Seams on a green garment.

Thinking about the lifecycle of a garment

Designer KellyDawn Riot has just launched her new sustainable menswear collection Formication, sponsored by Love Your Clothes.

Glasgow School of Art graduate Kelly won the Scotland Re:Designed New Talent Award in November last year. As part of her award, she has been receiving mentoring support from ethical fashion advocate Orsola De Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution. Zero Waste Scotland helped Kelly source recycled fabrics for her collection.

The pieces in the collection have been made using remnants from local Scottish mills or natural fabrics such as cottons and linens, making them strong and durable, while the eco-friendly printing techniques and the attention to detail ensure that each piece has been designed to last.

This interview took place on 2nd July at SWG3 in Glasgow.

Clothes from KellyDawn Riot's menswear collection.

How has working with Love Your Clothes inspired the way you work?

It’s had the biggest impact on me as both a consumer and a designer. To me it’s really about avoiding fast fashion and investing in key pieces that will last longer than throwaway trends. Pieces where you know where the product has been manufactured and produced ethically.

It’s also made me think about the entire lifecycle of a garment, from buying the best you can where the fabric is ethically sourced with eco-friendly printing techniques, while supporting local business by producing garments within the UK, to ensuring your garments are preserved through specific care instructions so that your pieces can be passed on not thrown away.

Do you think designers should think about sustainability when they are creating products?

Working with Love Your Clothes has made me aware of the need for all designers large or small to move towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of producing their garments. It’s not about taking on the world, it’s about doing your own thing but being conscious of its impact, and taking measures to reduce your impact while retaining the integrity of your work.

I visited a clothes recycling plant in Glasgow and I saw clothes piled to the ceiling of a giant warehouse while more trucks were arriving, and that was just one plant in Glasgow. It horrified me to see how much we waste and to think of how much damage the earth has faced for these clothes to be just thrown out, which is why I think it’s important we create forever pieces created in the most sustainable way possible.

What one thing would you like to see more designers doing to make their collections more sustainable?

Working with my mentor Orsola De Castro gave me a shocking insight into the amount of waste fabric left to rot in warehouses or thrown out entirely. I would like to see designers creating more engineered prints. By doing this you can halve the amount of fabric printed and have little to no waste fabric left, only using what is required. I have worked in this way for all of the pieces in this collection and had extremely little if any waste fabric left.

This interview originally appeared on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

Clothing label with care instructions.