The rise of handmade clothing

With the rise of Climate Change awarness has become an increase of young artists taking advantage of sustainable fashion to put on the market. I talked to artists Julius Thieroff, 20, Germany, and Morgan Wallace, 20, Cornwall, who have their own individual clothing brands about their projects and how their art based items are climate aware.

At the click of a finger, on social media you’ll find a selection of accounts promoting their handmade clothing items for sale, whether that’s screenprinted t-shirts, upcycled second hand clothes or items made entirely from scratch.

What do all of these media users have in common? They’ve all noticed the gap in the market for sustainable fashion and as a result have a new platform to easily present their artwork to the world, away from the conventional method of selling paintings and drawings and exhibiting them in galleries. With the current movement away from sweatshop and commercially branded clothing, the future for art definitely does seem to be in fashion.

Fashion over the past 10 years has proven to be a very successful and exciting market for young designers and artists. By using climate friendly materials and producing unique and handmade items, creating t-shirts with illustrations on and designs for unique clothing items and accessories like tote bags too, the Internet has gone wild for buying and selling items away from the cheap retail clothing that you see on the highstreet.

More and more people are looking to buy their clothing from a more sustainable source. There are roughly 2.1 million sellers on Etsy, which is one of the largest websites for handmade, intricate items to be sold online, some of which are fashion items and accessories. As well as the large demand for clothes and art made entirely from scratch, the movement away from fast fashion and towards second-hand clothing is rising faster than ever.

You only need to look at your Facebook feed and you’ll become very aware of the threat to the highstreet, as masses of people worry about how branded clothes contribute to the water pollution and fossil fuel crisis.

Although lots of keen shoppers are sad for the impending end to retail shops as sales move online and people are increasingly buying from charity shops, it’s undeniable that young fashionistas are in an exciting time and have the power to increase awareness and make a change.

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Julius Thieroff, 20, is a young designer, born in Germany and studying in London. His brand allows other artists as well as himself to print their designs on to t-shirts to sell on through his Instagram page. @southbluetribe

What is your project?

“It’s a little bit like an artist collectus (‘collective’), in the way that any artist can join and collaborate to make t-shirts under the name ‘South Blue’ All they have in common is that they have the same logo. I have a friend who does embroiding so she sells a few embroiding. I mostly focus on painting and screen printing which I do myself in my spare time. It gives an open area for artists to incorporate their design and artistic spirit in t-shirts and make a little bit of money doing it.”

Why did you start your brand?

“When I was 16 I really just wanted a business, I wanted to be an entrepeneur. I wanted to make T-shirts Hopefully I’m going to continue doing it so when I’m older and have a bit more money to put into it it can grow a little bit bigger, but it’s gone pretty well so far. It just started as a solo project, me realising I could buy t-shirts online. Me wanting to make my own t-shirts and designing them how I wanted to. I started making them for friends, then maybe I’ll make an Instagram page, it’s a nice little income on the side.”

How are the clothes that you sell made climate-friendly?

“I use non toxic wate-based colour first of all, when you wash the t-shirts you don’t want any weird chemicals or micro-plastics going in to the ocean. I’m using non-organic cotton at the moment but I plan to move to organic, but obviously as a student the costs are quite high I’m going to try in the future to change this. Making my own clothes is less wasteful I guess, in a way that creates less of a carbon footprint as it’s travelled less.”

Morgan Wallace, 20, Newquay, owns the clothing brand Kern as inspired from his life and observations from his home town, away from the big cities. His focus is on increasing awareness on climate change and using clothing and accessories as a platform to show off his art work. @kern.thunk

What inspired you to start your brand?

“I was just drawing all the time. We got a task at my college to create a website and I decided to make one for my clothing. Within a week I had already sold all of my stock. I’m always trying to expand it for sure, the fashion industry is crazy, one of the biggest industries in the world. It’s definitely becoming more popular too because of the internet(…) I have no graphic design background or anything (so) anyone can definitely do it it’s just putting the effort in.”

What have your designs been inspired by?

“A lot of it is inspired by the culture down in Cornwall, my experiences. Being in nature, by the oceans and far from the cities. With the creative people, bands, all of the state and surf culture. That’s what has made the brand what it is.”

Are the materials you use climate-friendly?

“I’m trying to go down the eco-friendly route at the moment, just be sustainable. I’m starting to do more research, I bought out my first eco friendly product a few months ago which is the tote bag 100% eco friendly cotton.”

How do you think art makes an impact on peoples political views?

“Massively, an image is more powerful than words(…) In general there needs to be more awareness, it should be taught more in schools and stuff like that. Even just putting it on a t-shirt it sends a message, that does a lot for awareness.”

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