One of the biggest constraints for fashion designers is accessing sustainable and ethically sourced materials. Whenever I’ve asked young fashion students about considering making their collections entirely out of responsibly sourced fabrics, their response is always something to the effect of “That sounds nice, but it’s impossible!” The reason for this is the gap between producers and designers. There has never really been any sort of comprehensive resource for connecting designers with small scale suppliers.
Source4Style was just launched to address this exact problem. Summer Rayne Oakes, ‘The World’s First Eco-Model’, along with Benita Singh, an eminent fair trade pioneer, officially launched this project just a few days ago with the mission to create a platform for designers and retail sourcing specialists to not only learn about sustainable design but also to be able to search, compare and purchase the best environmentally- and socially-conscious materials from a network of global suppliers.
Source4Style offers an excellent selection of materials, provides guidance on a material’s environmental and social offerings, strives to build a trusted and engaged community and explores cutting-edge information from the frontline of sustainable design in its blog.
You have to be registered to access the free service, and once you do, searching for materials is made easy by a comprehensive search engine with various ways to find exactly what meets your design needs. Since buying textiles is such a visual and tactile experience, Source4Style allows you to order swatches before you commit to purchase. They also do an excellent job with having high-resolution and microscopic zoom images to get the clearest sense of the weight, texture, colour and weave of the fabric.
At the moment, you can browse a wide range of materials including hemp, cotton, leather, nettle, PLA, Lyocell, polyester, rayon, wood, wool and reclaimed fabrics. Unfortunately, Source4Style services are only offered on a private, invite-only basis, but not to worry – it makes it’s public debut this autumn.
Whatever level of design you are – from part-time crafter to international design superstar- this should be your new go-to for any fabric purchase. There’s no excuse now! Source4Style means it’s no longer impossible to make your garments more (if not entirely!) environmentally and socially responsible.
Watch Summer Rayne Oakes talk more about the project here: