We currently live within the Anthropocene – an epoch characterised by its connection with climate change and a growing understanding that the actions (or inactions) of society are responsible for the growing climate crisis. However, this epoch also brings with it the belief that we can work towards a better future.
I will be promoting upcycling, a growing fashion phenomenon that moves away from the idea of clothing items being devalued as they are mended and instead shows that the process of refashioning adds value (Koch, 2019). Upcycling allows the everyday person to customise their wardrobe, moving away from the uniformity of fast fashion. Instead, it is part of the slow fashion movement that “aims to improve the quality of life for people in and affected by the fashion industry and examines all aspects of the garment life-cycle: from fibre harvesting to disposal” (Cataldi, Dickincon & Grover, 2017).
Textile consumption in Australia is particularly bad, with most Australians buying 14.8kg of clothing every year, while 10kg a person – roughly 260,000 tonnes in total – is put into landfill. There are varying reports on donation statistics, one article states that “charities are overwhelmed; only 1% of the total collected and disposed of garments are recycled.” However reports from Charitable Recycling Australia say the opposite, and that 86% of the items collected are recovered and reused. I want to look into this disparity so I can discover if donating to charities is a sustainable option.
The UN has developed 17 sustainable development goals as a way to work towards reducing carbon emissions by 2030. My project works around the 12th goal “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.”
The fact that caring for our things would destroy our economy says a lot about the economy.MyVisibleMend
Historically, the process of mending and patching up textiles has been viewed as lower-class as high society promotes the newest trends. This has led to the fast-fashion culture, maximising profits for corporations while everyday are people stuck in a dangerous loop.
myvisiblemend is a Norwegian creator and has been a major inspiration for this project, and I’ve linked one of her videos talking about this economic cycle. A quote that stands out as quite chilling is “the fact that caring for our things would destroy our economy says a lot about the economy.”
Initially, I want to focus on my research and informing people about the benefits of upcycling, as I have only recently started embroidering and working with a sewing machine. As I grow more confident in my skills I have several projects I want to work on. In my timeline, I haven’t given any exact dates as to how long these projects may take as I don’t want to risk ruining a project by rushing it. Many of the projects are sentimental as they are hand-me-downs from my grandfather – this connection is something I want to draw on when I work so I can personalise my research and show the human side of the facts I share.
Within my project, I also hope to create a feedback loop with my audience as well as other content creators. I want to keep my timeline as flexible as possible so I can focus my research according to my follower’s wants and needs. I’ve made TikTok, Twitter and Instagram accounts to promote Stitch the Sky and am intending to create a Carrd soon.
References (including those in pitch video) Cataldi, C., Dickson, M. and Grover, C. (2017) “Slow fashion: Tailoring a strategic approach for sustainability,” in Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles. 1st edn. London: Routledge, pp. 21–46. Caulfield, K. (2009) Sources of Textile Waste in Australia. rep. https://studylib.net/doc/18791293/sources-of-textile-waste-in-australia. Available at: https://studylib.net/doc/18791293/sources-of-textile-waste-in-australia (Accessed: March 17, 2023). Charitable Impact (2021) Charitable Recycling Australia. Available at: https://www.charitablerecycling.org.au/education/charitable-impact/ (Accessed: March 17, 2023). Coming full circle on fast fashion for a sustainable future (2021) Monash Lens. Monash University. Available at: https://lens.monash.edu/@environment/2021/03/31/1382982/coming-full-circle-on-fast-fashion-for-a-sustainable-future (Accessed: March 15, 2023). Kelly, C. (2022) Australians buy almost 15kg of clothes every year and most of it ends up in landfill, report finds, The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jul/20/australians-buy-almost-15kg-of-clothes-every-year-and-most-of-it-ends-up-in-landfill-report-finds (Accessed: March 15, 2023). Koch, K. (2019) “Clothing Upcycling, Textile Waste and the Ethics of the Global Fashion Industry,” Zonemoda journal, 9(2), pp. 173–182. Available at: https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2611-0563/10053. Opperskalski, S. et al. (2021) Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report. rep. Textile Exchange. Available at: https://textileexchange.org/app/uploads/2021/08/Textile-Exchange_Preferred-Fiber-and-Materials-Market-Report_2021.pdf (Accessed: March 15, 2023). Sadowski, M., Perkins, L. and Mcgarvey, E. (2021) ROADMAP TO NET ZERO: DELIVERING SCIENCEBASED TARGETS IN THE APPAREL SECTOR. rep. World Resources Institute. Available at: https://files.wri.org/d8/s3fs-public/2021-11/roadmap-net-zero-delivering-science-based-targets-apparel-sector.pdf?VersionId=LxrwUSv9dHytM7zybuQgoJ8LUHBZVgM1 (Accessed: March 15, 2023).
Your large amount of background research shines throughout the entire blog post, detailing exactly the impacts of clothing manufacturing, and highlighting through specific terminology how your project will address this.
I think your research in relation to this project would benefit from a mixed methodology approach due to the use of video/audio platforms. I recommend reading this mixed-methodologies report by SR Terrell to help guide your research approaches: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ973044.pdf
I appreciate your consideration and flexibility within your constructed timeline, as projects along these fashion lines always change, adapt, and can take longer than usual. Your personal reasoning clearly shows how important these projects are to you as an outside hobby unrelated to just this assessment and I can’t wait to see how Stitch The Sky proceeds.
Steph! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your DA! I can not believe that the textile consumption in Australia and the amount that is put into landfill – 260,000 tonnes?!?
I love your idea of evolving articles of clothing that were owned by your grandfather, and putting a very sentimental touch on your DA!
Some articles that I found that I think will benefit your DA:
Looking forward to watching your DA blossom and I’m sure that it will – you sound like you are extremely invested and passionate about the topic. I will most definitely be following on all your platforms – TikTok, Twitter and Instagram!
Sorry, the comment before was mine, however, I commented from the wrong wordpress and cannot delete it! I’ll recomment here:
Your blog post presents an interesting concept of up cycling clothing as a way to contribute to sustainable consumption and production patterns. You effectively highlight the issue of textile waste in Australia and propose up cycling as a solution to the fast fashion culture that has led to environmental degradation. The use of statistics and quotes from credible sources adds credibility to the arguments presented. I love the concept of Stitch the sky and can’t wait to see how you transform some old clothing!
This youtube clip could be a great resource for some inspiration when recreating old pieces:
A potential idea could be utilising Depop to sell items if you are interested. I know refurbished clothes are a massive trend at the moment and this could be a way to monetise your digital artefact. Depop also is an advocate for sustainability however has had some backlash, so potentially you could show viewers how to use the platform sustainably e.g reusing packaging.
If you chose to go down that route, this article may assist you:
I would’ve love to seen more on how your are going to generate content across all platforms for example a prototypes, however, it is early stages so thats understandable and you seem as though you are on the right track!
Overall, your concept and methodology is clear and I am excited to see how your DA develops throughout the semester!
Hi Steph, love it! While I was trepidatious about reading yet another fashion DA pitch – your approach is not only unique but also absolutely necessary. We go through a ridiculous amount of clothing and it’s not made to last anymore; this is a systemic problem. Your background research is meticulous (damn girl u came with stats) and your reasoning and inspirations for this project are well-documented and sound. TBH this is some HD work and I am very impressed.
The whole process of mending damaged clothing items reminds me of the Japanese concept of kintsugi; or repairing broken crockery with gold. The result highlights the damage with a story and is more beautiful than before. The same can be said for fashion! I wonder if you could produce content about this concept..? Anyway here’s the wiki link maybe it will be useful maybe not: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi
In terms of your audience there is a certain core demographic who will be naturally interested in upcycling and want to DIY it, but it could be really useful to understand how to create content to appeal to an audience beyond that core. I found this marketing paper that goes into detail about the marketing strategy of an upcycling brand and think it may be useful for your content..? https://journal.binus.ac.id/index.php/BBR/article/view/7534
I think investigating whether or not donating to charities is actually beneficial is a great line of questioning and am interested to see your results.