SUSTAINABLE DYERS, AN INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH VICTORIA (PART2)

Hannah Victoria is a designer forging her way into the sustainable fashion sector.  Women are at the forefront of this dynamic shift in how we think about clothes and the purchase of them. Read part 1 of this 2 part interview series here.

Botanical dyeing by Hannah Victoria

Botanical dyeing by Hannah Victoria

What books would you recommend on natural dyeing?

There are four books that I have found particularly useful on my natural dyeing journey. They are:

  • The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

This book is very informative and contains step-by-step instructions for a number of different dyeing processes. There are also many projects in the book which show you how to turn your dyed fabrics into finished products.

  • Eco Colour by India Flint

India Flint is one of the most recognised and celebrated natural dyers. Her passion for sustainability is admirable. I love this book as she discusses various dyeing techniques that are kinder to the environment. I believe many vegans are also concerned about environmental issues as well as animal rights. She demonstrates how to successfully master ice dyeing, cold water dyeing, flower dyeing and shibori. There really is so much information packed into this one book.

  • Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox

What I love about this book is that it encourages the reader to forage for dyeing materials in their local area which is obviously kinder to the environment. It also saves the dyer money and gives them a new purpose to go on long country walks. I am a particular fan of both these benefits! She also discusses rust dyeing which in itself is an art form and a dyeing technique that is growing in popularity. It is the perfect book for teaching natural dyers how to be resourceful and think outside the box.

  • The Handbook of Natural Dyes by Sasha Duerr

This is a great book for anyone starting out in natural dyeing as she details how to dye with everyday ingredients such as turmeric, onionskin, red cabbage, tea and blackberries. There are also projects throughout the book that allow you to turn your dyed fabrics into useable garments, accessories and interiors.

Whilst many books on natural dyeing do contain information about non vegan fibres and dyes they are still bursting with ideas on cruelty free practices and act as a wealth of knowledge when beginning on your own natural dyeing journey. You can adapt any techniques so they are in line with your own morals and beliefs.

Dye waste turned to compost for zero waste management.

Dye waste turned to compost for zero waste management.

What does zero waste mean to you?

Whilst I was researching for my master’s project at university there was a topic that kept appearing again and again. This was the concept of zero waste fashion. Fabric waste has traditionally be viewed only as an economic issue. With the rise of conscious consumers, this issue is being addressed more often. The level of waste is usually invisible to anyone not working in the manufacturing of the garments. This is due to the lack of transparency in the fashion industry. Zero waste is a relatively new concept in the fashion industry and doesn’t receive the vital recognition it needs.

Every pattern piece I create for the Hannah Victoria collection is manipulated to create zero waste. Across many of the garments in the collection flaws can be seen on the fabric, whether this be irregularities from the hand weaving of the fabrics or unforeseen results from the dyeing process. Zero waste fashion design encourages these flaws and imperfections to be embraced. The lack of flaws in mass produced garments raises issues around the consumers’ expectations when it comes to uniformity. Along with pre-consumer waste, the fashion industry is also responsible for post-consumer waste. This is a more challenging area as consumers’ have to be encouraged to responsibly dispose of their garments at the end of their life cycle. It is my intention to tackle the issue of post-consumer waste through education.

Organic dyed fabric

Organic dyed fabric

What’s the most fascinating lesson you have learned?

As someone who is interested in sustainability I almost had to relearn what it was to be a consumer. I had to educate myself about the issues facing the fashion industry in order to convince myself that I didn’t ‘need’ a new dress for a party or the latest fashion trend. It is a tough journey to go on that often has you questioning humanity, especially where vegan issues are concerned. However, you come out the other side realising that you individually can make an enormous difference and can become part of a community that is beginning to push for significant change in the world.

The journey with my brand has also changed me as a designer. The best way to explain is through discussing wabi-sabi. This is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. The art form is very much in line with my brand message. There is a love for the slow process of creating things by hand and a desire to use techniques that yield different results with each garment made. Imperfections are embraced and cherished and the ageing of a garment is seen as a positive part of the life cycle. Instead of items with imperfections being discarded, those imperfections are instead celebrated and treated as a source of originality. For example, where the dyes have taken to certain areas of fabric more than others, it has resulted in patchy areas of colour saturation. Instead of discarding the fabric or attempting to hide it, the area of imperfection has been highlighted further through the use of design and pattern cutting.

All organic clothing- from dyes to fabric by Hannah Victoria

All organic clothing- from dyes to fabric by Hannah Victoria

Both in my career and personal life, I now ask all the necessary questions to ensure that my impact on the world is a positive one.

To know more about Hanna Victoria in the following links

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About the Author

Cindy Rangel is an entrepreneur and founder of Nomada Co, a sustainable travel handbag company in pre-launch phase. She loves all things sustainable fashion, writing, and photography. Join her on her journey for news, interviews, travel stories and the launch of NOMADACO in June 2017.  

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