Buying second-hand is one smart answer to sustainable fashion, and Gen Z knows this well, but, ‘buying new’ is still big.
Occupy Cultural Thread focuses on the long-term potential for desk research disruption - beyond online viewing rooms and social media platforms that have captured our attention during the pandemic. So another of my goals last weekend was to jump on the bus and head to a couple of the Netherlands department stores to find answers. How easy is for consumers to identify sustainable clothing brands as they walk in?
What a disappointment.
While it is believed that Gen Z has a strong desire to reduce the negative impact on the planet, the Baby Boomer generations and Gen X, those raised during years of economic madness, seem less convinced and are not making things any easier — for the whole textile industry. BB and Gen X have live through a fairy tale like lifestyle as many of them are in management roles. So, yes, some new old dogs need to be up for new tricks. This, as Gen X is also responsible of creating the hard to break era of consumerism and mindless individuals.
As I walked around the stores, only a few number of alternative and non alternative brands were marketed as sustainable with some green boards (image) highlighting some info. When approaching the staff to learn about the importance given to offer more sustainable choices, my conclusion wasn't surprising. More work is needed.
And here’s where Millennials come in the panorama.
The use of the internet has helped us all users of technology, consolidate and embrace the wide-ranging possibilities of the 21st Century. Millennials are born “with it” and are the bridge between these two generations where technology is critical to produce better and greener lifestyles. Of course this includes fashion. Technology being the tool of choice at home to buy new clothing online.
Millennial parents also champion a new age of parenting as they are more aware of sustainable approaches, as it is a generation more racially diverse. Also, millennials are more likely to raise their children with more options to help reduce gender stereotypes in fashion, for being less charmed by continuing the pink-blue girl-boy tradition.
And it is here where the Netherlands is one of the happy leaders on helping reduce the black-and-white concept of gender identity in fashion, and gender stereotype. Images below are but just a few options of my findings around girls and boys clothing diverse apparel, also far from the over-sexualised choices that traditional mass production usually offer.
#sustainability #genderroles #fashion
A few hours ago, Niek was here.
Niek is helping me out with his photo skills in one of my projects as a resident (or occupant) at Baltan Laboratories, where today some research on algae based textiles and textures was carried out. My desk research sent me directly to this “chocolate-bar” factory in the Netherlands, my fieldwork approach sent me back to our desk, where texture and textile designer Carolyn Raff “lives” thanks to having some of her biopolymer sample packages.
Since having the chance to meet Carolyn in person in her hometown, the value of this experiment has enlarged enormously.
Today Martina was also around so I had more fun as we had an insightful chat over what would make her choose sample #2 over sample #3, or the other way round (picture). Since Martina is vegan, she went for the one that has zero animal products even though the biopolymer used is recycled, as it conflicts with her vegan lifestyle. Making sample #2 involves cochineal blood in the process, which is also used in Mexico for dyeing yarns. Sample #3 on the other hand is made with phycocyanin (also a potential drug for cancer treatment), and astaxanthine, which also makes the texture more flexible and thiner.
However, the most exciting thing about today’s experiment is to learn that coming Friday, more people are joining us to do it again. Where? at the New Order of Fashion Store where other experiments on sustainable design approaches in fashion and textile making of the 21st century will be taking place - are you joining us at 13:30h?
#sustainability #design #textiles
This week was like no other. Packed of intense critical thoughts on community building, field trips and research.
On the side, we head out to New Order of Fashion 2nd-hand clothing store, where Brandon and I met Joelle (staff). We chat further about my Occupy Baltan project and textile sustainable approaches starting from the design of clothing, to consumerism and the impact of reusing and recycling fabrics and clothing.
Our face conversations were very fruitful as we experienced being at the store.
Below is a visual of Brandon's DAE print project on mapping and analyzing three migrants in his neighbourhood, and how emigration conditions influence our woven communities. The chart highlights his findings as a student and not necessarily as an anthropologist.
Prof. of fashion research and technology Troy Nachtigall online lecture, Data as a Material for Fashion was worth.
My fascination with this lecture started as soon as I learnt that he grew up with an interest in sewing and electronics, and how computational and textile technology seemed pretty obviously intertwined to him. During the lecture it all got clearer how the two subjects has made him to become, what it’s been called until recently, a fashion technologist.
The interest in wearable technology took him to explore further on and carry on research in Wearable Computing with renown fashion houses and at different university campuses. Prof. Troy has also worked with knitted wearable technology companies that have served in preparation for more sustainable forms of living. The list of people involved in his projects run from fashion and interior designers, to architects, chemists and material engineers.
Prof. Troy is a strong believer in something many of us, who are interested in textiles as part of our creative journey want. That means that if there was ever a moment to change fashion, it is now —thanks to Covid.
Fashion is one of the largest polluters causing a serious negative impact.
And as prof. Troy put it nicely, “In order to change fashion we will need to change some assumptions about what fashion is. Three assumptions can help us understand fashion in a new way:
1. Fashion is any technology that envelops the body.
2. Fashion is made and worn with data as a material.
3. Fashion is the craftsmanship of dress.”
Craftsmanship is married to fashion design as clothing has been made, worn and analysed in the same manner for over the years. So, where is the disrupt? Nowhere really, but today, this disruption could come from technology for fashion to mirror our days: a time that is smart, digital, sustainable, inclusive and diverse.
Below some visuals.
#fashion #technology #sustainability #research
Today I met with Design Academy Eindhoven student Brandon Chow, to talk about intergenerational cooperation and the sociocultural approach given to my research tasks as part of Baltan Laboratories occupant social design program. Some research will be filmed as part of my film.
It couldn’t be any different. So far, more or less, everything I’ve developed professionally, that is, from translating the diary of an undergraduate student in Amsterdam born with brain damage, to the later above, engages sociocultural and cross-cultural perspectives. Such method, is thanks to seeing my career in culture and education as in filmmaking, more as social rather than cognitive activities.
My approach to second-hand clothing consumption won’t be any different. It all will have a cross-cultural intergenerational comparison between young and older consumers in the community. This challenge, plus Brandon’s multicultural background in Canada, brought me back to my life in Toronto before moving to the Netherlands, and read over current consumer behaviour findings.
Compared to mid 2000’s, Canada’s population hasn’t changed much in this regard. The population continues to have a high and diversified level of mass consumption with purchases mostly made in mass retailers and shopping centres. However, neighbourhood malls are no longer popular and many have disappeared for online shopping to take over and increase heavily.
According to latest data provided by Statistics Canada, the total spending of Canadian online shoppers reached over $50 billion in 2018, compared to $18 billion in 2012, with nearly above 80% of Internet users buying services locally. However, goods continue to be mainly produced internationally and now are mostly purchased online due to pandemic reasons. Imported products also continue to be considered more attractive due to the continuous immigration influence in consumer behaviour, especially with regards to food products. The government has addressed this minus point most recently by putting in place several regulations to control the nascent trend of buying things made in Canada.
Health concerns and health awareness continues to be steady among Canadian consumers where sustainable consumption, and the purchases of ethical or organic products are on the rise, where the second hand market has been growing. Reports show that in 2019, the trend for locally produced is particularly high among 18–24-year- olds, with consumers being more willing to buy at a higher price tag if clothes items are more sustainable.
#consumerbehaviour #textiles #socialdesign #research #documentary
The connections between electronic music and design are endless. Plus, the discipline of filmmaking involves conceptual, compositional and technical practices to create and integrate audio elements into a production.
Today, I met with sound designer Leon van Bokhorst who is going to help me out to develop a sound experiment involving textiles for something that I call, a global, yet, unique imagery of sounds and textiles for my social design residency project at Baltan Laboratories. Eventually, this experiment will be exhibited and also, part of my film production in the making LIFE IS A CULTURAL THREAD.
More fun news on the horizon!
#globalsounds #electronicmusic #socialdesign
Last night, we social designers occupants, presented our projects funded by Baltan Laboratories to different people in the field, including local and international non-profit organisations. The event took place in Kelderman en van Noort, an architectural treasure in Strijp-S in Eindhoven city.
In no other spirits than happiness and excitement, I got to shared about my social residency intergenerational project part of my film documentary currently in development (LIFE IS A ) CULTURAL THREAD, and the social and cultural layers in it to shed light to textile designers using alternative methods to bring them to life.
Entrepreneur Monica Flores Moreno owner of Turasnu clothing boutique in Maastricht in the Netherlands, works directly with indigenous Mexican women, families and communities in, or from Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico, who are involved in the tradition of textile making with alternative approaches since long. The importance of intergenerational collaboration, how to address environmental issues in the textile making process, as men supporting women in art, and other women working together with women designers and entrepreneurs, are also part of this full of live narrative.
For the next few months I’ll be in full mode conducting further research as on how the designing of garments end up affecting our daily lives, how circularity works, and on thermo-mechanical processes used in the reuse of yarns.
More stories are on the way!
#socialdesign #textiles #documentary #research
Sometimes it’s not art what inspires our lives but passionate families, couples, friends, and even colleagues or people we meet around the corner.
This audiovisual portrays the temporary textile art installation I made today at Baltan Laboratories with some handmade women’s garments by my dear grandmother and mother, by artist Christie van der Haak, by texture and textile designer Carolyn Raff and art historian Rosa Aray H.. All of them part of my film project (Life Is A) Cultural Thread.
As a social designer in residence at the laboratories, my study focuses on alternative sustainable consumerism as the reuse of textiles and fabrics in fashion. What inspired my installation was the iconic duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude artworks noted for wrapping up from objects to buildings, as for Christo’s large-scale environmental installations. The data collected during my residency, specially that on how the textile circularity works including the thermomechanical processing, will also be part of an exhibition when the program concludes.
#socialdesign #culture #textiles #artinstallation
These collages are of Cultural Thread, my research project in alternative sustainable consumerism as the reuse of textiles and fabrics in fashion, carried out as part of my film documentary in the making LIFE IS A CULTURAL THREAD (2022).
Design by Hugo Pilate featuring artists, designers, and entrepreneurs in the documentary: Christie van der Haak, Carolyn Raff, Mónica Flores Moreno, Satomi Minoshima, Pauline Agustoni, Rosa Aray H and knit work by Guadalupe Villagomez de Calderón de la Barca and J. del Carmen Calderón de la Barca Villagomez.
Photos by Niek T. Klasen and Viviana M. Calderón de la Barca
Made at Baltan Laboratories in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
As I made my way to BaltanLaboratories.org, for my first day this week as a social designer in residency, the morning was sunny gorgeous and my bike ride was busy with other bikers and people enjoying the summer city day outdoors. Life feels as though it has returned to Eindhoven, after over a year of lockdowns. The spirits remain high throughout the day - so ready for the challenge ahead!
Sarie and Leif (officers of the program), gave us a warm welcome inclusive of coffee, lunch, and a wrap up with huge smiles under the sun.
More about us all and our first event here. Your are all welcome to join!