Other Review is a digest of findings that casts light on design process, contemporary ideas and creative inspiration. Through communication, we aim to examine the importance of design piece by piece.
FELICIA BUDI ON LESS WASTE
By Immanuel-Johannes Palar
May 26, 2018
During the hassle of gearing up for BUANGAN mini exhibition, Felicia Budi of fbudi took some time to talk with me about few things on the subject of her exhibition. The latter opened within the theme of less waste, where she showcased ten looks from her new collection along with the textile waste under some of the looks. From an analogy of bringing your own glass around to her consideration about fbudi’s DNA, she made some clear points to me as she sometimes tried to fix the installations.
I: What is less waste?
F: In fashion design, less waste means using a fabric to its maximum efficiency. This includes considering how much waste could be produced, looking for ways to keep it on the minimum, while also making sure the function and aesthetic are still in proportion.
I: So, it is still about balance?
F: Yes. To be able to keep the balance, you have to understand the fabric first. You have to know its qualities, its width, and from there, you design it accordingly. Most of the time, you wouldn’t get the design by drawing alone in this practice. You have to have the fabric, try it on a body, and then continue the design from there. The design process later determines how much waste it resulted.
I: Why less waste?
F: Some would say that you want to do this for better world, while others say you just want to appease your guilt. To me, it doesn’t really matter what your motive is, the outcomes are still going to be good anyway.
I: How does this practice affect us?
F: Well as a pre-consumer practice, minimal-waste design contributes to the early stage of overall waste production. It is more of an initial effort to manage less waste.
In general, I think that reducing waste from any aspect would do good for our lives. This includes textile waste. It is a part of our everyday life waste. This is just one of the things that we can do to contribute to a better waste management.
I: Tell me the process of making less waste clothes.
F: It is rather a holistic approach than a hierarchical one. We have to think of the whole process at once. While cutting or constructing the clothes, we are also in the process of designing. It is not about pre-determined design and making it into reality. The making is designing.
During the process of pattern cutting, we usually do adding and subtraction. Adding translates to adding cuts on negative spaces of a pattern for details of the garment, while subtraction means experimenting with a whole piece of fabric with almost no cuts. Those are just some of many techniques to create less waste.
When it comes to consumption, we have to consider how versatile the clothes could be. Clothes that could be worn on many occasion translates to less consumption; perhaps a garment where we can detach the sleeves when it's hot and put it back when it’s cold.
Most importantly, the goal is to create long-lasting clothes. Minimal waste or even zero waste design would mean nothing if the clothes couldn’t last. Bad quality clothes from minimal waste or zero waste process would easily end up as another waste. So, it is always about quality. Making long lasting clothes is always the goal.
I: How could people in general participate in this practice?
F: One of the most effective ways to participate is through mindful consumption. When you are thirsty and you need to buy a drink but you don’t carry around a glass with you, while at the same time there is someone else selling water in plastic bottles next to you. Should you not buy the water if you are being consistent to environment? I don’t think so.
I: I see. You only buy something when it is necessary.
F: Yes. And remember that the main function of a garment is to protect you from the cold and/or the heat. Other values come after that. In buying clothes, always consider the function of a garment that you need the most.
I: Any other practical way?
F: If you could recycle a garment, do it. But remember to be careful before giving or donating your clothes. If you want to give your clothes to others, make sure it would fit their bodies, or else it would end up as another waste.
If you want to donate it, do research on who you are donating it to. Some organizations that collect second-hand clothes at the end would deliver the unsold items to third world countries. This doesn’t eliminate waste but moving it to somewhere else.
I: So, that happens?
F: Yes. If you really want to take on a full responsibility of your clothes, the most effective way is to take care of it from the beginning to the end. Recycle it for yourself. You could bring it to a tailor and ask to reconstruct it into something else.
I: That is an interesting idea.
F: I’m just trying to show you some options, at the end it would be your choice. Everyone has their own way to contribute and I know how hard it is to persist sustainability. It is a big responsibility and it is not that simple. You can try to do good here and you still can miss something elsewhere. At least, each of us can contribute in our own way or preference.
I: Looking forward, what’s coming after less waste?
F: There are a lot of problems that fashion industry is facing at the moment. The point is we are trying to be socially and environmentally responsible. Waste problem is just one of many problems. Personally, I think less waste would eventually become a normal practice. Comparing to early 2000s when I first started, there are plenty of Fashion Universities that primarily teach the practice of less waste and/or zero waste by now.
In Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, I guess one of the main problems is still about consumption. First, it is over consumption. Most people still don’t understand the process behind making clothes, so they tend to be driven by trends. Second, some designers are not seemed to take the full responsibility of the whole process of making clothes until the end. This leads to over consumption.
I: Last one, what’s coming next for fbudi?
F: I’m not the kind of person that could plan for the next ten years or anything. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. One thing I know, I’m quite responsive. So if anything happens, I will always try to do something about it. Many have been asking me about my DNA, about the visual and other stuffs. You know, I don’t know. I think people change, people develop, and it goes on. And it is the same with this brand. It is going to follow me wherever I develop someday, where I feel like going. Because at the end, this is not just a brand, this is my expression of art. What's important is being honest to myself and make a living.
BUANGAN Mini Exhibition
24–27 May 2018
Ruko Roxy Mas E2/30 (map)
Other Review is published in Jakarta by Each Other Company.
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