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 Candle, winner of the Redress Design Award 2017!
What brought you into the world of fashion? That ‘aha’ moment which opened doors to sustainable fashion?
Candle: When I was younger, I always enjoyed reading fashion magazines. That developed my interest in fashion and inspired me to sketch and design a lot back then, but I started entertaining the thought that it could be a possible career for me when I was asked to design garments for a pageant. Since then, I’ve been competing in fashion design competitions and I was able to get a scholarship to study Fashion Design and Marketing.
Joining the Redress Design Award opened the door for my development in sustainable fashion. I didn’t know that much about the subject until I decided to join the competition. I remember, when I was doing my entry I went through all the educational materials redress have in their website which introduced me to sustainable fashion and gave me some inspiration about how I can make a difference as a designer. As I continued to learn I’m becoming more interested in it.
What was your inspiration for the Redress Design Award collection?
Candle: My inspiration came from the chaos brought about by sea storms. Through my collection I wanted to highlight how vulnerable we were to natural disasters. The consequences on us would be severe if we continued to be insensible towards the environment. I applied the design techniques of up-cycling and reconstruction along with the use of natural dyes to transform secondhand textiles and clothes.
3 things you learnt from of the challenge?
Candle: First, I learnt that we can do a lot of wonderful things with textile waste. It only requires our creativity and our strong will to push it even further to transform all of it.
Second, there are a lot of techniques and options we can use to minimize or even zeroed out environmental impacts. Doing the Redress Design Awards taught me the techniques of zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction but I know there are more techniques and technologies we can apply to create every design sustainable. We just need to do more research to look for those existing techniques, technologies or even ideologies and apply them.
Lastly, I also learnt the importance of educating consumers about sustainable fashion and how can they help to minimize environmental impact through re-evaluating their buying habits. If we can let the consumer know that their choices can create a positive impact, for sure we can draw in a lot of people to join the sustainable bandwagon.
How do you think sustainable fashion can move from a niche to the mainstream?
Candle: Aside from providing products that are sustainable we also need to educate consumers about sustainable fashion. We should let them know that they can create positive environmental impact through making better choices when buying. Promoting awareness about this wonderful cause will definitely move sustainable fashion into the mainstream.
What is the biggest misconception about sustainable fashion?
Candle: The biggest misconception about sustainable fashion is that it is an unpolished handcraft. I think consumers are hesitant because they think that sustainable fashion is uncomfortable because it is made from textile waste but nowadays there has been a lot of eco-friendly technology that can transform textile waste to a comfortable and polished merchandise in line with the traditional fashion items we normally see in stores.
What is your advice for the next breed of fashion designers?
Candle: My advice to next breed of fashion designer is that they need reevaluate and incorporate sustainable design techniques to their design processes. They can create positive environmental impact through eliminating waste during the design process. They should be mindful of their material choices. After all, as designers we are equipped with an important strength, which is our creativity, to transform textile waste.
Where do you go from here? What is next in store for you?
Candle: After the Redress Design Awards, I am planning to push myself to build a brand which is 100% sustainable. Joining the competition, I have found that it really is possible. There is a lot of textile waste waiting to be discovered and be transformed. As of right now I’m creating a sustainable collection and plan to launch my brand in October. I am currently sourcing my textile waste. In the future I also plan to include accessories into my line using textile waste and I am really excited to do all these things with environmental consciousness.
You can follow Candle’s work on his Instagram
The Redress Design Award 2018 semi-finalists have just been announced and Redress are asking you to be a judge and vote for your favourite of these 30 emerging sustainable designers from across the world who will be awarded the ‘People’s Choice’. Vote now at redressdesignaward.com
Find a screening of the Frontline Fashion documentary in India here.