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Identify Unit: Sustainable Skin

Monya Chana FDR YR2

Design Rationale One of my starting points for this project was researching about sustainability within the fashion industry. From there I was able to establish a concept. One area highlighted through research was fast fashion and the impact on human wellbeing. Workers mass producing clothes for the mass market and as a result earning below the minimum wage and in majority of cases working in awful manufacturing conditions. There are numerous amounts of newspaper articles highlighting the injustice to human welfare. What was of interest to me was the emergence of positive and unique brands for example Soko Kenya and People Tree. Companies like these envision a production unit based on ethical principles that could offer quality Cut, Make and Trim (CMT) services by creating a link between the international fashion industry and underdeveloped communities by empowering employment and growth. The major advantage of this is that women and men in developing countries are empowered to start work with these human friendly brands to support their family and themselves. I read about two particular worker cases; one highlighted on the ‘Labour behind the Label’ website and the other a newspaper article identifying a worker in the recent Bangladesh factory collapse- Luisa Alfaro and Reshma Begum, respectively. Both garment makers mentioned that nobody cares about the workers but only about the products. Having reflected, I considered taking influence from the idea of empowerment and identity. We are all aware of the hidden under the garment ‘Made in Bangladesh’ information label, I wanted to design a Spring/ Summer range that identified the garment’s maker by name. Ultimately the worker is using their hands to create these garments and finger prints was something I wanted to incorporate into this tag- therefore, the consumer would gain an emotional connection to the garment. The range was influenced by the shapes of factory machines and equipment used by the workers. I wanted to create garments with minimal seams and additions for example buttons and zips. So I was taking into account advice from ‘Impactt’ (A consultancy base firm specialising in ethical trade, human rights, labour standards and international development). They suggested that designers should consider minimising on details to help the workers to produce multiple garments with less stress. In summary, this collection unites the sustainable-sensitive consumer to the maker. The collection symbolises power, strength, with design and most importantly identity. I present ‘Identify’.

Consumer Profile -26 years old, single female. -Living a technical and high pressure global lifestyle -Working for a multinational organisation -Eco-sensitive -Independent lifestyle combining a rewarding career with time to enjoy it. -Likes to make a style statement. Wears formal to work with a design twist. -Clothes and products should provide comfort, performance, mobility and flexibility for everyday use. -Likes social media -Favours products, combining branded high style and design content with an ethical/ecological system of manufacturing, like shopping with People Tree and Antiform -Into organic makeup -Likes to keep fit -Involved in various charity work


Major environmental impacts of the fashion sector arise from the use of energy and toxic chemicals:

Current Use of textiles and how are they produced and disposed of globally:

1. The industry contribution to climate change is dominated by the requirement for burning fossil fuel to create electricity for heating water and air in laundering. Other major issues arise in providing fuel for laundering. Other major uses arise in providing fuel for agricultural machinery and electricity for production.

According to the Institute for Manufacturing IFM report (2006):

2. Toxic chemicals are used widely in cotton agriculture and in many manufacturing stages such as pre-treatment, dyeing and printing.

Fashion, Environment and Sustainability

• 3.25 million tonnes of clothing and textiles flow through the UK • UK exports 1.15 million tonnes of clothing and textiles each year comprising fibres, fabric and some completed products, mainly clothing and carpets. • 1/5 of the UK annual consumption of clothing and textile production is manufactured in the UK. • Consumers in the UK spend about £780/ per head/ year purchasing clothes. 1/8 is sent for re-use through charities and the rest is discarded. • More than a quarter of the world's production of clothing and textiles is made in China which has a fast growing internal market and the largest share of world trade. Western countries are still important exporters of clothing and textiles, particularly Germany and Italy in clothing and the USA in textiles. • UK consumers send 30kg of clothing and textiles per capita to landfill each year.

3. Waste volumes are high and increasing in the UK with the advent of 'fast fashion'. UK consumers send 30kg of clothing and textiles per capita to landfill each year. 4. Water consumption- especially the extensive use of water in cotton crop cultivation can also be a major environmental issue as seen dramatically in the Aral Sea region.

Human rights in relation to the global fashion industry and consider the responsibilities of consumers and producers Social concerns: • Moving production to the UK has a social cost in China and India. But it would be also expensive for companies in the UK. • Low paid workers in developing countries. • Labour standards have been introduced in the UK- code of practice but difficult to impose these throughout the supply chain-leading to concerns about working hours and use of child labour. • Most countries in the supply chain have legal minimum wage- in most cases this is lower than a realistic minimum living wage. Even with companies offering opportunity for development by creating many relative low skilled jobs, some workers are unable to escape from the cycle of poverty. • In some countries the right of workers in the sector to form unions to represent their concerns in collective bargaining is suppressed. • Sexual harassment- campaigners for women's labour worldwide, report cases in which women are threatened by their superiors and unable to complain without a risk of losing their jobs. • Fibre dust- especially when processing cotton giving raise to respiratory disease termed Byssinosis. • Monotonous repetitive processes in making up leading to injuries amongst sewing machinists.

To reduce environmental impact and promote social equality- a consumer/ producer would: • Buy second hand clothing and textiles • Buy fewer more durable garments and textile products • When buying new products, choose those made with least energy and least toxic emissions, made by workers paid a credible living wage with reasonable employment rights and conditions. • Lease clothes that would otherwise not be worn to the end of their natural life • Wash clothes less often and at lower temperatures. Using eco-friendly detergents, hand dry them and avoid ironing where possible. • Extend the life of clothing and textiles products through repair. • Dispose of used clothing and textiles through recycling business who would return them for second hand sale wherever possible. • Oragnic cotton would reduce toxicity but increase prices. • Consumer education • Increased emphasis on durability as a component of fashion, this would reduce material flow. • New business models- consumers pay for services such as repairs, novel coatings, other maintenance services, manufacturing or fashion upgrades. • Technology development. • UK government policy on the environment. Negotiating international agreements on trade could be used to promote environmental and social responsibility. • Tariffs to prevent ‘dumping’.

According to the Tactics for Change (2009), the LCF report looks at debates surrounding the future of the fashion sector in terms of social, environmental and cultural factors. It looks into ways to maximise connections, innovation and positivity within the industry.

Fostering human well-being Fashion makes an important contribution to society. It creates jobs and products that satisfy fundamental human needs. Yet it can also damage individuals and societies more widely through appalling working practices, and the detrimental psychological and ecological effect of consumerist fashion. A fashion piece cannot in itself create sustainability – this is created by the way in which we design, make, wear, discard and reincarnate it. We need to design in a way that means that we engage in fashion in a way that is sustainable. We suggest that we re-connect with fashion as a tool for human flourishing and a source of creative employment and productive work by working in three areas: Critically appraise the role of fashion in our culture. As human beings we have a deep need for adornment, discovery and novelty. Fashion can help us meet these needs. By recognising and engaging with fashion’s central role in human culture, we build towards more sustainable solutions that meet needs. Put human well-being at the heart of fashion production and consumption. Changing fashion practices to improve well-being of workers, consumers, designers, producers is central to a more sustainable future. Educate in a new way the job of the creative designer is exciting, powerful and joyful. We need a visionary education system with sustainability at its heart, producing designers who can use their creativity as a tool for communication and employ it across the supply chain.

'...A product cannot possess sustainability, but it can be designed to respond to its makers and users in a sustainable way. Sustainability is not singularly about minimising negative impact, but also maximising positive impact, allowing individuals, communities and economic systems to flourish. To work sustainably is to question the status quo, challenge convention and find new ways of working that achieve ecological, social and cultural balance that is in tune with human behaviour.' Tactics for Change report, 2009 Tactics for Change report, 2009

Working with nature’s limits The impact of the fashion sector on natural resources and ecosystems is substantial. There is an urgent need to reduce the negative effects of producing and consuming fashion. We suggest that as a sector we: • Promote transparency Work towards making the entire supply chain visible and thus promote information about resource use, labour conditions, pollution, and waste. This involves working with suppliers and developing a culture of trust and knowledge sharing. Transparency is a precursor for accountability. • Measure, benchmark and improve We need measurable points with rewards where cost, ethics, ecological impact, supply chain transparency and lifecycle analysis are benchmarked and assessed against agreed parameters. This can only be achieved through collaboration, leadership and transparency. • Be open to new approaches Look for change towards sustainability in new places, people and collaborations. Design ways in which to engage with emerging technologies so as to bring efficiencies, novel materials and new opportunities. Celebrate traditional skills and knowledge that contain much collective wisdom. • Factor in the true cost of production

Impactt- A consultancy base firm specialising in ethical trade, human rights, labour standards and international development. The look into how to make a positive impact on the global fashion industry supply chains. Impactt enables organisations to improve working conditions and livelihoods across global supply chains in a way that brings clear business benefits to both ends of the chain. They work with a wide range of stakeholders, from large retailers and government bodies to factory workers and local communities. Often the experiences and languages of these different stakeholders are so far apart that they do not ‘see’ or interact with each other. Impactt helps to bridge the gap and deliver real change on the ground. Issues Impactt face: The fashion industry demands: • Innovation • Flexibility • Value • Speed • From a global supply base that must be fast and be smart and cut some corners. Can effect workers. Key issues that effect workers: • Long working hours e.g. sweatshops • Harsh treatment e.g. sexual harassment • Poor health and safety • Lack of freedom of association • Discrimination e.g. gender, religion, medical condition • Low wages • Child labour Prevalence of issues: • From 2007 to 2012: Forced labour, number of hours worked: over 60 hours/ week. • Non payment of minimum wages • No union or ineffective union Impactt believe that alarm bells should be raised if: • Delivery needs to be fast • Order needs to be increased • Working with a new source • if the source quotes a very low price The actions and innovations of brands have a direct impact on suppliers and workers: • Design • Sampling • Pricing • Ordering As a designer, you should be mindful and listen to suppliers and to ask questions of how, when, who will do the work. To then take action: • Understand the impacts you have • How can you be flexible to get good outcomes for you, supplier and workers • Process orders etc promptly

Inspirational Designers

People Tree is recognized by customers and the fashion industry as a pioneer in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable fashion. For over twenty years, People Tree has partnered with Fair Trade artisans and farmers in the developing world to produce a collection of ethical and eco fashion. Fair Trade is about creating a new way of doing business, creating access to markets and livelihood opportunities for economically marginalized people who live in the developing world. But People Tree designers have another goal in mind when they sit down with an empty sketchpad: creating work in developing countries. They know that each and every choice made in the design process effects the lives of the producers. If there are two ways of creating something and one way uses more labour - such hand weaving the fabric - the People Tree designer will specify that method. Their designers look for opportunities to add details like embroidery and hand block printing to garments to create work. For example, they might add embroidery to a simple top, providing income to a family-run business in India. Working with Fair Trade producers to create garments by hand takes time. The design process starts over a year before our products are available to our customers. This gives producers time to do create them without being overworked. For example: Assisi Garments is one of the first social businesses that People Tree worked with. Set up by Franciscan nuns in South India, it provides training and employment for deaf, mute and economically disadvantaged women. They provide a haven for these women to work and live in and a safe and supportive environment. Women are paid a fair wage. After three to five years of employment, the women build up their savings and receive a bonus that allows them to start a home and often their own tailoring business. With customer support and regular orders from People Tree, Assisi Garments has grown from 8 to over 100 employees.

SOKO Kenya, was set up in 2009 by Joanna Maiden. She envisioned a production unit based on ethical principles that could offer quality CMT services to a wide range of designers. A link between the international fashion industry and the community in Ukunda, Kenya, SOKO is committed to providing empowering employment and growth to its local community. SOKO’s goal is to prove that it is possible to run a self-sustaining business whilst having social and environmental principles at its core – paying fair wages, creating employment and a pleasant working environment.

Case Studies Labour Behind the Label (LBL) is a campaign that supports garment workers' efforts worldwide to improve their working conditions, through awareness raising, information provision and encouraging international solidarity between workers and consumers. Their members include trade unions and their local branches, consumer organisations, campaign groups, and charities. These organisations work together, through LBL, to achieve four aims: 1. Raise public awareness and mobilise consumers. 2. Pressure companies to take responsibility for workers' rights in the entirety of their supply chains. 3. Support workers in their struggles for decent working conditions, including speaker tours and urgent appeals. 4. Campaign for governments to take responsibility by legislating on corporate responsibility and in their role as consumers of workwear.

Honduran sweatshop worker Luisa Alfaro, talked about the injuries she sustained working for a US clothing giant. She revealed the tough conditions in which she toiled and her fight for a settlement.

Luisa Alfaro - has been working for 6 years for the brand HBI - Developed occupational disease from repetitive movements and hunching over the sewing machines. It made her loose a lot of strength and as a result making work very difficult. Over 37,000 repetitions without a toilet break to meet the daily production targets. -She was discriminated in work because she was not able to produce the clothes. -Minimum wage of ÂŁ125/ month. -Paid less because she was not able to attend work enough. -'Not taking into account, the amount of years of service, all the company is interested in is profit....They should value us more'.

The unfortunate Bangladesh clothes producing factory collapse in May 2013. Identifying bodies that were found in the rubble was almost impossible.

An article from about the recent Bangladesh factory collapse: SAVAR, Bangladesh -- The 19-year-old seamstress who spent 17 days trapped in the rubble of a collapsed factory building said Monday that she will never again work in a Bangladesh garment factory. Reshma Begum was pulled in remarkably good shape from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building on Friday. Stunned rescue workers were drawn to the wide pocket under the rubble where she had taken refuge when they heard her banging on a pipe. Begum was brought in a wheelchair to speak with journalists just outside her room in the intensive care unit of a military hospital. She suffered a head injury in the collapse, and part of her head was covered Monday with a light violet shawl. Flanked by a nurse a psychiatrist and another doctor, she initially appeared dazed and fragile and spoke in a voice so low it was impossible to hear. Finally, in a low shaky voice, she recounted her ordeal. She said she moved to the Dhaka area three years ago and began working. On April 2, she joined a garment factory on the second floor of Rana Plaza, where she earned 4,700 takas ($60) a month. On the morning of April 24, she heard there were cracks in the building and saw co-workers, mainly men, refusing to enter. The managers reassured them: "There is no problem. You do your work," she said. Soon after, the building crashed down around her. `'When it happened I fell down and was injured in the head heavily. Then I found myself in darkness," she said. She tried to crawl to safety, but could not find a way out, she said. She survived on four packets of cookies she had with her and some water, she said. `'Another person, a man, was near me. He asked for water. I could not help him. He died. He screamed, `Save me,' but he died," she said. `'I can't remember everything that happened." "I never thought of coming back alive," she said. Brig. Gen. Ashfaq, a psychiatrist at the hospital who uses only one name, said Begum was puzzled and confused when she was rescued. `'She got panicked when someone touched her," he said. `'Now she is doing fine, better. We have talked a lot with her." Begum's survival has been a rare moment of joy amid the morbid task of removing bodies from the disaster site. On Monday, with a death toll of 1,127, the military announced it was ending its search for bodies from the building. The tragedy has created global pressure for reform in the Bangladeshi garment industry. But Begum said she will not be drawn back into such work. "I will not work in a garment factory again," she said.

Gap, Next and M&S in new sweatshop scandal

Indian workers are paid just 25p an hour and forced to work overtime in factories used by some of Britain's best-known high street stores

Sweatshops are still supplying high street brands

Leading article: The gruesome reality of sweatshops

More than a decade after sweatshop labour for top brands became a mainstream issue, the problem still seems endemic across the global clothing and footwear sector.

Sweatshop horror exposed

Reshma Begum, Bangladesh garment factory collapse survivor

Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1,000

Workers in factories can be using the Over locker, stitching machines for hours per day to create garments. Could I use this within the label design? With the finger prints?

Utimately the maker of all garments invovles using senses of touch and vision. Finger prints maybe something I would like to incorporate into my range plan- could be manipulated into a print or incorporated into a label.

Very little has changed in the CMT processes over the years. I particularly like the image on the left. The layering or fabrics in preparation to making a jacket. Design a layered skirt into the range plan? Interesting analysis of the processes involved into making the T-shirt. Not a lot of money involved in the manufacturing of the t shirt but a creates a major impact on the environment and the human welfare.

The image of the T-Shirts being quality controlled checked. I really like the coral colour and also the use of print, almost looks like seam lines. This is something I would like to consider for the range. Not just the use of jersey fabric but to think about minimising on details e.g. zips and buttons. Easier garments for the workers to mass produce.

Thread- an important component to all garments being produced. A connecting ‘glue’ component. Beautiful vivid colours. Particularly like the sunshine yellow, royal blue and the emerald green threads seen in this image. Colour is something I would need to consider.

A laser cutter machine. The shape of the cutting board is very interesting.

Circular shapes are repeating in a majority of these images. For intance the dials on the sewing machines. Examples of Industrial presser foots. I particularly like the shapes of these. Could be incorporated as necklines or hems.

Examples of machine and hand stitches. I may incorporate this into the garment- manipulating its shape for a silhouette or as an actual print ontop of the garment. An illusion of seams.

Types of machine stitches


Spring/Summer jersey collection • Thinking about garment shape/structure • Minimal details- e.g zips and buttons, hence it is easier for the worker to create • Use of colour • To create a label to identify the worker producing the garment

Again two things that springs to mind with this image- Colour and shape. Coral/ orange and the circular shape.

Label Experimentation

Taking the name and adding a stitch effect. Manipulating the shape into a heart shape. One fingerprint represents the consumer and the other in a different colour represents the worker producing the garment.

The use of photoshop and blurring the fingerprint details. I’m not so keen on this. Takes away the visual emotional connection. Taking the finger print and trying to manipulate it into a label. The label itself could be just the fingerprints itself or adding the worker’s name. Using Luisa Alfaro, from the case study research.

Using the fingerprint differently. Also changing the name text print. Stylistically I think this is more what I imagined. But I do not like the ‘digital look’. Needs to be a little more authentic, as if the finger print has just been printed on, not prefected.

Stylistically- I think it is not connecting. Possibly a nice label for a children’s clothes range.

Trying to produce an authentic looking label without too much digital input. Experimenting with my own fingerprint and paint. I feel these have more of a visual and emotional impact I was looking for. The fingerprint would be actually from the maker themself.

More fingerprint experimentation. I like the colour of the print itself. And the illusion stitch line. Taking one of these fingerprint figures and adding the makers name. I do like this one.

Experimenting with colour and shape. They seem more like pieces of art work.

The final Chosen Label

Silhouette Ideas

Circular Dress Realisation Process

Following the idea of manipulating the circle

Leaves a basic A line dress, front and back are the same size and shape

Adapting the shape. Bringing the back of the dress forward. As a result an asymmetric draping effect can be seen

The back- because the back has been twisted and draped to the front of the dress, leaves the back hem too short

To resolve this design problem- to add another basic half of the A line dress, seen in photo 2. A different colour of fabric- is visual interesting.

Interesting side detail from the draping. Reminds me of the Arch and Loop details within a fingerprint

Fabric and Colour Types of Jersey Fabric

My collection is for Spring /Summer season. I would like to work with Cotton jersey. This fabric will provide a nice structured shape yet be easy to manipulate to create a draping effect. Taking into account it will not need to be lined as it is thick enough and it will be breathable in warmer temperatures. In terms of colours, my palette to choose from all the colours of the rainbow.

Cotton Lycra

Cotton and Viscose

Cotton and Wool

Cotton jersey

Cotton jersey

Range Plan

For my final design, I would like to use cream with a contrasting colourcoral jersey fabric. Contrasting colours would give an amazing and vivid visual mix especially when in the sun.

Final Design

References Alam, J (2013) Bangladesh Collapse Survivor: ‘I Will Not Work In A Garment Factory Again’. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). Allwood, J et al (2012) Well-dressed? Available at: (Accessed: May 2013).

The label for the back of dress. Positioned center top. A sublimation print.

Bunting, M (2011) Sweatshops are still supplying high street brands. Available at: apr/28/sweatshops-supplying-high-street-brands (Accessed: May 2013). Chamberlain, G (2010) Gap, Next and M&S in new sweatshop scandal. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). BACK

4 thread Overlocker for the shoulder and side seams.

The front drape will be attached by a pearl button (seen on the left shoulder), so it can be unbuttoned and worn without a drape. Jones, D (2012) Sweatshop horror exposed. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). Unknown (2010) Leading article: The gruesome reality of sweatshops. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). Unknown (2013) Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1,000. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). Unknown (Unknown) Case report: Luisa Alfaro. Available at: (Accessed: May 2013). Williams, D et al (2009) Volume 3.0: Centre for Sustainable Fashion: tactics for change. Available at: for change (Accessed: May 2013).

FRONT Neckline and one of the back cream layers to be binded with cream woven binding. The Hem of the dress, will be crossed stitched.

Sustainable skin  

Monya Chana FDR YR2

Sustainable skin  

Monya Chana FDR YR2