1 – Look at the work of some textile practitioners, designers and artists who work with recycled materials.
2 – Quote “recycling encourages complacency and can actually produce more waste by encouraging consumption” – do I agree with this ? How might it be avoided ?
Some artists / designers who use recycled materials in their work.
See also my post about Rebecca Early – the magazine article, as she has completed a body of work using entirely recycled materials, polyester blouses to be precise. Please use tag at the bottom.
2 – Emotionally durable design quote.
It is reasonable to suggest that because we are able to recycle so easily through clothing banks and collections or by donating to charity shops that we have a very casual attitude towards buying new clothes, wearing them for s short amount of time and then disposing of them with considerable ease, so yes I do agree with this statement but I feel this is because we are able to buy replacement items just as easily. We don’t place any value on the items of clothing that we have because we, generally speaking, pay so little for them because of cheap imports or because the quality is so poor. We are also not expected to keep our clothes for very long as fashion trends change and we are influenced and encouraged to upgrade our wardrobes regularly. Clothing retailers are encouraging this by the mass export of cheap clothing from China and making garments so easily available at “silly” prices. Being able to buy 2 tops for £5 for example only encourages us to be so relaxed about buying the items in the first place and then discarding them so readily when we grow tired of them. This encourages our mass consumerism and our throwaway clothing culture. We are actively persuaded to buy/wear/dispose.
What can be done? – I don’t think there is one single answer here. There is clearly a need for the ongoing work to raise awareness of fair trade/cheap labour /ethical products so that the shoppers of today are informed and those of the future are educated to make better buying decisions. We can individually take responsibility for our own buying habits and when buying clothes we should consider where the clothing we throw away may end up – “can it be recycled easily or will it go to landfill, and how do I feel about that?” Ultimately I think we need to take a step back and look at our buying habits as a whole and decide just how much we really need to buy rather than how much we are encouraged to buy. Ask ourselves do we really need to buy a new top ? – is it very similar to something we have already? Can we re-style our current clothes for example? Give extra value through extended life? Ideally, although an almost impossible trend to reverse, we should reduce the import of cheaper textiles so that we value what we buy a little more but I feel a more realistic option is to manufacture clothes that are more recycling friendly from the outset. For example, don’t combine fibres with conflicting bio-degradable properties so we choose materials consciously and use methods of production that fit into a good circular flow of recycling. This way we are working alongside our current shopping habits rather than trying to fight a fight that is impossible to win.