“Umbrellas suffer from design flaws that often lead to their premature and messy deaths and unwelcome burials in landfills,” says Julie Lasky, Editor-in-Chief of I.D. Magazine. One aspect of the Umbrella Inside Out Competitions asks for an umbrella designed with a Cradle to Cradle(R) sensibility. This means that the object’s entire lifecycle is considered, from its sourcing and production, to the life it leads after its current use. “We’re excited to see the alternative designs and applications this competition will inspire,” Lasky adds.
Did you know there was an “umbrella problem”? I didn’t. It rains so rarely around here that umbrellas are more likely to be used for shade. But it gets worse. Apparently, not only do we need to worry about today’s umbrella problem, we have to worry about tomorrow’s umbrella problem too.
Asking for a new umbrella design doesn’t entirely address the problem, however. While conventional manufacturing techniques are still employed, useful destinations for all that umbrella waste are still necessary. The second aspect of the competitions asks for a couture garment constructed from former umbrellas. “With China alone producing upwards of 18 million tons of textiles annually, we’re going to be dealing with waste for generations to come. We need to drive viable, beautiful, and efficient re-use innovation,” says Kyeann Sayer of TreeHugger.
My my my. Who knew? Well, I’ll be sure to do my part to reduce umbrella landfill pollution by promising to never buy one. Last year, I ran across the website of a designer (one of you sent me the link, can’t remember who) who’s made dresses out old umbrellas. It’s called the Umbrella Project. Pretty cool designs she’s come up with too; in fact, it’d definitely fit in with this week’s theme of couture complexity. I’m glad that I finally have a reason to link to her site because, as I said, she’s done an incredible amount of work. Very creative and talented too as you’ll see below.
If you’re interested in entering the umbrella design contest, “winners and finalists will be featured in a three page ID Magazine spread. The winning fashion competition design will appear in the Ethical Fashion Show runway in Paris this October 13″. Deadline for submissions is September 1st.