Tell us about your label and your experiences since graduation?
Directly following graduation I began to develop my Master Project into a business and the label Farrah Floyd as a brand, which is built around strong values when it comes to both design and sustainability. My collection is a women’s ready to wear collection and I use zero-waste pattern making to produce them. In the last 2 years I realized its not an easy job for a young designer to stick to those two things, as sustainability comes with so many limitations in relations to choice of fabrics, production price, and the market as well.
Can you explain to me about your zero waste principles?
My zero-waste pattern principal is always stick to the same idea of using rectangles as pattern pieces, but the way I pleat and fold the fabric changes through the collections. The last collection saw massive pleats conflicting with each other on huge pattern pieces, while the summer collection was characterized with more tamed, carefully placed, regular pleats going in the same direction. Pleating became something Farrah Floyd designs are recognized for, and I enjoy looking for new pleating systems each season.
How did your education at ESMOD inform or influence your approach?
I had a fascination with pleats and folding systems and transforming fabric from 2D into 3D shapes ever since my Bachelor studies, but I was never really focused on zero-waste. I remember one day in ESMOD I was alone in the classroom, and at the end of the day I was looking at all the raw prototypes I had made which were on dummies, which later became my collection. All the prototypes were made of rectangles and pleats, shaped in such a way that they follow the female body, but also expressed eloquently my concept. At this moment I had the suggestion from Prof. von Wedel-Parlow to integrate zero-waste pattern making, which I did, which turned out to be a great idea, but I was never very inspired by traditional pattern making. So this technique really allowed to my express my ideas as well as adding meaning.
M.A. Alumna 2012
What is your current professional position?
I work at Lululemon based in Vancouver, Canada. We make technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and most other sweaty pursuits. My position is as Designer of Fast Turn - which means that I work in the area of waste management and reduction through upcycling. I redesign pieces from left over materials from production or finished goods. For example, I recently turned a men’s t-shirt into a women’s t-shirt because the fabric was too sheer and the colours were not appealing to our male market. I re-shaped the hem and rolled up the sleeves, and delivered the style to stores as the BFT (boyfriend tee).
What is the transition like from studying to working in the area of sustainability in fashion?
It’s exciting and disheartening at the same time. The company is still in infancy stage of environmental sustainability, but it’s exciting to know that they are moving in a sustainable direction and I will get to be a part of the growth and positive change. I also love the creativity and the speed of my job. I don’t have a wait a year to see the reaction from consumers - I get to see it in one or two months. I get to constantly deliver creative solutions to reduce our liability in materials and finished goods.
How did the M.A. Program prepare you for this job?
It gave me the confidence I need in my day-to-day work. Every day I’m faced with decisions. Every day I see things that I may not agree with, however working within my value system is of paramount importance.
M.A. Alumna 2012
Tell us about your new teaching at the Schweizeriche Textilfachschule?
I started teaching in the summer term 2014 but my course “Sustainability and Ethics” only starts in March. I am developing a completely new course for the students taking the course “Textilkaufleute” in the Department of Marketing, and it will consist of 15 lectures.
I am pleased to be able to share my knowledge and experience to young students and I thought the Schweizeriche Textilfachschule could be the right place with whom to cooperate. It just so happened that the school board was growing concern about the damages inflicted by conventional practices of fashion production. My email reached them just at the right time as they were looking forward to expand their students’ knowledge about sustainability.
Has your experience at ESMOD helped to shape your career and how do you implement what you have learned at ESMOD in your new occupation?
Of course, the Masters opened up a whole new world for me, I won two prizes, and soon I will be sharing my knowledge with students as a lecturer. In addition, I gained experience in the area of Cradle-to-Cradle certification, which is very important for a designer to have.
Since graduation you have won several important prizes, such as the Marianne Brandt Wettbewerb prize for “Cradle-to-Cradle”, and the Bundespreis “Ecodesign” in the category of Upcoming Talent. How did your career benefit from these awards?
I got a lot of press and attention as a result of winning those prizes, and it does give you a great advantage when attending a job interview. But now it is up to me to really make something out of it and further my career.