Vin + Omi are an eco-design duo based in London. They are very innovative due to their London Fashion Week collections and their aim in their project are; raising awareness to young students, recycling the byproduct of a fashion event and also to establish new methods to eco projects and business models (Vin + Omi). I will be comparing them to other big companies such as Patagonia and Stella McCartney who also launched a line of accessories made from fishnets, bottles and many other plastics that have been found in the ocean (Elven, M. 2018). Vin + Omi have made this connection between textiles and recycling, whereby they have now created fashion from it using practical fabrics made from recycled bottles. At the moment they are currently boasting their 12 recycled fabrics that are made from many sources such as their latex plantation in Malaysia, ‘leather’ which is made from chestnuts, Nettle and new plant hybrids and their rPET silk which has been created from littered plastic bottles found in rivers. Like Patagonia, both are reducing environmental impacts. Vin + Omi also are reducing environmental impacts through their advertising and not using billboards or posters but just by using social media (Digital Out Of Home).
2.0 Eco-Design Evolution
When considering eco design it is seen as economic, environmental and has social values in production, choice of materials and also its life cycle (Brower, C. Mallory, R. and Ohlman, Z. 2009). Eco-design demonstrates that design has this strong relationship between all three of these factors and the responsibility that designers have on incorporating a sustainable quality. This therefore is creating a society whereby there is less impact on the environment while also having greater social equality (Vicente, J. 2012) and it is considering how design will have an impact on the world (Brower, C. Mallory, R. and Ohlman, Z. 2009).
The industrial revolution came about in the late 18th century in Great Britain. There was a shift from rural to urban economies as seen in the rise of factories and also the mass production. The textiles industry played a huge part in the industrial revolution, which bought many benefits such as John Kay who invented the ‘flying shuttle’ (1733) this was a machine that weaved yarns together to create fabric, this increased the output of textiles from yarn. However, putting aside these benefits there are many disadvantages such as increasing the toxic materials in water, air and the soil each year (McDonough and Braungart, 2002). William Morris was more concerned about the socialist issues than the environmentalism. He wanted to convince other creators to use local and craft production for ‘true nature’ (Thorpe, 2007). However, the designs that William Morris created were only reaching a privileged market.
Papanek (1995) had stated that materials that are being used within design were very harmful for the environment. Therefore, Papanek examined the Cradle to Grave approach (Kopnina, H. 2018). Another concept was created by McDonough and Braugart 2002 in which there is a circular approach of production called ‘Cradle to Cradle’ (Kopnina, H. 2018). The cradle to cradle approach is trying to eliminate waste overall by using this circular approach instead of a linear (cradle to grave) approach where it reduces the waste (Winston, K. 2003). This closed loop solution comes from reused materials, after these have been used then this means those materials will be recycled and then used once again for new designs (Braham, E. 2017). Vin + Omi have taken advantage of this closed loop solution as it has had direct influence on their designs. However, it needs consistent raw materials. Vin + Omi have supplied this by working with ‘community project’ for its rPET fabric that has been sourced (Gallacher, J. 2018).
2.1 Pioneers influencing the fashion industry and Vin + Omi
In 2009, Eco Age was introduced by Firth’s company. This allowed for sustainability resolutions for other fashion companies such as Gucci to develop on their supply chain (Craik, L. 2018). Firth has partnered with Matchesfashion.com whereby she assisted in creating them a code of conduct for other fashion companies. However, it’s her pioneering Green Carpet Challenge enterprise, that is uplifting many celebrities to dress wearing these ethical designs at big events such as London Fashion Week (Craik, L. 2018).
Another example of a pioneer is Stella McCartney, who launched her first designs in 2001 (Craik, L. 2018). She does not use fur and leather in her designs and her collections are for men and women ready to wear also including accessories, fragrance and lingerie (McCartney, S. 2018). 53% of her womenswear collection is created by sustainable materials (Craik, L. 2018). “It’s based on instinct and the personal values that I grew up with, on an organic farm in the countryside where the whole family was vegetarian” (McCartney, S. 2018). In 2012, Stella McCartney created handbags that were made from recycled bottles, then in 2017 she teamed up Parley Ocean Plastic™ and created two new products and then again in 2017 Stella McCartney and Adidas designed limited edition ‘Ocean Legend’ and these fabrics were formed by the oceans plastics being recycled (McCartney, S. 2018). Vim + Omi’s collection are all currently based around using recycled bottles from the ocean and have recently done collaboration with ‘Ocean for Oceans’.