Here at Re-dress we are always eager to discover innovative new sustainable designers. Well, let us introduce Sarah McKeirnan who has just finished studying Fashion Design with Sallynoggin College of Further Education.
So, how did you decide to study Fashion Design?
I studied environmental science at college and worked in various fields within that discipline, including waste management for many years. The recession hit that sector hard in Ireland. I decided to use my new found freedom to do some travelling and explore a lifelong hobby of mine, fashion design. Most people ask me what the connection is between environmental science and fashion design. Its simple, the answer is ethical, sustainable and wearable fashion that doesn’t cost the earth (and not just in the financial sense). I believe you don’t have to sacrifice looking good for doing good.
What changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
I feel strongly about fast fashion and the role it plays in the fashion industry. I believe that it has removed some of the personality from clothing and means that we do not invest as financially and emotionally in our wardrobes as previous generations did. I am inspired by ethical designers such as Christopher Raeburn, Stella McCartney and Ali Hewson. I also admire celebrities like Livia Firth, who use their fame to campaign for issues such as fair trade, sustainability and the environment. I hope that my designs and ethics inspire a new wave of consumers to consider the eco credentials of their clothing along with how it looks and how much it costs.
Tell us a bit about your collection?
My aim for my final year collection was to address a variety of sustainable techniques and to make a collection that featured pre-loved cloth, hand-made natural dyes and zero waste designs. I sourced materials from charity shops around Dublin and received some interesting donations from family and friends.
I bought the material for the dress in Age Action on Camden Street for €2, it’s a second hand catering tablecloth. I made natural dye from the skins of plums and used it to dye the material. The yellow blouse in my collection was dyed using natural dye that I made from onion skins.
My collection features cloth that I gleaned from deconstructing pre-loved clothes. For example, I used a deconstructed leather jacket and a donated maroon curtain to make my biker style jacket, which I paired with a pair of trousers made from curtain material. I deconstructed two men’s shirts to make the black blouse, and paired it with a pair of city shorts.
The top is a zero waste pattern that I designed taking a rectangle of material and dividing it into three smaller rectangles, by further divdiing one of the rectangles into two triangles the rectangles become the front and back of the top and the triangles become a draped neckline at the front and back with stitching detail chosen to ensure zero waste.
I am very proud of my final year collection. I believe it represents me as a designer, showing my passion for sustainable design and my interest in the architecture of clothing.
We want to thank Sarah for talking to us and wish her the best of luck in sustainable fashion design in the future.