Sustainability, the cost to new designers.

Hi everyone,

My name is Faye Donald, I am a 3rd year fashion and textile BA student at University Centre Doncaster. 

I will be commencing my dissertation in the coming week and am looking for discussions with like minded people, students or designers on starting out with the cost of sustainable materials. Last year I hand knitted a jumper and sourced 100% wool, which cost me £150 for the wool alone, with labour costs on top of this I was concerned that this would be an unrealistic goal for a new designer to sell. 

This year my final collection will consist of 6 outfits and I was looking to find alternative sources for eco friendly fabrics for sewing or yarns for hand knitting. As our designs are meant to be accessible to the commercial market I don't think using up cycling will be an option as they couldn't be reproduced. 

In reality I would love to be 100% ethical and sustainable but the only thing that stands in the way is the cost, does anybody else struggle with the same problems? 


Faye Donald

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Comment by Faye Donald on December 8, 2013 at 11:21

Hello Khogy,

With up-cycling you cannot make exactly the same items on a mass scale. I don't want to use up-cycling as I have already done so in the past on my course and I want to show my versatility.

Thanks for the suggestion,


Comment by Khogy on November 19, 2013 at 6:18
Ofocourse they could be upcycled! You just need to find a factory that produces a lot of waste that is the same *ie any garment factory* get creative!
Comment by Faye Donald on November 11, 2013 at 21:45

Hello Cherie,

Thank you very much for your advice, I tried to post a response a while ago which evidently didn't work!

I am definitely keeping to the ethical/sustainable route. I decided to take a leap of faith and stick to what i believe in. As I'm in my final year, I'm still learning a lot about supply chains and manufacturing, bigger runs and pricing. I'm feeling more and more confident about the whole collection as I learn more. 

As long as I do my market research, marketing and design well enough, I think I have as good a chance as any.

Thank You again for your advice, It is much appreciated,


Comment by Cherie Paul on October 23, 2013 at 23:28

Hello Faye!

I've been making items out of upcycled t shirts for 3 years with very slow success.  I'm a terrible sales person and can't afford to hire help:-( Yet!  I think there are a few things you need to do (and yes, I'm learning to take my own advice:-) -

Be a GOOD sales person - brave - go out there and ask for the sale everywhere.  Or find someone to do it for you - it makes ALL the difference.  The one time I had access to a brilliant sales girl I did very well.

That said, only target stores that sell in your price range and don't undersell yourself.  Try to find  local workers you can afford to get started and then produce overseas when large enough.

Ethical/sustainable is the ONLY way to go so just do it!  Click around on this site and you will see all sorts of ways people are getting cheap(er), sustainable raw goods. 

Don't give up!  We are all in this together and for all the right reasons.


Cherie from Jag & Nevie

Comment by Faye Donald on October 16, 2013 at 16:02
Hello Katharina,

Thankyou for taking an interest in my post. I think it's the uncertainty as an undergraduate that worries me. Thankyou very much for the information and I'll take it on board.

Thankyou again,
Comment by Katharina Kaiser on October 11, 2013 at 18:41

Hi ! Don´t be afraid of high pricing. There is always someone willing to pay good prices for good quality.

besides, if you source organic or sustainable fabrics or wool worldwide (

you might get cheaper wholesale prices. and if you want to lower your prices, think about production in GOTS certified Manufactories abroad.



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