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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Dem Collective: designed in Sweden by Annika Axelsson and Karin Stenmar

Dem Collective have pioneered an all encompassing approach to ethical fashion design, and their devotion to all aspects of the supply and production chain is incredibly inspiring. Here is part of their interview which appears in full in Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung
Sarah Ratty of Ciel was one of the first designers to engage in ethical practice in the UK. She set up the label Conscious Earthwear in the early 90’s before creating the Ciel brand in 2005. She currently also works as a design consultant and advises the Soil Association on sustainable issues.

How do you design your garments?
Each collection has its roots in the way I have developed as an eco fashion designer over the last twenty years. I usually start with fabrics, buy information pills then I think about what garment shapes will best fit into the current zeitgeist and I combine these with my own influences from contemporary art, travel, history and nature. I use as many innovative approaches as I can in fabrication and cutting techniques, as well as using the naturally diverse fabrics from a range of indigenous locations, which are made and developed in situ.

What is the best way to design ethically?
Within eco design there is inevitably some compromise but I always do my best to find the best materials to achieve the desired outcome. I use fairtrade materials and organic fabrics from factories in Europe and South America, all of which comply with fair labour laws as set out by Labour Behind the Label. We use azo-free dyes, which do not use harmful metal mordants to fix the colour. Heavy metals are highly polluting and contribute to toxic soil runoff if not treated correctly. We have recently started to bring some production back to the UK and we conduct a lot of our work via Skype to reduce our carbon footprint.
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung.

Sarah Ratty set up the label Conscious Earthwear in the early 90’s before creating the Ciel brand in 2005, viagra buy which we profiled in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. She currently also works as a design consultant and advises the Soil Association on sustainable issues.

How do you design your garments?
Each collection has its roots in the way I have developed as an eco fashion designer over the last twenty years. I usually start with fabrics, pilule then I think about what garment shapes will best fit into the current zeitgeist and I combine these with my own influences from contemporary art, travel, history and nature. I use as many innovative approaches as I can in fabrication and cutting techniques, as well as using the naturally diverse fabrics from a range of indigenous locations, which are made and developed in situ.

What is the best way to design ethically?
Within eco design there is inevitably some compromise but I always do my best to find the best materials to achieve the desired outcome. I use fairtrade materials and organic fabrics from factories in Europe and South America, all of which comply with fair labour laws as set out by Labour Behind the Label. We use azo-free dyes, which do not use harmful metal mordants to fix the colour. Heavy metals are highly polluting and contribute to toxic soil runoff if not treated correctly. We have recently started to bring some production back to the UK and we conduct a lot of our work via Skype to reduce our carbon footprint.
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung.

Sarah Ratty set up the label Conscious Earthwear in the early 90’s before creating the Ciel brand in 2005, and which we profiled in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. She currently also works as a design consultant and advises the Soil Association on sustainable issues.

How do you design your garments?
Each collection has its roots in the way I have developed as an eco fashion designer over the last twenty years. I usually start with fabrics, diagnosis then I think about what garment shapes will best fit into the current zeitgeist and I combine these with my own influences from contemporary art, travel, history and nature. I use as many innovative approaches as I can in fabrication and cutting techniques, as well as using the naturally diverse fabrics from a range of indigenous locations, which are made and developed in situ.

What is the best way to design ethically?
Within eco design there is inevitably some compromise but I always do my best to find the best materials to achieve the desired outcome. I use fairtrade materials and organic fabrics from factories in Europe and South America, all of which comply with fair labour laws as set out by Labour Behind the Label. We use azo-free dyes, which do not use harmful metal mordants to fix the colour. Heavy metals are highly polluting and contribute to toxic soil runoff if not treated correctly. We have recently started to bring some production back to the UK and we conduct a lot of our work via Skype to reduce our carbon footprint…

Read the rest of this interview with Ciel in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung
Ciel S/S 2011 by Jo Cheung.

Sarah Ratty set up the label Conscious Earthwear in the early 90’s before creating the Ciel brand in 2005, information pills which we profiled in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. She currently also works as a design consultant and advises the Soil Association on sustainable issues.

How do you design your garments?
Each collection has its roots in the way I have developed as an eco fashion designer over the last twenty years. I usually start with fabrics, viagra 40mg then I think about what garment shapes will best fit into the current zeitgeist and I combine these with my own influences from contemporary art, ampoule travel, history and nature. I use as many innovative approaches as I can in fabrication and cutting techniques, as well as using the naturally diverse fabrics from a range of indigenous locations, which are made and developed in situ.

What is the best way to design ethically?
Within eco design there is inevitably some compromise but I always do my best to find the best materials to achieve the desired outcome. I use fairtrade materials and organic fabrics from factories in Europe and South America, all of which comply with fair labour laws as set out by Labour Behind the Label. We use azo-free dyes, which do not use harmful metal mordants to fix the colour. Heavy metals are highly polluting and contribute to toxic soil runoff if not treated correctly. We have recently started to bring some production back to the UK and we conduct a lot of our work via Skype to reduce our carbon footprint…

Read the rest of this interview with Ciel in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Dem Collective by Michelle Urvall Nyren
Dem Collective by Michelle Urvall Nyren.

You were founded in 2004, nurse with the aim of becoming a profitable company that treated people and environment fairly. How have you put this into practice?
We are very close to the whole production chain, sildenafil from the cotton fields in Gujarat to our ready-to-wear garments. We have also started our own garment factory in Sri Lanka, where we can ensure good salaries and working conditions. All our fabric is fairtrade certified and eco labelled.

What defines a Dem Collective garment?
The design is very important – we make good-looking clothes that customers want. To be frank, the least environmentally friendly garment is the one that no one wants to wear… so our clothing is basic, timeless, and of good quality. We are happy that our customers call us and tell us that a t-shirt they bought five years ago is still in use, and hasn’t fallen apart, or gone out of fashion.

Dem Collective by Michelle Urvall Nyren
Dem Collective by Michelle Urvall Nyren.

Who are the designers you work with? How do the collaborations happen?
It is an important part of the Dem Collective ethos to work with a string of different designers; Maja Jakobsson, Maria Andersson, Camilla Jernmark. Our latest collaboration is with Josefin Lassbo. Both Karin and myself are very open about our lack of design experience, so we like to work with others. Most of our collaborations start out with the designer contacting us.

Why is it a bad idea to use genetically modified cotton?
There is still not enough data on the impact of genetically modified crops on the environment, the soil and the people. But one thing we do know is that they provide three harvests a year and that is really draining on the soil, which means increased use of pesticides and chemicals. And designer seeds are hugely expensive so farmers are more likely to fall into debt…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Dem Collective’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

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