Lasting Longevity was inspired by my travels to Vietnam. While there I was inspired by all the beautiful colours and textures, and their ways of life. I want to celebrate Vietnam and create awareness of their culture, through the use of their natural resources, bamboo and silk, and their colours and patterns.
‘Longevity’ means duration of life, if you have longevity, you have a longer than average life. This is something the Monks worship and it was evident everywhere in Vietnam. I have taken a sustainable approach and I want my garments to have longevity and last longer than the average life, before returning into the earth.
In Buddhism bamboo is a symbol of longevity because it is the fastest growing plant on earth. It is one of the most sustainable materials in the textile industry due to its durability and rapid growth rate. It doesn’t require any pesticides and uses less water than cotton in production. Lasting longevity is a sustainable collection that uses Bamboo and Silk, both bio-degradable, anti-bacterial fibres. The soft drape of the bamboo contrasts with the strong structural lines of the silk garments, creating diversity in the collection. Jersey and knitted bamboo fall softly as capes, while digitally printed silk is adorned with bright Vietnamese inspired patterns. My previous collection was very structural and had the aesthetic of raw bamboo, in Lasting Longevity there are still elements of structure in the tailoring which references the the structural side of raw bamboo and my last collection while also using elements of bamboo fibre in knit fabric.
I have focused on garments being durable and having a long life, through use of fabrics/finishes, but also design. By creating garments that can be changed for a different look they last longer in the eyes of the wearer, as they are likely to enjoy them for longer.
There are so many sustainable pathways to follow, and I have found it hard to try and follow them all. But focusing on one or two aspects can make a huge difference. The base root of sustainability in my collection is using local resources from Vietnam, hoping to boost economy and local labour. Both silk and bamboo are renewable sources and are generally good for the environment. Both materials would be produced in the most eco-friendly efficient way with reduced chemicals hoping to mimic somewhat ‘cradle to cradle’ design approach. I looked at designers, ‘EDUN’ who are focused on producing labour in Africa, wherever possible, they get their resources from Africa and are starting to produce more and more in Africa. They get their organic cotton from farmers in Africa, If Lasting Longevity was to be a commercial collection, relationships would be built with Vietnamese farmers/factories to create sustainable products and fair-trade labour.
Digital printing was also an important aspect of my sustainability, I researched bio-degradable digital print, but couldn’t find anything, of course if it was available, it would be used. Digital printing cuts down on pollution from dying fabric and can also be printed onto natural fibres, so ideally the silk used would be digitally printed.
I want my garments to be durable, and not require constant washing. Both silk and bamboo are perfect as they contain anti-bacterial properties. Bamboo also has the best water transfer rate and is good for being worn close to the skin which is why I have designed under-garments made from bamboo. Bamboo is also a very breathable fabric. If possible, my jackets and shirts would have green-shield fabric finish applied to them to help increase durability and reduce washing needs. A huge issue in sustainability is the amount of water being used to wash clothes after the wearer has bought them. The finish doesn’t affect the final look of the product however, it wouldn’t be bio-degradable.
‘Lasting Longevity’ aims to educate people about being sustainable, while still being fashionable. I hope my collection appeals to a wide market of women all around the world.