In fashion black is a classic. But green is becoming more and more trendy. At the London College of Fashion, science and creativity come together to make what we wear more sustainable.
Julia Faye Roebuck is an MA student at LCF. She explains what the project is all about:
“My idea of sustainability is encouraging young people to connect more with the clothing that they own, the clothing that they wear and the clothing that they want to change,” she says.
Her fellow student Una Hussey adds:
“My project stems from an energy saving point of view in the home. It stands a little bit apart from different systems of production, systems of thinking of mass production within the fashion system.”
Creativity, research, education and business – all these things are coming together for sustainable change in the fashion industry.
At the London College of Fashion it is not only a question of imagination. In 2008, the school launched the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to question the fashion status quo, pioneering a new provocative way of making fashion design solutions that balance environment, society and business.
Dilys Williams, the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at LCF, describes what it is all about:
“It isn’t a product, or a piece of clothing or a dress that is or isn’t sustainable. It’s how it’s made, how it’s worn, how it’s looked after, what happens to it when you finish with it, that’s what makes it sustainable or not. We look at materials, we look at the processes, so you think about production methods, you think about the people involved. So if the designer at the very beginning thinks about how something is going to be washed or how something is going to be cared for, all of these things are actually new business opportunities as well.”
Science plays a key role in sustainable fashion, from research into new materials to minimising waste.
One example is the use of bodyscan data. Professor Sandy Black launched the “knit to fit” concept: personal measurements, taken by a 3D body scanner, are put through an automated knitting machine to produce customised clothes. A method, she says, that has a real potential to reduce waste in the clothing supply chain.
And as Sandy Black, Professor for Fashion, Textile Design & Technology explains, the fashion industry has much to do when it comes to being more sustainable.
She says: “Fashion is very wasteful. It’s endemically wasteful, and a lot is made speculatively. So we’re really trying to reduce first of all the amount that is made, and what is made is made because people want it, so that there is less product. And then the product process is also much more sustainable because it’s a one step process.”
As well as cutting-edge technologies, there is also a tried and trusted method to be more eco-friendly: recycling, something in which MA student Julia Faye Roebuck is a real expert. She believes to be sustainable, you need imagination.
“It’s about up-cycling. It’s about adding value to an item of clothing through creativity and using our clothing to be inspired to make it into something else. Thinking of clothes in phases, not just ‘This is a pair of jeans and then I have to chuck it because it’s broken,’ but it’s a pair of jeans, and then a jacket, and then a skirt,” she says.
Up-cycling is not just a noble idea. Ross Barry founded an eco-concept store in east London, using old clothes people throw away as stock material. Designers and students from the Fashion College do the rest.
“These trousers were designed by a fashion student specialised in tailoring. They took apart a man’s jacket and repattern cut it to make a pair of trousers. We’ve also got some other trousers that were actually made up of old T-shirts, so each of these panels is from the back of a T-shirt, it has been screen printed and then reassembled together to make a pair of leggings,” Barry told euronews.
Re-exploring fashion in a sustainable way: a new thread that can stand the test of time.