Owner & Creative designer Design + Conquer
It's exciting to be part of the shift towards sustainability
Morgan Mallett, owner and creative designer at Design + Conquer, talks about the need or a future where you do not even have to use the term 'sustainability'.
Tell us about your experience from being a jewellery-maker to a designer of a sustainable clothing collection. How different was the journey?
There is much more planning required when you are designing clothing-especially when you are importing materials from another continent. I found myself making more than twice the number of prototypes than usual as more was at stake, which includes time and materials costs.
What is the source of inspiration for the sew-less collection? Do you intend to continue working on sustainability designs for the textiles?
A source of inspiration for the collection was the material itself. The black and white cork fabric I used was so stunningly unusual all on its own. I intend to continue to work with sustainable materials-it's what we need to be focusing on as designers.
Why did you opt for the sew-less technique? How does it promote the concept of sustainability?
As an industry, we tend to focus on making existing materials used in clothing more sustainable, rather than asking why we need to include them in the first place. There are so many other ways to join textiles together than with sewing-why not explore them? This is one of the reasons why I opted for using slits and scoring instead of traditional sewing techniques in the Design + Conquer's Sewless collection.
What is the lifespan of the sustainable creations made from the Portuguese cork fabric? Why did you choose this material for the sewless collection?
Microplastics are a huge concern for the planet, and I realised last year that all of my faux leather clothing in my closet contained plastics. Not only that, but much of it was either disintegrating or wearing out quickly. I did some research, and ordered some cork leather samples. I was amazed at how the fabric performed… and how tough and light it was. We are used to seeing cork being used for limited items in North America: wine corks, cork boards, and cork flooring. Cork textiles are quite a different entity-tough, tear-resistant and naturally waterproof. I was hooked!
What has been the response to the sustainable clothing line?
The response has been great! Like me, lots of people had never heard of cork fabric, and there has been a flurry of interest over its use in my new collection.
Your designs are a mix-and-match of themes. What's the theme of your sustainable collection?
Minimalism and retro-futurism are highlighted in Sewless. It's easy to envision an aesthetic future, but this needs to be coupled with materials research as well. We tend to forget that many aesthetic trends aren't solely based on 'look' or 'style,' but reflect the resources and political environment that surround us. This dynamic fascinates me.
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