UK designer uses recycled plastic, rubber in Look of Style Awards 2012 showBy Carmencita S. Sioson
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“I love materials! They’re always the starting point for all my collections,” says Jane Bowler, who graduated from the Royal College of Art in London.
Though she always loved art school, she rejected the idea of becoming a fashion designer. It wasn’t until a fashion design company approached her that she began to consider a fashion career.
“I realized that my design aesthetic and ways of working could achieve a unique approach to fashion design,” notes Bowler.
Bowler will present her collection of sustainable fashion designs in the Look of Style Awards 2012, to be staged by Look Magazine, Inquirer Lifestyle, and the British Council on Nov. 6.
This is the third year that the Look of Style Awards is staged. Like the previous winners Pablo Cabahug and Geof Gonzales, the 2012 winning designer will have an all-expense-paid trip to London where he/she will enroll in a short course of his/her choice at the renowned Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This is under the auspices of the British Council.
The winner will also be included in the Face-Off show of Inquirer Lifestyle and Look Magazine. The winner will also receive business mentoring from fashion industry professionals.
Following this year’s theme of Eco Chic, Bowler will have elaborate clothes made of plastic and other unusual materials. Her use of bold colors also adds a playful edge to embellished pieces.
“I have always enjoyed the process of transforming throwaway or discarded materials into sophisticated garments,” says Bowler. “Then seeing the look on people’s faces when you tell them it’s made from a shower curtain or a bathmat!”
“I love playing with materials and experimenting with different techniques,” she says. “It’s such an organic process and an exciting way to work.”
(Perhaps her penchant for eating sweets, popcorn and ice cream helps her come up with bright ideas?)
In London Fashion Week’s “Blow Presents” Spring/Summer 2013 show, she featured bathing suits and sheer maxi dresses with an old-Hollywood appeal.
Though she usually turns to her favorite materials (plastic and rubber), she creates different textures through knitting, dip-dying, fusing and bonding.
When asked what her label’s trademark is, she says: “Pushing the limits of unconventional materials.”
Though she’s an advocate of sustainable fashion, she admits that it’s difficult to create a garment in a completely eco-friendly way.
“It can bring up a great deal of problems in terms of production and sourcing as you need to get more of a material to produce orders,” notes Bowler. “This can sometimes hinder your design ideas so it’s important to effectively keep things balanced.”
To promote this cause, she has set up workshops for students and creative people who wish to learn about materials and processes, “showing fashion and textiles in a new light.”
She urges designers to approach the idea of sustainability in a way that would challenge the idea of “throwaway fashion” and to adopt a zero-waste policy.
She says: “Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a big difference.”
Also showcasing their sustainable fashion designs are this year’s Look of Style Awards finalists—Cebuanos Mike Yapching, Hanz Coquilla and Rey Villegas; from Davao, Ivan Raborar, Dionisio “Joao” Tarepe and Jun Artajo; and from Manila, Vania Romoff, Roland Alzate, Roxanne Hoey and Renan Pacson.
See more of Jane Bowler’s designs at www.janebowler.co.uk.