Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
inform selved ge.org
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 on pg 32.
We also rethink our home and look at the traditional craft of upholstering walls, pg 42, as well as the joys of giving new life to old furniture, particularly with bold prints, pg 44 such as those designed by artists in the 20th century.
Asia provides the inspiration; we visit the Jaipur Craft Festival, pg 24 and find sustainable forms of textile production in the work of Women Weave, pg13. We highlight multi-cultural fashion label Ghulam Sakina, pg 72.
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, pg 68 make 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, Editor
This month’s contributors gave us their thoughts and tips on eco issues and recycling.
SANDY BLACK pg 88
KATE FLETCHER pg 32
SUE PRICHARD pg 56
I hate wasted resources, so do all I can to buy less packaging, recycle waste materials, turn off taps, turn off lights, buy recycled whenever I can. Working in Oxford Circus though, surrounded by take-away wastage and constant consumption, it can feel pointless. We all have to do much more. PS my necklace in the picture is made of recycled plastic waste.
My working life has been all about the environment; about championing its glorious textile technicolour; about recognising how we – and our textiles and fashion – impact on it but most of all, about the environment as our inspiration and our creative companion in our journey towards a more sustainable society.
I insist on shopping locally and buying British produce. I refuse to eat anything that has travelled thousands of miles before landing on my plate. I'm also a neurotic recycler, I remove everything right down to the zips and buttons from my clothes before they enter the rag bag – I even recycle my bath water. Correspond & enquire
Dear friends, dealers and decorators, A year ago, on January 1, 2005, we witnessed the end of the Multi-Fibre Agreement limiting textile exports from China and other Asian countries. At a stroke, quotas on these mass producers were lifted and they received unlimited access to America’s clothing market, as well as the rest of the world who had all signed the agreement. All of us in the textile business, both new and ‘second-hand,’ have been seriously affected by this change. The availability of cheap skilled labour, and low priced materials in vast quantities, means that anything can be copied, produced in huge quantities to flood the market and sold at cut prices that no-one can beat.
I had not realised how much this could affect the textile business until I visited several big markets in French cities where perhaps 50 stalls were selling thousands of very similar clothing items in every shade and shape, with amazingly elaborate frilling, trimming, embroidery, insertions and pleating; such workmanship would be extremely expensive here in England and only available in designer shops, but over there it cost much less. No pattern or design seems off limits now, and decorative fabrics and furnishing trends are likely to follow fashion. We went to four big Fairs in France – Caen, Fayence, Le Tholonet nr. Aix en Provence – and it was only at Le Mans that I dug out a nugget, two hours before our boat sailed from Le Havre.
No doubt, we shall soon be able to buy ‘Toile de Jouy’ by the thousand yard in any colour we fancy. Buyers beware! I myself have found it much more difficult to sell interesting but definitely shabby-chic pieces – the condition is imperfect and there is never enough fabric for a large scheme – and I have seen clients give up the struggle of ‘making do’ and go for the readymade which they can buy in perfect condition and in any quantity they need, despite the higher cost. Elizabeth Baer Textile Dealer, Specialist in Antique French fabrics, Curtains, Hemp & Linen SheetsandHouseholdLinens,T:email@example.com
Dear Editor, Jessica Hemmings’ articles are rigorous and insightful – they cut into and reveal! She adds a much needed depth and intellectual response to the art-in-fiber movement through a working practice that engages with an increasingly rare emotion – joy! Thank you Jessica. Pat Dipaula Klein
We are happy to publish letters, unusual queries and undertake research that will be of interest to our readers. Please send intriguing questions or answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brook Slezak Botanica/Getty Images. Buttons for sale in a flea market in Provence
in f o r m s e l v e d g e . o r g