Sustainable Designs for Men
As one of only twenty-one participants in Winchester School of Art's catwalk/fashion show at London Graduate Fashion Week this summer, Nora Sotamaa had a great opportunity. She was uniquely positioned to show hundreds of viewers, photographers, and reporters that, as she says, "sustainable fashion doesn't have to be boring." These attendees took special note of her six male models, who wore clothing made from natural, organic and sustainable fabrics.
Almost her entire collection was created using NearSeaNaturals fabrics, which Nora was thrilled to find because of the variety of different offerings in a wide range of colors.
Nora, who is from Finland, has been studying fashion in England for the past four years. Winchester School of Art is well-known for fashion and textiles departments, as well as fine art. The small campus is part of the University of Southampton (a larger city about 12 miles south) which offers programs in many different fields.
“My designs and garments support the argument that sustainable fashion doesn't have to be boring. I made suits out of 'Adobe hemp' and 'Sophisticated Jade' and used different weights and colors of organic cotton jerseys for a cardigan and shirts. I also made fitted collared shirts with 'natural hemp muslin' and 'forest blue hemp’ print.
There's more information about and a picture of Nora's collection below.
“Not only was my goal to create sustainable clothing, but I wanted to design a collection that was both wearable as well as quirky. From layering shirts and t-shirts, to high-collared shirts and jackets, my aim was to enhance masculinity through well-tailored garments. I placed lots of ‘importance on details’ (color/pattern) inside of garments, like patterned pocket bags and bindings to facings on both pants and jackets.
“The importance of color continues through styling the outfits. I made deep red, as well as green paisley print scarves, that are worn loosely, tied around the neck and/or tucked into clothing. To continue developing the classic male outfit, the suit, I created two tailored suits with different collar detailing. I have copyright over my designs.”
Nora is extremely observant about current trends. “There’s a growing awareness of organic fabrics (probably due to the growing awareness of organic and 'green' lifestyles) but there is still much more that could be done, in my opinion. Especially for mens wear. The variety I can find is extremely limited.”
Graduate Fashion Week 2006 in June was an event showcasing the very best BA fashion design talent in the UK. Founded in 1991, this year is the 15th anniversary in which 42 top fashion and textile universities/colleges around the country participated. All colleges displayed static exhibitions of student work and 20 colleges put on catwalk shows as well. The event attracted scouts from UK and overseas design companies who attend to find new talent.
“With the effects of global warming more evident than ever before, I’m extremely aware of the impact of our lifestyles on the environment. Researching the textiles/fashion industry, I am concerned about the impact our clothing production has on the environment. With this in mind, I decided to create a sustainable collection to help us live more ecologically, but still stylishly. So I created a modern, yet stylish, mens wear collection, considering that mens wear is a growing, yet underdeveloped market. I’m looking forward to the day when sustainable clothing takes over the fashion industry!"
Good luck, Nora. Keep us posted on the response, and thanks for becoming part of our growing community of people who sew and dream of a healthy world!
(Photos by Candy Joyce)