Category Archives: Project 1 – The life cycle of textiles and materials


Raeburn Products

“Christopher Raeburn has established his eponymous brand with sustainable and intelligent fashion design for a global audience. The RÆMADE ethos in particular has pioneered the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments to create distinctive and functional pieces”.

Cutting edge designer Christopher Raeburn has created a brand that has the sustainable Ethos of 4 Rs – “Remade, Reduced, Recycled and Raeburn”.  This means items are either made out of recycled items such as parachutes and mesh, or remade out of previous clothing items such as parkas.  Using local manufacturing, the company highlights the minimum carbon footprint by not importing goods or using ‘slave labour’ abroad.  Items are either made in small batches to avoid waste or made to order.

Items for sale include, a variety of tote bags, bum bags, rucksacks, men and womens wear along with luggage accessories and cute little pin badges mostly of pandas, sharks and orangutans.  Most of the clothing and bags are labeled with the ethos branding of Remade, Reduced and Recycled, clearly showing the item is part of this ‘unique and ethical’ brand.

Looking at their website and seeing the media coverage the brand has received its credentials appear sound, and having visited the workshop myself I know it does exist.  The brand has appeared in a major Woman’s fashion magazine called Elle, the September 2018 issue featured the attitudes and awareness on ‘Sustainability’ particularly aimed at fashion conscious  young women.  The AW18 IMMERSE collection was featured, making the brand a part of the movement to improve the fashion industry’s knowledge on how it can make substantial changes on environmental issues currently facing the fashion industry.

The products look to be of high quality and gaining respect in not just the fashion world but the music world too as the famous Rap Artist ’50 cent’ was seen wearing a jacket and joggers from the AW18 collection, at his recent tour at the 02 Arena in London.

These designs are exceptional and it really is a great feeling to know that sustainability is being practiced by such a young company and showcasing how changes can be made in the fashion industry, by reusing surplus materials and products, employing locally and using local products and manufacturing locally.  They are producing smaller amounts of  items being made, or make an item to order, thereby avoiding vast amounts of waste, all of which contribute to reduced carbon print, waste reduction, and ethical manufacturing.  The founder of the company Christopher Raeburn is outstanding as a leader for change in the fashion industry

“I think as a designer you have an obligation to consider what you are doing and why; ultimately, we want to make strong, sustainable choices that provide our customers with a completely unique and desirable product”. (Raeburn 2019)


Raeburn, C – Raeburn Design – can be found here online,

(accessed May 5, 2019)




  1. Agriculture/raw fibre production – Sheep have woolen coats that are shaven off and then put through a process to make woolCotton fields, slave labor, people have to pick the cotton buds from pods to make into cotton
  2. Ginning – No idea what this means
  3. Spinning – Cotton balls are spun into thread
  4. Weaving – Cotton is intertwined to make material
  5. Processing – Material is old to buyers/designers
  6. Stitching – material is stitched together by hand or machinery using cotton to make items such as clothes, blankets, sheets, seat covers
  7. Distribution/retail – Clothes, bedding, furniture covers etc are distributed to retailers such as Next, Marks and Spencers, Harrods
  8. Use/Consumption and end of life – Businesses, general public buy material items wear them until old and put them in the bin, or recyle them in charity shops and friends.


  1. Agriculture/raw fibre production – Agriculture is farming and the methods that are used to raise and look after crops and animals. (Collins Dictionary Online)/Raw material  is any material, such as oil, cotton, or sugar in its natural condition, before it has been processed for (Cambridge Dictionary) and fibre means any thread-like parts that form plant or artificial material and can be made into cloth (Cambridge Dictionary)
  2. Ginning – the process of removing the seeds and debris from cotton. The term comes from the cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1794. In modern ginning, the cotton is first dried to remove moisture, then cleaned to remove any burs, stems, leaves, or other foreign matter. A series of rotating saws with teeth then remove the fibers from the seeds. Afterwards, the cotton fibers are compressed into 500-pound bales to be sent to textiles mills.  Heddels
  3. Spinning – to make thread by twisting fibres , or to produce something using thread (Cambridge Dictionary)
  4. Weaving – Production of fabric by interlacing two sets of yarns so that they cross each other, normally at right angles, usually accomplished with a hand- or power-operated loom.  Encyclopaedia Britannica 
  5. Processing – the series of actions that are taken to change raw materials during the production of goods.  Cambridge Dictionary
  6. Stitching – a line or lines of thread that has been sewn in something.   Cambridge Dictionary
  7. Distribution/retail – the activity of getting goods into stores where they are sold to the public.  Cambridge Dictionary
  8. Use/Consumption and end of life – to put something such as a tool, skill or building to a particular purpose/the act of using, eating, or drinking.  Cambridge Dictionary


My personal impression of ‘sustainability’, would be something that lasts a long time, an item of clothing or piece of furniture that has been made or built to last.

Sustainability – the quality of being able to continue over a period of time/the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.  Cambridge Dictionary

Having looked at the context of sustainability I now think I understand what is happening to our environment and what are the main issues that need to be addressed in our world:

  • Water usage – Issues are too much water is wasted, like in washing machines, baths, making of clothes, use of water to dye clothes, amount of water used watering gardens and crops.
  • Climate change –  It is noticeable that their are issues to do with  the climate in the UK and the rest of the world, there has been Snow in April and here in Saudi Arabia we are still having rain in April which is very strange.  Rain forests are being destroyed, ozone layer is being destroyed, icebergs are melting, tsuamies are happening more frequently.
  • Plastic usage – The huge amount of plastic being washed up on our shores is catastrophic, this is besides the plastic that is settling on the bottom of the ocean endangering our sea life.
  • Clothing wastage – clothes are being made so cheaply by third world countries that items are being thrown away instead of being cherished.  Issues are ‘slave labor’ being used to make these items.  Too much wastage of clothing material is being found in landfills.
  • Endangered species/wildlife – The lack of respect of game hunters is outrageous, issues are lack of laws and supervision.  The destruction of rain forests and building of new housing developments are destroying wildlife.
  • Food wastage – the issues of food wastage is extreme, with the introduction of ‘sell by’ and ‘consume by’ dates large amounts of food are just thrown away even if they look perfectly fine
  • Air and Ocean pollution – the issues of fumes produced by aeroplanes and cars is a major issue along with plastic in the ocean
  • Carbon Footprint – issues of amount of time spent in the car getting to work instead of using public transport or bikes or walking.  With the invention of the internet it should have lead to less time spent on planes having to hold face to face meetings.
  • IT and other equipment life cycle – computers, fridges, tvs, irons don’t have the same life span as years ago, most people are likely to throw away an iron if it doesn’t work rather than get it fixed.

These are all issues that are now being addressed by the UK, Europe and other international countries.  It is really good to see our government taking a strong lead in most of the issues mentioned above as indicated in a recent report issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on Sustainability  (FCO 2017-2018).  Some interesting articles about how the Government is progressing with it’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  The article mentions what the Government is  aiming to achieve in their own working environment and also the progress being made throughout the country and the influence they have on the rest of the world.  There are charts of how well they are reaching their goals (or not) and how they are trying to make a difference to our country and the planet itself by addressing issues such as endangered species, paper and water wastage, plastic recycling, reducing climate change and carbon footprints.  An interesting read as there is still so much more that needs to be done but at least they are taking it seriously now especially about wastage and the damage to our planet.

“The FCO has always worked hard to reduce the amount of waste it disposes, particular when costs continue to rise. Since 2011, the FCO has spent over £1m on waste disposal costs and to deliver better value to the taxpayer we continue to look for innovative ways to drive performance improvements.” (Currie 2017).


Agriculture/raw fibre production – not using child labor or exploiting local employment, using environmentally friendly pesticides, using machines that use energy efficiently and not dangerous to the community

Ginning – Use machines that are energy efficient, avoid wastage

Spinning/weaving/stitching – Use machines that are energy efficient, avoid wastage, don’t exploit local employment market

Distribution/retail – Use transportation that is energy efficient, electric vehicles or low carbon fuel.

Use/consumption and end of life – recycle clothes by giving to charities, friends, family.  Reuse materials by breaking down and remaking a different item using the materials.

TED Have formalized a set of ten criteria for designers and makers to follow, known as TED’s TEN:

  1. Design to Minimise Waste
  2. Design for Recycling/upcycling
  3. Design to Reduce Chemical Impacts
  4. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use
  5. Design that Explores Clean/Better Technologies
  6. Design that looks at Models from nature and history
  7. Design for Ethical Production
  8. Design to Replace the Need to Consume
  9. Design to Dematerialise and Develop Systems and Services
  10. Design Activism


Currie, Damien – Head, UK Facilities Management – Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Report 2018-2019 on Sustainability can be found at

(accessed April 4, 2019)

TED Research – Set of Ten criteria points for designers and makers to follow ‘TED’s TEN’ can be found at (accessed May 1, 2019)