Don The Drape

Guest post by Ruby Wilson

With Christmas around the corner, we think it's important to take time to consider our consumerist tendencies. Instant gratification is something we have become quite accustomed to, purchasing ready to wear garments on the high street for as little as £5, yet it was only 74 years ago that Britain saw the 'make-do and mend' initiative, encouraging the up-cycling of old material. Nowadays, it's designers like Christine Mayer who continue this legacy through up-cycling used fabrics into fashionable garments, using old ways of thinking to provide new ways of sustaining.

Mayer’s up-cycling was developed from the art of Japanese drapery. She models her clothes directly onto the mannequin, creating as it were a second skin with the fabric. Her distinct clothing is innovative, moving from two-dimensional pattern cutting towards a three-dimensional process that results in new life for old fabric.

The free-draping process is vital to the creation of new garments. The fabric structure and fit is ultimately decided by how it's draped onto the mannequin, making for a more hands-on, flexible approach to the process. Unlike many of our shop bought clothes, this process results in garments that are in harmony with both the fabric and shape of the wearer, as well as providing a sense of good, old-fashioned satisfaction.

Reflective of an era where any material deemed appropriate was fashioned into clothes. Mayer’s creations share values of resourcefulness and inventiveness that are increasingly fading in today’s society. Her beautiful creations prove that with a bit of old fabric and determination you too can bypass the checkout and head home to ‘make do and mend’.

Christine Mayer will lead a workshop with Selvedge in Chateau Dumas next summer, 11-18 August 2018.

For more information on her workshop, Free-Draping: A New Purpose for Vintage Textiles, and to book your place, click here.

You can also read more about Mayer in Selvedge issue 30.

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