As the ecofriendly movement shifts into overdrive, the fashion industry is becoming increasingly conscientious about waste. This merger between sustainability and the creativity of esteemed designers has transformed the way we look at scraps. Once banished to the trash heap, scraps of beautiful fabric are now in high demand. And are you surprised? Piles of colourful scraps certainly get my creative juices flowing! You may be surprised by the things you start to envision and are able to create when you start looking at old scraps in a new way. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the inspiring, remarkable designs out there using scraps!
It’s a growing movement that has recently given birth to the My Athens Repurposing Project. This great project challenges designers to create runway-worthy high fashion from bags of donated clothing. While the designers must use every piece of donated clothing, they are free to cut, dye and design to their heart’s content. Though on the surface this may just seem like a fun endeavour, the project sends a serious message about bringing greater sustainability into the fashion industry as a whole by dealing with the ever-growing issue of waste.
If your curiosity is piqued by the potential that can be found within a bag of scraps, then you are in good company. Numerous designers are using scraps in unexpected ways. Viktor and Rolf, for example, recently released their 2016 Autumn-Winter collection. It features loads of scraps from seasons past, playfully sculpted for maximum dimension. The designs gracefully leap outside the box with oversized flowers and geometric patterns reminiscent of cubism. Each ensemble is a bold take on making old things new again.
And who could forget interdisciplinary artist Aricoco’s wearable masterpieces—all designed from that which would ordinarily be discarded?
A different take on scrap fashion comes from young designer, Agrima Batra. Her zero waste collection, titled ‘To the Stars and Back’ or ‘Astraea’, features very simple designs that burst into high fashion with contrasting bits of patchwork. Batra says that this thoughtful application of scraps is quickly becoming her USP, helping her stand out from the crowd.
Last year Fastine Steinmetz released her Spring 2016 collection brimming with exciting but wearable pieces. Clearly with the idea of scalability in mind, for this, her third collection, she has worked with the idea of transforming wardrobe staples by deconstructing, meticulously planned destruction and exaggerating elements through the addition of scraps. Who knew that some carefully crafted scraps could transform a boring denim jacket into high fashion?
This is not the first time her work has reflected a fascination with discarded fabrics. Her S/S 15 collection focused on denim remnants and showed an extremely light touch and a wild sense of texture. Though this collection is now a smidge dated, it shows the onset of a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. If anything, I think it’s still gaining momentum, as more and more designers join the scrap fashion bandwagon.
One artist who has been working with scrap fabric for a long time is Barbara Wisnoski. Wisnoski creates large-scale, imaginative, tactile, textile-art pieces from recycled fabrics and clothing. Her amazing sense of colour and texture is completely apparent in the work she creates, covering large surfaces in tiny scraps of fabric. Her pieces often demonstrate stunning ombré effects, a sense of movement or even capturing a specific scene.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Though the execution is as varied as it is bold, all of these designers have one thing in common. Each has used discarded scraps to bring colour and excitement to new designs. Now it’s your turn. Did you know that Offset Warehouse sells bags of fabric scraps? They’re so much fun because you never quite know what you’ll get—interesting weaves, soft felts, stretchy jersey, and even smooth silk replicas. I’d love to see what you can do with our bundles of scraps and offcuts.
I challenge you to let your imagination run wild. Share the results by sending us a picture of your creation. Of course, you don’t have to stick with fashion. For more inspiration, check out our blog on rag rugging, a technique that can be applied to any fabric scrap project.
Remember, the sky is the limit. Make anything you want, as long as you use scraps. I can’t wait to see your results!