GreenStitched sits down with the finalists of Redress Design Award 2017 (earlier EcoChic Design Award). Redress Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition organised by Redress, inspiring emerging fashion designers and students to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste.
The interviews with these young designers will be posted every Thursday on GreenStitched.
Today we meet Joëlle, finalist of the Redress Design Award 2017.
What brought you into the world of fashion? That ‘aha’ moment which opened doors to sustainable fashion?
Joëlle: I used to be an over-consumer – at times I still am – driven by the satisfaction of a purchase. During my studies in fashion design I have learned how to appreciate a good garment through tailoring and design and hope to inspire behavioural change through my own exploration with textile waste, encouraging a shift away from one of the most challenging human issues of our time that is over-consumption.
I think it is important for the new generation of fashion designers to communicate a message about being aware of what happens in fashion nowadays, and to confront “over-consumers” about their behaviour.
What was your inspiration for the Redress Design Award collection?
Joëlle: The concept of my collection was about confronting myself as an ex-over consumer who has learned to value timelessness. For this collection, I was inspired by the multiple ways the same materials can be manipulated and transformed, creating the sense of a never-ending story. I’ve used design techniques such as zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction.
3 things you learnt from of the challenge?
Joëlle: A few things! I discovered the world of sustainable fashion. Before the Redress Design Award, I wasn’t familiar with sustainability, so this was the most interesting aspect for me when developing my collection. It was also an experience that made me confront myself as a designer in general and discovering where I want to be as a designer. Finally, it was fantastic learning other approaches and perspectives on sustainability from the all other finalists.
How do you think sustainable fashion can move from a niche to the mainstream?
Joëlle: When people become more aware and better informed about sustainability, they will also become more open for changing their behaviour – just take myself as an example. We all have to do it together for it to become mainstream.
What is the biggest misconception about sustainable fashion?
Joëlle: The biggest misconception about sustainability is that it’s for a certain group of “green” people. That it’s kind of boring and “old”. That’s so not true because there is can do so much more you can achieve with various sustainable fashion design techniques. You can also get very creative because of various limitations.
What is your advice for the next breed of fashion designers?
Joëlle: Just show the world what you can do with what you think is sustainable. Even if you don’t know that much about the topic, you’re already taking a big step. Just go for it!
Where do you go from here? What is next in store for you?
Joëlle: This March I am going to start my career, working as an assistant designer at a Dutch sustainable womenswear brand called Vanilia, based near Amsterdam.
You can find Joëlle’s work on Instagram.
Watch Frontline Fashion, a documentary following these talented Asian and European emerging fashion designers determined to change the future of fashion. As they descend into Hong Kong for the design battle of their lives, all eyes are on the first prize; to design an up-cycled collection for China’s leading luxury brand, Shanghai Tang. This documentary is available on iTunes here.
Find a screening of this documentary in India here.
The next cycle of the Redress Design Award is open for application till 13 March 2018. Interested designers can find more details here.