Students showcase new face of ethical fashion

The Katherine Hamnetts of tomorrow have unleashed their ethical design talents to compete for a top student fashion award.

The Urbanites' winning design

The Urbanites' winning design

Finalists in the Ethic 2008 competition, run by WorldSkills UK, watched their environmentally-friendly creations parade down a catwalk at London's Fashion and Textile Museum on Monday.

The competition had been open to students at more than 150 further education fashion courses within the UK and just ten teams of budding designers made it into the final.

The Urbanites, a team from Hackney Community College, picked up the coveted award, watched by fashion luminaries such as Zandra Rhodes.

Environmental consultant Joanna Yarrow, author of the book 1001 Ways You Can Save the Planet, hosted the event.

"What I have always tried to do is to find ways of making green and more ethical living exciting, tangible and aspirational," she said.

"What I have found is that to do that, we need to find things that people care about anyway.

"Something we really care about is fashion. What better issue? Everybody loves a new dress."

Designs had to combine current trends and style while addressing at least one of the key ethical fashion issues, such as fair-trade, organic materials, recycling, animal-friendly fabrics or innovative environmentally-friendly new materials.

The young designers also had to produce their creation for less than £100, provided by the Eco Design Network.

A panel of ethical fashion experts including Kate Carter from The Guardian, Jenny White founder of Eco-Boudoir, and the Fashion and Textile Museum's creative director David Reeson judged the entries.

The winners walked away with £450 cash sponsorship and a brand new sewing machine for their college from event sponsor Brother.

Kate Martin



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