SustainableSequinCo

The Sustainable Sequin Company

London, England On Etsy since 2018

SustainableSequinCo

The Sustainable Sequin Company

London, England | 1,444 Sales

Announcement    Welcome to The Sustainable Sequin Company!
I make my sequins in the UK and can produce bespoke shapes - so just send my a message if you can't see what you are searching for!
Thanks, Rachel x

Announcement

Last updated on 17 Aug, 2020

Welcome to The Sustainable Sequin Company!
I make my sequins in the UK and can produce bespoke shapes - so just send my a message if you can't see what you are searching for!
Thanks, Rachel x

Items

 
rachel

Contact shop owner

rachel

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(67)

About SustainableSequinCo

Sales 1,444
On Etsy since 2018

The Sustainable Sequin Company offers a unique range of sequin shapes and a bespoke design and cut service, using recycled PET. A biodegradable sequin film is in development...

THE SUSTAINABLE SEQUIN COMPANY

MY BACKGROUND

My interest in sequins blossomed whilst studying for an MA in Fashion and the Environment (now MA Fashion Futures) at London College of Fashion. My MA work, Everyday was Special, grew from the belief that clothes (particularly sequined, special event clothes) should be active in the role for which they were designed: being worn. I proposed that keeping something for a long time, but not wearing it, is not sustainable behaviour, it is simply storing waste within the wardrobe.

I found that special occasion wear has a short, fast active life; it is typically worn only 2-3 times before being abandoned at the back of the closet. These clothes represent wasted resources, energy and labour, as well as the wasted potential to bring joy through wear. In addition, special occasion clothing is often made from polluting and non-biodegradable materials that last much longer than the fleeting active life of the garment. Plastic sequins shimmer for a few hours on the dance floor then languish at the back of the wardrobe for a few years, before lying intact in landfill for a few centuries or more. Both the raw materials from which sequins are derived (including PVC additives), and the waste created by short-term use of long-lasting plastic, is an environmental problem.

Concerned by this waste within the wardrobe, I developed naturally coloured organic bio-plastic sequins with life spans appropriate to the average use of special occasion wear. These sequins were designed to dissolve after a few wears, releasing natural dye to colour the fabric and reveal new pattern. I developed a prototype dress with three distinct lives, looking noticeably different in each. Phase one shows a party dress embellished with bio-plastic sequins, then half of the sequins are liquefied to reveal an alternate special occasion dress in phase two. By phase three all the sequins have been dissolved and the dress has evolved into an everyday item of clothing that could be worn regularly. The stitches used to attach the sequins remain, providing a link to the garment’s previous life and helping to promote emotional attachment.

Through this project, I imagined a new sustainable future where bright sequins melt to produce new colours, utilising existing materials whilst retaining joyful memories. Garments that celebrate the ephemeral as they become enduring: everyday clothes that were once special clothes.

This led me to set up The Sustainable Sequin Company as an alternative to the current linear model of sequin production, which is polluting and unsustainable. I believe it is entirely unjustifiable to use virgin fossil resources, which take millennia to form, to make plastic sequins. The Sustainable Sequin Company offers recycled PET sequin shapes in a range of sizes, colours and finishes. I also provide a design and cut service to allow designers to create bespoke sequins.

I am working on bringing biodegradable sequins to market later this year. I hope to use a circular system that borrows abundantly available, fast-growing, renewable materials to create bright, shiny sequins engineered to biodegrade at end of life and release nutrients back into the biological cycle. I’m really excited about this commercial extension of my MA project!


WHAT I’M DOING NOW

At the moment I’m working with recycled PET. I’m cutting shapes to order (both stock designs and custom shapes) to avoid waste from over production. It’s small scale, but that means I can easily respond to customer needs - if they need a fixing hole moving a few millimetres (or more) I can do it! I think it’s a nice way of working as I can provide exactly what clients want, so there’s no compromise on design, which hopefully leads to better designed clothes that are kept in use longer. By working with designers to create the bespoke embellishments they require, I believe we can increase the use of environmentally positive materials in fashion, decrease the use of harmful materials, and improve design integrity, creativity and aesthetics.


THE FUTURE

The biodegradable sequins are at prototype phase, so the next step is to make them commercially viable. I’m looking at producing two ranges of biodegradable sequins - one that dissolves really quickly in hot water and another that can be washed like a conventional sequin, but will biodegrade at end of life.

In the future I’d like to also provide recycled glass, recycled plastic and biodegradable polymer beads and other embellishments.


REDUCING WASTE

I’m working on reducing the amount of waste I produce as I’ve found that, on average, 33% of sequin film is wasted during the conventional punching process of round sequins (this is likely to be higher for some other shapes). Although my (already recycled) PET waste film can be recycled again, it makes more sense to try and reduce this high percentage of waste film. I’m experimenting to try and lower the amount of waste produced; using the shapes in between the sequins and in the margins, then looking for uses for any waste produced, with recycling as a last resort.

Please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions, or have a use for the waste film!

Shop policies