Lotus Shareef-Trudeau Capstone

Captsone: http://lshareef-trudeau.wixsite.com/rejectscapstone

For my senior capstone I resolved to make a collection of clothing/accessories made entirely out of recycled material. I created eleven pieces in all out of various material, from worn out jeans, to plastic tobacco packs. It was really important to me that I do something which I could incorporate sustainability into because it is something that I believe in and am very passionate about. By making new clothing out of material that was old and otherwise unusable, I was able to save a significant amount of material from the dump where these non-decomposable, non-recyclable materials would stay for years upon years polluting the Earth. 

I also wanted to find a way to apply the skills that I had learned through my internships in the past school years which were heavy on sewing and designing as well as to improve these newly developing skills in a way that I could feel proud of.This project seemed the perfect balance between the two. I learned a variety of different skills through completing this project. Designing a website, which is the platform I am presenting it on, shoe repair, embroidery, sewing machine repair, the complexities of designing, measuring, fashion sketching, sewing, and even making a mannequin.  

Avram, Ioana. “How to do fashion sketches step by step.” YouTube, YouTube, 28

Aug. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0orqkmOGamk&feature=share.

This video is a tutorial on fashion sketching, by Ioana Avram, a Romanian designer. Avram takes you step by step through the process of drawing fashion figure for your designs. She describes the proportions of the body and the angles and lines of the body to follow. She describes three primary steps to drawing figures. Starting with the axis of the body, drawing stark lines and angles of the body, such as the shoulder line and the hips, you create something like a stick figure. Secondly sketch out the primary shapes within the body, and lastly you connect the shapes together as fluidly as possible. All in all, this tutorial helps to guide you in drawing figures fast, each one doesn’t generally take more than 3 minutes, and efficiently, the figures are ideal to emphasize the subtleties of each design you create.

Learning from this has made my design process a lot faster and easier. Previously I did not have a real method to drawing figures, now I can easily reference my designs and I have an air of consistency to my figures which helps me better understand my designs in relation to one another.

Claudio, Luz. “Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry.”

Environmental Health Perspectives, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Sept. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964887/.

This source talks about the detriments of “fast fashion.” Fast fashion allows huge quantities of clothing to be produced and sold quickly and at low costs. This type of fashion has repercussions on the environment and leads to inhumane conditions for workers. In China, for example, where 30% of the world’s apparel exports stem from, workers make as little as 12-18 cents per hour. For the majority of the apparel nowadays, just producing the material to needed to construct the clothing creates harmful by-products. Cotton crops account for 25% of all pesticides used in the U.S.

Because of how quickly clothing is produced and sold, it urges consumers to throw out last season’s purchases. One person in America will throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing/textiles per year. Though thrift stores are becoming an increasingly popular way to discard clothing, they make up only 15% of all clothing that is thrown out. This source is very useful in pointing out the flaws in fast fashion and reasons that we are in need of more sustainable & eco-friendly habits within the fashion industry.

Cline, Elizabeth L. “Ethical Fashion: Is The Tragedy In Bangladesh A Final Straw?” NPR,

National Public Radio, 2 May 2013, www.npr.org/2013/05/02/180557959/ethical-fashion-is-the-tragedy-in-bangladesh-a-final-straw. Accessed 25 Jan. 2018.

This source explains a lot of the “fast fashion” industry’s operations and how that becomes problematic and disregards environmental and human rights issues. The fashion industry is now ruled by fast fashion industries which outsource to other countries in order to employ extremely cheap labor, optimizing their profits. It opens your eyes to how apathetic we are as a country to any crises that don’t directly affect us, the sufferings of people outside of the U.S., the degradation of the environment, etc… Now, there is a surge in the U.S. towards more ethical fashion and a greater demand in consumers for brands that sell and produce conscientiously.

Colon, Ana. “The 51 Most Incredible Dresses From Couture Fashion Week.” Glamour,

Glamour Magazine, 25 Jan. 2018, 12:25pm, www.glamour.com/gallery/best-looks-couture-fashion-week-spring-2018.

This source is not quite academic or without bias, but for my intents and purposes it doesn’t really need to be. The article compiles a list of fifty popular looks from 2018’s couture fashion week, from some of the most influential designers of today. Studying each of these pieces and other looks from the designers mentioned is a useful way to gather inspiration for my pieces as well as understand what types of designs that people respond positively to. This makes the bias of the article useful to my research. Realistically I won’t be able to match the designs from Fashion Week, but I can try to incorporate some of the main components and/or themes of the pieces that I see.

Csanák, Edit. “Eco-Friendly Concepts and Ethical Movements in the Fashion Industry.”

International Textile, Clothing & Design Conference, 5 Oct. 2014.

There are some limitations in this source, as the author who presented at the conference it was written for is not from an English speaking country, and so, though it is written in English, some of the meaning is convoluted in the writing because of the language barrier which causes the author to write in broken English at times. Despite its limitations, the source introduces the idea of three pillars of a “sustainable fashion retail chain” which is something that can be useful to understand. The pillars are made up of social issues, economic demands, and environmental aspects. In order to create a sustainable fashion retail chain it is essential to find a balance between all three, ensuring that you can produce goods at a relatively inexpensive cost, treat workers fairly, and take environmentally beneficial based action.

Ferrarini, Paolo. “Interview: Sass Brown of "ReFashioned".” Cool Hunting, 9 Oct.

2013, www.coolhunting.com/style/interview-sass-brown-of-refashioned.

This article transcribes an interview held with Sass Brown, the founding dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation and an advisor for the annual Danish sustainable solutions guide, Sustania100. Brown counters the question of whether or not recycling/upcycling would be a contradiction to fashion’s naturally value of obsolescence, by explaining that “creativity thrives on challenge.” She expands on how, challenging oneself to be sustainable in fashion elicits creative responses and that eco-fashion is no less couture than its wasteful counterparts.

I find a lot of truth in her response as I begin my capstone. I’ve felt a lot of enjoyment in upcycling clothes not only because of the environmental implications but also because it poses a challenge and stretches my creativity because I have to work with what I have, mistakes have to be embraced and run with because I don’t have an endless supply of material. I have one chance, one thing, each piece is unique and near impossible to replicate, which lends each piece a valuableness that it would not otherwise possess.

Gerval, Olivier. Fashion: Concept to Catwalk. Firefly Books, 2010.

Gerval’s Concept to Catwalk laid out everything that a designer needs to know to create a clothing collection. He starts from the very beginning of the design process, mapping out how to choose color palettes and fabric type, touches on the conceptualization of each piece, producing them, creating a portfolio, and finally showcasing your collection. Reading this has given me a lot of helpful hints to keep in mind while designing my collection. It has also given me a lot of good ideas for how I want to present the final product because I hadn’t had a solid plan for that aspect of the project. Now I am excited about the possibilities of what I can do to display it. I’m considering doing a photoshoot with each piece and recruiting models, which could be a time consuming process. I am also very taken with the idea of creating a portfolio of all my designs, making it all follow a sort of theme, concept mapping and the such.

Prime, Richard. “Restructional Clothing by Ninna Berger.” Cool Hunting, 28 Oct.

2013, www.coolhunting.com/style/restructional-clothing-by-ninna-berger.  

Ninna Berger is an avant garde, Swedish designer. Berger founded Recontructional Clothing, a collection of clothing which uses 100% reused materials and doesn’t allow any material to go to waste. This source was able to provide a lot of examples of the different possibilities that upcycling holds as the project Berger undertook was very similar to what I am attempting in my capstone. It has also abolished the idea that upcycled clothing’s greatest potential is to look like a 4th grade arts and crafts project in its finished state. If nothing else, learning about Reconstructional Clothing and looking at the results of the project has helped to boost my morale and reinforce my hope for the quality of the products that I create.

Sims, Alexanda. “How the fashion industry is helping the world's rubbish problem.”

The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 27 May 2016, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/how-the-fashion-industry-is-helping-the-worlds-rubbish-problem-a7052826.html.

This article talks about how designers have turned to more ecological materials to create their fashion. One popular and effective method of no-waste fashion production mentioned is chemical recycling. Chemical recycling involves  melting old material down to extract the raw material. Using this method, old clothing can be made into a new garment to be recycled again and again. The article points out that each year, 350,000 tons of used clothing in the UK goes to the landfill. In the U.S., this number is a whopping 16 million tons as of 2014. The UK is making great strides in integrating sustainability with fashion, and the sheer mass of waste that the U.S. produces in textiles, shows how beneficial sustainable fashion could be in America.

My capstone is a response to the question of how I can personally reduce the waste I create, beyond simply recycling. This source has opened my eyes to how much of a detriment the fashion industry can be to the environment and some of the ways to combat that. After learning this, I knew that I wanted to emulate designers such as Christopher Raeburn and Cyndi Rhoades. Though I do not have access to the technology to employ chemical recycling, my end goal is to create several pieces of clothing out of old and worn out clothing and materials, which will allow me to create environmentally conscious clothing and minimize my carbon footprint, although it will be on a much smaller and more personal scale than the design.

Wyszynski, Linda. The complete photo guide to needlework. Creative Pub. International,


In The Complete Photo Guide to Needlework, Wyszynski includes descriptions of different tools and materials essential to needlework which was extremely helpful for me so that I knew exactly what would be the best type of thread, needle, etc… when embroidering. This book gave me a lot of different techniques to use when embroidering, beading, and the like. It was especially useful when I was working on the shoes that I repaired because I was using so much embroidery, and in such a vast range of techniques, on them. I thought this source very effective to use because it had ready pictures and steps so that I could easily follow along and copy the steps in order to finish the pair of converse.