Earlier this year Premsela, Institute for Design and Fashion, asked three Dutch fashion designers to think about how to combine fashion with sustainability. The results were on display for six weeks last spring in the Designhuis in Eindhoven. I want to highlight the work of one of the designers, Iniy Sanchez, here.
Sanchez designed pieces of knitwear that are made of one thread and can be brought back to that one thread, so that a new garment can be made of it. In Design.nl Magazine, published by Premsela, Sanchez elaborates on her idea of what sustainability really is. She emphasizes that sustainability is about physical durability, but more importantly about emotional value. If consumers do not love items, physical durability really looses its importance. You end up with pieces that last a lifetime, but that no one wants to wear. As a designer you want to design things that people will treasure.
I’ve researched the possibility of designing meaning into things (you can read a bit about that here) and it really is close to impossible. You can never be sure something you design will become meaningful to a consumer. You can make your designs as susceptible as possible to meaning giving. For instance by allowing your design to grow or transform according to the needs of the consumer. Sanchez’s knitted sweaters are a good example of this strategy. When no longer in need of a grey sweater, it can be brought down to a single thread that can then be used to knit something that you do need.
Sanchez points out that her ultimate goal with these designs is not so much financial profit, as it is raising awareness about quality and what material things you really need in your life.