Sustainability through Masterclasses
The Fashion Design department at VCUarts Qatar – a Qatar Foundation partner university has initiated a pioneering initiative called the Eco Lux Lab in response to the growing realisation that current and future generations of designers need to be taught the importance of sustainable fashion.
Lockdown and the Covid 19 fear has set a new precedent in Qatar. Sustainable designs and art works that make us reflect on consumption and effects of consumerism have been foremost on most minds. Educational institutions have also initiated online classes that teach sustainable crafts. The Fashion Design department at VCUarts Qatar has introduced Eco Lux Lab for the future generations of designers who needed to be reminded of the importance of sustainable fashion.Eco Lux Lab is a set of online master classes aimed to make participants aware that luxury can be sustainable and beautiful, without having to sacrifice the former for the latter.
With its emphasis on responsible design and community engagement, VCUarts Qatar offered Eco Lux Lab to both its own students as well as the general public. According to the officials at VCUarts Qatar, the public response for the first workshop that took place on October 31, 2020, was enthusiastic – with places for the online session, where Italian master craftsman Rino Magnani took attendees through the process of making luxury handbags using upcycled leather, filling up as soon as the registration was opened.
The second online class titled, Denim, Designers, and Divas held on November 10, 2020, was presented by Bill Curtin, the owner of Blueprint Denim Washhouse (BPD Washhouse), based in New York.
Eco Lux Lab’s online masterclasses to date have featured the famous Brooklyn-based fashion illustrator Richard Haines and artist Helen Kirkum from London. Haines’ work has helped the art of fashion illustration re-emerge and slowly nudge aside energy-guzzling processes such as for photoshoots, while Kirkum’s range of bespoke sneakers made from waste materials has created a stir in London’s art and fashion circles.
In response to the huge carbon footprint produced by fashion photoshoots, leading names in fashion have consciously shifted to more sustainable operational processes, one of them being fashion illustration. In fact, the Italian edition of the Vogue magazine recently reintroduced fashion illustration in its publications, for the first time since it started using photographs in the early 20th century. Haines – an alumnus of VCUarts, Richmond – is one of the top fashion illustrators, internationally, and has collaborated with the likes of J Crewe, Prada, Calvin Klein. In the third workshop, held on November 19, 2020, participants paid a virtual visit to his Brooklyn studios where they had a closer look at his creative process while listening to his experiences spanning his career.
The fourth workshop was on December 3 with Helen Kirkum, who fashioned sneakers out of recycled material, from her London studio.
Kirkum, an artist and designer has worked with Adidas, Reebok, Timberland, and Nike. She caught the eye of artists and the public alike, for her work involving discarded and recycled sneakers.
Through her craftsmanship, she emphasises the possibilities of creating couture-level accessories from discarded material.
SCALE will keep its readers posted about the upcoming Eco Lux Lab workshops, offered by VCUarts Qatar.