New clothing design award launched to scale-up sustainable fashion

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is putting sustainable fashion in the spotlight with the announcement of a new award which celebrates designers that can reduce the environmental impact of clothes.

The ‘SCAP ELC’ Award, which has been backed by Defra and the British Fashion Council, will challenge final-year fashion and textile design undergraduates and industry professionals from across England to come up with new clothing ranges that are wearable for longer while remaining fashionable and therefore saleable.

The winner will receive £5,000 and the opportunity to progress their work by developing it for a commercial market.

“This is a great opportunity for designers to bring this issue to life,” said WRAP director and ELC Awards judge Marcus Gover. “By applying their creativity and innovation to either sourcing or developing low-impact, high-quality fibres, and engineering garments that will last longer, they can instigate real change.

“We need the sector to embrace this new approach to designing clothes.”

Water footprint

The Award is aligned with WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), which aims to bring the fashion industry, Government and the third sector together to improve the sustainability of clothing across its lifecycle.

WRAP research shows that if the active life of clothes were extended by just nine months, it could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each and save around £5bn worth of the resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing.

Commenting on the launch of the new Awards, Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “I’m delighted to support the launch of this award which celebrates the vital role designers have to play in developing and promoting sustainable fashion. Their innovations can bring us closer to a more circular economy which will benefit both businesses and the environment.”

Into the mainstream

All submissions for the Awards will be assessed by a panel of judges made up of industry professionals and academics that collectively hold a wide range of knowledge and expertise in the sector. Interested applicants must register by 12 November 2014 and can do so here

Last month, sustainable fashion was brought into the mainstream when clothing giant H&M revealed it was launching a new range of denim made from more sustainable material that has been graded to assess its environmental impact. The new ‘Conscious Denim’ collection is put through stringent tests which examine the denim washing processes, including water and energy consumption. Read more here.

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie