Oliwia Brzezinska

Bold / Feminine / Chic

The designer investigated the notion of buying a whole summer wardrobe in a country where summer is not exactly tropical and does not last long. How can we create that seasonal garment without impacting the environment as much? Oliwia visited thrift shops with a colour palette in mind and found the perfect pieces. Developing the concept, Oliwia deepened her research in the 70’s hippie movement. This subculture, notorious for their ecological and anti-capitalist approach to consumerism, inspired the shape of her garment.

Draping and designing on the stand is a necessary step when designing with limited resources. In order to figure out a realistic garment, Oliwia tested lengths, took measurements and prototyped her garment before moving to the next phase.

Casual Reconstructed British Summer Look

“Through this project I want to show that many clothes laying around our houses, charity shops and many other places can be reused and deconstructed to create something that can last for years and be in fashion. This is because something that is in fashion right now, will again be in f ashion in a couple of years. Why buy the same piece of clothing over and over again, when a new look is already laying in our wardrobe?” -Oliwia Brzezinska

Ianik Lopes

Streetwear/Denim/Deconstruction

In the last years deconstruction has become an integral practice of many design schools. It is a project thought in pretty much every curriculum. Denim is a perfect candidate thanks to its durability and easy look. Taking apart old garments is at the base of Ianik’s process. All of the denim items he collected have interesting details and design features.

A contrasting thread, and inside out seam or a pocket in an unusual placement. These apparently small details contribute to make a garment unique. Experimenting positioning on the stand is how Ianik navigates the design process. A long dungaree is the final shape decided by Ianik. The designer patched pieces and leftovers of denim together to create a larger piece of denim that could contain the pattern of his new design.

“Details like contrasting colour overlocked edges make for interesting details in the research of my new recycled design. There is a number of pre-existing things that I must consider in this type of design process.” -Ianik Lopes

Luciano Rocha

Edgy/Loud/DIY

Casual train encounters, London playful fashion scene and inspiration from famous designers who used similar shapes ad texture. For Luciano “bubbles of fabric” became a concept of interest. The designer shifts form initial ideas to fabric manipulations and experiments on the garment. Sketches and patchworks are some of the tools this designer uses to test ideas.

Below we can see his initial idea for a slogan. The designer reworded his long slogan in a punch line. This is more adapt to the type of “immediate action” he wishes to see on the matter of pollution and planet life. He made a transformation From a mass produced T-shirt to a unique Custom Piece.

“I am a PUNK. I have been practicing sustainability for a while now without even realising it, by up-cycling my own wardrobe and customising/reworking some of my clothes to adapt them to my taste and current style. I have also been creating pieces of art to display on walls by using old dining plates that I buy from charity shops and paint and decoupaging them creating unique designs, inspired by pop culture.” -Luciano Rocha

Smaranda Filip

Crochet/Plastics/Textiles/Make do and mend, these among the inspirations and core elements at the base of her designer practice. This versatile technique can turn virtually any material in a textile. Smaranda appreciates keeping traditions alive and optimistically reworks any material she can put her hands on.

Creating the “Alternative Threads”. Smaranda’s practice is very textile based and she like to design starting from the material. Crochet and other fabric manipulation techniques allow designer to tap into a more meaningful practice that really considers all aspects, from sustainability to aesthetics. When creating fashion, the final goal is assumed to be a garment but many things can happen in between. Smaranda experimented by creating pillows filled with her plastic textile. They are suitable for outdoors and waterproof.

“My idea is using what I called “alternative threads” or “unconventional threads”, using plastic or textile threads from used clothes or plastic bags to make a crochet hand work that can be then used to produce items for garments or for the household: panels for a folding screen, blinds or even a cushion for outdoors or as car seats. ” -Smaranda Filip

Caramel Rock & Commonwealth Fashion Council 2021
Suchada Sae-Khow

Suchada is a textile fabric developer, and knitwear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Art and Design. She is passionate about sustainability and ethical design practices in the fashion industry. Her interest in sustainability began when she moved from Thailand to North Wales at 12 years old. As a child of an immigrant family, she grew up up-cycling old clothes and fabrics from charity shops by customising, deconstructing, dying and bleaching them to make each piece unique.

Suchada plans to create knitwear pieces that have less than 10% emissions impact by using recycled year off-cut yarns from charity, unravelling yarn from pre-loved clothing, working with suppliers and manufacturers, as well as using plant-based pineapple leaf yarns, which she is sourcing from NextEvo. Suchada aims to promote sustainable agriculture and zero-waste by working with farmers in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. Recycling and reconstructing pineapple leaves into fibres.

Matthew Solomon

Matthew is a unisex designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design. He has designed a collection of outerwear, raincoats, ponchos and jackets inspired by research done on fashion designers Christopher Marley and Yves Kline. Matthew’s faith is an important influence in his work. It fuels him to think consciously about his choices, his craft’s environmental impact, and how these choices could act more positively. In moving away from fast fashion practices, he hopes to inspire friends and his community to make similar changes in how they consume fashion and how this relates to their craft.

Matthew said his first touchpoint to sustainability was on the course. Learning about this initiative with the Commonwealth Fashion Council inspired him to research eco-fashion and sustainable fashion.

Matthew explained that one constant in this journey he sees playing a big part in the progression of his craft and brand is the research into sustainable practices, materials and processes, which enables him to make informed choices from 2D ideas into 3D.

Alessandro Mensitieri

Alessandro is a menswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design. He aims for comfort, freedom of movement and relaxation, which has led him to create a collection where ‘outerwear wraps the body softly, T-shirts slide over the shoulders’ and ‘trousers support movements’. 80% of his collection was made from off-cuts, end of rolls and discarded fabric.

Alessandro’s clean lines and simple shapes were designed in mind to support easy manufacturing of larger scales. As the items are easy to produce, they are suitable for teaching others how to sew and sharing these skills and patterns. Alessandro states: My collection is based on carving out one’s own space, stopping, reflecting and recharging, to avoid being engulfed by the hectic lifestyle. Only this way can man be saved from a ‘system crash’ that I fear will inevitably come if we fail to give the right time. Alessandro represents a hope for the sustainable production and design of luxury fashion, working with off-cuts and end-of-rolls to create and dictate the outcome of his designs. He supports local businesses by purchasing trims and treads needed in production. He is keen on developing relationships with local millers and fabric suppliers.

Diva Stoilova

Diva is a womenswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Art and Design. She is a hunter-gatherer of unique objects and garments as well as being passionate about sustainability, this being her driving force. She has created an ever-changing wardrobe of button-down skirts that can be connected using the button stands of opposite shirts. Through this, Diva has identified that there is no need to buy one shirt for one use, but one garment can have multiple benefits and functions in your wardrobe.

For this competition, Diva has outlined a plan to source materials with her local community. Diva has outlined that though working with local councils, donation boxes could be set up to get residents involved with sustainable fashion practices. Diva has also outlined the possibility to work with larger organisations in the vintage and thrift shop sector like Rocket or Beyond Retro, who gather and source materials to sell. Through connecting and skill sharing with her local community, Diva aims to bring old clothes and a new lease of life by mending clothes with different embroidery techniques from Commonwealth countries and makers and crafters throughout the Commonwealth. Diva hopes that clothes will be saved from landfills and that unique embroidery techniques and histories can be passed on through generations and throughout the Commonwealth Community.

Irza Shafique

Irza is a womenswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design. She aims to aid family and friends in re-framing the uses of pre-worn special occasion saris. Merging Western and traditional south Asian attire, Irza aims to create outfits that are fit to sparkle and dazzle for those special times a year when friends and family come together to celebrate whilst making some separate wearable pieces to build a sustainable wardrobe.

In Irza’s South Eastern culture, it is tradition to buy something new as a good deed for the day. She wanted to make something that she could wear time and time again whilst introducing sustainable design practices. This was an excellent project for during lockdown as it helps keep her mind focused whilst fasting.

Irza said: “I want to create something new, using stuff I already had in my wardrobe, merging my Southeastern culture and western cultures, making something that is special for Eid but can be worn separately after the celebrations. Irza wants to connect with tailors and fabric merchants to use their end of rolls and off-cuts to create new pieces within her community. Irza has also outlined that these new pieces must be still wearable after occasions. Sourcing clothes from charity and vintage stores will aid her and her community to tie these pieces into their everyday wardrobe.