As one of the most impactful industries on our environment, textiles and the fashion industry dominate climate conversation but are still often overlooked as a serious field of study outside of an environmental response. We have been attempting to create a more sustainable textile industry by designing more efficient production, more environmental materials and campaigns for reducing our impact on the planet. Yet statistics reveal that we continue to produce and dispose of more clothing and other products year over year. Clearly our approach isn’t working.
My experience as a sustainable clothing designer in Vancouver over the past 20 years led me to realize that it’s not enough to make things in a better way. In order to make a lasting impact we need to change ourselves as consumers, experiencers and human beings from the inside out as well. But how can we change if we don’t know where we are to begin with? Texture of Attachment endeavors to explore our attachments to textiles, how they come about and how they evolve. Though our motivations were inspired by an environmental pursuit we leave sustainability in the back seat as we explore our relationships with textiles in order that we might gain a better understanding for how we initially create relationships with textiles, how they are important in our lives and consider how we can create longer lasting and more meaningful relationships with our fiber based items based on what we have learned from the relationships that already exist.
We consider the importance of textiles as transitional childhood objects and objects of nostalgia, as art therapy, and the roles they play in important events in our lives such as weddings or christenings. By looking at significant events in which we relate to textile objects we hope to discover how meaning is made. We look around for textiles we take for granted such as life saving seatbelts, parachutes, and fire retardant tools of rescue to redefine our perceptions of textiles.
We come into conflict with a lack of academic research in this field and recognize that serious studies of our feelings with fabric based objects are just beginning to take place in many places. This thesis aims to bring the works that have been done together with personal experience and practice through autoethnography as well as interviews to piece together the meaning we make. Although the answer to how to create more sustainable textiles is outside the scope of this thesis, we are endeavoring to uncover the means by which we might eventually be able to do that as we gain a better understanding of our feelings toward textiles and thus how we can transition towards more meaningful and fulfilling experiences and attitudes.