Jules Verne

Fashion collection for final degree at Modefachschule Sigmaringen, Germany 2008

Visions, Leather and Ecology

The market for sustainable materials is still a niche market.
Ecologically correct clothing and accessories, manufactured under fair conditions, is a crucial selling
point for a minority group only.
Why is that?
The consumer is not aware of the fact that each and every purchase decision makes a difference, can
set something in motion.
When demand rises, the market must respond.
Make an effort to arouse public interest, like the German trade fair Premium Berlin, which presented its
own “green area” in 2007.
“Eco fashion” has still a negative after-taste. Design is the only way to alter that.
The growing popularity of companies such as Kuyichi and Edun prove how fashionable “eco” can be.
Target consumers to enlighten, not oversaturate them.
Looking at the positive changes that have taken place in other industries, such as the automobile and
food industries, it is safe to assume that in the long term, the fashion industry will change too, not just
for the space of a trend no one talks about once the season’s over.
Projects and cooperation joining companies, countries and business can take fair fashion from being
the vision of a single person to becoming a standard of the European, one day even the international
fashion world.

Jules Verne, a madman or a visionary?

Jules Verne invented the science-fiction novel.
Airplanes had not yet been invented, yet the characters in his fantastic stories travelled around the
world in balloons and flying machines.
Like Dr. Samuel Ferguson, the main character in Verne’s novel Five Weeks in a Balloon, in which crew
and passengers alike saw the world from a new and unknown perspective. They saw things that Jules
Verne envisioned in his imagination.
To protect themselves from adverse weather conditions at high altitude the uniforms and clothing of
those on board the flying machines were made from the oldest natural material in the world – leather.
Leather has a long past – and future.
A wonderfully versatile material with numerous natural properties, a material used so many different
ways in fashion.
Leather is experiencing a renaissance in the clothing industry and is the most popular material for
Had pollution, environmental protection and sustainability been topics of importance in Jules Verne’s
day, I am certain they would have been central topics of his books.
The natural manufacturing process of leather was changed considerably by the use of chemicals over
the decades. Was it improved by taking ecological factors into consideration?
Prof. Baumgart created the standard for production based on ecological criteria known as “cradle to
cradle”, denoting the life cycle of a material from production to usage, then disposal or re-use.
I wish to focus on the following themes in my work:
- To what extent has the eco-cycle been implemented in leather manufacturing and does it
conform to the principle of “cradle to cradle”?
In Germany advances are being made in this direction.
Generally speaking, could they be implemented on a global scale?
- What chances does leather fashion manufactured according to eco-criteria have in the market?
My styles recall the spirit of travelling in a balloon and the requirements of early flying.
My design focuses on the future. My styles are wearable.
Sophy Stoenner, 2007