The second of our two Re-make-a-thons took place in the Glasgow School of Art’s new Highlands and Islands Creative Campus on the Altyre Estate just outside of Forres. We were joined by some of the participants from the first Re-Make-a-Thon held at MakLab in Glasgow, with the welcome addition of some new faces from around the region. Once again we gathered to continue to explore opportunities for establishing a circular economy in the Scottish textile industry.
At this second all day event, the designers were once again set the challenge of coming up with creative ideas that would transform surplus material gathered from Scottish textile manufacturers into open source collar designs. To build on our findings from the first event, and because we really like a challenge, in this event we put more of a focus on the systemic challenges for the circular economy. So, to supplement the original brief, we briefed participants to not only think of some great ideas but to consider the whole lifecycle of their concepts, and build systems level thinking into their designs.
Once again we supplied material in the form of cashmere selvedges from Begg and Company, leather from The Scottish Leather Group and lace from MYB Textiles. With the addition this time round of donations of coned yarn and woven off-cuts from Johnstons of Elgin.
The day began with a brief overview of the re mantle approach, an introduction to the circular economy and the current challenges to feasibly make circular ways of working a reality. After a quick review of the previous hack in Glasgow, some more coffee and for some a second breakfast, the participants delved right in and began selecting materials and developing their ideas.
To add some inspiration to the event we punctuated the making with lightning talks, first from former RCA graduate Thomas Leech who presented his Shoey Shoe project, exemplifying the system level thinking required for circular approaches. There were also talks from GSA post-graduate Heather Martin on the challenges of circular thinking and embedding circular thinking in design, and once again an insightful interlude from Adam and Nina of Kalopsia Collective on viable approaches for working at small-scale using sustainable materials.
Using mainly hand tools, with a little help from the laser cutter and the resident knitting machine, designs quickly came to life. With lots of great collaboration and sharing of skills, it was a great collective effort. Individual creativity generating new sparks of ideas, and the knowledge and experience of the group helping to turn sparks into prototypes.
As a long and insightful day drew to a close, we refreshed with well-earned beer and pizza and a new wave of remarkable designs. Included in the showcase of simple, sophisticated and surprising (think cardigan for a beard) ideas were hooded collars fashioned by simple folds and darts with single cashmere off-cuts, fabrics made adaptable in it’s processes of production, patchwork pattern garments, using small off-cuts as padding and more crotchet and loose weaves.
As impressive as the array of inspired prototypes was, the range and depth of interesting conversations occurring throughout the day, and on into the evening, has inspired many options for the project going forward. We are now working toward refining the prototypes for a showcase and a round table discussion on March 17th in Glasgow, and will look to share plenty of images and findings to enjoy and explore.