Tiffany Loy, designer and founder, Parasolbag.
Listening to Tiffany Loy wax lyrical about the humble fabric used to make awnings and beach umbrellas, you’d think she was talking about a super-luxe material like silk. “It’s really strong, light and water-resistant, and the colours are great,” she gushes. “The material looks beautiful.”
The 31-year-old textile maker uses “offcuts” – scrap material in odd shapes and sizes that would normally be thrown away. She gets them from two local factories and turns them into stylish, made-to-order totes. The colourful, machinestitched bags sell for between $80 and $130. Tiffany, a trained industrial designer who runs her own studio, is mindful of the waste that fast fashion generates, and of the buy-and-throw culture that pervades the retail industry. Her bags are a statement against non-biodegradable factory wastage, as well as a way of helping people understand and appreciate where their fashion comes from. “I want people to see that these things are made by people,” she says, adding that even stuff bought off the rack has some kind of human touch to it.
Tiffany has always loved textiles, which motivated her to enrol in a weaving course in Kyoto, Japan, in 2015. “I wanted to learn how to make fabric so that I could truly understand it,” she explains. She brought a weaving loom home and began creating handwoven artwork. The no-waste mantra is a consistent theme running through her work, which has been exhibited in local and international galleries. Her most recent work showcases wearable art woven from single pieces of fabric – no cutting or sewing is required, and no balance fabric is wasted. Through her art and Parasolbags,
Tiffany hopes to grow people’s environmental consciousness through what they wear. “It’s more relatable if your piece of work is connected to the human body. When it’s too abstract, sometimes it doesn’t make the connection,” she says.
From roof awning to daily wear – the colour and design of the bags depends on what material she gets.