Profile: Alicia Rowbotham

Alicia Rowbotham, a recent graduate of the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins is a designer amongst a growing group of emerging talent exploring the relevance of fast fashion against the environmental destruction it ensues.

Working within the fashion industry as a stylist for a leading online fashion retailer throughout her degree gave her great insight into the destructive cycle of fast fashion and disposable products. This provoked her to create the collection ‘Waste not, want not’.  The collection aims to emphasise and encourage collaboration between manufacturers and designers to harness the potential of textile mill waste and utilise this resource for the benefit of both the industry and the designer.

The collection consists of handwoven body adornments and fashion accessories made entirely from textile industry waste including reams of beautiful waste silk, miscellaneous fibres and ‘deadstock’ materials from textile mills in the UK.

The collection was shortlisted for the LVMH x MAISON/0 Green Trail awards 2019 as well as The Mills Fabrica sustainability prize 2019. The collection was then shown as part of the London Design festival exhibition ‘Designing in Turbulent Times’ amongst other provoking Central Saint Martin’s graduate projects. Rowbotham finished 2019 being featured as ‘one to watch’ in the winter issue of textile publication, Cover magazine.

Starting the new year, pieces from the ‘Waste not, Want not’ collection were showcased as part of the innovation hub in the Sustainable Angles 9th Future Fabrics Expo; the world’s largest showcase of sustainable materials for the future fashion industry.

Rowbotham continues to pursue her fascination for a more circular fashion and textile industry through the aid of craft and design working in collaboration with Evan James Design to create interior accessories for the Surface Design Show 2020.

The new collection ‘Retained Tactically’ is again crafted entirely from industrial waste material. Sumptuously tactile tassels and fringing are hand woven on a table top loom transforming a diverse range of industrial waste materials to celebrate and reimagine their overlooked qualities. Waste Birch Plywood is processed utilising waste render at the point of source in the Evan James Design studio alongside Rowbotham’s unique aesthetic using waste silk to create contemporary passementerie style interior accessories.

It is well documented the amount of waste generated by the textile industry, especially regarding ‘end of life’ solutions to the fast fashion situation we are currently in. Alicia Rowbotham has joined forces with Evan James Design to target waste management within the production process, a driving force and key ethos of her design practise. The woven samples are developed for decorative interior use, for example; upholstery, lamp shades, soft furnishings etc. Rowbotham continues to create ‘textile artefacts’ in the form of fashion and interior pieces that are designed to be loved and collected as artworks, not discarded per season change.

Text and images: Alicia Rowbotham

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