into the light - upcycling and japanese draping
Zero waste fashion designer
Jacket made out of an old corn sack
Sustainable designer Christine Mayer, founder of upcycling brandInto The Light, has built a fashion career on re-purposing clothing and breathing new life into old garments. After studying fashion design and working for many years as a costume designer for international theatre and opera companies she moved to Berlin and decided to build her own brand and collection.
She is a pioneer of three-dimensional free draping with fabric, an art form she has adapted and developed from her studies in classical Japanese drapery. Christine is also trained in salubrious work and meditation. She teaches students and teachers at international fashion colleges and leads Creative Retreats and Workshops in United States, France, UK, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
How did you become a sustainable designer?
During my studies in fashion design in Hamburg, Germany, I was one of the first students of Tamotsu Kondo, a Draping artist from Japan. He taught us how to create patterns three-dimensional directly on a mannequin.
This unconventional way of creating patterns was completely new to me and it was a breakthrough moment. It was like being offered an instrument of freedom. Once I had learnt the method, I NEVER created a two-dimensional pattern again.
I started to experiment with the classical method of Draping using recycled materials, moulding and patching them directly on the dress form. This was in a time when Upcycling was not common. I guess I have been a pioneer of it in a way.
In the beginning, I found old military jackets and transformed them into powerful feminine jackets. Each jacket was a handmade individual piece, draped on the dress form. It was a transformation of the male military energy into something of beauty. I wanted to give something back so I started to support children in India and Nepal with the collection and the MAYER Peace Collection was born.
The MAYER Peace Collection military jacket was a great success and was sold in designer stores worldwide for many years.
After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, I felt it was time to work in a more conscious way, to stepped out of the fast-moving carousel of fashion and into a place where others could grow with me and find a path to their own true identity and creativity. I began teaching the art of Draping, Upcycling and creativity. I created IntoTheLight.de, a platform for sustainable fashion and consciousness, where I offer as well Upcycling & Draping workshops, Kundalini Yoga retreats, textile journeys and a collection of upcycled unique pieces. My goal is to connect the people to their creative souls with a sense of purpose and I incorporate meditation and Kundalini Yoga into my workshops and retreats. This helps to find a flow and personal connection to the cloth or clothes and helps develop a sense of self-love.
Where do you get waste materials for your creations?
I’m working with a big sorting company for old textiles and they sort whatever I need for my work. Sometimes my mother collects things in the village in South Germany where I’m born and I create new pieces out of them.
Why do you think upcycling is important?
Upcycling opens the eyes for a more conscious life and changes the way of thinking the fashion industry. It’s a slow process, which connects us more and more with our roots, makes us humble and appreciates things we have already in our life, as well as our old beloved textiles.
Jacket made out of old denim
How do you think we can make fashion industry be more sustainable?
Destiny of fashion lies in the hands of every single consumer. If the consumers get more critical against exploitation in the fashion industry, against toxic textiles and all the inhuman conditions in the fast fashion industry; if they stop buying those cheap garments and start to buy less but better, there will be less demand. This will change the industry.
The change of every single person makes the change in the world.
How can quarantine be a good moment for becoming more conscious and sustainable?
I experience this special time as a path back inside of ourselves. If we keep a positive mindset, accept the situation as it is and experience every single moment as a true gift, we can use this time to change our life in many ways. This time can be a passage that leads to a new space within ourselves and in the world. The worldwide stillness and silence helps us to go with our awareness inside of us, as there is no distraction. The key to this gate lies only inside.
That’s the door to more consciousness, more love and compassion in the world.