Today our focus at London Craft Week is looking for sustainably minded materials and practices in fashion from mending, up-cycling, appliqué, embroidery techniques, felting and innovative fabrics made from renewable sources.
Fashion Bioplastics and Wool
London-based Argentinian designer, Clara Pinto, has used traditional felting and tailoring techniques to work with innovative degradable bioplastics and organic British wool to create her first ready-to-wear collection on show at the Argentinian Ambassador’s Residence. The bioplastic fabric, made from renewable resources such as algae, sourced from Southern Argentina, is a gelatine-based substance and takes two weeks to dry before being stable. In the process Pinto incorporated pink, black and yellow organic British wool to create new textures into this leather like textile. To inject more colour into the collection Pinto made botanical dyes from turmeric and avocado to colour natural coloured organic wool which she then felted; ‘I used two felting techniques: the nuno, where layers of fabric are added inside the wool before working it with soap and water and dry felting. It is very time consuming but felted wool is so great because the fibres lock together making it really durable’. Pinto has also quilted jackets which she has padded with wool for insulation as a statement against the ubiquitous polyester down filled versions. Pinto’s crystal embroidery workshop on 14 May 15:30 – 16:00 BST is sold out but the exhibition is open all week.
Image: hosted by the Argentinian Ambassador, Clara Pinto and her team have designed a collection inspired by early 2000s video-game graphics using bioplastics and British organic wool.
Waste Not! Upcycling, Customisation and Repair
Award-winning textile artist and designer, Alice Burnhope uses unwanted textiles, traditional craft techniques and natural dyes, in her interactive and issue-based work. Her sculptural forms and tactile wearable art address the current imbalance between material use, waste and the effect on the natural environment. For London Craft Week, Burnhope has been invited by American Vintage Femme to run two workshops exploring upcycling, customisation and repair. Using unwanted, end-of-line items, or pieces in need of love or repair, the workshops will demonstrate how using embroidery, appliqué and darning techniques can breathe new life into items we would otherwise discard. The workshops are on Wednesday 11 May and Friday 13 May at 17:30 - 20:00 BST. To book a ticket CLICK HERE.
Image: Alice Burnhope. Waste Not! Upcycling, Customisation and Repair.
3D Hand Embroidery Workshop
The Fashion School, Chelsea, have invited award-winning embroiderer and Royal School of Needlework tutor, Jung Byun, to give an introductory workshop on three-dimensional hand embroidery or ‘stumpwork’ that is suitable for beginner and novices. The workshop covers everything from the basic stitch technique to choosing fabric, needles, applying the techniques to different projects, using wire to make a non-fraying edge, and finally making a pin. You will learn how to make a wearable flower pin from fabric and wire and, if you don’t manage to finish on the day, you will be shown all the all processes to help you finish at your own pace with a detailed instruction booklet and a short video guide. All the materials are included in the tuition fee including fabric, needles, wire, pin, thread, hoop frame, glue but if you have small scissors, please bring them with you, but scissors can be borrowed during the workshop. The workshop takes place on Thursday 12 May between 10:00 and 14:00 BST. To book your place CLICK HERE.
Image: hand embroidered eucalyptus flower by Jung Byun.
Make, Do and Mend
As part of the current thinking around ethnical and sustainable fashion The Fashion School, Chelsea are hosting a make, do and mend workshop aimed at encouraging repairing and upcycling to get away from a throw away culture mentality. Learn through watching the tutor give a series of demonstrations to mend your own clothing before doing it for yourself. Bring one to three items of clothing which may have a random stain, hole or tear and get advice and skills to give these garments new life: from fixing holes in jeans, darning jumpers, adding a patch or shortening sleeves. Participants work between hand and/or machine sewing, with all the relevant haberdashery supplied. You’re welcome to bring any patches or embellishment that you may want to use. This workshop is beginner-friendly, no previous sewing experience needed. To book your place CLICK HERE.
Image: The Fashion School, Chelsea.
Innovation in Materials
If you are interested in innovation, it is worth exploring The Mills Fabrica, an organisation setting its sights on being ‘the go-to solutions platform accelerating tech-style and agri-food technology innovations for sustainability and social impact.’ Officially launched at Cottam House in King’s Cross in 202, The Mills Fabrica is the London outpost of a Hong Kong based heritage revitalisation project ‘The Mills’, which is transforming its cotton spinning mills from the 1950s into a centre for heritage, experimental retail and innovation. The philosophy behind it is ‘to create positive social impact for future generations by incubating and investing in sustainable innovations.’
At LCW The Mills Fabrica is hosting a series of events including a conversation with Dezeen, the biomaterial innovation company Modern Synthesis and Renewcell, creators of Circulose®, a new natural material closing the loop on fashion. Also, being showcased is an exploration into the properties of linen by FlaxLondon who will be discussing its versatility and a behind-the-scenes look into how this inherently low-impact fabric is made.
Worth visiting whilst you are there is, Fabrica X, a concept store and innovation gallery where you can see demonstrations, workshops and retail experiences focused on sustainable innovation. Take a look through a selection of ‘conscious-curation’ ready-to-wear brands, or scan your perfect pair of jeans with Unspun, who eliminate waste thanks to on-demand manufacturing or to learn about companies like Renewcell who turn discarded textiles into a natural material.
Check our blog again tomorrow for more updates on the London Craft Week.