Getting transparent with designer laura siegel

It’s common belief in westernised practice that we give and receive credit for our ideas and acknowledge those who have influenced our work. So how it is then, that an entire industry has evolved into mass anonymity with only a few top individuals getting to show face? The industry being referred to here is the Fashion industry, and it’s important to note that the very thing keeping the prices of our clothing low and options high, is threatened by that anonymity.

MTV had the privilege of talking to fashion designer, Laura Siegel, about her work in Traceable—an exclusive Canadian original documentary debuting April 24 on MTV. The film follows Siegel through India as she develops her Fall/Winter 2013 collection, showcasing various artisans, communities and individuals that have helped bring her collection to life. Director Jennifer Sharpe joined up with Siegel, along with industry experts, to showcase the issues of sustainability, and transparency surrounding garment factoring—an issue that ultimately affects us all.

Watch a sneak peak of Traceable below and keep scrolling to read our full interview with Laura Siegel as she explains more about the ins-and-outs of the fast-fashion industry.

“Transparent just means being open, being completely clear, honest and open with everything it is that you do. When it comes to transparency, particularly in the fashion industry it is creating the ability for consumers to know where their clothes were made, who made it and when.”

Laura explains how this principle is something she practices in all facets of life, and shares in the documentary that the industry can be very protective and secretive when it comes to designers sharing stories, ideas, and creative outlets. For Laura, the more you share, the more you learn.

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“I have been very fortunate to have an outlet to share my story…I think it is challenging to share and to make it heard.” Luckily for Laura, teaming up with Ontario’s first time film-maker, Jennifer Sharpe, will hopefully make her cause heard.

Siegel believes the very foundation of the industry needs to change if we want the industry to last.

“A lot of the artisans I work with have been practising the craft for generations, it’s something they have picked up from their parents. For them it’s social. They might get together at someone’s house for the day and practice embroidery.”

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Siegel stresses the urgency to make known the process behind designing, and producing clothes in order to keep the promise of longevity and sustainability in the fashion industry.

“In places that used to be known for a particular craft women might be leaving their home and their village in order to work instead of practising their craft because that is a way to make money.” Without acknowledging the quality of production created outside mass factories, and the intricate skill of the craft developed organically in local communities, the industry risks losing the design altogether.

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Unfortunately the concern is that the movement will come only when production ceases on the other side. It is only a matter of time before we see this shift. Siegel explains that “jobs are being created in spaces that take away from women being able to practice their craft.” In order to see a change, a movement will have to come from consumers choosing to opt in for the old ‘less is more’ mentality. It’s time to think, what percentage of our closets do you really wear?

“The goal is to get people to think about the possibility of buying one or two shirts instead of 10, knowing the process and who is behind it.” Siegel stresses.

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We asked Siegel what it was like to push the boundaries of the predominate industry structure;  “It is very challenging. Even though I work with artisans that make everything by hand I still have to follow deadlines and shipping dates that match industry standards right now. I would love to change the cycle of the industry in terms of producing so many collections. I am only doing two a year , and I would love that system to change, but that will be a long time before that happens. I will have to grow a lot more in order to have those decisions with buyers. ”

Want to know more about Designer Laura Siegel:  Check out FORA First

TRACEABLE airs on Friday April 24 at 8e/5p, the second anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse, Tune in to the multi-channel premiere and get ready to challenge how you view your fashion choices!