Ethical Fashion Design

Morag Seaton, Fashion Design

‘Memories of Dress’ is a collection which draws from stories of garment ‘use’, a series of illustrated interviews about our most valued clothes. Each piece of the collection is developed from these stories and takes the key elements of comfort, security, identity and childhood memory. The aesthetic draws from hand-me-downs, abstract artwork and 60s interiors. Functional accessories are intertwined with this abstract aesthetic – resulting in a design that considers wearability, function and desirability.

Garment ‘use’ is a significant feature of this project and our relationship with clothes is considered through illustration, written dialog and fabric manipulation. Though the relationship we have with our clothing is personal and ever-changing, the simplicity of a worn garment is something we all have in common. Each garment can provide an insight to identity, behaviour, gender differences, age, occupational roles, culture, religion and wealth. Understanding garment ‘use’ is just one area to consider in the design process, particularly if emotional durability is the desired outcome. Of course, the ‘use’ of a garment is most often unpredictable and cannot be established in the design process. However, small considerations of things such as comfort, the effects of wear and weather, and the social implications of each design, can all contribute towards a more valuable outcome.

Social and environmental design is an important aspect of this collection and has influenced the overall theme, design process and production methods. From the practise of pattern cutting techniques that reduce fabric waste, sourcing reject materials and low impact fibres, to applying sewing techniques that encourage durability. Though the material choices, waste management and production of each garment is scrutinised and considered in relation to social and environmental issues – the main focus of this project is what happens after production. Each design from this collection has been drawn from a series of illustrated interviews that looks at the relationship we have with our clothes. The book ‘Garment stories’ introduces these interviews where individuals have been asked about their clothes and the reasons for their attachments. In light of the issues surrounding obsolete design, the constant consumption and disposal of objects, the need to find value in our things is as essential as ever. Talking to people about their clothes and communicating the ways in which we use garments, are just small ways in bringing value to our things.

Photography: Hannah Logan (main image) and Rydel Cerezo
Model: Grace Dempsey

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