An Interview with Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie Textile + Design

An Interview with Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie Textile + Design

Image credit: Rob Matharu

What is the importance of ethical fashion to you?

The importance of ethical fashion to me is based upon a holistic circular approach to designing, producing and consuming fashion and textiles in the 21st century.  It is system that   involves a consideration of our environment in its entirety — our resources; use/reuse/recycling of these resources, respectful modes of production that does not exploit cultures, modes of production, humans and/or animals and a focus on the development of alternative business models that will encourage the further development of the local production and consumption of textiles and clothing.

What is the importance of sustainable fashion to you?

The importance of sustainable fashion is more than just buying fabric made sustainably.  It is a social and moral responsibility.  In the 90’s when I was in design school, I was told I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because there was no market.  Flash forward 20 years and after 13 years of establishing my design studio and practice I am doing it.  I believe that it takes more than just using resources that are deemed ‘sustainable’ to claim yourself as sustainable.  Yes it is important that we address resources – they are finite.  I however believe that sustainability begins with creative use and reuse and using materials that are already in existence or are by-products from other industries to produce new textiles, garments and accessories.  We have way more materials in our environment than we can even possibly consume and we are the first society in history to exist that has had to create landfills to deal with our waste.  I think sustainable fashion is informed by ones’ value system, knowledge and experience and the design decisions that are made are driven to contribute to the greater good in some way.  I believe sustainable fashion is meant to be specialized and should be approached in this way.  I think the more important element to sustainable fashion is telling a story that needs to be told.

What is Sans Soucie Textile + Design?

An Interview with Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie Textile + Design

Image credit: Christina Lazar Schuler

Sans Soucie Textile + Design is a zero waste textile and design studio established in 2003 in Vancouver, Canada that specializes in transforming pre-consumer textile waste, specifically waste hosiery produced in mills in Canada and the USA.  This material resource is dyed and printed using low impact dyes and inks before it is remade into new textiles for clothing, accessories and 3D forms.  We use and reuse all the water, waste ink, threads and offcuts from our process into our bespoke made to order limited edition collections.

What makes the company unique?

An Interview with Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie Textile + Design

Image credit: Christina Lazar Schuler

We transform pre-consumer waste hosiery into new textiles that are produced anywhere else in the world.  We produce by-products from this material resource into cultural products that are 100% Made in Canada.  We also a supplier of waste textiles to textile artists and craftspeople who work with our waste textiles to produce jewelry, rugs and fine art.

What other work are you involved in at this point in time?

My current schedule includes costume designing, public speaking and educating on the value that waste textiles has to offer as a creative material resource in craft and design, and mentoring various sustainable projects globally.

What meaning or personal fulfillment does this work bring for you?

Knowing that I am creating something that will live beyond my years on this planet and that fact that I contributing to the greater good.

With regard to ethical and sustainable fashion companies, what’s the importance of them now?

I think we have a long way to go but the movement has been started and in my opinion there is no looking back.   I have spent time in the Southeast of the USA where the majority of textile and clothing production existed prior to offshore production taking over in the latter of the 20th century. From my experiences, the impact of this departure was necessary.  Although they are still trying to recover from this loss, the people and of these environments were exploited and underpaid.  A revival is occurring in this area and are operating from a more mindful, sustainable approach. The sad thing is that what left the USA and Canada has only repositioned itself offshore and continues to exploit cultures, humans and animals.  The Fashion System as we know it is deconstructing and has been for some time.  The more awareness that is created on the issue will pave the way for ethical and sustainable to grow and be the future of fashion.

Thank you for your time, Katherine.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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