Design Museum: Waste Age Exhibition

January was the month I had chance to visit the Waste Age exhibition at the Design Museum, so it’s taken a few weeks to get around to writing up the experience. Nevertheless, I’m excited to look back at the pieces that piqued my interest to capture and reflect on it now.

In no chronological order of the exhibition, but the one I’m starting with, is this Stella McCartney outfit. I’ve always loved the brand for its determination and pioneering of sustainability, even before sustainability became a trend or tick to check off for high-end fashion labels.

The look itself is made from econyl®, made from ocean and factory waste, it is a regenerated nylon. As one of the most sustainable synthetics stood before me, I was actually more intrigued by the zip detailing. Running down either sleeve and trouser legs, I thought the zipper line had simplicity yet effectiveness, creating a cohesive look.

‘A fragment textile technique’

Phoebe English is another designer I follow closely, so to see just a couple of her garments, felt like a special moment. One reason for being so inspired by her is because of the technique ‘fragment textile’ she has developed. In short, English uses off-cuts from her own studio’s textile waste back into new work. The second look in the image above is from the collection ‘Nothing New Part 2’ and made with reclaimed silk wool, stuffed with silk off-cuts. You would have no idea the fabric was deemed as ‘waste’ before English designed it back into the system. This repurposing of fabric is something I want to keep as an important factor within my own design work.

I first heard about a circular fashion solution like the one pictured above, when I was studying as an undergraduate a couple years ago. But I didn’t fully understand the process, how could it truly work? Being at the Design museum allowed me to revisit the concept.

Above pictures a ‘service shirt’, a garment designed to last 50 years. In our current throwaway society, I find this concept fascinating and one I want to explore further. The idea is that it has chance to evolve through remanufacturing. Starting as a white shirt, then transforming to a patterned one, a black shirt, to a jacket lining before finally an accessory. The idea one item could hold so much longevity, is definitely a solution the industry needs to get behind. Even if it’s too big of an ask for designers to implement that many transformations within one garment right now, I think it’s still manageable for them to consider the overall longevity of garments in the design process.

Evidently less so garment-fashion related but nevertheless interesting, were these paper bags that sat centrally within one of the exhibition spaces. Artist Celia Pym practises visible repairing, in this case mending paper bags from her food shopping. The concept behind the project was to give hope that something damaged and deemed as ‘worthless’ could be repaired to become significant again. I found it mesmerising to examine the detail and work that had gone into mending something as simple as a paper bag. But putting it into the context of fashion, I envisioned socks on the same level as the above paper bags. When a sock gets a hole, I don’t see the value in the item to repair it, I’d just replace it. In today’s world, that is an unacceptable attitude on my part and I’m then, therefore part of the problem. Seeing the bags above forced me into to attaching a greater value to my own items. So the next time a hole appears in one of my socks, I’ll let you know how good my darning is to mend it.

If you missed the Waste Age exhibition at the Design Museum, I urge you to keep a close eye on their page for upcoming events that might pique your interest. It was incredibly interesting to understand what design, in the wider context (not just fashion), can do for our throwaway culture.

In Pursuit of Fashion: A New York Exhibition

At the start of the year, I was fortunate enough to get to New York before the world came to a standstill. And whilst it feels like it was a lifetime ago- thanks corona– I couldn’t not share one of my favourite exhibitions.

Can we start with where it was? Only the flippin’ Metropolitan Museum of Art. My brain isn’t sure what to reference first, Blair and Serena on the steps, ‘The METS suck’ – FRIENDS fans will understand- or of course the MET Gala, one of the biggest Fashion Events of the year. If you didn’t understand any of those, I apologise, but I can assure you standing on those steps, I definitely shed a few happy tears inside.

Anyways, onto the exhibition itself. It was titled ‘In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection’ and the 80 pieces on show were an incredible archive of Fashion’s history.

Christian Dior ‘Du Barry’ Evening Dress Autumn/Winter 1957-58

Starting with one of my favourites, I adore everything about this one; the silhouette; the bow detailing and of course the pale blue silk satin. For some reason, Cinderella vibes come to mind?

Moschino Cheap and Chic ‘Art is Love’ dress Spring/Summer 1993

Apparently taking inspiration from YSL, Moschino replicated the modernist art. The complexity of ownership is arguably highlighted with this piece.

Charles James Evening Dress 1952-54

I love the elegance of this garment, with the head piece only adding to its beauty. OBSESSED. Also majorly appreciate the layers of tulle adding depth, yes please.

Whilst I think one positive to come out of this year is the accessibility of exhibitions and events after the shift to online platforms. And I hope that doesn’t ever disappear. I’ll be very happy to step inside a museum/gallery/anywhere different at this point. Future note to myself to not take for granted new experiences ever again.

Finally don’t forget if you want regular updates, Instagram usually sees it first: @sophiesamantha_fashion

What I Learnt from Fashion Revolution’s FREE Online Course…

On the 22nd of May I finished my second year of University. And by the 13th June I had completed Fashion Revolution’s 4 week course on Fashion’s Future and the Sustainable Development Goals. Some might say I couldn’t bare the thought of having zero form of education. Realistically, I just had to take advantage of the resources available before Future Learn made me pay into a subscription- #poorstudentlife.

Anyways, I thought it would be beneficial to document somewhat of an overview of the month. For my own reference, and with the possibility that something sparks an interest or at the very least, sits in your subconscious until triggered.

Week 1

The first week seemed to be a general introduction into how sustainability can be defined; holistically in the industry and generally how it should be achieved within planetary boundaries (Johan Rockström, 2007). Finally, briefly including which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) would coincide with the course- circled above.

Week 2

The second week dived into SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). The Fashion industry- in particular fast fashion- have arguably a lot to answer for when it comes to garment workers receiving in most cases, a ‘below the living standard’ income. Deloitte Access Economics for Oxfam found that 4% of the price of a piece of clothing is estimated to make it back to the workers. Side note: If you haven’t been following #PayUp on Instagram, then get to it! The pandemic has caused BIG brands to cancel BILLIONS of dollars worth of orders, leaving garment workers in crisis mode.

Meanwhile, I found it equally as interesting that CARE International included 1 in 3 women working in garment factories had reported sexually harassing behaviour in the last year. That already doesn’t sit right with me, without thinking about all the times it wasn’t reported. However, one initiative worth researching is the Good Business Lab. Their projects include; unlocking female labour; improving work environment; closing the skill gap and building holistic health.

Week 3

From the third week, I was learning about the damaging, waste culture of the industry. For example, its estimated the fashion industry emits 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2e a year. With clothing as the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport and food in the U.K (WRAP).

More specifically at SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources. Synthetic fibres such as polyester, are made up of microfibres that can shed over its lifetime, particularly when put in the washing machine (Environmental Audit Committee, 2019). 35% of all microplastics come from clothing and textiles and its expected by 2050 for there to be more plastic than fish in the sea. Fortunately from the course, I learnt that France are leading the way for improvement. In February 2020, the country brought in legislative steps for microfibre pollution. Including that by January 2025, all new washing machines will have to include a filter to catch the microfibres before they’re released into water systems.

Week 4

By the final week it was time to look at the industry’s options. The initiatives already in place such as Lenzing’s ‘Refibra Tencel’ fabric that uses pre-consumer cotton scraps and wood pulp. Or Swedish government proposed a 50% tax break for repair on shoes, clothes and bikes which supports the ‘make do and mend’ mentality we should have. Finally, the industry should try to implement circularity through rental or resale. Furthermore, circularity through manufacturing which would phase out hazardous chemicals.

Overall, I was thoroughly fascinated by the Fashion Revolution course, through the amount of topics covered and the quality of content. Moreover, because of its impact, I’ll be uploading another post based on one of the assignments I had to complete for the course. Until then, as Fashion Revolution states:

Be Curious. Find Out. Do Something.

Easley Magazine – 2019

T-Shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion Exhibition

Seemingly, it doesn’t matter how many posts you’d like to write, if you don’t have enough hours in the day, your blog is slowly going to die a painful death.

New tactic.

To incorporate your degree with your blog, so you can be blogging and still technically be doing uni work.

In all seriousness, my second year at university has kicked up a gear and I’m struggling for time to do anything. My Fashion degree is obviously something that consumes me and therefore needs to filter through into this blog. Starting with a recent visit to a T-Shirt exhibition that was a part of the British Textile Biennial.

The first stand I was drawn to in the exhibition was the selection of climate change t-shirts. They varied from hand drawn pieces overlaying commercial graphics to simple yet effective stand-alone text tees. Luckily, the t-shirts stood for what was printed on them. One read ‘Single Use Plastic is Never Fantastic’ (designed by Henry Holland in collaboration with BRITA) and was made using recycled plastic and salvaged cotton.

4 From climate change to political issues, specifically titled ‘Personal/Political’ deriving from the slogan ‘the personal is political’. I thought that this section in particular covered a lot of issues in one. Which only highlights the aim of the exhibition as a whole to start the discussion of fashion being an avenue for communication and personal expression.


A big influence in the exhibition was the work of Vivienne Westwood. The pefect choice, that I thought encapsulated what the collection stood for. The particular piece above was from Westwood’s runway for Spring/Summer 2018 and I think its a t-shirt in its peak  of importance during a time of awareness against fast fashion.

Another selection of t-shirts came bearing empowering quotes which further highlights the premise of the collection, demonstrating t-shirts being a really impactful communication tool. Whilst I feel the one on the right (‘We should all be feminists‘) has a great importance it has definitely circulated a lot more. Whereas, I particularly loved the left tee ‘What other people think about you is none of your business’.

7Finally finishing with this masterpiece, obviously I adore the quoted t-shirt and once I’ve finished writing this I’ll be googling where I can get my hands on one – a sustainably and ehtically produced one of course. But I just really appreciate the scale in which Vivienne Westwoods face has been printed onto the t-shirt behind. Go big or go home, I guess.



Taking Inspiration from the Harris

Something I don’t write a lot about on this blog, is where I get my inspiration from to help with my course. If you didn’t know, I’m currently coming towards the end of my first year of University, studying Fashion. Due to the creative nature of the degree, I’m always aware of what could inspire me. A couple months ago, I visited the Harris in Preston, in doing so a starting point for ideas was created.

Figure 1- ‘Beside the Brambled Ditch’ Painting 1983

After looking at numerous paintings in the museum, this one had my attention. Titled ‘Beside the Brambled Ditch’ by Ian Mckeever in 1983, I was in awe by the fluid brush strokes. Also, the module this was going to help with, is drawing based, so I knew immediately it would help with practising that free hand. Another reason this painting had my attention for so long, was because it is actually a photograph of a pond and the artist covers it with paint, to express how he felt. No matter how long I looked, I really couldn’t see the photograph. However, the painting had started the thought process for the module.

Figure 2- 1972 Garment

Arguably a piece that I got even more inspiration from; a luxurious seventy’s dress. When I saw it, I knew it was going to play a big part in my module, but the difficulty was, there wasn’t much information on it. After contacting the Art Curator of the Museum, I finally had the backstory; the dress was bought in Speights for £69 in 1972. The designer was Susan Small, apparently the retail arm of Maureen Baker, the designer of Princess Anne’s wedding dress.

From that point, I’ve developed the idea of the dress (observing colour, silhouette) and used the time period to research other 1970 dresses- that decade becoming almost a theme. Also, keeping the painting involved, that has helped with observational drawings and method of expression to inform my own prints for the 70’s themed dresses I’ve illustrated.

Figure 3- Example of my own work. 

Overall, the above painting and garment both became a starting point for my module. Since taking inspiration from them, I’ve been able to continue to develop and inform my ideas to help towards my work.



Broken Nature Exhibition- Milan

Today- 22nd April- is Earth day, therefore finding it very appropriate to write about an exhibition I visited at the Triennale di Milano titled ‘Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival’. I found each piece fascinating, so I thought I’d highlight a few of my favourites in a post.

Figure 1 & 2- Plastiglomerate

One of the first pieces to catch my attention were these, titled ‘Plastiglomerate’. These samples were described as ‘fossils of the future‘ because of all the plastic waste that ends up on our beaches, heavier pieces could end up being preserved in the sediment record. It was a stark shock to realise that’s what humans are doing to something that should be so natural.

Figure 3- Growing Varieties

Figure 4- Nanohana Heels

These heels were designed by British Japanese designer Sputniko, in collaboration with shoe designer Massaya Kushino. It started when scientists discovered rapeseed blossoms absorb radioactive substances from soil. These shoes have heels that plant rapeseeds with each step- ‘turning a stroll into a dynamic and reparative act’. I love the concept behind this, to think you could be helping the earth just by having a walk around.

Figure 5- Reliquaries

Titled ‘Reliquaries’ it was the idea of presenting natural elements because one day- at the rate the earth is dramatically changing- it may be that these things will become precious to us. Alluding to a moment where ‘a daisy might become more treasured than a diamond’. When I first looked at this, I was immediately confused, why was I standing in front of things that we have an abundance of? More importantly things I thought couldn’t be affected. But of course, with the way the world is going, everything is/will be affected and that’s a scary thought.

Figure 6- Sempione Park

Figure 7- Transitory Yarn

Designed by Alexandra Fruhstorfer, a system called ‘Transitory Yarn’ created to combat the fashion industry’s large waste issue and huge resource consumption. This makes it possible to dismantle and reknit items again, which I think is genius and something we need to see more of within the industry.

Figure 8- Sun Protection Clothing

Something I hadn’t thought of until coming across this piece, is the amount of sun cream bottles that end up in landfill, majority of them being made from plastic. However, protecting your skin against the sun’s rays is considered very important. So it was interesting to see garments that had been constructed with sun protection in mind.

Figure 9- The Black Forest

This chair, titled ‘The Black Forest’ reflects the suffering of forests and man’s involvement. It is made out of recycled plastic, iron and coal. What grasped my interest was the intricate detail that you wouldn’t pick up if you weren’t stood right in front of it. I think that with the dark, almost blurred marks you can tell it is representing torture.

Figure 10- Fishing Net Tops

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Broken Nature Exhibition and only wish the Triennale Milan Museum was a frequent visit.

Bowes Museum- Photography

What a tiring couple of weeks it has been. Does anyone else have a busy/stressful time and as soon as it starts to calm down you end up feeling ill? Well anyways, a little while ago I took a trip to the Bowes Museum in County Durham with my University. I wanted to post about this last week but my Mum unexpectedly ended up in hospital, hence why I didn’t get to post anything. Anyways, she’s feeling a lot better now so I thought I’d share the pictures I took.

1The exhibition itself was so much better than I could have imagined.


The sparkle on this dress could only be appreciated in person. You can also tell how luxurious it is because it was one of the few garments behind glass.

63This Comme des Garçons garment really took my breath away.


9It was such a beautiful stately home which created the most elegant setting, contrasting well with the garments.


I spent the majority of the day in absolute awe of the garments. But a couple of garments caught my attention immediately, this being one of them. To the point where I had to get a selfie. During a-levels, Vivienne Westwood was a big inspiration, particularly the pirate collection. So to see the garment in real life was amazing. I also got to see the other big garment that inspired me a lot during my design was the Alexander McQueen, The Horn of Plenty collection.


Sorry for the shorter post this week, life should resume as normal now and its officially the start of Christmas?! How very exciting…

Lots of Love,