Sourcing the natural coloured tights
I started looking for old tights around the house, I collected laddered ones from my own drawer and some that didn't fit well any more, I found around 12 pairs . Although I found a lot I thought i might need more, I know this isn't completely sustainable but for the sake of completing my costume I bought a pack of 5 pairs of tights from Tescos, just to make sure I had enough to finish.
Bed sheet to construct basic white shift
Enough tights to complete the coat
Sourcing a stuffing for the tights
I thought of a few options for stuffing tights, including a number of shredded jumpers (too expensive and wasteful), socks (wouldn't have enough socks to fill that many tights), Rice (too heavy to wear), cotton wool (i would have to buy a lot in bulk) however the best idea came from my Uncle who has been clearing out his loft. He mentioned that he had found a lot of bedding that was worse for wear and unusable after being worn away in the loft without knowing that it was there; the bedding including pillows and a duvet was heading for the skip. I asked him if i could use the stuffing from the duvet and pillows and in the next three days i had two bin bags full of stuffing of various softness - I thought this was perfect to stuff my tights with as it was so light weight and there is a lot of it. It was a lucky coincidence that i found this - if i hadn't i would have used paper to stuff the tights or gathered old curtains and jumpers to build up an excess of fabric.
Williams Butchers - Balgores Lane - Gidea Park - Romford - Essex
Sourcing the Real Bones
I wanted to use real bones in my costume because they are a material that would otherwise be thrown away, so instead of using up other materials and creating bone replicas I thought I would use the real thing. I went to my local butchers, Williams in Gidea Park , Romford, Essex and asked if there were any leftover bones that I could use; the butcher was very helpful and gave me around 15 bones for £1 - which seemed like a really good deal. I continued to boil these bones and disinfect them so that I can use them later to create a bone structure for my Gin Lane costume.
Bed sheet to construct basic white shift
Sourcing the material to construct my gin lane shift dress
I wanted a plain white material to make the shift dress for my gin lane costume, to be sustainable I headed to my local British heart foundation charity shop in Romford. I found a white bed sheet that could be washed and then used as material to construct my shift dress, with a bed sheet I would also have spare fabric, so that was great because I can use the leftovers for detail and other projects.
British Heart foundation Romford Essex
Gin Lane Costume - Bones, bedsheet and scrap material from the CSM costume store
Evaluating my Waste off Progress so far
I have found this project a real challenge so far, with a lot to think about. At first I was really focused on the transformation concept of my costume, thinking about my initial idea and how it could be transformed and communicated as a performance; with the added idea of sustainability I had to think outside the box when sourcing materials. I have been quite lucky with a few materials such as the pillow stuffing which was a stroke of luck, had i not been donated the pillow and duvet stuffing by my uncle i'm not sure how my costume would have turned out, I think the pillow stuffing was the perfect material for the tights and it would not have been the same with an alternative such as paper or rice. I had to think about value for money when sourcing materials; as I live outside of London I had to think about whether the cost of travelling in and back out of London for material would be worth the extra cost. I stayed local when searching through charity shops as i was looking for quite accessible materials, the plain bed sheet was really easy to find in my local British heat foundation store; however if i was looking for something like curtains I think train fare to London would have been worth the extra cost of travel. The bones were also quite easy to find, In my local area there are 3 butchers all within walking distance of each other, I was very lucky to find what i was looking for in the first I visited and I found a bargain when i got a pile of bones for £1. I tried to be as sustainable as i could be, I even made use of the old pillowcases once their stuffing was removed, I used them to make the sleeves of my Gin lane shift dress. I did fail in being sustainable slightly when I purchased a pack of 5 pairs of natural tights to complete my Beer lane coat, although this was the only material that I used which wasn't sustainable. I found the Central Saint Martins costume store a really good resource for finding scrap material, their colour coded boxes make it easy to find what you need and their scrap bin is useful for finding any trimmings that one might want to add to a costume; I will definitely use this resource again. I also visited some good second hand and vintage clothing stores in Brick Lane, although i didn't find any materials I could use for this current project, I think i would visit these stores again to see what I can find; I thought Absolute Vintage was particularly good for costume materials and accessories as it was cheap and full of variety, whereas I would use Blitz as a place to shop for everyday clothing. Overall, I think i have been as sustainable as I could have been in making the costume I designed, although if i were to do another sustainable project I would be more lenient on the fabric and shapes in my designs so that i could be less strict when looking for materials and colours.