about 68 pounds of textiles per year? Fortunately one designer is doing something about it: Shannon South and her ReMade in the USA line which features bags made from used leather clothing and scrap material.

You can even send in your own used leather jackets to have them upcycled into a brand new accessory.

The main material South uses is leather, but she also works with everything from used denim to vintage doilies, and the bag linings are all made from vintage scarves.

“Repurposing materials is a very thoughtful process and it means that every object made is unique,” says South. Because she works with an existing garment rather than a piece of leather or fabric, South has to constantly adapt her basic designs to work with the details of that particular garment.

“No two jackets that I find are alike. Each one must be deconstructed and design decisions must be made. My patternmaking has to be smart and creative, fitting within the constraints of the given material.” For the customer, this means that even though you choose between basic styles from the collection, no two bags are alike.

What happens when you put four friends with a love of design, sustainability and sharing ideas together? The Here Today Here Tomorrow (HTHT) collective, complete with a shop in Dalston, London, kitted out with wood and furniture found in skips and left on street corners.

What’s the philosophy behind HTHT?

Here Today Here Tomorrow is a collaborative and experimental shop/studio that is used to make, showcase and sell sustainable fashion and accessories. The aim is to connect the customer and local passer-by to the processes involved in making the products. The importance of transparency and showing people the materials, skills and time required to create unique products by hand is something that is not frequently communicated to the average high street consumer, and encourages customer engagement and understanding.

Our work focuses on different elements of sustainability including high quality handmade craftsmanship, durability, locality, recycling, natural dye, organic materials, individuality and transparency of production.

Designer Natalie Chanin gives us her thoughts on the recent talk by Charty Durant, former fashion editor of the Sunday Times, The Observer, and British Vogue, at the Hello Etsy conference and asks if we are moving towards a period of “undressing.”

Charty also pointed out that our fashion has changed so little in the last twenty years. It feels to me that we are caught up in a Victorian-like cycle of ever-developing seasons (with ever growing closets) that could possibly evolve any moment into a more humane, beautiful and forward-thinking fashion perspective. During her presentation, Charty talked about the joy of longing as she saved her money to purchase a beautiful chandelier from an antique store. She explained that she was not able to afford the piece but went back to the store over and over again to admire its beauty. The shop keeper saw her longing and agreed to sell it to her over time. During the months that she put away funds to buy it, she built a story, a relationship, a conversation with that product and she still loves that piece today. So it could be with fashion as well: we could long and want and save to get that piece that we will be proud to wear in 20 years.

I see our society moving towards a period of undressing. Charty’s comparison between the austere Victorian woman and the freedom of the modern woman is relevant in today’s world. I am beginning to witness such an undressing, a peeling away of cheap layers and transitional garments coupled with a return to the idea that quality clothing can last a lifetime. This undressing also includes the principles of sustainability and slow design. I see the undressing as a sexy and beautiful act, one that truly represents who we are as women today.

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Images: EcoSalon

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EcoSalon is the web's leading conscious culture and fashion publication for women. Featuring style, design, life and culture, the arts, food, sex and relationships, EcoSalon is the first and finest general interest website for the modern green woman.

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