20 mrt Next Fashion Talent #4: Sarah Mayer
With Next Fashion Talents we’re looking for fashion’s future designers and entrepreneurs, who seamlessly integrate design and sustainability. Fashion designer Ariëlle van der Vaart nominated Sarah Mayer. They both studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). Ariëlle remembered Sarah’s beautiful graduaten collection, made out of old curtains which she dyed with natural dyes. Being passionate about sustainability, they also worked together during the project ‘Amsterdam Maakt Er Wat van‘. An initiative of the city of Amsterdam for which they created a small collection out of discarded clothes.
Title image: ZarahFrost. One of many names the virtual world has created. In a virtual world this dress, made out of two football jerseys, would probably gain Frost some extra recycling bonus-points. Photography by Casper Fitzhue and design by Sarah Mayer.
Date of birth: 29 April 1990
Home country: Germany, now living in Antwerp
Study: Bachelor Fashion & Design, AMFI
Favourite clothing item: I have this black cotton t-shirt, which I wear at least once a week. It’s from a brand called tultex, made in Mexico.
Favourite shop or brand: It’s really my own closet. I have so much clothes, I often discover items i haven’t worn in weeks. I am also lucky that I can sow, sometimes i just change the clothing i have.
What’s your drive to engage in fashion, sustainability and innovation?
“Nature has been my playground as a child, as I basically grew up in the forest in a little village in Germany. If I had never moved to the city to study and become a fashion designer, i may have never realised how we’re destructing nature. I really don’t want to be a part of that. Nature is a gift. I cannot imagine to just sit back, do my thing and not worry about the consequences of my work. It’s why I am a vegan, don’t use plastic bags, don’t or at least minimise my food waste and ensure that I use every clothing item in my closet. At AMFI sustainability was taught early on and I realised that’s how I can make a change through creativity.”
“At AMFI sustainability was taught early on and I realised that’s how I can make a change through creativity”
What are the societal issues you would like to address through your work?
“What really disturbs me is our throw-away culture and the waste it creates. I am also worried about the chemicals we use in the fashion industry and the micro-plastics we release into the ocean by washing our synthetic clothing in the washing machine. I am aware of of the human rights issues in fashion and I think it’s shocking, but in my work I focus on environmental issues. I know it’s hard to tackle them, especially because I am ‘one’ designer and many people seem to find it hard to stop buying too much clothes.”
In what way, do you hope your designs will contribute to a solution of these issues?
“I just returned from Paris Fashion Week and realised again how bored I am with the current fashion system. The whole week I’ve only seen more collections, meaningless fashion shows, rich kids and lots of talk about how the clothes looked on the models. There was nothing inspiring about it, but just the same old sh*t we’ve been seeing for years. It literally didn’t had anything to do with moving forward. I really want to do things differently. That’s why one of the bigger projects I’m working on with a small team, is the development of an online fantasy game that includes virtual fashion. You can also receive so-called achievements when you do something good in ‘real life’. We have now built an alpha version, but it still needs lots of refinement. With virtual fashion I try to find future solutions for reducing waste.
Sometimes I am kind of a geek. I am a Nintendo fan and for a long time my favourite game was World of Warcraft, which you can definitely see in my images. I love how a game opens up this new world in which you meet many different people and discover many new places. It can be quite inspiring. I think gamification can contribute to society’s transformation in which virtual fashion will become a realistic option.
The game is really a long term project and I also want to contribute with my work ‘right now’. Therefore, I recently started to create a collection of recycled garments. Ultimately, reducing waste through creativity.”
How do you combine aesthetics with sustainability and functionality?
“I don’t want to scream my work is all about sustainability. For the simple reason that not sustainability, but design is the trigger for buying a piece of clothing. And of course, the garment should fit and meet its function. But really, no one will wear something they don’t like. That’s why I believe aesthetics should be priority number one. I hope to organise a photography exhibition with my collection of recycled garments. It should be all about fashion. Then, when my designs have grabbed people’s attention, the second part of my story will be all about sustainability.”
Image title: When I say cyborgs, I of course mean us. The garment in this image is the ‘Sleepingbag-Jacket’, which I created for Amsterdam Maakt Er Wat Van.
What are your future plans and dreams?
“To release the game is a dream! But that will take some time. On the short term, I hope to create more visibility for my work. I am thinking about entering the Redress competition, Fashion Clash and of course pull off the photography exhibition.”
Who do you want to nominate for the Next Fashion Talent?
“My friend Tiago Carvalho started a new and sustainable bag label Ô K S Q I N®. The bags are produced in Portugal and made out of cork, which is more environmentally and animal-friendly than for instance leather. He’s Portuguese himself and actually doesn’t have a fashion background, but studied management. He already had this idea for a bag label, but when he changed his lifestyle and became more conscious about the environment, he also wanted his business to contribute in a positive way. His brand is not big yet, but I admire how he wants to pull off his sustainable bag label.”
“With virtual fashion I try to find future solutions for reducing waste”
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