Slow Fashion at the RE:Design Market

November 25, 2019 by Perthshire Creates

Our first Christmas RE:Design Market is this coming Saturday 30 November at The Bike Station, 284 High St, Perth.  It’s a joint initiative with Zero Waste Perth, an opportunity to showcase the increasing number of creatives choosing to work solely with up cycled materials of all kinds, and an alternative Christmas shopping option for people genuinely looking to enjoy the traditional festive season from an eco-conscious perspective.

We asked if any of the participating artists wanted to write a blog about why they choose to work this way, Cornelia Weinmann who runs Cornelia Weinmann Design creates a garment collection of linen tops and jackets with decorative appliqué made from repurposed fabric was keen to share her story…

I’m Cornelia, and my business is upcycling: I use re-purposed fabric to create colourful appliqués as embellishment for my handmade linen garments, and I paint second hand furniture in contemporary designs. Re-using materials is a philosophy that I practically grew up with – clothing was regularly handed down in my family and I remember for example that we had boxes of nails in our shed which had been pulled out of some existing structure and hammered straight to be used again. My great grandfather and my grandmother were tailors, so sewing and mending were part of the everyday routines at home. Maybe that’s where my love of sewing comes from.

Earlier this year I visited the V&A Dundee for an event connected with Fashion Revolution week. FASHION REVOLUTION is a powerful movement that motivates consumers to ask questions: Who made my clothes? and Where and under what working conditions? I heard again that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter after the oil industry and that the cultivation of cotton for example requires incredibly large amounts of water and chemicals. During the event at the V&A Dundee the documentary UNRAVEL was shown, shedding light on what happens to the mountains of clothing that we discard. I saw how these unwanted garments were shipped to India, cut up and shredded to be re-spun into rough yarn for simple blankets to be shipped back to the West.

While I personally am meticulous about what and how much I buy, this documentary made me decide that I should contribute beyond the private level to a solution of our textile waste problems. I had heard of SLOW FASHION, a term coined in analogy to slow food as a response to our unhealthy consumption of fast food. Slow fashion fights the fact that we have become addicted to fast fashion, to cheaply produced, disposable, trend-chasing garments. A recent Oxfam research study revealed that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought in the UK each minute. And an estimated eleven million garments end up in the landfill each week in our country.

Slow fashion stands for the production of high quality garments that last much longer and are produced in an ethical and environmentally responsible way. Slow fashion also includes items made from reclaimed fabric and items that are second hand and vintage. It is therefore a component of a circular economy that seeks to eliminate waste and re-use resources.

My business Cornelia Weinmann Design contributes to slow fashion because I concentrate on working with re-purposed fabric. At the moment I create fabric collages to be appliquéd on my handmade linen garments, and I use second hand fabric also for lining, facing and binding.

When I have more time I will start applying techniques that I know from painting and printmaking (my previous art practice) and decorate larger pieces of hand dyed re-purposed fabric for ornate panels or as base material for more clothing made in my studio.

I’m showing the first collection of my handmade garments at the first ever Christmas RE:Design market on November 30th at The Bike Station, 284 High Street, Perth, open from 10am 4pm – I’m looking forward to your visit!