I am a womenswear fashion designer. The concept for my collection started during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020 inspired by the Clean Clothes campaign. During this time, I was employed in a fast-paced factory environment making PPE with a secure wage, contract and safe covid restrictions in place. In stark contrast garment workers on the other side of the world were not being paid as they had no contracts, no trade unions and little or no rights. This ethical paradox between my secure working conditions and those of my fellow garment workers across the world inspired further research for my dissertation. After the PPE contracts were completed, I was offered a job in the company's original business making contract furniture. I noticed how much fabric was going to be discarded and the knowledge of the relationship between fast fashion and textile waste compelled me to give this surplus a sustainable, purposeful new life. My collection is a statement based on my dissertation research and the traditional dress of the garment workers. I hope to enlighten people about the unjust treatment that these employees face. I have used the technique of embossing; with this method I have adorned leather with facts I discovered while researching my dissertation onto the garments. The embossing process not only references traditional techniques but allows me to express solidarity with my fellow makers in a thought provoking and decorative way.



Caoilfhinn Leadon