Fashion and ecology: an interview with Susan Cianciolo

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susanciancioloSusan Cianciolo is an artist and designer–and a fan of Quo Vadis planners–who treated us to a night of eco-friendly fashion a couple of weeks ago. I caught up with her via email to learn more about her work…

I understand you’ve been working with recycled, organic, and eco-friendly fabrics since 1995. What prompted you to seek these materials out ecological principle or simply aesthetics?
I seek out these types of fabric because it was what I found and what was available, damaged materials I could make special with silk screening and natural overdyes, also going into the woods and finding materials that we untreated and turning them into prints by hammering onto organic fabric that was always very simple and fun to make it your own, as well as using yarn and wools from local mills and farms in New England where I am from.

Does each piece of fabric inspire its own design, or do you first come up with a design and then look for fabrics that will help you realize it?
Both the fabric and the sketch come at the same time, i have just now begun next season and i am sketching my ideas from recent inspiration, and i have already received organic hand dyed hand woven fabric from japan -kyoto from hinaya who i collaborated with this season and the last six years, so inspired by them is happening while being inspired by new ideas for shapes and patterns, forms and conceptual development.

It was great to see your drawings at the fashion show last month. Do your drawings often translate into actual items of clothing, or do you see them as a separate endeavor?
Yes, my drawings are the first step, for all aspects that follow, meaning the clothes and the set design.

What materials do you use to sketch?
I use recycled paper to sketch my drawings.

Any particular kind?
Whatever I have in my house: blank pages from old notebooks, blank pages in books, the backs of old documents, etc.

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