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The Post Couture Collective: Downloadable Clothes for a Sustainable Future

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Meet The Post Couture Collective, the worlds first 100% open source fashion label, offering a revolutionary alternative to today’s fast fashion system. Accessible, affordable and sustainable; you can download a pattern for €5, choose your fabric, then cut and assemble it at home. After WGSN discovered the fashion concept back in October 2015, the idea has gone from strength to strength.

Our Associate Catwalks Editor, Anna Ross meets founder Martijn Van Strien to talk about his vision towards a sustainable future.

Can you tell me a little more about the Post-Couture concept?

“I wanted to design garments for the future where production isn’t located in overseas factories, but produced anywhere around the world by anyone,” explains Martijn; “All of the normal construction techniques are eliminated, so no sewing, no seams, no training! We’re introducing a new way of thinking about sustainability, embracing the maker’s movement and cutting out unfair labour, overproduction and waste in doing so.”

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Who’s in your team?

“It’s just me, but I work by collaborating with like-minded designers as I’m not a garment designer myself – I’m more of a thinker than a maker! For the last collection I collaborated with five fashion graduates from the Antwerp Academy who helped develop fabrics, patterns and techniques.”

The garments look great – what materials are involved?

“I wanted materials that were readily available to all, so all of the fabrics mentioned on the website you can get from any material store – except from the green one – which is made from recycled Sprite bottles – hence the colour! ”

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How many collections will you produce a year?

“We don’t produce for the sake of producing – the process needs to be organic; when we look to create a new collection, it’s really all about the exploration of new techniques and production methods. I don’t follow seasons or a timescale – If it happens it happens!”

How refreshing! What’s been the response?

“The majority of the downloads are by people who are involved within the industry and are maybe more aware of the problems surrounding consumption. My hope is within a few years to spread awareness to other people – we’re hosting workshops and pop-up stores for example, where you can go in to store, pick your design, have it adapted for your measurements and cut and made within minutes. The customer is the designer, walking away with something truly unique. ”

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What’s the most important part of your role?

For me, it’s about openness, collaboration and community;  by sharing the patterns online we’re able to give the tools and the awareness to people all over the world and receive feedback on our designs. This is the most imperative thing for me, that people share their feedback and ideas on development with the Post-Couture Community.

So, what’s the future for The Post Couture Collective?

With the way technology is advancing, we hope to be able to use 3-D Printing to produce materials and new shapes  – that’s the future!

Finally, what advice would you give to young designers interested in creating a sustainable future through design?

“Be as radical as you can be – don’t compromise – believe in your ideas and give them time to develop.” surmises Martijn, while touching on a practical note; “Be prepared to get another job on the side to support yourself – I work in a textile laboratory for example, which is relevant to what I love, but also pays the bills!”

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Want to know more? Check out their website become a maker today. Join The Post-Couture Community on Facebook to share your experiences and ideas.

Follow Anna on Instagram:  @anna___ross.

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