EMAH THE LABEL

BY ELLIE HOTTINGER

Patched Up

Ellie HottingerComment

I often feel a sting of guilt about for being part of an industry that is so materialistic.  I don’t mean in the sense of being obsessed with wealth and possessions, just literally how materials are at the very core of what makes fashion possible. 

Textiles are often what inspires me.  The colors, the textures, the prints, the way they drape, the way they can be transformed—there is so much possibility when telling a three dimensional story. But as I put more and more focus on how I can grow my business in more sustainable way, I cannot in good conscience pursue the use of certain textiles when there are alternatives that minimize environmental impact.

One of the ways I’ve managed to make unique garments that don’t go against my philosophy (as it relates to sustainability), is to utilize fabrics that larger companies would have otherwise discarded of.  In fact, this is why ETL often sells only one or two units of a particular design. There simply may have only been enough yardage to cut a couple of garments. Patched Up, my most recent capsule, does exactly that but to a more granular degree.   

Fabric mills often showcase their latest collections by creating swatch books and distribute them to retailers who then make their selections.  At the end of each season, these swatch books are no longer relevant to companies that rotate their fabrics and are thrown out.  The patches used for “Patched Up” come from the swatch books of mills among the most exquisite in the world (Loro Piana, Dormeuil, Solbiati).  The care and innovation involved in the mixing of fibers, the dying of yarns and weaving of these fabrics is unparalleled. 

Determined to give these small but beautiful samples a second life, I decided to patch them together to make full pieces. While they most certainly take on a different look and feel when patched together, they now have another story to tell.  They represent something else entirely than for which they were intended, but the care is still there… 

Oh and as an added bonus, all the tops are reversible! Four different sizes, four unique garments, 8 different looks. 

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