Sustainability Without Sacrificing Aesthetic Appeal

This week we talked about the idea of designing locally. I absolutely LOVE this idea. One of my favorite brands, BlackMilk Clothing, is a good example of a company that can design locally, but can also compete in the international market. BlackMilk is an environmentally sustainable company that started in 2009, and six years later is now an international phenomenon. James Lillis bought a broken down sewing machine, tacky nylon fabric and made leggings for his friends. His leggings became so popular, with their loud prints, that he began selling them online through a blog. Their widespread fame allowed James to expand his business even more. However, he always pledged that he would not exploit the labor force and he would be as sustainable as he possibly could. Today he prints all of his fabrics using a printing technique that uses zero water. All of the garments are still produced in Brisbane, Australia, where James is from. BlackMilk clothing is quickly on the rise and is a force to be reckoned with. It is this kind of story that has me inspired as a designer.

In my designs I use a lot of beads. So now I am researching sustainable alternatives to beads. Even though the beads that I use now are glass, and considered much more sustainable the cheap, plastic beads, I still want to find alternatives that I can use that is even MORE sustainable. One alternative that I have found is beetle wings. Beetle wings were used in the early 19th century as decoration and embroidery. Since then, Beetle wings have fallen out of popularity. I thought this was so cool that they used these wings of bugs for decorative purposes. At first, it kind of grossed me out. But then, I remembered that silk, on of the most luxurious fibers comes from a worm.

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