With personal enthusiasm for the outdoors along with ever increasing awareness of sustainability issues in the clothing and fashion industry, Lydia Whiting aimed to created a collection which enables all the function of performance garments without using standard plastic fabrics and components or PFCs. The designer was recently featured in the June issue of the Harper’s Bazaar. If you are curious the same way we were read the interview below!
As you do focus on sustainability a lot within your designs, what does it mean to you personally?
Sustainability within my own work, to me is taking responsibility at every stage of design to have the minimal impact on the environment and minimalism waste. It comes into every aspect of design, development, material selection, sourcing, design for disassembly and end of life considerations.
Could you tell us a bit more about the materials you have chosen for your latest collection?
In my graduate collection, using Slaithwaite as a central point, my fabrics were sourced from manufactures within a 25-mile radius. This drastically reduced the carbon footprint of the materials from the onset. I hope my collection also gives nod to the world class textiles industry that’s remains in Huddersfield. Plastics and PFC’s were also eliminated from all the materials which I used. All fabrics were made from natural fibres and no component contained plastic. The removal of PFC’s and PFAO’s, exceptionally harmful chemicals used in waterproofing, from my collection while maintain weather proofing and function required the use of Plasma finishing, which fully waterproofed the cotton Ventile, and added water resistance to corduroy and moleskin. Giving these natural materials the equivalent function of synthetics.
All fabrics were made from natural fibres and no component contained plastic.
What would you like to be your main role as a fashion designer?
I would like to aid in the creation of technical and sustainable garments, which do not harm the environment they were designed to help people survive and enjoy.
Moorland and natural landscape has influenced my collection with colour and shaping.
How would you like to be described in your customer’s minds?
I would love to gain a reputation for excellent design and function, and excellent sustainability practices.
What pushes you to create the most and what has the biggest impact on your work so far?
I love being outdoors and being on the edge of the Pennines surrounded by moorland and natural landscape has influenced my collection with colour and shaping but has also given it it’s necessity for functionality. Although I was already aware of sustainability within design and fashion, my internship with McNair Shirts really showed me the extent that natural fibres could be equal to and exceed the performance of synthetics. As I continued my research in my dissertation, I discovered the pace at which plastics and non-renewables textile production is still rising and well as the lack of alternatives in the outdoor industry. I would love to be a part of these sustainable developments that must come.
I would love to be a part of these sustainable developments that must come.
Discover Lydia Whiting full collection
Words by Katarzyna Korcz