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My love of natural fibers began at an early age. As a gift, my mother bought me a miniature sewing machine and as a result, I spent hours near her as she worked. Some of my early 'toys' were often boxes of buttons, spools of wooden thread and of course her drawer of beautiful fabrics.
My mother sewed beautifully and taught me to sew. She had wonderful clothes made of natural fibers; wool coats, cashmere sweaters, silk and cotton dresses and lovely garments made out of Viyella (cotton and wool blend). I learned early to appreciate the feel of the quality fabric.
My appreciation for natural fibers continues to this day. 99% of my designs are executed in natural fibers like bamboo.
Natural for the Planet
With so many brands made from polyester, especially in the plus sizes, I prefer to be the alternative. Part of the allure of polyester is its inexpensive cost, which brings down the price of the garment. While the polyester fabric may be affordable to purchase, the cost to our planet is high. Did you know that Polyester and indeed most synthetic fibers are derived from crude oil drilled right out of the earth? Polyester is a polymer, or a long chain of repeating molecular units, which is a plastic derived from crude oil.
What about the cost to our bodies as well? I personally can't stand the feel of polyester on my body and immediately begin to perspire. I far prefer the feeling of soft natural fibers against my skin and the breathability and comfort that these fibers afford me. Like the food I put in my body, the clothes I wear I want to be in a natural state or as close to nature as possible.
New arrivals made from softest bamboo can be found in our online shop here. Or visit us at our studio for one of our shopping weekends. We're open for shopping Oct 4 from 2-7 and Oct 5 from 11-5 @ 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver B.C.
Published May 03 2019 in bamboo, design, eco, eco friendly, environmentally friendly, ethical, ethical fashion, fabric, green living, local, Made in Canada, natural, nature, slow fashion, spring, sustainable
There's always a story about the latest thing we shouldn't eat or product not to use. But as conscious consumers, we can't help but want to make the best choices. Now that microbeads (found in our toothpaste and beauty products) have been listed as a toxic substance (and already banned in the US), they've found an even more pervasive problem— fibers shedding from synthetic clothing. These microfibers get released in the clothes washer and make their way into our oceans. Washing just one synthetic fleece garment can release approximately 1.7 grams of microfibers with each wash. So choosing organic, sustainable and biodegradable fibers may be even more important than previously thought.
New studies indicate that synthetics like polyester could be poisoning our lakes and oceans and therefore our food supply on a massive scale. Synthetic fibers have been found in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish! These tiny threads shed from fabrics could ultimately be of huge concern as they enter the food chain and have the potential to accumulate in the bodies of larger mammals. We, at the top of the food chain, are, of course, eating these fibers when we consume the fish.
Tiny fibers emitted from synthetic clothing when washed are entering our oceans and waterways at an alarming rate.
While this is a problem without an easy solution, if you're already a consumer of natural fibers, you're obviously doing the right thing. Aside from the many other obvious advantages of bamboo, it's 100% biodegradable. So once it's no longer wearable, in as little as a year, it will have decomposed back into the soil or ocean without the production of any pollutants.
While very few fabrics and methods of dying fabrics can get a 100% clean bill of health, bamboo has many impressive ecological credentials. By nature bamboo as a plant is fast growing and requires no pesticides or additional fertilizers. Another key benefit of bamboo is that it requires one-third of the amount of water required to grow cotton. One of the other benefits is that, in comparison to an equivalent area of trees, bamboo takes in five times as much carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen. One of the drawbacks of bamboo processing has been the chemicals used, but new mechanical methods of processing have been devised in where the crushed bamboo is treated with biological enzymes. This breaks the bamboo into a mushy mass and individual fibers are then combed out. Although expensive, this process is eco-friendly.
While not the ultimate solution, every step helps. We're suggesting that you keep choosing the most natural products possible for inside and outside your body.
What do you do when the going gets hot? Maybe shorts don't really work for you? Everybody needs a hot weather option to get them through the dog days of summer. That's where the cool comfort of our beloved Capri comes in.
From the widest leg to our slimmest leg, there's a Capri here for every body.
Based on our Serene Pant, this Capri has a wider leg for anyone that has a preference for a wide, flowy leg. Designed to perfectly complement any of your warm-weather tops or jackets. Black and white stripes give this Capri a modern graphic look. The Casting Capri can be dressed up or down to suit your needs. We want you to be cool and comfortable from top to bottom this Summer!
If you love our Flex Pant, you are in luck! The Flight Capri fits just like our Flex Pant but with flat to the body pockets. These capris aren't tight on the leg but cut just right to give ease of movement and a more relaxed fit.
This design started out as a unique sleeve. We were fooling around with a twisted detail and it found its way into the leg of our Motion Capri. With our signature smooth waistband, it fits just like all our classic pants. It also features handy, flat to the body pockets, a mid-calf length and the openwork detail at the hem.
Our classic Capri tights are back! They're a 3/4 length and a great warm weather bottom you can live in all summer. If you like our Rejuvenate Leggings you will love these shorter tights. The perfect thing to wear under a flowy tunic.
Coming soon are the Uptown capris with a wider leg and fun, asymmetrical pockets on the leg. Stay tuned for this new style by Diane Kennedy!
Capri-length bottoms made from softest bamboo can be found in our online shop here.
Visit us at our next Studio Shop to see everything in person. We’re open for shopping Friday, April 12th from 2-7 and Saturday, April 13th from 11-5 @ 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver B.C.
If there's one thing that Diane Kennedy customers love about our garments, it's how effortless they are. Effortless to wear and care for, that is! Our signature bamboo fabrics are not only incredibly soft and comfortable, but they are also just as easy breezy to maintain.
Washing / Drying
We recommend machine washing our bamboo garments in cold water using a mild eco-friendly soap. After washing, we suggest laying flat or hanging to dry. It's ok to put them in the dryer for a few minutes to get some of the moisture out, but please hang them up right away afterward. If you think about where the lint from your dryer comes from (your clothes) you'll understand that the dryer contributes to your clothes wearing out much faster. Plus the heat from the dryer deteriorates the lycra /spandex in your garments as well.
Our bamboo fabric can hold quite a bit of moisture due to its unique cellular properties. It's ok to hang tops and 'shorter items', but longer items like pants might need to be laid flat to dry to ensure no stretching occurs. For longer tunics and bottoms, draping over a rack best preserves the shape of our garments.
Recently we got this message from one of our customers about a stained garment:
"I am writing because I have a small problem. I just had a call from my dry cleaner regarding a beautiful garment that I bought at your shop. You may remember I bought the gorgeous purple tunic/top (v-neck). Anyway, I was wearing it at a dinner party a couple of days ago and the host passed me a platter with roasted chicken thighs and unfortunately, it was a very shallow platter with way too much chicken juice and fat??? and it spilled down the front of my outfit.
The dry cleaner says they want permission (from me) to dry clean it but are warning me that it may ruin the garment (the tag cleaning instructions say washing) and there is nothing on the tag that says you can dry-clean it."
We wanted to answer this question here so that you can benefit from our answer:
"For a big greasy mess please blot as much of the grease out with paper towels as you can. For greasy/oily stains on the Bamboo we recommend "Shout", it can be found at any grocery store. It does need a good soaking (all over the stain) and some time for the enzymes to work (maybe 20 minutes) before washing. Hang to dry. If some of the stain still remains, repeat again as necessary.
We don't recommend dry cleaning for any of our garments"
Packing for Travel
You may already know that our garments travel exceptionally well. Our pieces fold so nicely & efficiently that it makes packing very easy; whether you're getting ready to take Diane Kennedy on a trip, or just switching over your closet's seasons. To minimize wrinkles, lay your garment flat, folding in the sleeves and hem (vertically, from top to bottom) into a rectangle, then simply roll up your garments starting from the neck. When you get to your destination, shake them out and hang them up, no ironing needed! Any wrinkles will fall out shortly.
This is a time when we're all thinking about our impact on the earth and what we can do as individuals to reduce our waste. As a designer it's something I do consider while designing my garments. The truth is that pre-consumer "almost" zero-waste fashion is really only attainable with garments that are very simplified and made from very boxy shapes. A classic example of a zero waste garment is the traditional Kimono. But when a garment is cut to fit our womanly curves, square and boxy shapes are not ideal. Our new Scrunch Scarf is a good example of "almost" zero waste as the pattern pieces are rectangular and I purposely chose widths to fit the fabric. If you look at the bottom of the image below, you can see the "efficiency" is 98.3% of the fabric.
Still as a small batch designer with a very hands on approach I'm able to mitigate my use of fabric during production. I do consider how a sleeve is cut for example and how the fabric is utilitzed in the production process. My approach is quite unique as I often modify the designs as the pattern is being made. I sketch an idea, start making the pattern and make adjustments to the design as I go. As a last step It's not unusual for me to do a mock lay out the marker (the pattern pieces of the garment laid out single layer for cutting of the fabric) to see how well the design makes use of the fabric.
Once the garment is ready to go into production a cut lay out of the pattern pieces is made (a production marker) using the Optitex CAD system. The use of the fabric is noted during this process. What I'd consider an unacceptable use of the fabric would be a marker that utilizes only 70% or less of the available space. Trust me when I tell you this would not be an uncommon use of fabric in the fashion industry. (30% waste) Commonly a style like a pant or a tunic would use 75% - 80% of the fabric. Anything above 80% is considered excellent. Kind of surprising right? This is the reality in the garment industry. The marker below is an example of how I put parts from 2 garments together to get a better yield. By doing so I was able to use 84.1% of the fabric. Without making this change the use of the fabric was way down at about 67%.
We do whatever we can at this stage of production to minimize this waste. Our markers regularity use 82% - 87% of the fabric. And truthfully that's about as good as it gets. The only way to improve that would be an example like a shirt that has many small parts like cuffs, collar and tabs to fill up the spaces.
While I know this is not something the average consumer ever considers when purchasing a garment, I wanted to share some of the thoughtful processes that go into making a Diane Kennedy garment.