“Sheer, the less common verb, means ‘swerve or change course quickly’, as in the boat sheers off the bank.” .
This collection draws inspiration from the meaning of the word sheer, which refers to the thinness of a fabric in fashion, but the lexical word meaning is as mentioned above to change course quickly.
This of course brings our thoughts to the environmental challenges we are now facing globally, and the need for us as a collective to change course quickly; in order to prevent the soon to be irreversible consequences. It is without doubt that we urgently need to implement new materials to make clothes, that have less impact on the environment and are recyclable, ethical and sustainable.
But change is not done overnight, so where do we begin? Our solution was to use less, and create timeless garments so that it can hold for generations to come. By implementing that thought during the illustration and designing stage, and avoid using the material in trend garments, we make a small change that will have an immediate effect right here and now. Perhaps our consumer habits also need to change parallel to this, so that we get back to repairing; reusing; re-designing and re-modelling our existing silk garments.
How would one work as a Designer around an exclusive and ancient fabric like silk? There is no replacing this amazing fabric with an equal alternative yet? Silk dates back in history, where we have to begin to look:
“Silk has set the standard in luxury fabrics for several millennia. The origins of silk date back to Ancient China. Legend has it that a Chinese princess was sipping tea in her garden when a cocoon fell into her cup, and the hot tea loosened the long strand of silk. Ancient literature, however, attributes the popularization of silk to the Chinese Empress Si-Ling, to around 2600 B.C. Called the Goddess of the Silkworm, Si-Ling apparently raised silkworms and designed a loom for making silk fabrics.” .
As many of you know the procedure of Sericulture (creating silk) is not what can be considered ethical towards the Silkworms (That we are soon running out of). If we as humans can travel to the moon, we must be able to invent a substitute? So how far have we gotten in evolving the process and finding alternative ways?
“Sericulture is an ancient science, and the modern age has not brought great changes to silk manufacture. Rather, man-made fibers such as polyester, nylon, and acetate have replaced silk in many instances. But many of the qualities of silk cannot be reproduced. For example, silk is stronger than an equivalent strand of steel. Some recent research has focused on the molecular structure of silk as it emerges from the silkworm, in order to better understand how new, stronger artificial fibers might be constructed. Silk spun by the silkworm starts out as a liquid secretion. The liquid passes through a brief interim state with a semi-ordered molecular structure known as nematicon liquid crystal, before it solidifies into a fiber. Materials scientists have been able to manufacture durable fibers using liquid crystal source material, but only at high temperatures or under extreme pressure. Researcher are continuing to study the silkworm to determine how liquid crystal is transformed into fiber at ordinary temperatures and pressures.” .
The latest news I came across, was that scientists have begun to produce a fabric made from spiders that is supposed to be silk-like. Not that I am keen on the creatures, but substituting the death of one insect with another will have an effect on the Eco system. But, perhaps there will be a way of evolving this process without killing something in the future? Time will tell.
For this collection I decided to minimize the use of the Sand-Washed Silk fabric to 0,75M per top maximum, and extend and complement the silhouette with other materials. I also designed the tops to be adjustable in the back to fit through life’s different stages, and shapes. When using a timeless material like this, I felt the need to make the designs classical, so it can be used for many years ahead.
Since the material is so exclusive, I wanted the outfit to be balanced, so I added Vintage Black and Silver Paisley-Patterned China Satin. Inspired by the ancient history of the material. I also wanted to combine it with casual fabrics such as woven Grey Polyester, and Voile to balance the silhouette. In the future we will look for more sustainable and recyclable options to do this, rather than just using vintage materials. The casual elements capture an Urban Elegance and flows very flattering together with the silk.
The colours used for the silk were Mud Brown; Concrete Light Grey; Aqua Light Azzurro; and Onyx Dark Grey.
So, inspired by the word meaning of sheer, that is almost synonym to Silk in fashion, we have actively changed the way we think and produce our samples. If everyone would make immediate small changes in both mind and action, we would start to see change on a global level here and now.