Waste Not, Want Not – WCW x V&A Commission

COVID-19 has given us all a lot of spare time lately, and more so a lot of time for reflection.

Reflection is a large part of my creative process daily and so for my Masters Final Project, I applied this reflective activity with a wider lens and looked back at my personal journey, how it had been shaped and how best to move my whole practice forward. My history is very much one rooted in working class morals and ethics. Synonymous with the working class is the blue denim jean. Resilient and tough they made perfect workwear for those in heavy industry.  Similarly, my past was filled by people both resilient and tough.

As a textile designer, sustainability is key to our practice. Virgin materials and fibres are entering the system daily alongside pollution caused by dyeing and finishing fabric. Denim is one of the most environmentally damaging fabrics to make. Over the years I have collected used denim jeans from friends and family with a view to re-using the material to save it from going to landfill. Also, having visited mills and studios during my time at university, I became aware of the wastage produced in mass production, which unfortunately sometimes cannot be helped. Every mill has it whether it be selvedge tape or deadstock yarn/fabric. I try to reuse this waste in a similar fashion to my use of denim.

Simply I took this waste and deadstock, and hand-wove it with the denim I have salvaged, on a home-made ‘frame loom’. I created a collection of individuals samples with revived aesthetic value and purpose. I see these as an intertwining of my personal history and journey, with the work of Britain’s textile industry. The concept I presented to the Weavers Company was a a 5ft x 5ft version of my samples, combining various structures and materials into a large-scape single piece which is bold and impactful, a statement which allows all to take ownership of the waste, marking a point in time for our industry, forever recorded within the V&A permanent collection.

This is a prestigious commission to gain so early in my career, my sincere thanks go to The Worshipful Company of Weavers for this opportunity.