Sustainable Fashion: Of The Land
Nikki Stewart is the dreamer, designer, and seamstress of Of The Land, and she has this way of exploring the world with so much thoughtfulness and intent. Her desire to make a fashion statement through sustainability is just an inspiring experience. Some of her first designs from Of The Land I saw were bright, fashion-forward pieces under a tent on a hot summer day during the Danbury Artisans Street Fair, and I wanted to buy every single piece. Little did I know that the bright, fun and bouncy pieces were made by a sun-shining lady here in Danbury from Los Angeles. Each time I meet up with Nikki, I'm learning more about her, her unique design process and her ultimate vision.
Nikki's design process is rooted in Zero Waste Design, which embraces a design philosophy that generates little or no textile waste in production. In order to mindfully follow this design theory, there are two strategies that Nikki adheres to. First, by creating a pattern that makes use of 100% of a given material, Nikki is utilizing every piece of fabric without any waste. The standard pattern cutting process wastes approximately 15% of the fabric on average, and many garments will waste far more than average, and end up in the landfill.
Second, Nikki creates said garments from remnant materials. Textile mills and garment factories often have excessive amounts of leftover fabric, called remnant fabric. These are typically rolls of fabric that are left after a garment production run, fabric that was dyed the wrong color, or surplus fabric that is unsold by the textile mills and left in storage. Often these fabrics are in smaller amounts so they will never be bought or used by larger garment companies. Making use of this fabric is a popular choice for designers who want to make their design process more sustainable.
The coat displayed above sold last week, but it has an impactful story. And it's gorgeous, so why not show it off, even though this one-of-a-kind gem belongs to someone else now. Nikki went on a trip up to New Milford to check out the antique shops and thrift stores that are hidden gems filled with unique finds to enliven any adventurers day. A blue and white patterned cotton blanket was spotted that had clearly been handwoven. Inside the label, there were hand embroidered initials, and she could see there was some wear from the blanket being used over time. Inspired by this gorgeous found piece, Nikki purchased the blanket, took it home to clean, made a kimono pattern, and got to design what you see in the above photo: a long kimono duster made from a blanket she found at an antique shop. The buttons were found at the antique shop, too. Talk about a one-stop shop. Since this one sold, I should share with you what she made with the rest of the fabric.
I could go on forever about the stories behind each of Nikki's pieces and her inspiration to continue Of The Land the way in which she does. But I'll leave it up to you to continue the adventure. You can find many of her pieces in-store at Workspace Collective, as well as online. Who knows - maybe you received an Of The Land gift over the holiday season - perhaps one of her upcycled leather wristlets or a pair of her denim house slippers. Nonetheless, we are so grateful to have such a thoughtful designer that aligns with every single aspect of the ethos at Workspace Collective.
Sign up for Nikki's upcoming Make Your Own Clutch workshop on Saturday, January 20th from 2PM - 4PM, or her Weaving 101 class coming up on February 17th. She's also leading a deep breathing practice, followed by Vision Board building this Sunday, January 21st at our first open to the public Art Jams. Who knows - maybe one day we'll get this Yoga Certified lady to lead some vinyasa flows at the shop!