New York’s Cooper Hewitt museum is hosting a material exhibition titled Scraps: Fashion, Textiles & Creative Reuse. It showcases the work of three international designers and how they incorporate different sustainable practices into their work.
Italian textile artist Luisa Cevese, South Korean fashion designer Christina Kim and Reiko Sudo, director of Japanese textile manufacturer Nuno, are each inspired by waste created during different stages of textile production.
Cevese creates pieces out of silk selvedge – the excess silk left over from fabric as it’s being woven. By mixing the byproduct with polyurethane, she creates a new strong and waterproof fabric that can be used to make bags and other accessories.
Kim focuses on a zero-waste approach to design, mixing traditional techniques with new technologies. Inspired by hand-woven Indian cloth, she collects fabric scraps from clothing manufacturers and repurposes them to create patterned dresses and skirts. To ensure every scrap is used, she embroiders applique ‘tikdis’ – small dots cut from the excess fabric – to create a pattern on the garment.
Sudo repurposes kibiso – the outer layer of the silk cocoon that protects the fragile fibre inside, usually discarded in the earliest stage of production. While the raw material is too coarse for machine weaving, Sudo converts it into yarn for potential use as a new luxury fabric.
Scraps: Fashion, Textiles & Creative Reuse will be on display until April 16 2017. For more on sustainable materials, see Best Foot Forward: Sustainable Footwear Focus, Super Materials, Considered Environment and Packaging Futures: Sustainability.