Unfortunately, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the R Sustainable Fashion Show 2020 was cancelled this year. However, I was still fortunate enough to have been able to develop some ideas and design and create three of my destined garments, all using old/worn out windsurf sails. This page is intended to showcase this work that was unable to display at the show this year, and to document my progress ahead of the scheduled online fashion show set for December 2020!
Using wind surf sails as a resource for my project at first came as a surprise. I was wandering the Re use Hub at the Edinburgh College of Art after old paper, hole punchers, stationary etc for general use and came across a huge pink and blue sail, and was instantly inspired. For me, the sea has always been a huge part of my life . Living so close at home, the sea has always been intertwined into my childhood and upbringing as well as outdoor sport so perhaps this is where this inspiration developed from. I was lucky enough to be able to use old and tattered windsurf sails donated by the Edinburgh University Windsurf and Surfing Society who had an abundance of the stuff, not knowing what to do with it else for it to be destined for landfill.
At this point in the year, my sewing skills were pretty average, especially when considering the construction of a garment, but I enjoyed the freedom of the R Sustainable Project, especially when reworking old or binned materials.
My first garment, pictured above, was a long basic A line skirt. I was able to collect pattern inspiration through the fashion department who also kindly let me use the stronger and more industrial sewing machines at the ECA for the thicker windsurf plastic. This was hard to sew. Many needles broke! But in the end a garment started to form. The abstract print and wild colour on these sails really made the garments.
The garments below make up the two piece matching set of trousers and an off the shoulder top. Having tried these on, I realised that they needed a great deal of lining to make the outfits bearable, never-mind wearable! At this stage the garments I had created were the shell of something I hoped to be refined with proper fitted inner garments to promote the comfort as well as the durability and look of the garments.
This time adding a piece of calico as backing to the harsh and scratchy material of the windsurf sail. This prototype, although messy in areas was successful as a top! I used eyelets in the back and a tie back much like a corset top to make the piece wearable. This top matched the same material that I used for the skirt so these two pieces are pictured together as a two piece. The funky lettering and the vivid pink really stand out and again promote the wildness of windsurfing and the windsurf sail and its versatility as a second hand, reused material. Had the show gone ahead, I intended on creating thick tote and sling bags from this material. Having sewed sleeves and seams with this material for garments, this became more achievable as my patience with this material got better!
Despite the cancellation of a physical show this year, the event organisers for the show have created a virtual event scheduled for this December. Providing my digital skills hold up, I may be featuring my work on this after all!