The first of two Re-Make-a-Thons took place at MAKLab in Glasgow on Friday, 13th January. Textile designers from around Scotland gathered to learn and explore the challenges of establishing a circular economy within Scotland’s textile industry, as well as to get busy re-making.
The all-day workshop set the challenging brief of using only surplus materials from local textile manufacturers in the West of Scotland, and transforming them into a prototype circular collar that can be worn with existing garments. The collar needed to be open source, where the original conception can be hacked or modified to produce a hybrid concept. All within the one day.
The surplus materials gathered were donations from local manufacturers, including very popular cashmere selvedge from Begg & Company, leather cuts of various colour from the Scottish Leather Group, and bags of lace from MYB Textiles. Participants also made full use of the technical capability of MAKLab, such as 3-D printing, digital textile printing, digital embroidery and laser cutting, alongside more traditional sewing and embroidery equipment.
In order to provide inspiration, Christie Alexander and Shirley McLauchlan were commissioned before the event to explore and work with the materials and demonstrate ideas and techniques they were able to perform. The exquisite examples they provided drew intense conversation and reflection on the qualities of the materials at hand, the initial frustration of working with surplus materials, as well as the enjoyment is discovering how to bring such materials to life.
Once the participants got their hands on the materials they could not be stopped, with a suite of prototypes and ideas fashioned throughout the day. Brief respite was offered through excellent lightning talks delivered by Myra Ostacchini, sharing work and experience engaging consumer use, and Kalopsia’s Adam and Nina, sharing experience on small-scale production.
At the end of a long and fulfilling day, an exciting variety of prototype collars and ideas were presented, elevated by access to pizza and beer. Among the unique, yet remarkably simple, collars presented were two inspired by Eric Cantona’s arrogant ‘popped’ collar, plaited and braided selvedge, pungent interlocking laser cut leather panels, customisable layers of ruffles and folds, decorative shoulder pads and all manner of ways to revive seemingly lifeless materials.
All in all, many were left convinced of the virtues of bringing together surplus materials with textile and fashion designers in a maker space. Our research aims to capture the insights of feasibility, viability, scalability and sustainability to such processes going forward, as we move onward to our next Re-Make-a-Thon in Forres, February 2nd, and focus on the systematic challenges for ReMantle & Make.