Sustainability is Sexy: How People are Repurposing the Past During COVID-19 | Teen Ink

Sustainability is Sexy: How People are Repurposing the Past During COVID-19

December 7, 2021
By JRP123 GOLD, Purchase, New York
JRP123 GOLD, Purchase, New York
10 articles 8 photos 0 comments

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Shoot for the moon and even though you miss it you will land among the stars!

When most people think of “skimmed fat,” their mind typically goes to the meat industry. In the fashion world, though, this term refers to leftover fabric. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing new materials to become limited, designers have been implementing more sustainable practices and repurposing the “fat.”
For example, designer Gabriela Hearst used over 60% recycled materials in her recent fashion show. “Gabriela is an incredible designer, and using sustainable fabrics allowed us to stay on top rather than being depressed,” said Inga Ramos, the retail-manager for the Gabriela Hearst store on Madison Avenue. As someone who has worked for top brands such as CELINE, LANVIN and La Perla, Ramos says what differentiates Gabriela Hearst is her innovation in the face of adversity. “Gabriela understands what life is all about: sustainability, quality, women and creating a magic that no one else has. What she is doing is the future of fashion.”
Similarly, Helen Scanlon, a senior account executive at L’AGENCE, has seen fabrics being repurposed through the production of masks. “A lot of companies are creating masks from the excess fabric,” said Scanlon. She further explained that L’AGENCE has used recycled fabrics to help doctors during the mask shortage. “We donated over a million dollars worth of denim to front-line healthcare workers,” added Scanlon. “During this devastating time, I’m so glad that L’AGENCE has been able to help.”
Repurposing older fabrics has extended beyond the runway as well. For college freshman Daniella Tocco, 18, being unable to shop inspired her to DIY her own designs. “One project I’m proud of is when I ordered a few iron on patches from Etsy and purchased plain clothing from Amazon. I made different items of clothing using the patches to create new pieces,” said Tocco. “I also went through my closet and cleaned out all my clothes. If I found I had any old t-shirts that I no longer wore, I would cut them up to make them look more stylish or change up their look.”
Likewise, Instagram influencer Patricia Flach, 24, says she has integrated pieces from her older family members’ closets into her style. “I feel like my style is always evolving, but I’ve always been more drawn to timeless and classic pieces,” said Flach. She added that her grandmothers are her biggest style inspirations, saying, “I have some gold necklaces from my late Mimi that I pretty much wear every day, and I have also received a few incredible pieces of clothing from my Yiayia that I love incorporating into my closet.” She continued, “I guess it’s true when they say some things just never go out of style. I think that’s kind of my mentality when buying things for my wardrobe.”
Lynwood Holmberg, a noted buyer in high-end designer fashion, has noticed Tocco’s and Flach’s experiences become widespread in quarantine. “I’ve seen more women reconnecting with things they own and love as they have more time at home to go through their things, sort them out and enjoy,” said Holmberg. “Clothes can be such a wonderful expression of one’s personality and it is fun to see women have some time to play and think about what they want to wear.”
Prior to the pandemic, designers got into the habit of fast-fashion, a “throw-away wardrobe concept by making clothes so inexpensive that it was feasible to replace clothing often,” explains Cornell University apparel professor Frances Holmes Kozen. “The rapid style turnover upended the traditional retail seasons and caused consumers to constantly clamor for something new. Quality was abandoned in the name of cheap. So many who have been entranced by fast-fashion have no idea what quality garments actually look like,” she said. Quarantine has slowed down fast-fashion and allowed designers to reuse and appreciate what was once “skimmed fat.”
Ultimately, this global health crisis has led to designers rethinking their dated practices. Now, most are using nuanced, creative approaches to design unique styles, appealing to both the traditional consumer and shoppers concerned with ethical and moral practices. Among the darkness, the fashion industry is finding much light.

The author's comments:

Did you ever wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the fashion industry and how some designers are rethinking their creative approach and practices?

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