Anna Lidström

2016-09-23 08:00

Discarded clothes can provide new business chances

A garment is used, on average, for two years before it is perhaps given away or, in the worst case, thrown away. But in the project Re:Textile Factory, new knowledge on industrial methods to extend the length of time garments are used is being created. One of the goals is new thinking as early as during the design process.

Anna Lidström is a fashion designer, stylist, and artistic leader within the project Re:Textile, which develops structures for re-design as a business possibility. She gives courses at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and she is behind the new project Re: Textile Factory.

“It is an extension of Re:Textile’, she says. ‘I see a design challenge in the rejected and also think that we are, too often, narrow-minded and stuck in a rut.”

She has created test collections that are now exhibited on Re:Textile Factory’s premises in the Textile Fashion Center. Skirts, tops, and jackets have been given new expression through embroidery or rhinestones. Garments that originally were not from the sameDays of Knowledge
To fund the "Re:Textile Factory" project, Sparbanksstiftelsen Sjuhärad is providing SEK 560 000. This money will be awarded on 19 October at Days of Knowledge, a ceremony at which the University of Borås honours research and education. The event is arranged by the University of Borås, City of Borås, Sparbanksstiftelsen Sjuhärad and Swedbank Sjuhärad.
collection can actually do that if they are given a common denominator: embroidery, prints, or something else.

“Instead of selling overproduced garments at a discount, business can give them a new life, and perhaps find new target audiences”, she says, and shows how cut-off traditional work trousers have been toughened up for the trend-aware through, for example, being made more figure-hugging.

Or take a sweatshirt in size 4XL that received two eyelets and large metal hook in front in order to create a new silhouette and fit a woman who wears a size 38. Voilà—a representative top for women. Or the jean jacket with a careful cut that has become an interesting, airy garment with a completely different style.

In these cases, changes have been made to completed garments, but it would be ideal if, already during the design process, there were plans for how the garment could be changed later, Anna Lidström proposes.

“Businesses, fashion students, or other actors should be able to come to Re:Textile factory to develop their ideas and test if they are feasible. We offer design competence within design techniques and are now going to acquire technical equipment for labs, for example 3D printers and vacuum presses to press together different materials.”

The project intends, through educational programmes and systems for sustainable design, to unite design processes with business models and supply chains. It will also support small and large textile and fashion companies, as well as machine manufacturers, recycling companies, and charity organisations.

“I hope for a change within the fashion industry so that design development will lead to business development and not the other way around!”

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