More or Less Magazine x Matchesfashion: Designers Work Wonders With Waste. An Op-Ed by Trash4gold
5 Carlos Place, Matchesfashion.com’s swanky new bricks and mortar store is situated slightly off the beaten track that is Oxford Circus. It’s here that the global retailer hosts an array of talks, private events and exhibitions, the latest of which is a ‘Leftovers’ a collaboration with More or Less magazine; an exciting new publication founded by ex-Creative Director of British Vogue, Jaime Perlman.
More or Less is an anti-fast fashion publication which aims to “provoke thought about the decisions we make when we buy our clothes.” Essentially, the magazine celebrates personal style over trends and mass consumption and encourages readers to think about what their clothes are made of and who they were made by.
This unlikely pair selected eleven fashion designers to make the old new again by scavenging scraps from their studios and fashioning them into garments that reflect each designer’s unique aesthetic without creating more unnecessary waste.
Phoebe English’s Lady in Red was made from a tulle fabric leftover from a previous collection. “We used tiny little pieces which we threaded onto strings to make tulle ‘garlands’ she tells me. “I then draped it across the body in a chaotic placement over a single layer slip dress.” It took her and her team about three weeks to get to the final piece which is daintily delicious. English is no stranger to using what lays on the studio floor, recently she has held ‘weaving from waste’ workshops and is currently teaching second year Fashion Design and Marketing students at Central Saint Martins.
At the Environmental Audit Committee’s discussion held at the V&A, English stated, “I strongly believe that legislation is needed. I have struggled with what to do with my own waste.” She introduced the room to FabScrap a recycling company based in New York which provide designers with a way to recycle their synthetic and natural off-cuts. Picking them up within a click of a button on the app – pure magic!
In addition to this she said “You still need to produce a beautiful product because otherwise there is no point. Trying to sell somebody a Hessian sack is not going to work.” However, Alice and Lee (my new favorite design duo) who also feature in the exhibition are making a great success of making coffee sacks chic, hand embroidering over them like craft is going out of fashion (it’s certainly not).
For their exhibition piece they used yarns from previous collections to create a layered multicoloured knitted dress which was photographed beautifully by Chloe Le Drezen.
Other stand-outs included Richard Malone’s piece. He created a multicoloured crocheted dress-bodysuit hybrid complete with fascinator. It was made from “recycled ex-stock acrylic yarn and was reconstructed from two fitting toiles.”
The youngest of the exhibitors was Conner Ives, who is still a student at Central Saint Martins. For the show he made a dress entirely out of silk socks. Samuel Bristov who was manning the exhibition at Matchesfashion said that it had reminded multiple visitors of Kate Moss in that iconic transparent slip circa 1993. Ives’s sock dress was cut from a previous collection of his - he’s “so glad it got a second life.”
The Queen of the saving the rainforest Vivienne Westwood used 18-century flat corsets from her AW07 Cave Girl collection. “Each is one of a kind: created here in a tartan silk and candy stripe silk jacquard - surplus fabric from my archive.” She states.
It was refreshing to see designers featured that don’t have sustainability at the core of their brand. Vital conversations about waste are being opened up. Louise Gray made a splendid patch worked dress whereby strands of trimmings were attached in layers. Halpern used various fabrics from past seasons, creating a mish-mashed version of his signature sequin all in ones and Richard Quinn created a red floral dress using spare sample fabric. While Dilara Findikolu used old toiles creating a Miss Havishamesque gown with an embroidered D on the neckline.
All in all, it was a great start at having a go at sustainability though I don’t know how much this ties in with Matchesfashion’s ethos as a million-dollar company to sell stuff to people who already have too much. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a more sustainable future for Matchesfashion!
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