Martha Bent is a British Fashion Design graduate from Cambridge, with a particular interest in sustainable leather.
Throughout my time at university I developed my interest and passion in sustainable design and I have had the opportunity to explore this extensively in my final Innovation collection; a 100% waste lambskin leather collection . Being able to research and design for a variety of brands has allowed me to combine my love of colour and print with design across all levels of the market.
I have grown up surrounded by leather as my father's antique shop specialises in leather luggage. However it wasn't until I was made aware of the vast amounts of leather that is wasted, due partially to the high quality standards set by the fashion industry, that I was inspired to use the material in my final collection.
Longevity and biodegradability are essential factors in sustainable fashion. Research into antique luggage demonstrated how durable the material is - quite literally lasting a lifetime if not more! Being a natural by-product of the meat industry, leather is a biodegradable material. Using waste leather hides required a slow fashion approach with damage to the hides (such as holes and scratches) requiring considered pattern placement when cutting, and panelling to maximise the usage of each skin.
Having discovered the huge quantity of leather that is wasted annually, I wanted to place a focus on utilising waste leather for my innovation project. I chose to design for the brand Maison Alaia and my outfits were constructed using 100% waste lambskin leather. My aim was to demonstrate how through the use of panelling, placement consideration and embracing the natural inconsistencies of each hide, reject leather hides do not need to be considered waste. I wanted to limit my waste as much as possible and therefore chose to use the raw edge of the hide as a peplum on the jacket and on the skirt. The silhouettes were inspired both by research into the brand and research of antique luggage - which often features rounded corners which is reflected in the rounded shoulder of the jacket.