Rea hopes that the knowledge that a deceased loved one’s last fashion statement will contribute to the continuation of life will be a source of comfort.
Here at The Optimist Daily, we have written about how we can honor our sustainable values, even after death, by opting for decomposable coffins or choosing to have our bodies broken down into organic compost.
After speaking with someone who had attended a funeral where the deceased was laid in a wicker basket rather than a traditional coffin for environmental reasons, Northern Irish designer Francesca Rea was inspired to consider the ecological impact of funerals herself. She decided to marry her passion for fashion design and eco-consciousness by creating a line of eco-friendly burial garments.
Those who have chosen to be buried in a specifically green cemetery have to ensure that they are clothed in material that is entirely biodegradable, however for those who will be buried in a standard plot, there are no stipulations that prevent them from laying to rest in synthetic, non-biodegradable fabrics.
Even those who choose to have a more sustainable burial do not often consider that 65 percent of all fibers in clothing are made from material that can take centuries to break down, all while releasing harmful chemicals into the earth. Rea’s garments, on the other hand, use natural fibers that will decompose and benefit the surrounding environment.
In addition to the positive ecological effects of eco-friendly burial garments, Rea hopes that the knowledge that a deceased loved one’s last fashion statement will contribute to the continuation of life will be a source of comfort. She says, “It feels important and special to design clothing that could potentially be worn by a stranger in their grave,” adding, “I think my project is comforting for those of us who don’t believe in an afterlife and to whom the environment is important.”