These days everyone should be well aware that we need to be more sustainable in consuming fashion. We should stop buying cheap fast-fashion; we should stop buying clothes we don’t need; we should stop throwing away clothes we have only worn a few times. But this doesn’t mean we should not be looking for alternative ways to produce good quality, sustainably sound fashion. After all, fashion is a multi-billion dollar global industry that employs a huge number of people - most of them women - who need to have jobs still.
This is why innovation and experimentation are so important in the fashion world. We need young designers and creators to start thinking outside of the normal parameters to bring us new options for producing fashion. We need to see exciting, creative and intriguing fashion ideas from students like those for the Lasalle College of the Arts’ BA(Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles graduates.
The graduate fashion show, A New Light, was not only streamed online, but it also focused on ideas that were “transformative, innovative and cognizant”.
“How fashion impacts the world is an ongoing and critical conversation we want our students to be a part of. By seeding in them a sense of inquiry and equipping them with skills to respond to changing needs of the present whilst anticipating future demands, we hope they can contribute to a better fashion ecosystem for generations ahead,” explains Circe Henestrosa, Head, School of Fashion at Lasalle.
To that end, there were several students that really stood out from the ten collections that were shown during the show.
Most intriguing and exciting was Sarah Kelly Ng, who researched at-home, easy-to-make bioplastics to construct biodegradable fabrics that are then used to create decorative trims and accessories.
“Basically, the inspiration behind using this agar and alginate bioplastics was because we are already involved in such a consumer culture within fashion. Rather than try to slow it down, which could really take a long time for it to see its effects, why not rethink the materiality of our garments or like any type of product that uses fabric as well,” explains Ms Ng.
Ms Ng was working on a very small production scale since most of her research took place during various Coronavirus lockdowns; however, she is continuing her research to reach out to existing industry producers to work on the machinery and technology to make it work on a commercial scale.
As for the school, while it doesn’t teach a specific class on bio-materials, the concept is developed in the textiles stream.
“We introduce to students as many techniques as possible including forward-thinking approaches such as alternative materials - bioplastics, silicone, bio-resins etc - or integrated systems - conductive yarns, reactive pigments, 3D modelling etc,” explains Dinu Bodiciu, Lecturer, School of Fashion, Lasalle College of the Arts. “After such an introduction, students then opt for a direction that they want to investigate more on and our lecturers assist them on this journey through weekly consultations and theoretical guidance.”
Another interesting and implementable concept came from the collection by Joshua Ng, who came up with a new way to cut fabric to minimise textile waste. This ‘spaghetti cutting’ idea offers a fascinating and practical way that factories can easily implement into their usual process just by using an algorithm and cutting fabric into a series of differently angled strips.
According to Mr Ng, the process depends highly on the design of the garments, but with basic shapes less than 10% of the fabric will be wasted, unlike up to 25% that is usually using cutting pattern cutting systems. “I was thinking of a mass-production approach. So, this method will highly cut down the waste production and the use of the fabric usage in a mass-production setting,” explains Mr Ng.
A more design based idea came from Justin Chua’s collection of modular, interchangeable garments. The various pieces are created from a set of patterns that allow each garment to be worn in different ways and connected to each other with a zipper system. You can change a top into a skirt, add or subtract sleeves and other versatile options.
Overall it was fabulous to see the inventive concepts that not only incorporated the basics of creating clothes to cover the body, but also highlighted the truly innovative uses of technology and new materials that need to be implemented if anything is going to change the fashion industry’s terrible sustainability issues.
To see more of Sarah Kelly Ng’s work, go to www.lasallesof.com/ng-jia-yi-sarah-kelly
To see more of Joshua Ng’s work, go to www.lasallesof.com/ng-yu-qi-joshua
To see more of Justin Chua’s work, go to www.lasallesof.com/justin-chua-ke-jian
For more information about Lasalle College of the Arts Fashion School, go to www.lasallesof.com
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