Dystopia is setting in. What are we going to do about it?
Doesn’t it feel that way recently as the news and daily conversation are overshadowed by the threat of global warming and the subsequent weakness we feel to change it? What if we take it step by step. Start with cutting meat and dairy, done? Abolish your single-use plastic and eventually all plastic, done? Stop flying altogether and don't even think about trying local food wherever you do travel, you almost definitely can’t trace their sustainability.
Lets start again and appreciate processes that can help us feel empowered to save our world. As a designer i’m going to start with design processes, and mimycri is the perfect case study.
Sustainable fashion has become a trend and it was all fun and games until corporations came and messed it up. Shops creating patch-look-shirts (Topshop), advertising an abolition of wool in aid of animal cruelty then using a plastic alternative (Boohoo) or plastering stock photos of happy workers for customers to conveniently assume are theirs (& Other Stories). Then the green washing, a term first coined in 1983, really gets worse as companies utilise faintly sustainable choices to up-sell even more clothes. Creating clothes exchanges where you get new items at discount in exchange for your old items, for example (h&m). They are really missing the point: fast fashion cannot, ever be sustainable.
Now we can examine how mimycri works. Instead of designing from scratch and to fit a new consumer trend, mimycri designs in reaction to what is happening around us both in the natural world and the social one. When Vera and Nora travelled to Greece they were mobilised by two factors; the need to support and encourage refugees as they arrive in a new place and the abundance of valuable material that was going to waste.They reacted directly to these things in a creative and innovative way – not following trends but starting them.
Excitingly, mimycri isn’t an anomaly as we see other companies internationally also choosing this approach; Re-handle bags in London, Demano in Barcelona and Belo in Brazil, to name a few. By acknowledging the fact that we already have enough materials at our disposal we can create a world where ‘new’ is re-defined. New doesn’t necessarily need to be new from raw it can be new in the eyes of the owner. When I shop second-hand that item is still new to me and as, or often more, desirable to me than anything I buy ‘new new’. The examples I just shared were chosen because they represent a breadth of styles and help epitomise my final point: we are finally reaching an age where sustainable fashion can be for everyone. Whether you like a statement tote, need a practical bike pannier or choose to be subtle in your sustainability then there is an option for you. Yes, often these choices are more expensive but if we shake these consumerist tendencies and realise that saving for a garment is more satisfying than buying one instantly then we might just stop the dystopian future that shadows our present.
Whether a designer or not I hope you can see that this approach can be a positive influence on all areas of life. Whether choosing wonky veg and appreciating its undamaged taste or saving a wobbly table from the street and giving it a new lick of paint. We can be so savvy in the way we live our lives and end up with more interesting outcomes as a result – its all about a change of perspective.
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