By Amisha Ghadiali, Ethical Fashion Forum
‘RECLAIM’, an exhibition created by a meeting of minds at different ends of the design spectrum, Orsola de Castro & John Teall.
Orsola de Castro, founder of recycled fashion label From Somewhere, curator of Estethica at London Fashion Week, and EFF Board member, and John Teall, graduate of the Chelsea Art Collage & UK based interior & furniture designer, have collaborated to create some unique and innovative pieces to celebrate London Design Festival.
De Castro and Teall bought 20 pieces from the lost luggage auction at Heathrow Airport. Without knowing what was inside each suitcase, their challenge was to produce an item from whatever mixed textiles they came across.
One of Teall’s creations is a unique bedspread from the entire contents of one of the unclaimed bags. The idea was to create the appearance of strewn clothes across a bed, as if casually emptied straight from the bag. Capturing the essence of that singular individual, allowing the new owner of the piece the opportunity to take a voyeuristic look into the life of the past owner.
Teall explains his thoughts on the project,
‘When Orsola and I first met, with the bags which we bought back from the auction house, it was a very strange mix of emotions all round. In many ways it felt intrusive and almost illegal to be prying through the belongings of someone else. There were moments of disgust as we came across dirty underwear, and unwashed socks, yet also moments of excitement as we came across beautiful pieces of fabric and costume jewellery.’
De Castro has created, among other things an extremely unique wedding dress, mapping the interesting journey from the initial trepidation to be invading people’s luggage, to the feelings of guilt & and even reminders of death. The idea was to take all the items with variations of white and create an explosive gown that took all these elements of people’s lives from all over the world, all their history, and stories and create a new life for them that was about celebrating life and love.
Both designers have a different take on the form of recycling, provoking a whole range of thoughts from perceptions on aesthetics and design to the wealth of personal history involved in their loss and possible back-story to the original owners.
The exhibition takes place at Eco-Age, the West London shop established by Nicola Giuggioli, Livia Firth, Colin Firth and Ivo Coulson in 2007.
Nicola Giuggioli, CEO Eco Age was behind the initial idea of RECLAIM and explains the thinking behind the collaboration,
‘When we were thinking of how to create a project that could represent Eco and its different activities at the London Design Festival, the association of John’s and Orsola’s work came as a natural answer of our aim - to show how fashion, design, and creativity are the key to drastically changing the consumers perception towards green and sustainable products.
The idea to get Orsola & John to meet in lost luggage is representative of the misconception of our times for the value of the products we forget about. I wonder about what would happen if the actual owner of one of those suitcases showed up at the shop and recognized his or her belongings in the new creations… I hope I will have the chance to see the reaction!’
The Reclaim exhibition is taking place until 27th September 2009, so head to Eco Age at 213 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 2DW.