Why We Love Deadstock Fabrics

Despite a lot of recent pressure to make the fashion industry more sustainable and the Covid-19 pandemic, it doesn't seem to be slowing down people's shopping habits.

Online sales skyrocketed during the first UK lockdown - we can thank people's new found love of loungewear for that - and even some of fast fashion's most criticised brand's didn't change their most damaging selling habits. Pretty Little Thing ran a Black Friday sale that saw dresses selling for as little as 10p - and everything seemed to sell out.

All is not lost though; plenty of brands are making strides to combat their harmful impact on the environment in a variety of ways, but the most recent theme is the focus on using up deadstock fabrics - essentially what is left at the end of pattern cutting and garment making.

Deadstock fabric can also be created from re-worked or deconstructed vintage clothing and fabrics, including curtains, scarves and bedding, giving endless possibilities to what can be recreated. Usually these scraps or items would be binned, rendering their impact on the environment a waste of resources and labour. However, many brands are now putting this deadstock fabric to use. 

Last month, Burberry announced it would now be passing on all of their deadstock fabric to fashion students in a move to help reduce their impact on the planet. Harris Reed is debuting their first collection since graduating from Central Saint Martins last year, using deadstock and vintage fabrics.

"I am creating a collection with messages centered around my world of fluidity and hope. Around 40 percent, or more, of the collection is made from vintage pieces, which I have deconstructed and totally reimagined. I’m working with deadstock fabrics sourced locally, whereby the colours and textures are either being hand painted or created,” Reed told WWD.


Shop the notebooks we have made using our studio offcuts here.

Using deadstock fabrics, here at Studio Courtenay we've been able to create everything from dresses to notebooks, ensuring absolutely nothing goes to waste.

Thanks to a new generation of shoppers who want something that stands out, both in person and online, by mixing prints and patterns, clashing fabrics, and embracing unusual cuts and trims we can create pieces that are one of a kind, unique, and most importantly kind to the planet.

Whilst it may not be reducing the impact from the initial buyers of the fabrics, it helps to prevent the waste that results from over production or lack of use and reduces what would have been even greater pollution to the planet from buying all-new fabrics ourselves. 

The Carey Skirt, made entirely from deadstock toile cotton

 Fashion is, unfortunately, one of the biggest pollutants to the planet - second only to oil - and textile production plays a major part in this. Despite being biodegradable and breaking down at the end of it's life span, even cotton has a huge impact on the environment, using up to 20,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans.

It also requires intensive labour; "More than half a million people from ethnic minorities in China's Xinjiang region have been forced to pick cotton, a new report has revealed" according to The Independent. Between the poor working conditions and devastating effect on our planet, constantly creating and processing new fabrics is dangerous and unnecessary.

Using deadstock fabrics is the ideal way to counteract this impact and a way to do your part, both as a designer and as a consumer. Existing fabrics avoid being binned and wasted, and we get to create something new and exciting that's never been seen before.