TOO GOOD FOR THE BUS explores the unique duality of grief, recognising that after the pain and melancholy of loss, there is a celebration of life and memory. Beginning her research in her grandparent’s home and the Peak District (where her grandfather grew up), Zoë explored the loss of a loved one and the associations they held, whilst examining whether private grieving is possible through a public medium.
Traditional woven fabrics reminiscent of her grandfather’s coats were reimagined through knit techniques, fusing traditional rigid menswear and more organic textures inspired by the Peak District. The process of creation acted as a form of catharsis as Zoë explored the internal competition between the reserved nature of the British ‘stiff upper lip’ and the more sensitive, emotional reactions loss can trigger.
Textures and patterns within her grandparent’s home inspired the varied and dynamic knitted modular panels within the collection. Zoë’s grandfather owned a number of garments he deemed ‘too good for the bus’, but the collection rejects this sentiment. Each piece has been created as a luxury, but a sustainable luxury to be enjoyed and continually reimagined. The modular garments formed are designed to be reworked, reworn and celebrated daily.
Numerous panels exploring various constructed textile techniques were joined together to form diverse compositions, conceptually illustrating the patchworked memories and feelings Zoë explores throughout the collection. These dynamic pieces pull together discordant colour palettes and textures together in a harmonious manner, much like the eclectic interior of her grandparent’s home.
A variety of modular panel joining methods are utilised to create the garment compositions, one being twisted silk cords. A number of factory dead-stock silks have been used to create these twisted cords, with plain silks naturally dyed using food waste (coffee grounds and avocado), embedding elevated sustainability into Zoë’s collection.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ‘clothing utilisation - the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used - has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago’ (2017). The modular approach of Zoë’s collection aims to eliminate this under-utilisation, thus hoping to reduce the approximate £140 million worth of clothing ending up in landfill every year (British Fashion Council, 2020).
By separating garments into durable, versatile panels that can be fashioned in countless ways, the wearer is offered creative flexibility. Mirroring the fluidity of tastes and the continual evolution of trends, this allows for a practical and sustainable solution to under-utilisation. Without compromising on quality or unique aesthetic value, the diversity and life of the garment is extended and the textile can be truly celebrated.