WE FACE A NECESSITY TO END CONSUMPTION. Amy Matthews is a designer who believes in seasonless, timeless, one-off pieces that are intricately detailed and handmade with care. Their individual garments can be styled in a multitude of ways, and despite the womenswear focus, certain garments and accessories are genderless in approach. THERE IS A NEED FOR CHANGE.
'Mend It, Fix It, Make Do' explores a notion in which the fashion industry could utilise upcycling as a necessary practice. Namely, the overarching focus, was to "make do" with disused garments and waste materials by mending them in a contemporary form. Virgin Materials have no feature. In what could be viewed as a nod to Amy's extensive research into the origins of 'Make Do and Mend, beginning in the Second World War, redundant military stock claims reference. Constant advancements in military technology, materials, and garment construction, mean they are durable to re-use, and in redundance.
Themes of deconstruction run throughout - re-use of bridal silks are also featured. There was a consideration into whether items with such sentiment, that are constructed with more detail and enduring qualities could be better for re-introducing into a circular fashion approach. The Trench Coat seen in 'Look Two' is constructed from military jackets, and lined with the skirt of a discarded wedding dress. The beaded bodice is used to create an intricate bag, and silk off-cuts create the Hand Ruched dress.
Sustaining themes of re-using military garments are contrasted with the re-use of t shirts, denim jeans and mass produced items. A developed practise of hand 'knotting' discarded t-shirts and 'weaving' discarded denim jeans aims to repurpose these material 'scraps' into items with increased aesthetic value, market value, durability and longevity. Cheap, mass produced garments become strongly knotted and woven together in a unique aesthetic form, to create a range of garments and accessories.
As a recipient of the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Fashion Award, Amy’s collection aims to lessen the environmental degradation of the Garment Landfill Crisis and takes inspiration from the wartime notion of ‘Make Do and Mend’. This desperation to re-use everything, is incomparable to modern day ‘Upcycling’, which is utilised by very few. Global apparel production and consumption is perpetually increasing, with the current ‘take, make, dispose’ model constituting acute social and environmental implications. WRAP (2022) calculates that: ‘£140 million worth of clothing is sent to UK landfill each year’ and ‘demand for raw materials is expected to triple by 2050.’ The challenges of remaking from smaller items, awkward patterns, and materials, is massively outweighed in ease, time, and profit by mass production using raw materials. It is now important to not simply ‘mend’ old garments, but to increase their functionality, desirability, and monetary value to contend with vast over-consumption and production.