From pesticides on cotton crops to sweatshop conditions (ahem, but how else would anyone think it's possible to buy a brand new skirt or tee for less than the cost of a Quadruple Non-fat Half-caff Sugarfree Hazelnut Mocha Almond latte?), our collective love of everchanging fashion at fast prices is wreaking havoc on the earth and its inhabitants. However, forward-thinking young designer Francesa Warren has come up with a novel solution: reduce textile waste by transforming the bulging sale racks at retailers like H&M, Gap & ASOS into special one-of-a-kind garments both eco-chic & salable. "My aim is to produce a system for mass produced fashion that gives a garment a second, third or even fourth life if it hasn't sold initially at full price," explains the recent Central Saint Martins MA grad from their Design for Textile Futures program who adheres to the principles of Zero Waste fashion. "The innovation within the concept is that I work with garments that have been reduced in price by 70% and regenerate them to make them more desirable. My reason for doing this was from consumer research where I found that over half of people questioned had bought an unsuitable sale garment in the last 12 months, purely motivated by price instead of suitability. Trips to recycling plants also found garments being discarded with their price tags still attached which of course is a massive waste of raw materials."
Trial, error & research revealed that each garment could be regenerated up to three times, with no loss to the quality of the fabric, and Zero Waste thinking at each stage means that all of the material from the original garment is used in each of its new earth-friendly incarnations. "Through this process I also wanted to find a balance between a sustainability and generating profits for businesses, I feel with this concept the customer pays a slightly high price for a unique garment that is still brand new. Any concept we can put in place which reduces the amount of textile waste in landfill will work towards a more sustainable future."
Francesca's fab hand-created (re)designs are sold under her label "UnButton Fashion" - and available online at her etsy shop.
- Lesley Scott