Fashioning the Mind

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”
-Diane Vreeland
The integration of fashion and academia is not something that immediately springs to mind when you start speaking about clothing. However, the two are closely linked. Fashion integrates architecture, engineering, chemistry and art. It is this integration that allows for the greatest creations.
The fashion industry, which must constantly reinvent itself, is undergoing a massive change as consumers begin to demand more from their clothing. A shift away from fast fashion and towards ‘slow’ fashion is the only way forward. We are beginning to place greater emphasis on understanding the impacts of the fashion industry on our natural environment and those who create our garments. But in order to succeed, it is vital that equal attention is paid to aesthetic, functionality and impact.
Just last week we got to be the fashion nerds we really are as we watched (like proud mamas) our Cornell dream team present to a team of judges in DC for the 2014 P3 Competition and National Sustainable Design Expo at the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival.  The team presented the findings of a year-long study/project focusing on waste reduction in the clothing manufacturing sector based on our model in Port-au-Prince.  The dream team won an honourable mention and we are thrilled to know the partnership with Cornell will continue!
Oh, we also met Bill Nye on our DC adventures.





The LB/Cornell Dream Team

Last year we were fortunate enough to commence a partnership with Cornell University (funded by the EPA) and the ‘dream team’ of professors and students to help us work on creating zero waste pattern design at our design lab in Port-au-Prince. Our team consists of fashion and design officiandos, fibre scientists, fashion historians and a whole lot of creativity.  After a few months of product development we welcomed  Dr Tasha Lewis, the chef of our  Cornell team, to visit us in PAP to see the progress. With her arrival we began to manufacture 4 new beautiful pieces designed by yours truly with patterns and technicals made by the Cornell dream team.

We are working to minimize our waste through the design process with the ultimate goal of zero waste pattern design. In the meantime we are looking for creative and innovative ways to use our scraps created from our design process. We are inspired to collaborate with other artists, designers and professionals in Haiti to create a network that allows us to share our resources and to find innovative ways to create sustainable business models in Haiti. This is merely the tip of the iceberg of where the dream team will go!

IMG_0319 IMG_0329IMG_0339

Cornell Visit


2 weeks ago we spent 3 glorious days at the oh so inspiring Cornell University. We knew Ithaca, NY was our kind of town when we stepped off the bus to see an organic co-op grocery store right across the street. Tasha, our gracious host, picked us up and whisked out for a scrumptious Thai dinner. We ate so well at Cornell. Honestly, half the time I go anywhere is really just to taste the food:)

Our first full day at Cornell started with coffee, fair trade & organic of course. Fuelled by caffeine we made our way to Dr Tasha Lewis’ Global Fashion Management class where we gave a lecture on sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. This was followed by an overview of Local Buttons, a working model of sustainability AND ethics in the fashion industry. It was a great way to start off our trip and tour of Cornell.

What followed for the remainder of the three days was full of media, meetings, planning sessions, a 3D body scan:) and exploring the grounds. We met with our ‘dream team’ comprised of fibre scientists, pattern makers and design students.

We are so motivated and inspired by our partnership with Cornell. We can see how we can begin to look at the full life cycle of our garments so that we can improve our process and continue to look at ways to reduce our environmental impact. We cannot wait to return for our next meeting with the dream team, fingers crossed it will be the end of the month!

Here is a quick video of one of our meetings at Cornell.