Issue 09 React

£11.95 GBP

January/February 2006


Rethink, reclaim and re-examine textile

"WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR – a time for resolutions and re-assessing. As an eternal optimist I set great store by resolutions. This issue is full of things to inspire you to turn over a new leaf, or just make those small changes that have a big impact.

Eco textiles are a huge subject and compiling the material has been an education. One thing that will stick in my mind is that 80% of the energy used in the life cycle of a garment occurs in the home during laundering. I was amazed to learn that I could make a difference simply by hanging my washing on a line rather than using my tumble dryer. Another shocking statistic is that 33% of the weight of cotton needed to make a T-shirt is made up of pesticides. Even so, the problems and solutions are more complex than adopting organic cotton. Kate Fletcher explores these issues.

We also rethink our home and look at the traditional craft of upholstering walls as well as the joys of giving new life to old furniture, particularly with bold prints such as those designed by artists in the 20th century.

Asia provides the inspiration; we visit the Jaipur Craft Festival and find sustainable forms of textile production in the work of Women Weave. We highlight multi-cultural fashion label Ghulam Sakina.

Sadly the question I began this issue with has still not been answered. I can’t understand why, if designers can produce beautiful clothing in virtually any fabric, when ‘organic’ enters the equation the design is discarded in favour of something altogether less flattering. Environmentally friendly production does not excuse bad design. I don’t want to contribute to a stereotype but suffice to say bland and beige are flourishing on the eco textile scene. There are exceptions to this, distressingly few and far between: the Raag workshop, which makes beautiful clothing which happens to have a low environmental impact. One way forward is for designers who make beautiful clothing to consider the impact of their work, adopt responsible materials and methods, and to make this common practice. An organic tag should not be a selling point but an industry wide standard – anyway, decide for yourself. Keep warm and I’ll see you in the spring."

Polly Leonard, Founder, Selvedge Magazine

Please note this issue is only available digitally

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