Final Research Project

Updated: May 4, 2021

Fast Fashion and Bespoke Fashion

An investigation into 4 contemporary illustrators bespoke streetwear l

An Antidote to fast fashion

Fast fashion on social media

Low/High prices

bespoke clothing

custom clothing

custom artists

custom painted shoes

clothing landfills

sustainable fashion

reusing clothes

recycled materials

pollution factors


pros of bespoke clothing

saving the planet

streetwear subculture

who buys

investment clothing

role of social media

creating a community rather than company


ethical design

finding a middle ground between fast fashion and bespoke

responses to cultural change

young consumers


big brands

slow fashion

Fast Fashion:

"Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand. The idea is to get the newest styles on the market as fast as possible."

  • "Before the 1800s, fashion was slow. You had to source your own materials like wool or leather, prepare them, weave them, and then make the clothes.

  • The Industrial Revolution introduced new technology—like the sewing machine. Clothes became easier, quicker, and cheaper to make. Dressmaking shops emerged to cater for the middle classes.

  • A lot of these dressmaking shops used teams of garment workers or home workers. It was around this time that sweatshops emerged, along with some familiar safety issues.

  • By the 1960s and 70s, young people were creating new trends and clothing became a form of personal expression, but there was still a distinction between high fashion and high street.

  • In the late 1990s and 2000s, low-cost fashion reached its zenith. Online shopping took off, and fast fashion retailers like H&M, Zara, and Topshop took over the high street. These brands took the looks and design elements from the top fashion houses and reproduced them quickly and cheaply. "

Impact of Fast Fashion:

"The pressure to reduce costs and speed up production time means that environmental corners are more likely to be cut. Fast fashion’s negative impact includes its use of cheap, toxic textile dyes—making the fashion industry the second largest polluter of clean water globally after agriculture. Cheap textiles also increase fast fashion’s impact. Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics. It is derived from fossil fuels, contributes to global warming, and can shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans when it’s put through the wash. Conventional cotton requires enormous quantities of water and pesticides in developing countries. This results in risks of drought and creates huge amounts on stress on water basins, as well as competition for resources between companies and local communities."

"In Australia alone, more than 500 million kilos of unwanted clothing ends up in landfill every year."

Couchman Bespoke:

"A bespoke garment allows you to have input on the outcome of your garment style. From cloth type and design to the individual details and whether it is full or half bespoke.  This service is open to men and women of any shape and size, taking 4 to 12 weeks.  A bespoke garment can range in price depending on the cloth cost and work involved in a more complicated design.  This is of course a premium service but it can still be tailored to your budget, from 1 change on our ready to w ear collection, to a fully bespoke handmade garment."

"At Couchman Bespoke we are dedicated to sourcing sustainably so that the soil is managed well, that no peticides are used on new cloth and that the manufacturing process produces and transportation creates far less emissions or is carbon neutral.  Most of our cloth comes from pre and post consumer waste and has no trace of these facts, by us keeping these textiles from landfill and creating new garments we save 9.75 tonnes going to landfill.  Through the production process these remnant textiles would have produced 20.38 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, specifically methane which has a 75 times warming potential than CO2.  Between 1999 - 2009, post-consumer textile waste increased by 40% whilst the diversion from landfill increased by only 2%.  This is where we need you to help us fight this trend, by not only buying consciously and only when necessary but also sending any unwanted clothes our way to take apart reuse and recycle."

Cloth Surgeon:

"Clothsurgeon is a London based Luxury British Mens wear brand that explores a directional aesthetic, melding Sportswear with Savile Row style tailoring. The brand perfectly channels a clean interpretation of modern streetwear. Rav Matharu, combines his love of street culture, art and of course fashion to create a sports luxe tailored aesthetic. Rav aims to generically modify the mens wardrobe, through precision, details, fabric use and timeless silhouettes, creating beautiful wearable classic garments for the modern man.

The clothsurgeon Bespoke Service aims to satisfy the desires of each and every customer. An exclusive service, one that is integral to the British streetwear brand allows the client to work alongside Creative Director, Rav Matharu to ensure a personalised and unique product is designed and made with the uppermost attention to detail. Understand fabrics, construction and fit - the options are endless."


"Our limited edition and bespoke streetwear pieces move fast. Our great fits, comfortable fabrics, and custom designs make YDWTL a popular choice among those with a real sense of style. You won’t find gear like this anywhere else. Seriously--this stuff isn’t mass produced in a factory. It’s genuine. Each bespoke clothing article is one-of-a-kind. These streetwear jackets aren’t for everybody. They’re for those who are bold enough to set trends, not follow them."

Streetwear collabs:

Sean Wotherspoon

Patrick Grant

James Jarvis

Sean Wotherspoon:

Sean Wotherspoon has recently "teamed up with sportswear giant Adidas to launch SuperEarth, a new collaboration of vegan-friendly and sustainable sneakers. With this latest release, it looks like animal-free and eco-friendly kicks are taking over the mainstream."

"Talking about the shoe in an Instagram comment, animal advocacy nonprofit PETA said: “These fab vegan shoes are a dream come true. Thank you for creating stylish and unique shoes that are saving our planet and the animals who live on it. You are leading the way towards vital changes in the sneaker world.”"

Custom Shoe Artists:










"Justwin Customs is not a business to me, it is simply a creative platform through which I am able to express myself and share my work."

"The main goal of my work is to blur the lines between fine art and street art, between high fashion and streetwear. Land so close to all of them that they each begin to lose meaning and the idea of labeling or categorizing art itself becomes irrelevant." 

"Letting the consumer create something that is not just customized by me but in a way is also customized by them"


Jeff Hamilton

Kid Super

The Brooklyn-based creative was in high school when he first conceptualised KidSuper. Ten years later, the label has become a cult-favourite amongst New York City creatives. He’s lauded for his playful take on streetwear with references to folk art, soccer motifs and vibrant graphics. KidSuper’s upcoming collaboration with Puma, the first major partnership for the burgeoning brand, features a full range of colourful footwear and clothing riddled with Colm’s signature doodles. It all came together spontaneously, like much of his work.

Tutorial notes on Introduction

This is nicely written and a good clear outline of what you are intending to do. You have outlined a methodology (asking interviews) and talked about the ecological impact of fashion (you need evidence to support these claims), and maybe even the idea of fashion in its broadest sense

- What are links between street fashion and illustration? (how does illustration add value to the clothing?)

- DEFINE STREETWEAR and its meanings for the people that wear them. What are people trying to say with these clothes

- Roland Barthes ‘Language of Fashion’ (clothes as a code)


- Say why you are interested in it. And what you do

- Say why you have chosen these particular artists


- Who is the audience for the clothes


- Is custom clothing an antidote to fast fashion

- What are people trying to say with your clothes

- Do you think clothes can change people's behaviour

- Is it worth it, why not buy normal shoes? Why don’t people customise their own shoes- what are they actually buying?

- Do you feel like your customers are a community?

- How important is ethical production to you

-How do you think getting into custom clothing can benefit a normal illustrators/artists career?

AfroKickz Questionnaire

Do you feel like your customers are a good community and why is this good?

I do feel like customisers are a community, seeing as there is no university course you can take to learn the trade, we have to share knowledge amongst us. There are people who have been doing this for over 10 years, they have done all the trial and error and have so much knowledge to pass on. I think it is a great thing, we help each other grow and bring more awareness to the custom scene, which helps all of us.

Do you think custom shoes are a good alternative to fast fashion and why?

I do. There are many customisers out there who work on used pairs of shoes, so rather than having to buy a new pair every time there is the opportunity to up-cycle items that you already own, or even pick up shoes from 2nd hand stores. Custom footwear adds that extra value, and therefore are more likely to be kept longer by the owner and cared for better.

Essay Plan


Summary of essay

Custom Shoe Artists

Say why you are interested in it. And what you do


Who is the audience for the clothes

Say why you have chosen these particular artists

Interview answers with AfroKickz and Justwincustoms


Sean Wotherspoon and his collaborations

Bridge between fast fashion and ethical design

How illustration/art can be spread on a wider scale through fashion

What are links between street fashion and illustration? (how does illustration add value to the clothing?)

Illustration Based Clothing Brands

Jeff Hamilton celebrity jacket designer

1 of 1 pieces that last through time


Is custom clothing an antidote to fast fashion

Physical Work


Initial Ideas:

Illustration Style Inspiration

The main inspiration for this project is rough and continuous line work, usually kept black and white with only ink or paint etc. There will be statements on the jacket that I am thinking of, these would need to be bold and easy to understand, thus I have researched into protest signs that are mainly handwritten, I like this style of typography as it is more humane.

First Sketches

Jacket order

Second hand BooHooMan leather jacket from charity shop online, £20

Looks and feels brand new

Initial digital mock-up concepts

Inspiration/reference images for illustrations

I've researched into factory workers in clothing to bring together the ideas of making your clothes last to help these struggling workers that are forced into the fast fashion industry

Thinking of elements on jacket

I have multiple detached leather nike swooshes from customising shoes as my job, so I am thinking of sewing and glueing these on the jacket and break them in parts to show the fragile nature of these corporations and the broken line in between them

Key notes/facts to add:

  • 350,000 tonnes of clothes in landfill every year in the uk alone

  • 96 hours per week is the normal working week for a garment worker in most manufacturing countries

  • No one should die for fast fashion!

  • we must buy responsibly

Jacket updates

Supplies ordered and arrived

  • Paintbrush

  • Brush pen

  • Posca marker

  • Angelus Direct leather paint

  • Fineliner

Illustration work started

Continuous line work style for the portraits and t-shirts on the jacket, I used the mix of brush pen, paint, posca marker and fineliners to get different thickness of lines

I've decided to take the falling t-shirt illustrations from the jacket and use it for the backdrop in my final photos, this will help everything in the picture come together easily visually. I am going to use a large canvas sheet that I have already at home so I measured up how much I needed and cut the canvas. I will be using posca markers to draw the t-shirts falling.

Final Piece


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