Sustainable fashion is a hot topic in the industry right now–and for good reason. The fashion industry alone is responsible for a staggering 10% of annual global carbon emissions. That’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined(1). Additionally, nearly 60% of synthetic fabrics are made of fossil fuels and 85% of that material will end up in landfills, where it won’t decay or decompose(2). As designer collection launches become more frequent than just seasonal, the problem is accelerating and designers are looking for ways to slow the damage it is causing the environment. Melissa Lockwood is one such designer.
Melissa Lockwood is a conceptual artist and the self-taught fashion designer behind IQTEST, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. A Midwesterner at heart, she is originally from Iowa where she studied at the University of Iowa receiving an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. She showcased her collection on the Midwest Fashion Week runway in Spring 2017 and has also been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Vogue UK. With a strong focus on raising awareness about the environmental impact of the waste and toxic pollution the mass disposal of textiles is causing on the world’s environment, she works to create solutions that can lessen pollution. How? By making garments to express how she feels about the garment industries wastefulness with off cut fabrics.
Note from the Designer: Due to the current pandemic and the climate crises we as a world are experiencing, it looks like it’s time to adjust what is considered a valuable resource. I have been making garments with fabrics designers have been throwing away for 11 years straight. These fabrics are brand new, in rolls, samples, and bags, filling warehouses on top of what is created each time a line of garments are manufactured.
My work is focused on how designers can use the fabrics that have traditionally been wasted and sent to the landfill. I have researched and hands-on made thousands of items with what the fashion industry in the past deemed garbage. It is not so hard to make wearable clothing with the huge surplus of fabrics stored away in warehouses and designers studios.
(1) “How Much Do Our Wardrobes Cost to the Environment?. The World Bank”. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/09/23/costo-moda-medio-ambiente. Accessed 2020 July 8.
(2) “The Environmental Cost of Fashion”. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/12/03/fast-fashion-devastates-environment. Accessed 2020 July 8.