Pledging to be more Sustainable with your Fashion Purchases and Creative Projects

Fashion and Sustainability

A few years ago, I gave a TedTalkX at San Diego Mesa College where I am a Professor of Fashion. I had no idea what I was getting into when I offered to do it. But I learned a lot through my research as I prepped for my lecture on Fashion and Sustainability.

The main take-way I wanted the audience to get, was that although the problems seem like big industry problems, they are also an ‘us’ problem… the consumer.

We buy, we use, we dispose.

Here is a link of the interview I did with Chelsea Bussemeier for the Sew Like a Pro the Future of Fashion summit. See info at the end of this blog entry.

So, we need to make an effort to change the way we approach our consuming habits. I’ve developed a Pledge Card for you to download. And as we approach Earth Day and Fashion Revolution week in the UK – both in late April, we can start to get into gear to do our small yet powerful part in making our creative life more sustainable.

Here is the Pledge Card that I developed and gave to everyone in the audience. Download it and print it out, and then take the pledge to be involved.

When I create patterns to sew or knit projects, I almost always have sustainability in mind. There are so many ways to approach this, so here is a brief list of my various approaches.

  • Use what I have, don’t buy new until you use up some of your stash
  • Save the scraps of decent size to reuse in creative ways
  • Approach your pattern design in a manner that lets you be more efficient
  • Push your creativity a bit, and take a squarish style (that minimizes waste) and dress it up (see my example below)

Recent Sustainable Fashion

This garment utilizes a Zero-Waste philosophy in that it is primarily a rectangle shape. I am challenged by the idea of taking a simple rectangle and finding create ways to make it appear much more involved and definitely more fashionable. Garment Designer pattern software makes this very easy to do.

The top below is made from a remnant of handwoven fabric I purchased overseas. It was barely enough to make a top, but I knew I would figure out a way.

Handwoven Rectangular Body with Crochet Collar and Sleeve Bands

Although the pattern is extremely simple, I only really needed the neckline pattern, so those were the pages I printed out from Garment Designer. However, I did use the program to build the collar and armband pieces which I intended to crochet.

Pattern for Handwoven Top
The crocheted sleeves and collar

Sew Like a Pro: Future of Fashion Summit

I am involved in the Sew Like a Pro: The Future of Fashion summit which goes live this coming Friday, March 25th, 2022. I was interviewed by Chelsea Bussemier this week and our topic was Fashion and Sustainability. This will be the opening lecture for her summit. You can click here to sign up for the free lectures as top experts share their knowledge for easy, sustainable, and fashion-forward garment sewing.