Honestly, upcycling is a matter of principle. I refuse to buy new textiles and new clothes unless I really have to. It hasn’t been always like this.
Although I have always liked and preferred second hand or vintage stores, time to time I bought metres and meters of new textile to sew something or I used to buy new clothes from big retailers. But the more I started to research and to know about the textile industry, the more unacceptable it was for me to buy new. The textile industry is slowly suffocating the planet and I didn't want to be part of it anymore. So I had to decide how to move on with sewing and designing clothes and at the same time to be sustainable and to feel good about it- we are drowning already anyway into textile waste, why to generate even more. Upcycling is the solution. Taking something out of value and giving it a new purpose, this is the way I can sew, at the same time feel good about it! I used to have a little vintage store as well, around 10 years ago. Finding items for this shop was most exciting- you never know what you can find, one day Burberry cape from the 60s, another day new pair of shoes from 20s. Like a treasure hunt. It is the same with finding textiles, doesn’t matter if the textile is coming from the second-hand store, 10 kilos bag with production residues of a linen company or leftovers from the textile store. TREASURE HUNT!
Choosing and making process
- every textile is handpicked. I check every millimetre of the textile to discard stains, worn areas, scrap material or any kind of breakage of the fibre.
- I always choose the textile what is marked with the exact composition of the material, additionally, every textile will go through the burning test, just to be sure! Read more about the burning test here.
- all the textiles are washed with detergent what is free of VOC (volatile organic compounds), dyes and artificial bleaches, synthetic fragrances. (Many of the textiles don't need heavy wash since second-hand materials, for instance, are washed already before, probably several times, due to that there's less possibility for textiles to shrink, to have heavy colouring or other chemicals what might be added to the textiles to keep them brighter and shinier. Second round textiles are healthier!)
- after washing, drying and ironing, textiles are ready for patterns. I make a product incision, depending on how much textile I have I choose size and pattern.
- and last but not least, sewing and heat treatment! Voila, the item is ready! I enjoy every step of this process, its progressing nature. To make something new out of something old. To give to material rendered to be waste a new chance, increasing its value and a big bonus is to feel good about it!
If you have any questions about Babianas production process, you are welcome to ask!