ent based Lorna Doyle is a shore thing.
Lorna Doyle has been making waves all over the world from her home in Kent by rescuing abandoned wetsuits and turning them into beautiful bags.
It’s a thought process that not many of us would reach but resourceful Lorna explains that after working with Future Foundry she was inspired. Future Foundry is a company based on the ideals of supporting creative and young people who face obstacles when starting a business.
Lorna says: ‘They work with designers who use salvaged material and have workshops. I became interested in how to design wetsuits after working with neoprene.’
Bags out of waste
If you are not lucky enough never to have surfed or dived then you will not be familiar with the extremely hard-wearing fabric that is neoprene which makes up the wetsuits. Fashioning bags out of this fabric must be pretty challenging no ?
‘It is,’ agrees Lorna. ‘Sewing it was very difficult…’
“ But I was lucky enough to be the recipient of an industrial sewing machine donated to me by South East Creatives. . . .]
South East Creatives is a body which also supports artists and talented people in the South East of England.
With the support of these valuable groups and the aid of the machine, Lorna still needed to draw on her significant effort and patience.
‘I usually work over two to three days in sections to create a bag,’ says Lorna.
‘Cleaning them takes some time as sand ends up in them and this affects the machine…they need to be jetwashed. They have to be made hygienic,’ she adds.
Lorna collected them left on the beaches of Whitstable and Deal where she has lived and she also is gifted them from the major Kent surf schools and Whitstable Yacht Club.
Exhibited at the Turner Contemporary
Her talent for creating something out of these suits which would otherwise clog up our beautiful seas has led her to be exhibited at the Turner Contemporary in Margate amongst others. She has also caught the eye of major international designers such as Tommy Hilfiger but Lorna likes to keep it local stocking her bags at the Horsebridge Centre and at Whitstable Yacht Club where she also has a donation bin placed for the raw materials.
Community focused together
The former Chelsea School of Art student says of her work and its strong sustainable element:
“ I try to use every part of the wet suit, I even laser cut the tags and use the offcuts to form the packaging. . . .]
She continues: ‘I like to raise awareness of sustainability and surfing and water activity groups have always leant their support…it is good for the community too.’
It is clear that Kent and our dramatic seas have a vital and much-needed ally in Lorna Doyle and the fashion conscious can’t complain either.