Thursday, 20 November 2008

Techno Threads

Highlights from the Techno Threads exhibition

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Joanna Berzowska - Kukkia & Vilkas: kinetic electronic garments

From seed to Saf

This is the journey of the cotton that is used to create all of Saf's clothing. They are an ethical Organic clothing brand. Michael Conway, managing director of Saf, says,

'The clothing industry is pretty nasty - 20 000 people die every year from pesticide poisoning. Cotton uses 3 per cent of the world's arable land and 25 per cent of pesticides. We are producing a sustainable, organic product that also doesn't use child labour.'

A Cotton Field
A cotton field

Cotton Seed
Cotton seeds

Cotton Bales
Cotton bales

Spinning Cotton

Spinnning cotton

Cones of Cotton
Cones of cotton

The Knitting Machine
The knitting machine

<span class=
Greige rolls of fabric


For more information on Saf 'Socially aware fashion' see the Design Week's website:)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The gadget show on textiles

Love the protective clothing idea, also the computer keyboard... could this be a viable option for reducing wastage due to production and upgrading of existing computers...?

Heat sensitive fabric

Possibility, adapt this technology for my main study for interchangeable images on a garment...

How can this be taken further...?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Optical Technology

The future of textile printing...?

Microsoft touch light... what could the possibilities be of using this technology to project images onto a garment. Always moving and changing...

Leads me back to the idea of temporary printing by Random International...

Any desirable image or text could be printed for a short time... what would be the limitations on colour choice? Provides a vast flexibility for the user and promotes individuality. People can create their own image and identity.

Philips light emitting textiles... another possibility in the development of wearable technology to enhance personal identity and uniqueness. Any image could be displayed and changed with ease depending on mood, circumstance etc...

Re-use your old clothes

Kathleen Mclaughlin a innovative product designer has come up with a concept to re-use your favorite tired old garments that you don't want to throw away, by giving them a new lease of life and bringing them back as contemporary candelabra lights.

I think this is a fantastic idea as we all have old favorites that we don't want to part with but no longer wear. This idea has great scope and can be a framework for a variety of customising or re-incarnation if you like services.

There are sites such as Thread Banger offering step by step tips and tricks to update and customise your existing wardrobe... the one below is one of my favorite:)


**Jumper Skirt Tutorial**


1 XL (Extra Large) T-shirt

1 pair of scissors

1 sewing machine
1 good sewing hand

1 set of straight pins
1 set of glass tipped straight pins (recommended)

1 Iron

1 Yard stick, ruler or measuring tape

1 piece of tailor chalk, crayon or water soluble pencil (in a contrasting color)

1 Seam ripper, nail scissors, or cuticle remover

Depending on your experience, this project should take from one to two hours at the most.

NOTE!!*** Each step that instructs you to "sew" use a number 2 zig-zag stitch to retain stretch in the T-shirt. ***
Okay lay out your shirt, we are going to divide the shirt into three pieces: the skirt, the straps and the waistband.

The straps will be the first to be cut.

First, you will need to remove the stitches from the bottom hem of the shirt. Do this by using either your scissors or seam ripper

Once you have removed all the stitches, it will look like this.

Press open the unstitched hem with your iron.

Measure and mark 5" from the bottom of the newly opened hem and measure and mark 14" across.

Cut this rectangle out from both sides of the shirt.

Do not cut the fold.

Fold in half, pin, and cut.

Now fold each piece in half, pin and sew raw edges together.

When finished cut off the excess.

With the straps you can do one of three things:
1 You can leave them as they are and not turn them inside out.
2 Press the straps with the hem in the middle
3 Turn the straps inside-out and press seam on one side.

If you decide to turn the straps inside-out:
Attach a safety pin to one end of the straps.
Guide the safety pin inside of the strap as if it were a casing for elastic.
Keep guiding it through until the entire strap has the seam on the inside.

Pin down with glass tipped pins and press flat with iron (starch is recommended) with seam on one side.

Right now your shirt bottom should look something like this:

Next is the waistband.

You cut two separate parts from the shirt, one from the bottom of the shirt, another from the top of the shirt.

First measure and mark a 5"x10" (the 10" should be what is left of the bottom).

Cut that square off, do not cut the fold.

After the cut you should have a 5"x20" rectangle.

For the skirt measure and mark an 18"x21" rectangle from the new bottom of shirt, cut.

Reverse the rectangle and pin only the sides together.

Sew the pinned sides.

For the waistband, cut off sleeves from the leftover of shirt, open at seam.

Lay your first waistband piece on top, pin and cut around.

*Each person's size is different so "pinch and pin" sides of waistband to get desired fit, mark and sew.*

Pleat the skirt to the waistband, remember to pin the side seams of the waistband and skirt together first, to get an even match of pleats.

Pin pleats, and sew.

To finish the raw edges, sew a 1/2" hem at both ends (bottom of skirt, and top of waistband)

Attach straps to waistband: about 3" from side seam at the front.

Adjust the strap length to your desired fit, pin straps ends to the back of waist band 3" from side seam, pin.

Sew each strap end at top of waistband seam with a box stitch (a continuous stitch that creates a box with and X on the inside)

Try on, make and size adjustments (since this is made from a T-shirt, there should still be stretch when fitting on the jumper skirt, if not, adjust waistband with an elastic band or a zipper)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Jan Chipchase: Our cell phones, ourselves

Ethical Fashion Fair

People and Planet are organising an ethical fashion fair in Mono (downstairs in Dundee Students Union) on Sunday the 16th of November from 6pm. Come along and see whats on offer, there will be some charity shop stalls where you can buy second hand clothes and a swap shop as well. So if you have any clothes, shoes or accessories you no longer want why not bring them along and see what you can exchange them for:) Alternately you can just donate some of your old clothes for the event to People and Planet and whats left at the end will be shared between the charity shops.
There will also be a fashion show at 7pm and you can dress up in your clothes purchased on the day to win a prize for the best shopped charity shop outfit:)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Recycle more

I have found this website that describes itself as a 'one-stop recycling information centre'.

How ethical are Topshop...?

According to this advert for Kate Moss's range at topshop they are saying that they are a fairtrade retailer... They do have an ever growing people tree range but how ethical are topshop?

Monday, 3 November 2008

Thread Banger

Found this really interesting website giving tips and tutorials on how to customise and re-use old clothes. I especially liked the video below showing how to make a dress out of an old pair of trousers. Cleaver and relatively simple:)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Electric Textiles

Georgia Tech researchers have taken an important step toward creating fabrics that could generate power from the wearer’s walking, breathing, and heartbeats. The researchers, led by materials-science professor Zhong Lin Wang, have made a flexible fiber coated with zinc oxide nanowires that can convert mechanical energy into electricity. The fibers, the researchers say, should be able to harvest any kind of vibration or motion for electric current…

By the researchers’ calculations, a square meter of fabric made from the fibers could put out as much as 80 milliwatts–enough to power portable electronics. The development could make shirts and shoes that power iPods and medical implants, curtains that generate power when they flap in the wind, and tents that power portable electronics devices.

MIT Technology Review

This is truly amazing technology, the possibility that you would be able to generate all the power you needed as you went about your life:)

see Layers of Meaning

Next Nature

Next Nature

How can we get to next nature...? What needs to change and how will we go about implementing such changes? Think possibly it is a cycle as demonstrated above. We have to learn from our mistakes and possibly return to older practices of eating seasonal foods, and growing our own. Not so long ago everything was natural and organic, seems strange we now pay premium prices for things the way they should be...

Light Reactive Printing...?

Ever since seeing the DYMO label printer in the summer I have been wondering how this technology works and if it could be used on a larger scale... really want to understand more about this technology and how it could possibly be adapted to suit what I would like to use it for.

Have found this video on YouTube, the image is only visible for 45 seconds or so, I'm wondering if their is a way to make it more permanent...


the possibilities are really encouraging in the step towards a more sustainable future. Think of a long lasting well made piece of clothing that could be exposed time and time again to show different patterns and colours for the changing seasons. Images would be printed with UV light not inks or dyes. This could be a great compromise to 'fast-fashion' without all the endless waste going into landfills. Less resources would be getting utilised for the clothing industry as well as their would be less garments being produced and shipped. The environmental factors would have to be addressed as I'm not sure how this technology works and the energy/chemicals needed to produce these results. It does seem like a fantastic opportunity though.

Random International

How it works:
Inside the wall is a Roland DPX-3300 plotter connected to a computer. With a soldering iron the plotter draws on a canvas which is layered with thermochromatic ink. The canvas is heated partially and changes its color. After the heat diminishes the color changes back to its original state.
With this alternative display it is possible to write w
ords or draw simple illustrations. An interface was developed in processing to record the drawings of the cursor.
Video of El Muro.
(we make money not art, 01.11.08)

What about this, people could design the look of their own clothes with a technology such as this...

Perhaps people would feel more connected to their clothes if they were able to express themselves as individuals and show who they are with their clothes. Could decide for themselves the exact shade or patterning etc instead of having it dictated to them...?

Other possibilities...

Above Digital Dawn, a light reactive window blind by Loop.pH a design company which use electroluminescent technology, colour and light in their design and Research.

Above is Blumen's electronic wallpaper display "The wallpaper is built up from a number of addressable cells forming a repeating pattern across the surface. Each cell can be addressed individually and when connected to sensors Blumen becomes an animated pattern, emerging and altering in response to its environment. Temporal Light takes a similar approach, embedding the electroluminescent material into tiles which act as pixels in the display."
(Mr Watson, 01.11.08)

Kathy Schicker textile designer who weaves with light.

'How does it work? Her light reactive textiles using new and smart yarns that emit, reflect or react to light, including reflective, phosflurescent and photochromic yarns.'
(talk to my shirt, 01.11.08)

'These fabrics are white until they are exposed to sunlight, when colour and pattern is magically revealed. The sunlight also charges the textile, so it glows in the dark.

A brilliant idea using sunlight to bring textiles to life. Sun light is working for us already as energy provider via soft solar panels in bags and clothing. This Solar reactive textiles convert the solar energy to transform the textile patterns without the need of electrical power or wires.

This is to most environmental friendliest use of solar energy I have seen.'

(talk to my shirt, 01.11.08)

Christine Keller a weaver, researcher and tutor uses Retroglo a reflective yarn in her work. She is "especially interested in the perspective the clash of tradition and newest technology gives us"

"Retroglo high luminescent yarns are high reflective yarns used at present mainly in safety equipment. Produced in a newly developed jacquard technique, these pieces respond to light in unexpected and unknown ways. The viewer experiences a space where images appear and disappear on the structures through illuminations of various kinds. Due to the properties of Retroglo yarns two layers of visual appearance, alternately visible, are integrated in one fabric."

(, 01.11.2008)

'Shimmering Flower (above) deploys a simple technology for nonemissive, color-change textiles. It functions as a woven animated display, constructed with conductive yarns and thermochromic inks together with custom electronics components. The textile is woven on a Jacquard loom, which allows the creation of beautiful and complex imagery. The flower image was created with custom drawing software.'

(Joanna Berzowska, 2004)

Retroglo as well as Uni-Glo is a phosphorescent yarn, may offer some possible usable technologies in light reflecting textiles.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Ethical Pests

Blood, Sweat and T-shirts update

Be an ethical pest

Brand Me/Weekly image (6)

This week I have been really thinking about myself as a brand, what my values and style is, how I can be benificial to others, what my mission for this year is and my vision for the future.

This is for my Brand Me presentation that was set by Tom Inns. I am finding this to be a very useful exercise as it is really making me consider all aspects of myself including personality.

I sent out a survey to some of my friends and family to get their responses on who they believe I am as a person. This helped me identified key factors in my personality that I don't see, which was useful in compiling the benefit section of my brand. (below is an example of a reply)

How beneficial is Jo to herself and others?

Jo is more beneficial to others as she puts other people first.

How does she relate to other people and what mak
es her attractive enough for other people to want to relate to her?

She is caring and trustworthy, and doesn’t like letting people down.

How does she give insights to other people and inspire them
and help them transform?

She can sympathise and encourage
people by talking about past experiences of her own.

How does she contribute to everybody's welfare and to public development?
She is always available to talk to and will go out of her way to help

Slide 7
(I am going to use my Brand Me mind map(above) for my weekly image this week as sums up what I have been doing and thinking about)

In researching this project I have read the books Tom suggested Managing Brand Me by Tomas Gad and Anette Rosencreutz and The New Guide to Identity by Wolf Olins. Gad and Rosencreutz make some interesting points like that we need to figure out who we are and what we stand for to make the world a better place, if we have our own missions we will not be swayed by other peoples influences. Apart from the Brand Me code which helped me to outline the the areas I should be focusing on, the main points I took from this book which will hopefully help me in realising and fulfilling my mission/vision are

'All perceptions are filtered through our personally programmed subconscious filters. Thus everything we see, hear, feel and smell etc is our version of reality.' (Gad and Rosencreutz, 2002, p15)


'to accept the state of chaos and feel comfortable with it.' (Gad and Rosencreutz, 2002, p9)

The above one is especially important for me as I have been thinking about possible obstacles and flaws within myself and so in my brand. This is the Hindrance branch on my Brand Me mind map.

I think that my hindeances could be problamatic when trying to convey myself as a brand as I can be very quiet and retract into my own wee world for various reasons but it has been sain that "its not who you are underneath, its what you do that defines you" Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins 2005

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts

Here is a clip from the BBC3 documentary series Blood, Sweat and T-shirts.

Really highlights the living/working conditions of the people who are making our fast fashions.

Buy Handmade :)

Buy Handmade Video from Etsy on Vimeo.

I can make a difference

Well done to Macallan Durkin who is only 13 years old but is making a difference by selling her t-shirts and donating all the money made to less fortunate children in Africa, in particlar Botswana where she lived for nearly three years. Her Website Goody Goodies gives more information on Macallan and how she is making a difference:)

In My Name

White Band Action

Garments Without Guilt

Garments Without Guilt is a Sri Lanka apparel company who say

'We make garments with conscience and care. By protecting worker's rights, creating opportunities for education and personal growth, and helping to alleviate poverty in our communities, Sri Lanka Apparel does business with integrity and helps create a more equitable society.'

They have lots of inspirational stories and other information on their blog on how they are making a difference.

Check out their blog:)

Who is the ethical consumer?

I was on Labour Behind the Label's blog and came across an entry entitled 'Who is the ethical consumer?' It makes some very interesting points like...

'ethics is not an optional extra, an either/or: it’s a minimum standard, based on human rights. “I’m not wearing this, it’s real fur,” “I don’t shop at Next because their trousers make me look like a hippo,” “I can’t buy those pants, they were made in exploitative conditions.” That’s the kind of category that ethical decision-making belongs in.'

I agree we should have this mindset to how and who we buy products from but companies are aware of our realisation that we as a society are not happy with the ethical or non-ethical implications that come with buying their products so are jumping on the ethical bandwagon and having fair trade lines or concessions within their stores which LBL feels eases the pressure on them and doesn't actually address the real problem as their systems for, manufacturing and shipping goods throughout the whole supply chain doesn't change. And why would they bother when...

' you can please the same consumers by stocking a few organic, fair trade cotton lines or a concession from People Tree, which does nothing for your existing factory base?'

Instead they feel and I have to agree that

'the ‘ethical consumer’ needs to be everybody, and needs to want nothing less than across-the-board respect for workers’ rights.'

They also raise the point tho that an item can carry a fair trade or organic label but still isn't actually an ethical piece of clothing.

'It may be made from organic cotton, but in a factory where trade union rights are suppressed; it could be hand-stitched by a Fair trade women’s cooperative in Nepal, but then flown or shipped to the UK at significant cost to the environment.'

So I guess that 'to say a product – or a consumer – is ‘ethical’ is to oversimplify.'

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Scottish Institute for Enterprise

Last night after my weekly people and planet meeting, a representative from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise came and talked to us about possibly taking part in their 'We Challenge You' innovation tournament. The aim is 'to create as much value as possible from a common, everyday object'.

The object wont be known until Thursday the 13th of November and then you will have four days in which to create a video documentation of your idea. The value of which said object is measured is up to the teams. The finished videos will be posted on youtube for the whole world to view. Even if you don't win its a good way to get your idea out there:)

Above last years winner the Do Band. The idea is to put it on with a promise and don't take it off until you've fulfilled your promise, then pass it on and the process starts again:) Similar to the idea behind Pay It Forward 2000 film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. One of my all time favorite films which proves little things can make a difference and change the world:)

The task (inspirational speech by Spacey's character)

The result (what Trevor played by Osment's character achieves with his project)

Ewgeco Part 2

I went and met Tanya Ewing today at Scottish Enterprise where she is doing a course. At lunch she gave a presentation about the Ewgeco energy monitor and a demonstration of how it works.

I still think this is a fantastic device and am going to contact Tanya an her team to see if it will be possible for me to do some research for them :)

Oxfam Whats Your Ethical Rhythm

Love this Cartoon from Oxfam, such a good and concise representation of today's society and what will happen if we keep over consuming in such a frantic manner. Highlights the fact that we need to reduce, reuse and recycle:)

Big Ideas That Changed The World - Consumerism

The Concious Consumer

Film giving a selection of the general public views on fair trade, fair trade products and where to buy fair trade.

Slow Fashion

Interesting video about peoples relationships with their clothes...:)

Is there a possibility for the masses to connect with their clothes and belongings on a large scale so we can move away from our 'throw-away' culture...?

Inside Fair Trade Fashion, a day in the life of People Tree :)

People Tree's mission

* To support producer partners' efforts towards economic independence and control over their environment and to challenge the power structures that undermine their rights to a livelihood.
* To protect the environment and use natural resources sustainably throughout our trading and to promote environmentally responsible lifestyles and environmental initiatives to create new models to promote sustainability.
* To supply customers with good quality products, with friendly and efficient service and build awareness to empower consumers and producers to participate in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable solutions.
* To provide a supportive environment to all stakeholders and promote dialogue and understanding between them.
* To set an example to business and the government of a Fair Trade model of business based on partnership, people-centred values and sustainability.

Fair Trade by People Tree

A video on Fair Trade by People Tree :)

How Ethical is Your Wardrobe?

The Story of Stuff

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

My Desk...

Its five weeks into the course and this s how my desk is looking...

DO Lectures

For other Lectures on the Do something series (4th-8th September 08) see

These lectures and more interesting subject matter can be found on Howies website:)

Alastair McIntosh Author of ‘Soil and Soul’

Part of the DO Lctures by Howies

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Weekly image (5)

My image from week 5. This image sums up my week as I have been concentrating on my methods.

The Flower

The Flower (above) is the symbol of the European Eco-label Hompage. 'your guide to greener products and services'. The European Eco-label is part of a bigger picture trying to endorse and encourage sustainable consumption and production:)

This symbol was created to be easily recognised by consumers and is hoping to promote the use of environmentally friendly products and services into the marketplace through this voluntary scheme.

The Green Dot

The Green Dot (above) which is seen on many packaging around the world isn't actually a sign for recycling, it is actually a trademark which shows that the company producing said packaging are contributing towards the recycling of packaging. The packaging this appears on however is not always recyclable itself.
The Green Dot is not used in the UK but packaging can be sold here carrying this symbol as long as long as the companies producing this packaging are paying a licence fee through Valpack Ltd as the Green Dot is still a trademark.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Story of My Chocolate bar...

Whilst shopping at an Oxfam bookstore yesterday as well as picking up some interesting books(see pic below) I also treated myself to a chocolate bar:) not only was it scrumptious but it was also fairtrade. This according to the fairtrade logo it 'Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers'.

My Divine milk chocolate has the tag line 'Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart'. I wanted to find out if it lived up to its name, it certainly passed the taste test.

I started reading other information on the label and found out that it was produced in Germany using Ghanaian cocoa. Under the ingredients listed the sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vanilla were all certified to international Fairtrade standards. These ingredients make up 76% of the product, i can only assume the other 24% of ingredients, dried cream,whole milk powder, emulsifier: soya lecithin (which was stated as non GM) are not. Curiously over 4/5ths of the remaining 24% of non-organic ingredients are dairy produce(derived from milk). Why are these ingredients not certified Fairtrade?

The interior of the wrapper states that the design on the outer label are 'traditional West African Adinkra symbols, often used on hand-made crafts, and each with its own special meaning'.

This symbol (below) which is found on the outer wrapper and also explained on the inner is 'Funtunfunefudenkyemfunefu' which means 'Democracy and Unity in Diversity'.

The inner wrapper also gives a brief history of the cocoa farmers of Equatorial Guinea as well as the problems they face and how and for what reasons Divine chocolate was created with investments from The Body Shop and Twin Trading and the support of Christain Aid and Comic Relief.

'The success of Devine means that farmers have a secure source of Fairtrade income, which continues to grow as more and more chocolate lovers choose it as their treat. As Kupa Kokoo also owns a significant percentage of the company, they can share in the profits too. Members decide how the money is invested in their communities and each year more villages can sink their own drinking water wells, build schools, or benefit from health care schemes. Ownership of devine and the Fairtrade deal has also enabled farmers to plan for their future, send their children to school, learn new skills, and improve their farms. The exciting news in 2006 was that the Body Shop decided to donate all their shares in Devine to Kupa Kokoo - so now those benefits of ownership are even greater'.

Good on the Body Shop:)

I think that it is so nice to actually get the story behind where something has come from for once. We are forever consuming without the knowledge of where the items are made, who are making them, the history behind them or how they get to us.

Other related sites Dubble and Twin.