Niamh O’Malley


Woman From Mars Womenswear
Fall/Winter 2020 collection by Sustainable Fashion Project

The concept of my graduate collection is inspired by the Aries zodiac sign ruling planet of Mars. The rich geology of this lonely planet and its carbon dioxide rich atmosphere is where the journey for this collection began. The carbon dioxide levels on Earth are at crisis levels and so I began my design process as the earth’s precursor of Mars. The feature fabric of this collection is hemp. With the rise of geoengineering to combat climate climate change, I discovered that just 1 acre of hemp absorbs up to 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide, acting as a natural carbon sink, as does the Amazonian rainforest. Organic cotton, much like hemp in terms of cultivation, does not use toxic chemicals like herbicides or pesticides, which lead to the development of chronic disease in humans and pollutions of food and water supplies for the surrounding areas of these crops. I have included QR tagging on all garments as a way for customers to access information on the materials used, care instructions and traceability of their garments. It is important to me as a designer that consumers are not only informed but educated about what they spend their money on, especially clothing.


Mission statement of my brand Sustainable Fashion Project. The key goal of this collection was to create garments with the smallest carbon footprint possible. The use of manmade carbon sinks in geoengineering led me to discover that large crops like industrial hemp act as natural carbon dioxide sinks. Just one acre of hemp absorbs up to 20 tonnes of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. I felt it was important to use this material as it contributed to the growth of these natural carbon sinks.


The mood portrayed for this collection involves both the current state of the climate on earth and on the planet mars. Scientists have discovered the presence of past vast seas on mars, leading to possible life that once inhabited it. The atmosphere of mars is 95.32% carbon dioxide, and I wanted to create the hypothetical future of our planet as mars. This is due to the creation of geoengineering to slow down climate change, as efforts of preservation have failed.


The second of my art-form illustrations is of mixed media, graphite pencil and digital illustration. I wanted to convey the hemp plant in a way that demonstrated it’s ability to create eco-friendly garments.


The production of hemp is carbon negative, which means it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere during its growth than is emitted by the equipment used to harvest, process and transport it.


I developed the patterns in this collection through acrylic pouring, mimicking the geological surface of mars. I have used organic cotton, which follows similar cultivation methods as hemp. Conventionally grown cotton uses 1/4 of the world’s pesticides.


The fabrics I used centre around the theme of the carbon footprint. Hemp grows like a weed, needs very little irrigation and is such a resilient plant it does not need to be treated with herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. The use of these toxic chemicals contribute to the development of chronic disease in humans, not just for the farmers and surrounding communities, but consumers that buy these products.


Hemp textiles are not affected by mould growth or insect attack as the fibres do not contain proteins. Therefore the production of hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides.


I ombré dyed my hemp with non-toxic dye, to ensure I was in control of the process and be able to produce a transparent manufacturing process. The hand fringed strapping was used to mimic that of organisms on earth such as plants and trees.