We’re catching up with (re)vision society co-founder Stacey who is road testing a new concept that she likes to call Clever Clothing, a new venture for the label who have collaborated with the public to solve the huge issue of inefficiency and waste in the garment industry. Stacey, a seasoned designer who spent a huge portion of her career in British menswear, has carefully built relationships in British production, the springboard to her success in addressing uneconomical practices in fashion. The first (re)vision society project that we proudly covered [here] saw the brand salvaging untouched end-of-production fabrics and materials from luxury brands to confront us with the idea that all of these beautiful goods were going straight into landfill. The thoughtfully designed, super functional, and very luxury tote bags were their first products that had to be cleverly created around the millions of challenges that come with a recycled inventory of materials.
The current project in progress has folk like us at the edge of our seat to see how this disruptive little label will stick it to our careless behaviour around consuming fashion – more importantly may I add, coaxed by certain bodies in the industry that promote poor quality, quickly designed and constructed garments that also end up in landfill or overcrowding donation bins. Clever clothing has us positively pumped for the future of the planet 🙂
(re)vision road testing with Stacey Cotter Maniere.**
So what is (re)vision road testing all about?**
Road testing is a key element in what we do. We want to create products that are functional, comfortable and fun to wear, and so if we enjoy wearing them hopefully other people will too.
With our first project the hybrid rucksack, we spent over 4 months prototyping it. We wanted something that could be worn as a tote bag and also as a rucksack and so that took a lot of thinking and testing. We tried to solve problems we had faced whilst wearing a normal rucksack, like the fact that you have to take it off your back to access things inside it. So through road testing we came up with a special secret pocket that sits against your back so that no one can steal anything out of it when you are on the underground for instance and nothing can fall out of it whilst you are riding a bike. We built a really basic version of the idea out of rescued offcuts, then for over 4 months everyday we all took turns wearing the bag and using it in action – walking the dog, cycling, carrying our laptops to meetings, running to catch a bus in the rain… The whole team tested it and then we also gave it to our friends and family to try too!
What are you currently road testing?
Right now we have just begun road testing a new concept of clothing we have been incubating for over a year and a half now. It sounds like a long time right! But the art of what we do is really important to us. We are not about mass-producing more stuff to put into the world. We really try to do things slowly and with consideration.
We’ve been researching ways to create clever clothing, designs that are modular with detachable parts so that you can change the look and function of the garments. This means that the pieces will have the possibility to be styled in different ways to create more outfit options to suit the seasons and our mood. We hope to encourage people to purchase less items that are built better, so they have fewer items but they can do more with them so to speak.
It’s so important to question not only what we consume but what we are creating and how it will impact the lives of people and the planet. Engaging with others and hearing different opinions is key to our approach.
Amazing things can happen through collaboration, cross pollinating our discoveries with others helps take them into new dimensions we never imagined possible.
Collaborating with our customers to create change is key to this. We recently created a questionnaire and asked people to share with us their dressing habits and problems they face when getting dressed in the morning and buying new clothes to help us in our development of this convertible clothing. So many people offered great suggestions and ideas it was incredibly humbling to receive such support from people who really believe in what we are trying to achieve with (re)vision society. We’ve been able to take this feedback and incorporate it into our design development which will hopefully allow us to create pieces people will find valuable and have fun wearing.
Tell us a bit more about these pants?
These pants we’ve been testing the last few weeks are the first piece in our convertible clothing concept. They will transform into a jumpsuit that has a detachable jacket that also can transform into other garments. But first, it’s key that we enjoy wearing them purely as trousers and that they are comfortable and functional and look good before moving on. So we’ve rounded all our pals together to try them out and give us honest feedback of how they work in action in everyday life. Most of the feedback has been positive so far but there are certainly a few things that need to be ironed out which we wouldn’t have known about if we just went straight from a sample to production like a lot of brands do.
Not only design needs to be considered but because of the nature of the materials we use it is important we make sure they are durable and perform well. For instance the canvas we are testing these trousers in is over 70 years old! It’s from the 1940s. Things happen which we don’t expect, for instance when we washed this material it faded in places which was a bit of a shock at first but also really cool because it creates this aged patina effect that looks a bit like marbling and it means each piece of clothing created in this fabric would be slightly different and unique. We find that a lot of these fabrics were built a lot sturdier back then so we know that we will be able to pass down these types of pieces to our children.
So, we will need to wait to see how these trousers will transform?
Ah yep, we’ve gone through numerous stagings of pattern cutting and toiling for the transforming but we haven’t made the road testing prototype yet so you’ll have to wait to see what comes next. We will reveal more soon…
It’s still possible for people to contribute ideas to this project via the questionnaire. We will also be offering everyone who gets involved a collaboration discount when we launch the first pieces.
Words and Pictures Lauren Yates / Big Love to Stacey Cotter Maniere