Clothing design award-winner successfully tackles sustainable fashion
The winning sustainable fashion project in WRAP's inaugural Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) award was announced this week by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Rhiannon Hunt, graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design, was unveiled as the winner of the Extending the Life of Clothes Design Award (ELC), chosen by the judges because her concept "not only met the brief but was backed by a genuine interest in sustainability".
Hunt designed garments with adjustable elements, joined with detachable fastenings rather than traditional methods. This allows the wearer to easily adjust the size, fit, style and length of each garment themselves and thereby increase the garment's lifetime.
She will receive £5,000 from the competition and the opportunity to progress her work and develop it for a commercial market.
Hunt said: "I'm absolutely delighted to win this award. I'm so passionate about sustainable design. We have to start changing people's perceptions of sustainable fashion if we're to see it become the norm. I hope this award will be a springboard for me, helping me reach my goals and encourage the industry to think and act differently for the sake of our environment."
The SCAP ELC Award, launched in October and backed by Defra and the British Fashion Council, challenged designers to address the key reasons for garment failure and the concepts needed to achieve solutions to longer life times, as well as deliver ideas that are fashionable and saleable.
WRAP said the competition generated so many innovative ideas that the judges created a special commendation prize for Valerie Good. Good's concept helped professional women keep their clothes wearable for longer. It focussed on environmentally friendly dyeing of silks, using smart, made-to-measure sustainable tailoring for the busy city woman, alongside a repair and alteration service.
WRAP director and award judge, Marcus Gover, said: "All finalists delivered fantastic ideas. Having forward thinking, innovative designers like Rhiannon - and our finalists - in the fashion industry, puts us in a really good place to extend the life of clothes."
The award was created in response to WRAP research revealing extending a product's active life as the biggest opportunity to tackle the environmental impacts of clothing. An extra nine months 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.
UK clothing powerhouses including Tesco, Next and designer Stella McCartney are among 53 retailers, suppliers, charities and recyclers in the textiles sector who have committed to SCAP. Led by WRAP, SCAP unveiled last year the SCAP 2020 Commitment targets, pledging a significant 15% reduction in carbon, water and in waste to landfill, plus a 3.5% reduction in waste arising, per tonne of clothing by 2020.