Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Community-oriented designers seek to embed mantras of eco-friendly living into daily products and experiences. Think about how much of our lives are impacted by the materials, conversations, and themes we surround ourselves with!
Our individual actions do matter.
The damaging effects of climate change may appear at large; but artists and fashion designers are working to close this attitude-behavior gap. They’re taking a stand on environmental preservation, confronting ugly truths about industries past, and placing sustainability at the forefront of their operations.
Read on to check out some ecological creators we're into right now. There is one reoccurring theme amongst them, despite their differing mediums. It's that they are all passionate about adjusting the unnatural, outdated processes within their industries as they cultivate a greener future.
Science Meets High Design
There is a lot of negativity around apparel’s contribution to biodiversity loss, but some exciting news is that contemporary fashion designers are moving away from the paradigm of fast fashion and moving towards a more promising, ‘tutorial narrative’, or nature-inspired design work.
New York based fashion designer Avery Ginseng is addressing a zero-waste business model with his brand Ground Cover. One of the most exciting projects coming from Ground Cover are boots (pictured above), made from waste from commercial pineapple farming. Another company producing green textiles is Bolt Threads who are making ‘leather’ out of mushroom roots. “Made from infinitely renewable mycelium, [a] complex latticework of underground fibers so strong they hold the planet together”.
(About Morphogenesis, The Line of 3D printed bags by Julia Daviy pictured at the top of the page..) “For this collection, Julia Daviy drew inspiration from Alan Turing’s work on theory and mathematical description of morphogenesis process, which develops an organism’s shape. The Morphogenesis bags are created as a result of synthesizing digital fabrication and additive manufacturing technologies. [This] process empowers the creation of a physical bag from a digital one in a variety of sizes." "Planqtextile is developed to create a raw material from waste and overstock textile. This material is the basis for lots of custom products. After a long development with the best key partners [they] created a process to shred the textile into fibers, which are carded into a felt material".
Upcycled Vintage Apparel/ Sustainability with Existing Materials
Original techniques like quilting, jewelry made from recycled computers, recycled leather belt jackets, and full blown artistic events, contrast the “deep-science meets high-design” themes of companies like Bolt Threads. An eye-level conversation with humanity is brought alive with street art and upcycled fashion. Many innovative makers today prefer to take a ground roots approach to grasping information and these artists are leaning into that mindset.
Intermedia Artist Wendy R. Friedman (@floweringeye) is a SoHo based mixed media street artist who has been feeding her community smiles for years (art pictured to the right and below). She creates recycled, repurposed sculpture art in a bold palette, and arranges them on a large fence outside her SoHo loft for all passersby to enjoy.
I asked Wendy what her mission was in this project, and she said, “I was trying to enliven a dull space... I want to teach kids how to recycle materials and look at things in a different way.” Here’s an article that goes more into depth about Wendy.
Jess and Andrea out of North Carolina created an upcycled clothing company called The Cosmic Circle that takes part in the conversation of deconstructed fashion. As a counter-approach to the problems of waste, The Cosmic Circle (@thecosmiccircle) explores a poetic element that relates to an aesthetic of the worn and wasted.
I asked one of the shop owners a few questions. Keep reading to find out her stance in the matter. Thanks, Andrea, for the thought-provoking conversation.
Alison: Why do you do what you do?
Andrea: For the Love of the history of vintage clothing, and a desire to save the Earth! While we only operate on a very small scale, we’re contributing to the larger slow fashion movement. Along with other makers and creatives who are advocating for sustainable and eco-friendly practices in clothing, we’re trying to inspire people to rethink mindless shopping and remake their own closets!
Alison: What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
Andrea: The fashion industry is one of the worst polluters of our environment, so we started upcycling as a response to that, to be an alternative to the ultra-wasteful fast fashion brands. Our aim is to make something new out of the many textile leftovers headed to the landfill. We try to use as many recycled materials as possible, from taking apart vintage clothing, to unraveling sweaters for yarn, to repurposing unconventional materials into earrings.
New Media/ Environmental Tech Art
A rise in technology has had many negative effects on our society, but as a birthright, nature is here for us to learn and heal from. Artists like Mary Mattingly, Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd are laying out their visions to create original projects uniting mediums like dance, new technologies, and so much more. Some of my favorites:
SERRA approaches movement in an entirely new way, adapting time and space scales to the activity of plants, and placing the human body within this new dimension.
Ecological Artist, Thijs Biersteker, argues that "if the facts can't reach us, how can they teach us?" (video below)
Rehyphen is a pioneer upcycling initiative that collects discarded cassette tapes from locals and weaves them into a piece of MusicCloth® as an effort to reduce and eliminate e-waste, while giving the product new life.
Bringing facts to life with ecological art, bioengineering of textiles, upcycled vintage apparel, sustainable DIY, deep science, and sustainable high design- it's a healing frontier. Even the
cosmetics industries are making strides.
The lines between the designer, the artist, the developer, the architect, and the scientist are blurring day by day. It is critical that we maintain a sustainable interest in ecology from an art-based perspective, in collaboration with other fields, too. One that becomes an opportunity to participate in a larger ecosystem that is dedicated to finding solutions. Some people look at the creation of environmental art as a “conceptual opportunity to express the increasing uneasiness with which we confront this opposition. Others use technology to amplify eco-based production, or develop innovative green systems”
The bottom line is, our individual actions do matter!
Go Green with Plant Group
Do you know of anyone who is looking to give back to the depleted carbon reserves in our atmosphere via the installation of a green roof or garden within their business or architectural project?
Plant Group also offers environmental consulting services that serve to align businesses with project execution plans that are ecologically compassionate, and regenerative of some much needed, good green karma. :)