Auto, sustainability, and fashion don’t often appear in the same sentence, but earlier this year a creative collaboration was born that changed the way we think about our car.
Founder and Designer of First Base, Alison Cotton, partnered with Toyota to create a one-off concept car that used eco-conscious concept interior and custom design to celebrate the new Yaris Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient car in its class.
The result of the collaboration was nothing short of eco-chic at its best — a cross road of urban and eco in a minimalistic patch work design that includes car seat covers, floor mats, steering wheel and trims all made from locally-sourced, recycled nylon and pre-loved garments.
We spoke to First Base’s Alison Cotton to find out more about why sustainable design is key to her brand, how she lives an eco-friendly life, and the inspiration behind her Yaris design.
Rescu: What inspired you to found First Base? Why is sustainable design key to the brand?
Alison Cotton: I saw a space in the market for low key laid back sportswear that rifted on my love of surf and skate culture. Like most designers, I wanted to create something that fitted my lifestyle and point of view… that was the starting point. Sustainability became a big part of what we do about 5 years ago when I started to understand the damage the fashion industry has on the global environment. I sort of had an ‘ah ha’ moment and knew we had to make changes.
Rescu: On your website you say that sustainability is a lifestyle, what steps do you take to live an eco-friendly life?
Alison Cotton: It’s all about making positive changes in whatever way we can – whether that’s big all small. In my personal life I religiously use a keep cup, take my own bags when I grocery shop and try to purchase at bulk food stores with my own jars to reduce packaging wastage. I’m vegetarian (working towards veganism!), I vintage shop a lot instead of purchasing new or fast fashion, we walk and ride bikes where we can …. We just try to live a conscious life. It’s not perfect but I am a huge believer in everyone making a contribution – that’s what adds up to something big.
Rescu: Tell us about your one-off YarisByYou car interior that you are creating. What was your motif?
Alison Cotton: The design comes from the crossroads of urban and eco. We took our signature branding and blended that with a desert-inspired palette of sand, saffron, and terracotta with a shot of blood orange to punctuate the trims. Our key motif is a tag line that we think speaks perfectly to this collaboration “Use Less. Create More”
Rescu: What is the sustainable story behind this creation? What are the materials?
Alison Cotton: As an independent brand we have been working towards sustainability since 2015, and throughout this journey, we have modified and recreated the ways in which we design, produce and deliver our gear to lessen our environmental impact. We use three pillars as our guideline to design and create under: Recycle, Repurpose, and Restyle. We’ve applied this same ethos to the Yaris interior.
We have used recycled nylon for the core fabrication to reimagine the seats, floor mats, and trims which we have printed with our signature branding. We have then worked back into the seat covers with repurposed pre-loved garments to create a patchwork style effect and bring the interior to life. My favourite portion is the hand-worked detail that adds another dimension and layer to coverings.
Rescu: Tell us about the creation process, how does it compare to designing an eco-fashion collection?
Alison Cotton: This was a totally new project for us so it was a fun process to take our vision and apply it in a new way. Like always, whether it is fashion or an interior we are trying to find balance within the design and colour palette and I think we’ve achieved that.
Rescu: How would you describe what you are creating?
Alison Cotton: We’ve taken inspiration from heritage sports cars and blended that with our expression of sustainability and overall design ethos of laid back cool.
Rescu: How do you see the future of fashion evolving?
Alison Cotton: There will be a constant movement towards sustainability in fashion whether that’s in the fabrications utilised or the methods to actually create the garments. The momentum and awareness have been building over the last 10 years and I think we are entering a really exciting time in terms of innovation and how brands and businesses are evolving to embrace this extremely important topic.
First Base and Toyota Australia have teamed up to create a one-off eco-design interior, to celebrate the launch of the new Yaris.