Hand Woven, Feminine & Wearable: Q&A with EcoChic Finalist Belle Benyasarn

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Hailing from Thailand, Belle was one of the finalists for the EcoChic Design Award 2015/2016. Her lineup of woven, contemporary Asian garments impressed the judges panel as her models walked the runway. With inspiration from English artist Barbara Hepworth and Japanese textile designer Reiko Sudo, Belle is well on her way to revolutionizing the fashion industry, one sustainable piece at a time.

Read more about Belle’s experience below!

What was your inspiration behind your collection for the EcoChic Design competition?

I was inspired to create a collection by “weaving” in a sustainable way. Each design was developed through experimenting on what comes out of the loom after reweaving various types of waste fabric I found in a bag factory, including nylon bag linings, leather and luxurious silk warp. I tried to make sustainable fashion appealing by mixing in contemporary Asian aesthetics.

What was your favorite part in participating in the competition?

The EcoChic Design Awards has allowed me to meet like-minded designers who share similar aspirations of sustainable fashion. There was a sense of passion and inspiration in the air. I also felt very proud of myself for pushing my design boundaries during the competition.

In what way do you feel that participating in EcoChic changed or inspired you as a designer?

For me, The EcoChic Design Award is not solely about creating sustainable fashion. The competition has changed how I approach design altogether. I take into consideration what materials and techniques I’ll be using.

What trend do you want to see make a comeback?

I hope slow fashion makes a comeback. Fast fashion is everywhere now but I hope people will return to and appreciate artisanal products.

Are there any designers that have inspired or had a major impact on you?

I take inspiration from English artist Barbara Hepworth. She creates simple and clean sculptures that portray different natural forms. Also, Reiko Sudo’s work is quite inspirational due to her showing the unlimited potential of woven textiles.

Is there something that you would like to achieve as a designer?

I’d like to find a balance between sustainability and aesthetics. As a designer, I want to create exciting pieces that are also wearable for the everyday consumer. I hope my designs can become a part of their everyday lives, without them feeling that sustainability requires extra effort.

Why is it important for the fashion industry to become more sustainable?

The fashion industry is all about aesthetics; we all love to see beautiful and exciting works of art but rarely consider the impact a product has on our planet during production and after purchasing. This also touches upon environmental and labor practices. Not only are we taking positive action for future generations, but also for ourselves in the present.

If you can collaborate with any designer, who would it be?

Issey Miyake has always inspired me with his innovative textile techniques. I’d consider a design collaboration between Miyake and myself a dream project.

Describe your collection in three words.

Hand woven, Feminine and wearable

To know more about Belle’s journey, watch Frontline Fashion: The EcoChic Design Award on Monday August 29 at 20:30 (UTC +8).
Marie  M.
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