Eco Car Research?

Eco cars are a form of technology that in recent years have become more “trendy“, a variety of car companies are embracing the technologies and creating a variety of cars aimed at a range of customers. Now while I adore the idea of an Eco car I truly want to think about my fossil fuel use, the environmental impacts and of course the sustainability of such vehicles.

At first I had a range of worries about electricity and it cause me to be disconnected with my use of fossil fuels, in light of this I did some research and went on some visits to find out more about how electricity is generated in the UK. Through this i discovered that while fossil fuels are used other fuel sources are also used, some of which involve the reuse of garbage. According to Energy UK approximately under 50% of different fossil fuels are used to generate electricity although they do also say that this change on an annual basis.

I consistently try to consciously think about my impact upon the environment and I feel that reducing dependence on non environmentally friendly methods and resources will take time and persistence it will not happen over night. I plan to do more research to see how best to reduce my negative pollutant activity while still living comfortable life, challenging maybe but also very rewarding for the planet and future generation.

My top 4 Eco cars, in relation to research I have done so far are:

4. MORGAN EV3 46kW

This delightfully regal sports electric car is a beautiful example of Morgans expert craftsmanship. Ever since I was little i have always adored the designs of the more vintage looking Morgan cars. In terms of practicality sadly this car does not have a place in my everyday life but it is still a wonderful car. 

3. TESLA Model X 60 kWh

Image result for TESLA Model X 60 kWh

This charming car which has an 8 hr battery life and feature “Falcon Wings” is spacious, stylish and Eco friendly in its use .Unfortunately it has been discontinued but there are still some available second hand.

2. Toyota Mirai 

Toyota Mirai, Blue exterior, side front view

This innovative beauty uses hydrogen to generate electricity and it also emits no pollutants or CO2. The only issue I could find was that there are few filling station and this would be quite an inconvenience, this one impracticality is the only thing that keeps this car from being my number one choice.

1.  MINI E 150 kW

Image result for MINI E 150 kW Asynchronous / Li-ion

This delightfully juxtaposed car is my number one due to not just its engineering and practicality to run but also the vintage aesthetic that the mini holds. It is dainty and elegantly contoured, and yet, it has a strength and a majestic resplendence to it. With a 5 hour battery life it could be used in long journeys .

 

I think that I still have much research and testing to do but it all sounds like a very exciting journey.

 

Fascinating 

A truly fascinating article article entitled

HOW DO WE FALL IN LOVE; IS IT ALL IN OUR HEAD?

 By Lyn Geist

It describes a truly fascinating  study conducted by Arthur Aron, PhD. about the chemical side of love that happens deep within us. 

It also explores attachment style categorised into 4 neat areas which provide a very interesting perspective on not just a persons romantic engagement but also could be used to explore how people and why peolpe value all that they perceive, I would especially like to explore this in relation to colour (visial), fabric (touch) and history (shared stories through engagement). 

Click the links to check out the article and the study to determine your own attachment style.

The End & The Beginning 

So sadly my MA in Design and Environment came to an end in September. It has been a challenging but extremely enjoyable year within which I have been able to explore a range of theories, materials, reasearch methods,  design techniques and do much more. 

The end of my MA was marked by a festival within which all design students where able to display their work; whether it be the research, final outcomes or a mixture of both. 

I personally explored dying withing higher fashion education and how to investigate the sustainability of it through a range of activities.. fashioned and combined the activities into a toolkit that could be used in academic settings.

http://golddesignfest.co.uk/shanique-thompson/

I feel that this is necessary area of exploration and I hope in the near future to continue my investigate study of sustainable dyeing with fashion education. This is the start of glorious persuit of knowledge, understanding and change. 

Fabrication Fascination (October 2016)

Bamboo

Sustainability is not a simple concept, it is vast, complex and often quite personal to particular people, cultures and environments. Bamboom jersey in particular is a material that has caused be no amount of distress, to say I have spent time, on countless occasions, contemplating its actual ecological impact and the ethics of its use would be an accurate statement.

Although in essence bamboo is a natural fibre it is often produce in a similar way to rayon, which can be extremely pollutant; this is because it is a both energy and chemically intensive process. So, using the chemically intensive method, by the time it gets to its fabric state it is more synthetic than natural although there are some methods that do not require as much chemical or energy input but they produce a fabric that is not as smooth or soft, does not drape in the same way or have exactly the same surface texture as the increasingly popular bamboo fabrics used within lingerie.

As a plant it is naturally pest resistant and so does not require the use of pesticides, chemicals or fertilisers but this does not mean that they are not used. Unfortunately it can also contribute to depleting nutrients from arable land which can make it hard to grow anything else on the land for a while although it has also been argued that some types of bamboo actually assist in the rebuilding of eroded land. In addition some breeds of bamboo can take an average of three years to fully mature before it can be harvested, although this is not true for every type of bamboo.

China is thought to be the only country that commercially farms bamboo but sadly the country do not appear to have any environmental guidelines, laws, bylaws or standards of expectation in relation to their cultivation of bamboo as a crop.

Sometimes it may have to travel a great distance to get to its production or point of sale location, whether as a fibre, a fabric or finished garment this can have a negative environmental impact which can be higher or lower dependant upon the mode of transport and fuel used.

Now I am not say down with bamboo, but I do not feel that it sits neatly with sustainable fabrics simply because it is from a natural resource, sustainability is so much deeper than that and bamboo jersey does not appear to embrace this ethos. Although as it is technically more synthetic than natural so it lasts longer and could probably be used multiple time and in this way reduce waste, so there are a variety of positive to it. I just wish it was represented more accurately with less “green washing”. Personally I try to avoid it altogether as it is not a simple task to trace the fabric and discover its true history, I wish fabrics held their own history. This is not to say that in the future I will not use it as there is a method which produces a fabric similar to linen or hemp which could be done in a sustainable way but is expensive, also if there was a way to make it here in the UK without negatively impacting the environment or society i would definitely think about using this fabric.

For more information have a look at the links below:

 

Fabrication Fascination (August 2016)

“I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know”― Bob Dylan

I feel that within design as a holistic discipline we have incorporated so many methods that have been discarded or lost popularity at certain periods only to be resurrected, sometime multiple time.

Milk Silk

In talks with other designers I have been told that Milk silk and milk based design materials are not new concepts they are in fact concepts that have previously been applied but are now being reimagined in a contemporary format.

So what is milk silk? Well quite simply it is a fibre which when woven has a similar luster and drape to silk but is made from milk. Qmilk are a company which produce this fibre from milk that is not suitable for consumption.

I really like the idea of this from a sustainable and environmentally friendly point of view, the use of a renewable, biodegradable resource which would otherwise be contributing to waste is a wonderful achievement. I am yet to use this fabric so cannot give a truly personal review of it application but from my research on it it appears to perform in the same way as other animal based fibres although I will have to try it and see.

(Qmilk – the bio Milk Fibre)

Dyes – synthetic and “natural”

This is a truly fascinating post and very relevant to my current research within sustainable dying, I recommend reading it for an eye opening experience if you don’t know much about textile dyeing.

O ECOTEXTILES

hand_dyed_yarn_8i98

I thought we’d take a look at the dyeing process because so many people ask if we use “natural” dyes.  The answer is no, we don’t (although we’re not entirely objecting to natural dyes), and I hope the next two blogs will explain our position!  Let’s first take a look at what makes the dyes (and how they are applied) an area of concern.

Dyeing cloth is one of our oldest industries;  people used natural products found around them to change the color of the fibers used to make their cloth  – things like leaves, berries, or roots.   The first synthetic dye was created in 1856.  Today the use of natural dyes on a commercial scale has almost disappeared (except for a resurgence in the craft market) in favor of the newer synthetic dyes.  The production of synthetic chemical dyestuffs has become big business, but unfortunately the production and use…

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Conscious Intimates (June 2016)

Ethical, eco friendly and sustainable design are become more widely applied within the intimate apparel industry sometimes collectively and sometime designs choose to focus on one or two of these aspects. I would like to focus on Clare Bare; a Los Angeles based designer whose designs are made locally with incorporating sustainable design practices she aims to use organic or vintage fabrics, she also uses hand dyeing and collaborates with local dyers to create more unique designs.

"The goal of the Clare Bare line is to offer unique designs that are eco friendly,
but still fashion forward." Clare Bare Website (2016)

I particularly like this brand not just for their ethical and sustainable design ethos, and, gorgeous design, but also, for the fact that although they do not stock larger sizes they have an option on some of their garments to request a custom size.

 

I am particularly fond of this as I am in possession of one of the more unique bra sizes which means it s hard to find my size within mainstream stores let alone conscious ones so have a sustainable store that provides this service, which is not uncommon for independent designers, is a breath of fresh air . The lack of a variety of plus size ethical intimates is rather saddening, as someone who requires a large cup and small band size but also is endeavouring to embed ethical and sustainable practice not just into my research and work but also into the everyday aspects of my life.

Lingerie is a key area for me and while there are a vast variety of plus size, ethical and sustainable lingerie brands there are not many brands that combine the three. Although I am personally fully capable of making my own bras I still feel this is a niche market, so it is nice that Clare Bare provide this customisation which I also feel is a nice personal touch.

Although I do feel that ethical and sustainable practice should not be reserved simply to niche markets all designers should incorporate it in the most impactful way for their personal brand. It is show in a variety of ways how vast the negative impact of fashion can be and the consumerist culture that supports it.

I regret that they do not have a UK based studio also but still like them very much and I encourage you to go and have a look at their delightful range of designs. They also have a range of stockist which can also be found on their website.

Fabrication Fascination (June 2016)

Fashion is a fascinating area which transcends the boundaries of aesthetics and can shape, or be shaped, by the cultural, political, technological and similar changes. We are constantly growing as a global society and many advances are made every year. This June I really want to highlight bio cotures grown bacteria based fabric.

Bio Fabric

Bio Couture have created these wonderful examples of their fabric in use, as shown in the pictures the fabric drapes in a similar way to some leathers.

I  absolutely adore this method and am planning to try it as I feel that despite the issues with quality and weight it is a wonderful idea and could be applied to lingerie in really fascinating and glamorous ways. I image this to be applied in a way that would allow you to grow you own garment and in this way domesticate tailored clothing.

I also very much like that this research has been shared, I feel that if we truly want positive and sustainable change we must share knowledge and encourage one another, this is another reason I thoroughly enjoy teaching; you learn as you teach and get to see the world through many different eyes by collaborating with student. You can find  the recipe to grow your own fabric in an online PDF.

It is so wonderful that despite how far we have coe in relation to out technological and aesthetic discoveries, inventions and reinventions there is still so much room for innovation and the cultivation of new ideas which, to me, is so very exciting, it feels like a continuous adventure with marvelous discoveries along the way.

 

Transformation: Today Me

I find that within life our experiences alter our perceptions of the world and in this way each day can transform you into a new person.

“You can’t expect me to honor what year-ago Professor said. That guy was young and foolish.”(Futurama, S7 E9 :Free Will Hunting) 

This quote from futurama always makes me chuckle, while I do believe that you should stand for something. It’s so amazing how much you can learn and find out just in the day to day living of life.

Sustainability has always been an important part of the way in which I engage with the world. My current masters has exposed me to so many opportunities and people that have opened my mind to so many different ways to be ethical and sustainable. Although we have made some detrimental and seemingly irreversible impacts upon the environment there is still an opportunity for change and improvement but this requires a collective and conscious approach void of commercialised capitalism, as a capitalist focus could actually turn it into a gimmick as opposed to a strong movement and this could inturn actually desensitise stakeholders to it importance.

It is a highly complex problem that require in depth though and in execution should be a self critiquing solution that grows and matures at a necessary rate to adapt to a global society that is constantly in flux. This does not mean that every year it must change I am simply saying that it shouldn’t be as regimented to adhere to a calender, it should critique its own effectiveness and improve based upon this analytical self critical review, sometime small changes will be required where as other time large scale changes may be required, what I feel is important is to transform at the pace the method requires and not not to try and make it fit into pervading models of practice.