Episode 1 Up-cycling
Christine Mayer, Germany
Elina Tseliagkou, Greece
Join me Polly Leonard, the founder and editor of Selvedge magazine for episode 1 of the Selvedge Podcast. I’ve been making, thinking and writing about textiles for 40 years. The more I learn about textiles, the more I learn there is to discover.
I began my relationship with making at the Glasgow School of Art in the 1980s and after publishing almost one hundred issues of Selvedge magazine, the time was right to launch a live event. The Selvedge World Fair was conceived as a celebration of cloth, culture and creativity, and intended to demonstrate the connection we all have to our cultural heritage, that is manifested in cloth.
The pandemic has necessitated we find new ways to present the event - one of which will be a series of podcasts to facilitate artisans to tell their own stories, share their cultural heritage and demonstrate sustainability at its very best.
With the global textile industry the second-largest polluter on the planet and landfills groaning with barely worn clothing, there is no better topic for our first episode than Up-cycling. With its roots in the make-do and mend mentality, that for crafters never really went away, upcycling has the potential to make a tremendously positive environmental and social impact.
I was born in 1966 when an average person spent over 10% of their income on clothing. The average person bought fewer than 25 garments a year. Fast forward half a century. Today, the average person spends less than 3.5% of their income on clothing. Yet, we buy more clothing than ever before: nearly 70 pieces of clothing per person, that's more than one item a week. More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States alone, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years.
This is clearly a huge issue. How are artists and designers responding? In episode 1 I talk with a German designer whose latest collection is made entirely from recycled clothing, an indigenous Guatemalan artisan and an Athenian designer redefining our understanding of what a coat is. My guests are certainly doing their part. I hope the podcast encourages you to take the plunge before you sentence your old clothes to landfill and consider upcycling them.
Our podcast explores the fabric of your life - that’s the connection between cloth, culture and creativity.