It happens all too often. There is a compulsive shopper in many of us. We have insatiable appetites that are tempted and toyed with by offers of quick fixes and fast buys in many of the shops we find ourselves scurrying through on a regular basis. We see it, hanging there on its metal rail, speaking silently but booming- buy me, take me home, you know you want to, you may not need me for long, but you need me right now, you don't really know why, but does it matter? This attraction is undeniable and we can and will only submit to defeat with mixed emotions of momentary satisfaction and doubt.
Many of us see no other consequence of such moments of weakness. We console ourselves with repeated assurances to the likeness of "Well it only costs a tenner, so if I don't use it much, who cares? I'll just get rid of it and buy something new to wear. Can’t wear the same thing over and over again now can I?" The heavy truth of the matter is there are consequences. Far worse than you suspect. With this overwhelming urgent neediness and immediate pleasure in the fashion world, comes a further injury to the one thing we need more than anything- our planet.
We can see the changes happening around us; climate changes, tsunamis, earthquakes, recessions, depletion of resources, outsourcing and imports, non biodegradable or processed fabrics- all felt globally both environmentally and economically. The effect of these seemingly minute choices has left vast imprints on the amount of money it costs to import textiles or garments and the carbon dioxide created by the production of these clothes.
According to Earth Pledge, a non profit organisation in New York, "At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles and 25% of the world's pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton. This causes irreversible damage to people and the environment, and still two thirds of a garment's carbon footprint will occur after it is purchased." http://www.earthpledge.org/ff
At a time when the fashion world has been called to make some drastic but necessary changes, there are two innovators that have responded with clothes that are sustainable, organic and at times, even edible.
You are what you eat; apparently thanks to Emily Crane, you can now eat what you wear. Emily Crane is creating an opportunity to include both the need for constant newness and distinctiveness in the consumer. She is a designer from London that is changing the way we look at and use materials for fashion. Having studied at Kingston University, she has been a leader in what is called Micro-Nutrient Couture. She is creating a new future for design; one derived from natural, already edible ingredients and molecular cooking. She uses things like gelatines, seaweed, glycerine and has even grown bubbles and frozen them in order to conceive garments that are not only haute coutoure but delectable. Soon, she is planning to release kits so that we can create our own edible garments at home.
"Through this unique process and development of new materiality I have laid an innovative creative foundation for future fashion design, conscious of the restraints of our future planet and the impact from current fashion cycles. My methods look towards ‘survival’ as a key factor informing my processes; fashion is no longer a thing of simple beauty, but of nutrition also." - Emily Crane as stated on her website: http://emilycrane.co.uk/emily.
Beatrice Oettinger is another European designer who is using natural and normally edible materials to create unique, cutting edge garments. Unlike Emily Crane's creations, hers, unfortunately, cannot be ingested. Beatrice is a German costume designer who blends the ideas of fashion and nature to create pieces that seem to be the things of fairy tales and dreams. She uses a variety of materials such as seeds, natural dyes from things like beet root, flowers, cereal, candy, moss, silks and cottons in her collections. She is creating a a new avenue for design that is both incredibly earth oriented but high end feeling. She, like Emily Crane is mixing the abundant need for uniqueness with an observance of the need for perishability. She is even taking orders for wedding dresses!
Emily Crane and Beatrice Oettinger have now given the world an immense opportunity for change, for fashion and for the possibility for no one to ever have to wear the same thing again; all while reducing massively the affects this industry has on our future as a planet.
Well there’s some food for thought.