Sandra Juenle was selected as one of five students in her year group to create a design for V&A Dundee based on 1960s fashion designer Mary Quant and what she might do now if she were still working in fashion.
Discouraged by the amount of waste she encountered in one of her old jobs, Latvian student Sandra Junele uses her experience to influence her design work and start conversations about global waste.
After finishing her studies in Latvia, Sandra sought change and decided to come to Scotland. Here, she started working for a housing company that would deal with items and belongings left behind by previous owners or tenants. Shocked by the piles of abandoned items that would have to be sent to landfill, she started thinking more about how we discard items in current society.
“Waste is the thing which inspires me,” said Sandra. “There is so much in the world, and it’s getting worse and worse.
“I would take pictures for my employer of those places I worked in. They were just full of food, full of rubbish. Sometimes people just left everything, even nice things like furniture. I wanted to scream and tell everyone what was happening, about all of the waste.”
Frustrated with how we treat the world, Sandra aims to tackle global waste issues by starting conversations through her designs. By focusing on waste, and particularly sustainability, she highlights an ongoing environmental issue.
“People are constantly buying new things. Does that cycle ever end? How do we stop it? I think we need to make good quality things with good material that will last.
“An umbrella, for example, if you bought one cheaply made for £1, you wouldn’t care if you lost it, or binning or replacing it. But if you bought a good quality one for £30, it will last for a long time and you would take more care of it, love it. This is what I aspire to in my work.”
In designing a knitted cape for the Mary Quant exhibition, Sandra was inspired by all of her experiences and found Dundee enabled her to bring this to her work at DJCAD. She hopes that her design will bring people’s attention to the problem of global waste.
“I can’t explain how I feel. It’s incredible because usually it’s just your peers and lecturers who see your work. Now the whole world will see what I’m doing.”