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Architecture (MA)

Felix Lau

Felix Lau is a second year MA Architecture student at the Royal College of Art, graduated from The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Felix is an architectural designer and artist based in London and Hong Kong, who’s interests focus on the combination of art and architecture, curating experiences through architectural design blended with cultural and environmental themes. 

This year with ADS10, Felix explores into the innovative industry of fashion and the system of fast fashion, focusing on regaining people’s own sense of fashion by creating a culture of resistance against the capitalism of fashion, and raising awareness on the issues associated with the fashion industry.

Atacama Desert

Fashion plays an essential role in our life, from the day we were born to the day we die. Being one of the fastest growing innovation industry, the system of fast fashion not only causes environmental impacts, but also creates a lot of social and political arguments. This form of fashion is polluting the environment, producing 20% of water waste across the globe, also increasing carbon emissions and generating large amount of waste. In average, we are discarding 92 million tonnes of clothes related waste every year. This demonstrates the consequences of overproduction and overconsumption, and we have slowly gone into a “throw away" shopping culture.

The project aims to challenge the fashion industry by tackling the multifaceted issues associated with fast fashion. The DIY fashion workshop encourages the repairing, recycling and customising of used clothing, and to promote the growing movement towards sustainable fashion and reducing waste in the industry. The intervention aims to regain skills of the arts and crafts of fashion and create a culture of resistance against the capitalism of fashion. The project also aims to restructure Brick Lane markets and change the way second hand clothing are perceived and processed, and act as a showroom of the problem in the fashion industry, a tool to radically change the fashion industry, shifting the fashion industry into a more sustainable and responsible model. 

Fashion is one of the fastest growing innovation industry, and plays an essential role in our life, just like eating and cooking. However, with the rapid growth of the industry over the years, one of the biggest and most controversial topic is fast fashion, a business model where brands are replicating catwalk trends and high fashion designs, mass producing them at a low cost and bring them to the market as quick as possible. This form of fashion is polluting the environment, the industry is the second highest user of water worldwide, producing 20 per cent of water waste across the globe, also increasing carbon emissions and generating large amount of waste. 

Site map
Site render

The intervention is located at a carpark next to the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane which is famous for the culture of vintage clothing, and is the site for some of the most famous second hand markets such as the Old Spitalfields Market and the Brick Lane Vintage Market. With the extremely rich resources of used clothing and fashion related items, Brick Lane is a suitable location to set up a workshop focusing on customising, repairing and modifying used fashion items. Due to the recent trend of commercialising and standardising the way Brick Lane markets run, they have slowly gone into a tourists attraction instead of the larger social and cultural movement of used and vintage clothing. Instead, I would like to propose the beginning of a transformation of Brick Lane, a new model of Brick Lane second hand shops, which would be more hybrid and complex, involving the community of fashion and makers, and extending the purpose of what is now “vintage markets”. 

Spaces are divided into Used clothing collection and processing, workshop space, the fashion walkway and fashion community spaces such as the showroom and exhibitions.
The core structure weaves through the spaces, which accommodates the fashion community spaces, used clothing processing, the workshop, and the showcasing and archiving of materials and creations.
The core structure is dynamic and flexible which accommodates all sorts of activities, from displaying, collecting and processing clothes, storing objects and tools for the workshop, as well as providing working spaces.
When opened, the structure becomes welcoming and lively, the facade rotates and acts as collection points for used and unsold clothing where people can throw their donations in, working spaces such as benches and ironing boards unfolding from the core structure to provide spaces to work on.

The workshop is open to public, targeting people who are interested in fashion and sustainable practices. A series of workshops would be organised that teach repair, up-cycling and customisation techniques. Small-scale fashion shows are held where the creations would then be showcased at the fashion walkway, displaying examples of repaired, recycled and customised clothing to demonstrate the potential for transforming used clothing, celebrating their creativity and promoting sustainable fashion practices. 



1:50 Sectional Model

The case study of the Intitute of Making gave me an insight on open workshop structures, and lead to creative approaches to fashion. The concept of the Diorama model is to create a hybrid between the open workshop structure of the Institute of Making, and the critical issues related to the fashion industry. By combining my research on the Institute of Making and fashion, the Diorama aims to raise questions of the current fashion system, and act as a bridge to connect both disciplines and create innovative solutions to fashion.