VIN + OMI's approach to their design practice is based on social and environmental issues.
We have initiated 23 social projects that have led to textile production or design outcomes.
All of our unique textiles are borne out of a social or environmental project, this could be a river or ocean clean up project, an employment scheme growing organic raw material or providing care and support for our caretaker village on our latex plantation in Malaysia
UK ESTATES : PRINCE CHARLES - HIGHGROVE
Throughout the UK large landowners often have programmes for recycling and waste management. Some of these programmes can be improved and developed.
VIN + OMI decided to creatively explore the waste output of Prince Charles’s Highgrove Estate and to see how we could develop ways of utilising any waste from the gardens and estate in general. At Prince Charles’s suggestion VIN + OMI collected the nettles from Highgrove and see what we could do with them, we spent a summer collecting and developing a new to market nettle textile. The nettle textile is light and fluffy in texture and has minimal impact on the environment in terms of processing.
Developed via an introduction of new ways of fibre bonding and plant preparation, we showcased 12 garments at a groundbreaking show at the Savoy Hotel in Sept 2019
This ongoing project will be looking ways that waste willow, ash, hydrangea, garden waste bags, plant pots and horse hair clippings from Highgrove stable's pet horses ( VIN + OMI have a strict criteria for working with animal by-products and will only work with fleece or hair that has been trimmed from pet animals as part of a comfort programme )
The project had 86 students from 3 UK universities attached to it and has received international interested from institutions worldwide
CAN 2 CATWALK
VIN + OMI worked with social services and outreach workers in the Birmingham UK area. We are working with vulnerable out of work and homeless individuals who welcome supplementing their income.
We gather metal cans from the parks and hard to maintain areas of Birmingham and turn the cans into a fine metal fibre which we weave into a unique textile. Soft to the touch, yet tough, long wearing and produces no microfibres when cleaned.
Our ongoing project is currently supplementing the income of 28 individuals and helping, in a small way, keep a large city rubbish free
BIN 2 BODY
BIN 2 BODY is a collaborative project to turn single use plastic bottles, collected during London Fashion Week Men’s, into fashion which will be showcased at the next VIN + OMI show in September.
VIN + OMI and London College of Fashion, UAL placed student designed collection bins at London Fashion Week Men’s. These bins collected used plastic water bottles. The bottles are then collected daily and sent to be processed into plastic flake and pellets and further processed into VIN + OMI rPET textiles with a low microfiber release
The project is supported by leading art suppliers Daler Rowney and Paper Round, the capital’s leading recycling service, will also be supporting the project. The project links in with the BFC’s positive fashion campaigns.
Once the textile has been processed from the waste plastic, VIN + OMI will be working with LCF students to develop the new textiles into fashion and accessories to act as an adjunct to the VIN + OMI fashion show in September. VIN + OMI will also be holding workshops and mentoring the students throughout the process.
The proceeds from the sale of the catwalk accessories / garments will go back to the project and salvage charities
The project has many aims, including:
- Raising awareness among the students,
- Raising awareness among the general public and fashion going audience.
- To pioneer new approaches to eco projects and business models.
- Devising a London pilot project based on our previous International circular projects.
- Recycling the byproduct of a of major fashion event
In 2009 VIN + OMI invested in a latex plantation near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to ensure:
• The caretaker village was cared for and financially compensated for its work. We regularly monitor the working conditions and social welfare of the villagers. Education programmes and health treatment in the village are part funded by proceeds from the liquid latex sales.
• The plantation was replanted with rubber trees and care was taken to ensure organic approaches were used.
• The latex produced is chemical free
The liquid latex is then used in a variety of textiles including hybrid latex, breathable latex and our Amalgam fabric.
VIN + OMI
VIN + OMI are working with the Riverkeeper Organisation and Debbie Harry in NYC.
In 1966, the Hudson River was dying from pollution and neglect. Run-down factories choked it with hazardous waste, poisoning fish, threatening drinking water supplies, and ruining world-class havens for boating and swimming. Sadly, America’s “First River” had become little more than an industrial sewer.
Riverkeeper continues its fight today, seeking out polluters and teaming with citizen scientists and activists to reclaim the Hudson River. And, they also work to ensure that over nine million New Yorkers have clean, safe drinking water.
VIN + OMI are pioneering a project to convert collected plastic from the Hudson River to textiles. The textiles will be designed into a range of products, some practical for use of the volunteers and some for sale to raise revenue for Riverkeeper.
This circular project model is rolled out in similar formats internationally by the VIN + OMI team
In 2012 one of our project managers Sana Usha visited Bageshwar in the state of Uttarakhand India. The town near Bageshwar her cousins lived in was hit by a mudslide for the Kumaon Hills which is part of the Central Himalaya range. In response to the difficulty in some of the villagers had in recovering from the mudslide, Sana working with VIN + OMI devised a rehabilitation project to help some of the villagers regain a stable income.
The project focussed around the harvesting of the Himalayan Stinging Nettle. (Girardinia diversifolia ) and the development of textile and yarn from this project. Nettles were harvested from nearby hillsides and over a year a large area had been cleared to plant and grow the nettle as a controlled crop. Villagers near Bageshwar that were affected by the mudslide were paid to process the nettles naturally into yarn. VIN + OMI helped set up outlets for the yarn and also commissioned production of woven nettle fabric.
The project is ongoing and is now self sufficient. We regular receive supplies of yarn which we use in our experimental hybrid fabrics and upholstery for our interior design projects and outer wear textile development.
3 RIVER CLEAN UP
VIN + OMI have an ongoing programme with China's ‘3 Rivers programme ‘
In 2005 responding to the rising levels of pollution in the Yangzi , Huai and Yellow Rivers. Chinese businessman Wang Wenyin invested in the VIN + OMI project to start clean up projects on the rivers. While no substitute for government funded clean ups the project organised by VIN + OMI aimed to raise awareness of the effects of pollution and introduced ways of recycling the waste into a variety of textile and non textile projects. This ongoing project is now run via an office in Shanghai and is overseen by VIN + OMI. Educational projects are run alongside rPET textile development programmes and research monitoring which is fed back to campaign groups and government offices. The textiles produced from the projects are made into clothing for the villages along the rivers that suffer from the pollution
In 2007 VIN + OMI worked with Artpoint and Nottingham Youth Services to develop an environmental clean up, social project WEAR IT
WEAR IT had a starting point to clean up sections of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire. We worked with the probation service and youth services who organised groups to collect waste plastic from the river.
The plastic was processed locally into plastic pellets and then made into textiles. A range of neon were produced, the textiles were then split - 50% went to VIN + OMI and 50% went to the project.
The young people then worked with VIN + OMI to design a range of clothing for themselves, learning basic sewing techniques and garment construction as part of the education programme
LIVING IN A BUBBLE
VIN + OMI X AUTISM USA / UK
VIN + OMI have directed and produced a very personal music video in collaboration with USA actress and musician Ruby Modine (daughter of actor Matthew Modine). The project combines Ruby’s beautiful rendition of ‘ As Tears Go By with a sensitive film shot by the design duo . The project is to raise awareness of Asperger Syndrome.
Living in a Bubble is a video through the eyes of Omi who has Asperger Syndrome. It highlights the daily challenge he and others with the condition go through every day.
Omi is one half of fashion brand VIN + OMI. Fashion is a very social industry which challenges and provokes. This is a particularly difficult challenge for an Asperger sufferer.
Because it is an illness that has no physical appearance, People affected with Asperger’s are often misjudged. The symptoms also vary between each person; it can manifest itself as poor social judgement and understanding and can have side conditions such as dyslexia or depression.
The video is shot mainly underwater, a place which is devoid of social interaction and a place where his thoughts can be heard without any outside noise. When Omi heard Ruby Modine’s version of "As Tears Go By", he was inspired by her soulful voice and the poignancy of the track. It inspired him to make a film about his illness and to help raise awareness for Research Autism, the leading UK research charity for the disease.
VIN + OMI X SIGHTSAVERS
Vin and Omi have supported Sightsavers, as individuals, with donations for many years, we cannot imagine the handicap sight loss can bring. We aim to do as much as possible to aid Sightsavers in their quest to restore sight to at risk individuals. The facts that there are 285 millionpeople in the world who are blind or visually impaired and 80% of this is treatable are a tough fact to forget.
In donating our design for the shirt we brainstormed what would be most appropriate. We were taken by the variation of colors in people’s eyes and worked with abstract color combinations to create a spherical design that looks almost 3D. It symbolizes a globe of millions of colors that can be seen with full sight and highlights that even though we all have different irises, we all see through the same mechanism.
After designing the shirt we realized that the great photographer Rankin’s work Eyescapes may have been in the back of our minds as it was such a great exhibition. It is even more fitting as Rankin has already done exceptional work in supporting Sighsavers so we feel honored to follow in his footsteps.
The shirt we have designed is printed on a great fabric from recycled bottles by the USA company Rethink Fabrics and is made in Guatemala providing local employment.”