Not a baa-d look

“There are great interdisciplinary opportunities between our classes to build an emotional connection between fashion and agriculture. I mean, fashion comes from agriculture. It’s a resource.”

June 13, 2019

 

When Kirsti Clarida, a Veterinary Technician professor, and Philip Sparks, a Fashion Arts professor, met last year through Seneca’s faculty development program, they knew they had to work together.

“Within 10 minutes, we looked at each other and we were like, ‘Oh my God.’ I have sheep and he needs fleece — it’s a no-brainer,” Clarida said. “The sheep we have at King Campus, they absolutely need to be shorn. They get hot and they can’t regulate their body temperature.”

The collaboration between Clarida and Sparks resulted in a sheep shearing project that saw more than 100 students from both of their programs pass through the barns at King Campus recently, learning about the process of shearing wool and turning it into yarn and clothes.

“There are great interdisciplinary opportunities between our classes to build an emotional connection between fashion and agriculture,” Sparks said. “I mean, fashion comes from agriculture. It’s a resource. The sheep fleece at King was being discarded or donated and yet, in the fashion program, we were purchasing it.”

A total of 14 sheep were shorn by Don Metherall, a Canadian champion shearer formerly ranked top 20 in the world.

sheep shearing
Students watch a demonstration of a sheep hammock, used to trim the animal’s hooves or perform exams without holding it.
sheep shearing
The collaboration between Veterinary Technician and Fashion Arts programs saw more than 100 students pass through the barns at King Campus recently.
david agnew with lamb
Seneca President David Agnew holds a baby lamb while learning more about the sheep shearing project from Professor Kirsti Clarida.

Wool processing: fleece to fabric

During the sheep shearing project, students learned about how fabric is made from fleece. A member of the Upper Canada Fibreshed, the Fashion Arts class took some raw wool back to their textile lab and studied the process of cleaning, carding, felting/spinning. The fibre will be processed by Wool 4 Ewe, and the yarn will be used in the program’s knitwear and textile classes as well as felting and weaving projects.

Wool is a sustainable fibre that is biodegradable, breathable and highly versatile. It is also unique in its ability to felt. This is when wool fibre is subject to a mixture of moisture, heat, soap and friction. The moisture heat and soap open up the scales on the fibre surface and friction causes the fibres to latch onto one another, almost like Velcro.

raw wool
Raw or grease wool: wool taken from the sheep that has not yet been cleaned or processed.
yarn
Yarn: roving that has been stretched and twisted or spun.
roving
Roving: wool that has been cleaned and carded or combed, usually used to spin woollen yarn.
cloth
Cloth: yarns that have been woven, organized at 90 degrees to one another.

Sheep shearing with a champion

Sheep at Seneca’s King Campus are shorn once a year, typically during the spring. As part of the sheep shearing project, a total of 14 sheep were in good hands with Don Metherall, a Canadian champion shearer formerly ranked top 20 in the world. He has been shearing for almost two decades, shearing about 28,000 sheep each year.

don metherall
Don Metherall is a Canadian champion shearer. Each sheep is sheared in a matter of seconds, with each fleece being removed from the sheep in one piece.
shehep shearing
Professor Kirsti Clarida and Professor Philip Sparks sort through a freshly shorn fleece before putting it into a bag.
don metherall
Don Metherall talks to Professor Philip Sparks about shearing a black sheep.
sheep shearing
A young lamb kneels to drink milk from the mother sheep after she was shorn by Don Metherall at King Campus.

Seneca Fashion Professor Phillip Sparks Sustainability Development Goal #SDG

PSPhilip Sparks has been working as a tailor and designer for almost two decades, incorporating an art practice focused on textiles, photography and installations into the production and exhibition of his collections. During his career, he has worked in-house in the wardrobe and design departments at the National Ballet of Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, the Stratford Festival and Soulpepper Theatre. His clothing and accessory business has been carried at retailers including Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay and La Maison Simons. Currently, Philip continues to further his research into the anthropology and anthropometry of tailoring while producing custom garments and serving as a professor in the School of Fashion

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“Of course quality education is the most important SDG for me, but also responsible consumption and production”

Seneca Fashion Professor Jennifer Dares Sustainability Development Goal #SDG

JD_1Jennifer Dares has over twenty-five years of industry experience as a Canadian contemporary fashion designer and trend forecaster. Jennifer holds a diploma in Fashion from Sheridan College. Her experience includes working as a designer, pattern drafter, managing and recruiting for a major department store, as an assistant buyer for Emporio Armani and the Women’s and Girls’ Trend Direction Manager for HBC. Jennifer established her women’s wear label LAYER in 2002. LAYER publications include Canadian and international press coverage. Jennifer also contributes to the advancement of the industry, new designers and numerous worthy causes such as Fashion Cares, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Shadow Ball, the Royal Ontario Museum’s Indigo Auction, or the Fashion Zone advisor

Jennifer has been teaching for twenty years within the space of Fashion. Jennifer was a co-investigator on the Ryerson University research team for the research project titled ‘Neighbourhood Policing: Designing Uniforms that Work’ project. Jennifer’s professional development is ongoing, as she visits museums and exhibits during her travels. She keeps abreast of industry trends and attends conferences on design, sustainability and technology. Jennifer’s current research focus in the MA Fashion program at Ryerson University is sustainability, the circular economy and upcycling. When we asked Jennifer  which SDG was closest to her heart, she replied:

SDG12

“I am passionate about all of the SDGs, but its ‘SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’ where I believe I can make a difference not only in my design practice but also in my design research and the sharing of knowledge.”

 

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals #SDGs Applied to the Fashion Industry

With Canada Day just around the corner, we are kicking our #SustainableSeneca content into high-gear! To start, let’s review the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals applied to the fashion industry.

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Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

The textile and apparel industry is usually the first industry which enters a country, offers job and economic development. Therefore it contributes to the alleviation of poverty.

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Nobody can work if he or she is hungry, but nobody wants to live on donations. People need jobs which enables them to buy food. Therefore we need to provide people with jobs to end hunger.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

No child under the age of 14 should work, all children should have to right to school no matter where they live. No child labour! In some countries where child labour occurs, the fashion industry has abused children as cheap labour, often in horrible conditions. The fashion industry requires transparency and ethical standards in its supply chains and consumers need to choose carefully which brands they purchase.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

We live in a fast-paced society, and we need lifelong education just to stay aware. Education is key to development, but it is also expensive. In some countries, parents earn so little that they can’t afford to provide access to education for their children. Children are often pushed into labour from a very young age. To improve this situation, workers in developing countries must earn a living wage so that parents can send their kids to school, not to a factory.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The apparel industry employees millions of women worldwide for sewing garments. For many women, this income offers independence and the possibility to have a life without being married. Ensuring equitable income for women is a first step towards gender equality.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

As consumers in the western world, we are often addicted to cleanliness and therefore wash every garment after a single use. This is all right for socks and underwear, but not for jeans or shirts. We need to rethink our washing habits; we need to save water. This is also true for production processes in the textile industry that should use water efficiently and should avoid waster emissions into rivers and lakes.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

All synthetic materials are made of raw oil and therefore require a lot of energy in their production. However, often, garments made of polyester or acrylic are so cheap that we don’t value them. No matter how expensive a garment is, we need to consider whether we really need and want it. Otherwise, it is a waste of energy. We need to make sure that we save energy, for example, by avoiding the use of a laundry dryer and by using a clothing line.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Part of the fair trade concept is that workers are treated well and get a fair payment. Therefore, fair trade is better than conventional trade, and it helps to foster sustainable growth. Consumers need to make informed purchasing decisions that support fair trade companies. Fashion companies like People Tree offer fair trade products.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

In the West, we often take our infrastructure for granted. But waste management, water sewage treatment, and even roads are part of the bigger picture of sustainable development. We need to make sure that corporations produce their products in developing countries not by exploiting the lack of infrastructure in these countries, but by instead helping to create it. For example, instead of discharging coloured water from dyes directly into rivers, wastewater treatments must be built.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Developing countries need economic growth for development. Countries like China and India made huge development gains partly through the apparel and textile industry. The apparel industry helps to reduce inequality in the world, like providing jobs for many people who can’t read or write. However, if people are used as slaves and forced to work, with wages below minimum averages, with long, forced working hours in unsafe conditions, and without the right for communication or self-organisation, then we are nonetheless producing inequality. We need to start asking where our garments are made, and by whom. We need transparency in our supply chains.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. Despite numerous planning challenges, cities offer more efficient economies of scale on many levels, including the provision of goods, services and transportation. However, we all need to make sure that cities keep their personality and that people stay connected. We need to support our local charities like Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army by donating our unwanted garments or household materials. Such donations will help to build local community, support people in need and provide local jobs.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Apparel consumption in North America has increased substantially to a level unparalleled in history. This increased consumption enlarged the industry’s environmental burden: every garment, irrespective of price, requires resources and causes pollution. While the industry partially recognizes its unsustainable practices, it does not accept limitations of the environment and is instead “built on the principle of limitless growth” aiming to sell more garments every year. We as consumers, need to reconsider our consumption habits. Less can be more!

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The majority of our unwanted garments end up in landfills. While synthetic materials will stay forever in our landfills, organic materials, such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo will biodegrade and release Co2 and methane. Both are greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. To keep unwanted textiles out of landfills: donate all garments.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Growing cotton requires a lot of water. Just think of the Aral Sea: formerly one of the biggest inland lakes in the world, it completely dried out when the government of Uzbekistan decided to use its water to irrigate cotton fields. When the lake dried out, all fisheries and sea life in it were lost. Such unsustainable use of resources compromises future generations. We need to start asking what materials are our garments made of, where these materials originate, and how they are made. Only transparency can give consumers the power to make informed, better decisions. Start asking!

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Cutting down rainforests to use the wood as cellulosic raw material to produce viscose, a material with similar characteristics as cotton, not only destroys ecosystems, but it also contributes to climate change. We need to make sure that cellulosic material is only produced in sustainably managed forests. We need to ask where the material coming from is, and we need to consume less.

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Although there are hundreds of countries, there is only one world. We can only solve the problems and challenges of our world when every country and nation and every individual contributes. Be a good citizen and help wherever you can to be responsible.

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Governments have a responsibility to hold businesses accountable and should follow the UK’s lead by signing the modern slavery act. The Modern Slavery Act requires medium to large-sized companies, businesses of thirty-six million dollar turnover or more, to report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery from their supply chains. This means each company is legally obliged to do this or explain why not.  We need world governments to take responsibility for their nation’s business practices overseas. For example, Canada needs a modern slavery act like the UK. It’s unacceptable that countries have signed the UN business and human rights responsibility act, but no one enforces it.

MARILYN BROOKS: BEHIND THE SEAMS by Dale Peers

The Seneca Fashion annual Fashion Resource Centre exhibition (May 6th to 17th) celebrates the career of Canadian fashion icon Marilyn Brooks.

Marilyn Brooks, always an innovator, opened her lifestyle boutique the Unicorn in 1967.  The funky neighbourhoods of The Village and then Yorkville were the “Happening places” in Toronto in the Sixties.  Her choice of locations was definitely prescient and would include trendy Queen St, alongside Holt Renfew on Bloor St. West and in upscale Yorkville on Cumberland Ave.

Throughout her 40+ years in the fashion business, Marilyn has been a staunch and passionate supporter of the Canadian fashion industry. Her vision, tenacity and positive spirit are unmatched in an industry that can be, shall we say, challenging!

In Marilyn Brooks: Behind the Seams, successful designer, artist, businesswoman, and now author, records not only the history of her brand but in her truly generous way shares the stories of the many people she has worked and collaborated with throughout her 40+ years in the fashion industry.  She shares her “Marilyn Maxims” – some of the lessons she has learned and the excellent advice she can provide to graduates and newly minted members entering the fashion foray.

One of the first Canadian fashion designers with a vertically integrated business model, Marilyn was a designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer.  Marilyn and her team did it all.  Her entrepreneurial spirit, artistic flair and bravery were key to her succeeding not only in her stores but in the contributions she made in shaping the fashion landscape in Canada and Toronto from the 1960s through to the 2000s.

Marilyn has been a pioneer in the fashion world and without her foresight and dedication to her craft, contemporary fashion designers might never have had international spotlights trained on them and the City of Toronto.  In 1977 Marilyn invited a group of Toronto based designers including Lori Brooks, Shirley Cheatley, Wayne Clarke, Hugh Garber, Elen Henderson, Edie Johne, Linda Lundstrom and Pat McDonagh to her home to discuss the establishment of an organization which could help them all.  In 1978 TOD – Toronto Ontario Designers was officially launched with the first of many fashion shows, this premiere one held at St. Lawrence Centre.  TOD later evolved into Designers Ontario and then the Fashion Designers Council of Canada and then to the Fashion Design Council of Canada.

She has been a mentor to many young members of the fashion industry and a long time supporter of many charitable organizations.  We are especially grateful at Seneca College for the support she has provided to our students, our programs and especially our Fashion Resource Centre.  From 1976 to 1983 Marilyn was a member of Seneca’s Fashion Merchandising Program Advisory Committee providing invaluable information and opinions that would contribute to courses preparing the next generation of fashion retailers.

A testament to her generosity are the many accolades and awards she has received.  These include The Woolmark Award for Design Excellence, the “Night of Stars” award in 1994 from Fashion Group International, the Order of Ontario presented by the Honorable Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 2000, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her contributions and achievements in fashion in 2012.  Parkinson’s, Fashion Cares (in support of AIDS), Unicef, Big Brothers, and Cabbage Youth Centre are just a few of the many charitable organizations Marilyn has helped support through fundraising activities.

Marilyn is also a talented artist.  Not only as a designer of fashion and original prints but in acrylics and other mediums.  She has had a number of showings of her paintings and continues to be inspired by the beauty of her home in Lake Rousseau.

Our exhibition will take visitors through Marilyn’s 40+ fashion career with some of her early garments from the Unicorn to speciality t-shirts with original print designs to the work she did with corporations and celebrities and, of course, to the many loyal clients who shopped in her different locations.

It is thanks to Marilyn and these customers that we have these garments to present not only to our visitors in May but for the students in Seneca’s Fashion programs to study and learn from.

One of Marilyn’s Maxims (to be found at the end of each chapter in her book) captures not only good advice but a sentiment that sums up much of what Marilyn has done:

“Mentor, share, inspire, encourage, stimulate up and comers whenever you can with encouragement.  They will make the world a better place.”

If you would like to read more about Marilyn or find her book please visit: http://www.marilynbrooks.com

 

Redefining​ Design Debut at Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) 2019​

Redefining Design is an annual gala fashion show for our School of Fashion, Fashion Arts students’ graduating collections. The collections include menswear, womenswear, genderless, ready-to-wear and avant-garde. Redefining Design empowers student designers to explore different techniques, textile fabrication and sustainability, while maintaining excellence in design, innovation, creativity, and craftsmanship. This year marks the first time that the School of Fashion has presented at Fashion Art Toronto.

The evening of April 25th commenced with 42 Fashion Arts students taking the stage for two back to back shows. This year our Redefining Design Awards were selected by more than 39 industry judges who selected the top 3 students/collections based on innovativeness, craftsmanship, cohesiveness and the potential for the fashion industry.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Photography by George Pimentel

Sustainability Award: Outstanding implementation of sustainability principles in the designer collection

Winners: Arielle Justine and Jordan Tabalbag

 

 

Innovation Award: Innovative use of design elements

Winners: Sharic Bui and (P.Q.) Qiang Peng

 

 

Up-and-coming Designer Award: Designer showing potential for success in the Canadian fashion industry

Winner: Tia Mc Quaid

 

Best Composition Award: Through the use of colour and textiles

Winner: Kristen Mckoy

 

Fashion Excellence Award: Technical excellence

Winner: David Ezomoh

 

G & S Dyes Award: Best original textile design work

Winner: Gabi Hur

 

INLAND Award Most market ready: Market ready (point of differentiation/added value)

Winner: Saarah Hosein

 

Best in Show, Telio and Fashion Studio 7 Award: Best work of all, most media-ready collection

Winner: Arya Ertekin

 

Photography by George Pimentel