Sixpence’s main goal is to raise awareness about the overconsumption of clothing items nowadays and to spread a sustainable way of life.
To do this, we are working on giving second-hand clothes a new life. Why? Well, the massive garment production is not doing a favour to our environment, and there are tons of clothes and accessories in a good state, which are thrown away. But the fact is, that these garments still have value. And as the saying goes “someone’s trash, is someone else’s treasure”.
Now, how can we recycle garments that do not look good anymore, don’t fit or we just don’t like anymore? There are two main ways of recycling: downcycling and upcycling. For the pieces that are worn out, pilled, broken or stained, downcycling is an option. This means giving them a new value, even if it is lower. Examples for this are turning old t-shirts into cleaning rags. On the opposite, the still good-looking clothes, that we are just bored of, or we do not like the fit anymore, we can upcycle. This means giving them a higher value. We can change the fit, combine it with other materials, add details or accessories or even transform them into an other garment or accessory (Alicia, 2013).
“Upcycling means giving items a higher value than before.”
Until now we have mentioned upcycling of second hand clothes as our main technique for our collection. But there are other sustainable design techniques within the field, such as minimal seam construction, zero waste pattern cutting, multifunctional/transformational, design for disassembly and for longevity (MySource LTD, 2017).
So let’s have a closer look at sustainable techniques and see which ones we can add in our designs!
With zero waste pattern cutting, designing and fabric sourcing go hand in hand. It is important to know the fabric width in order to design, but also to search for the fitting fabric dimensions for a specific design (MySource LTD, 2017).
Some examples for this concept can be Indian saris and Japanese kimonos. Origami is another technique that fits this concept and can be applied within zero waste fashion design. Designers following this concept, try to use very simple pattern pieces, such as rectangles or other geometrical shapes (Redress, 2013).
Since we don’t design from scratch, this technique is a challenge for us. Nevertheless, this will inspire us in our designing process. Some of our ideas for now are using leftovers for fabric embellishments, accessories – such as hairbands, or even combine them with other garments…
Design for disassembly is designed in a very Smart way, so that the components can be repaired, reused or recycled (MySource LTD, 2017). One example is the DenimTex project by Saxion University. They turned used jeans into wall decoration that not only looks amazing but also insulates.
Design for longevity consists on using atemporal styles and colours as well as a good fit and high-quality materials (MySource LTD, 2017). For our Project we will focus on the best quality garments and turn them into your favourites, which you will never want to get rid off!
Multifunctional and transformational garments are easier to make, when designing from scratch. But we have found a way to give one single garment the ability to transform and achieve a different look.
Minimal seam construction consists in reducing the amount of seams made, or even to replace these with other techniques (MySource LTD, 2017). Our way to apply this is by using the existing seams, hems or even waistbands in the new garment.