Meet Melissa Villevieille, Redress Design Award 2018 finalist
Concept s of regenesis or rebirth lie behind the rich, meticulous collection by Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Design graduate Melissa Villevieille. “The idea is to create a textile with more value by up-cycling waste into a beautiful fabric; in essence, to create a final object that is greater than its individual parts,” she says.
Working with fashion industry waste, Melissa shreds offcuts before carefully reconstructing them into new textiles. Recycled PET pellets are turned into beading and embroidered into her pieces, adding elaborate depth; and recycled PET yarn is turned into elegant ribbed knits.
“I was reluctant to enter the fashion industry because of its unsustainable practices,” admits Melissa. “But my interest was rekindled when I discovered knitwear. Being able to manage a product from fibre to finish with little or no waste inspired me.”
An internship with British catwalk designer Julien Macdonald as a knitwear designer cemented her interest. “I loved seeing the reaction of clients as soon as they stepped into the knitted garment, how the knit takes on a new dimension and shapes to the body, rather than constraining it to a predetermined shape.”
“My creative curiosity is fuelled by innovators – in all design fields,” she muses. “I’m especially drawn to examples where design brings a new lens to everyday objects. At the same time, I admire the art of traditional craftsmanship. I try to bring both these elements to my work.”
“My main influence is to give new life to the flagrant textile and plastic waste in the world. There is so much raw material simply thrown out. I know there are ways to give them a second life and greater purpose. I’m constantly thinking of new solutions. It drives me to always do better – and ask for better - in the industry.”
If there was one thing she would change about fashion, it is the way consumers see clothes. “Quality, not price, should be the leading indicator,” says Melissa, firmly. “I want consumers to make an emotional connection with each piece and, in turn, feel empowered to curate and restore their clothing - and demand more transparency from the industry.”
This article originally appeared in the Redress Design Award 2018 Magazine.