Student Sustainability Conference Meet the Presenters: Dominic Browning
Meet Dominic, a Fashion School graduate
'Whose Heirloom?’ is my sustainable graduate collection that focuses on tackling landfill and discussing the importance of emotional relationships with our clothing. Within the presentation, I would like to talk about my journey designing and creating my graduate collection and also my personal morals and shopping habits.
My collection and personal beliefs touch on all three pillars of sustainability. ‘Whose heirloom?’ is made from 100% scrap fabrics and pre-owned knitwear that I have reworked into my own embellished fabric.
As a consumer of the twenty-first century, I found myself frustrated and unfulfilled with the high streets’ ethos and commodity. I was always yearning for something different to satisfy my acquired taste in an overcrowded, mass-produced industry, where what we want is regularly manipulated into what we need. Growing up in Dorset, where high-street chains appear as often as rain in the British summer, only heightened my desire to break away from stereotypical Topman skinny jeans and the painful loafer teenage image. I started browsing in charity shops where I found the unpredictable finds a thrill. It was not until earlier this year that I suddenly realised that I had not purchased from or found myself in a retail chain in over ten months but yet I still had purchased branded and fashionable trending items. I had not missed out on some overpriced coat or limited edition t-shirt because I have them, well I have alternatives.
With this realisation, I was interested to see how my enjoyable shopping habits could be utilised on a larger scale to decrease pollution and landfill by companies and big brands. With the idea of doing a 100% sustainable graduate collection, I set out to find all my fabrics for third year through charity and scrap shops. I quickly found that the most intriguing, colourful and consistent find was knitted jumpers. I began experimenting and fabricating my own recycled fabric utilising wrong sides, right sides, seams and holes of the original jumpers, combining them together to create an intriguing and effective fabric. My work is about celebrating the history of all recycled garments involved and their newly founded future. I believe my work to be a conversation starter, catalysing people to question their own emotional attachments with certain pieces of clothing but also intrigue people into asking when viewing my work ‘Who originally owned this piece of recycled cloth?” Or “Who will own this piece in the future?”, opening up for the topic of landfill, unnecessary disposal and the importance of emotional relationships with clothing to be discussed.