My sister in law gave me a wonderful silk purse a couple of years ago. I've always wanted to replicate it and I think by applying a zero waste approach, I figured out how, while keeping her gift intact and not using it as a pattern.
After returning from vacation I decided to try and dye some fabric from the red cliff rocks I collected on our trip. The area where they came from is well known for its red stained mountains and it is also a place of pilgrimage for my husband's family.
The colour looked hopeful in the steaming mud bath on my stove, but after a rinse and a wash, a subtle amount remained. Because the original purse is silk, I thought I could also include some of my hemp and silk fabric into the final piece. I was also curious to see if the silk would absorb more of the red rock colour when dyed. Interestly, it did not, but came out the same subtle earthy off white.
The purse is so relaxed, yet elegant, and the more you fill it, the better it looks. I used multiple chevrons cut out of hemp silk to adorn the surface. A full length zipper makes for ease of access. Two shoulder straps come together to give the purse its unique shape.
The silk touches make this purse feel like it is for an evening out or a special occasion, yet the versatility of it and generous space makes it a functional as a diaper bag. It is reminiscent of the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, furoshiki, which promotes reducing waste. It is an art and a study in and of itself.
Returning to the rhetoric around zero waste design, I will leave you with this quote that I recently came across from Not Just A Label .com.
"Amidst all of this, the slow fashion movement and sustainable fashion at large is quite literally about slowing down and taking the time to do everything with consciousness. In saying that, any single sustainable process by itself isn’t enough. Timo Rissanen, who is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Fashion at Parsons in NYC talks about how we need to explore zero waste at its intersections with other ways of thinking if we want to truly change the fashion industry. If all garments were made in a zero waste manner but at the same volumes as clothes are made today, this wouldn’t actually be much better. Other things need to done: consumption behaviour needs to be challenged, technology needs developing, and we just need to do things differently. It’s a multi-faceted problem that needs a multi-faceted approach and anyone can start simply by getting into habits such as turning off lights, using energy efficient bulbs, recycling and using natural materials."