Who says recycled fabrics don’t make for cool clothes? Scotland-based fashion designer KellyDawn Riot’s new sustainable menswear collection, Formication, utilizes recycled fabrics donated from local Scottish mills. Along with recycled fabric remnants, Riot also uses natural cottons and linens in her collection as well as eco-friendly printing techniques that eliminate reliance on harmful chemicals. Riot’s collection features bright, naturalist-inspired prints on modern silhouettes influenced by iconic eccentric men like Jimi Hendrix, Boy George, and David Bowie.
“Formication is the result of me developing as a designer, both aesthetically and ethically. The collection itself was inspired by traditional naturalist illustrators, so, in keeping with that tradition, I sat in galleries and museums drawing and sketching before painting the images through traditional watercolor techniques. The aim is to create pieces of wearable art that will continue to inspire: crawling with details and minutiae that will never cease to amaze, while being conscious of its environmental impact. Each piece is a treasure: inspired by nature, designed for life.”
A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Riot won the Scotland Re:Designed New Talent Award and as part of the award, received mentoring from “Queen of Upcycling” Orsola de Castro and support from Zero Waste Scotland’s “Love Your Clothes” campaign to launch Formication.
The digital-printing process Riot utilizes for her designs removes the reliance on conventional, harmful printing techniques: “The digital printing process used is more eco friendly than other traditional printing techniques as it uses water soluble inks and a printing process which only uses the pigment necessary, alongside this it does not use screens which means no harmful chemicals are needed to expose screens unlike traditional processes. I also used engineered prints to insure only the necessary amount of pigment and fabric was used leaving no waste fabric or ink.”
Riot tells Ecouterre that de Castro taught her much about the wastefulness of the fashion industry and she was inspired to approach Scottish fabric mills for textile remnants. She noticed that not only were the mills happy to provide her with their remnants to use, the quality of fabrics were top-notch.
“Working with [de Castro] probably had the biggest impact on me. She really opened my eyes to how much damage the fashion industry is causing to our planet and highlighted horrifying disasters like Rana Plaza in Bangladesh and the disappearance of the Aral Sea basin,” says Riot.
“After exposing myself to this side of the fashion industry, sustainability was something I had to move towards. My conscience wouldn’t have let me do otherwise if nothing else.”
Riot explains that having the support of Love Your Clothes and De Castro has helped her develop Formication into a more sustainable and eco-conscious brand while providing her with a new perspective on the fashion industry and the goals for fashion designers.
“It’s not about taking on the world it’s about doing your own thing as a designer but being conscious of its impact and taking measures to reduce your impact on the environment while retaining your uniqueness and individuality. It’s not about changing the world in a day it’s about small steps towards a more sustainable future and…creating transparency in the industry which means a change is inevitable.”