Scottish designers to create ‘high fashion’ from discarded clothes

Two fashion designers will create new high-end clothing collections from garments that have been given to charity, after winning a competition organised by Zero Waste Scotland and the Salvation Army.

The project – part of the Love Your Clothes campaign – will see the winning designers embark on a 12-week residency to create two new “fashion-forward” collections from 150 kilos of unwanted garments. 

The winners – Aimee Kent and the Black Cherry Studio design team – are tasked with reminding people of the value of old clothing.

Lynn Wilson, textiles manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “I believe that with a little TLC, most unwanted clothing can be transformed into something valuable. We really want people to see there is worth in their clothes.

“To really bring this message home, we teamed up with the Salvation Army to launch a unique competition among Scotland’s most talented fashion and textiles designers to see what they could create from the cast offs.

“It will be interesting to see if anyone recognises their old clothes when we have the big reveal.”

Once complete, an expert fashion panel will appraise the collections and deliver their professional valuations on how much the newly-created pieces are worth.  

Fast fashion 

In the UK, garments have an estimated life span of just two years and three months. Data from Zero Waste Scotland reveals that the average Scottish household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but wears only 70% of that each year – most commonly because it no longer fits.

It is estimated that £140m -350,000 tonnes – of used clothes end up in landfill each year.

The Salvation Army Trading Company, one of the largest clothing recyclers in the UK, is attempting to ease the issue, receiving around 30,000 tonnes of donated textiles in the UK each year.

Catherine Hamou from the Salvation Army said: “There is so much value in textiles that people often don’t see, so we’re really excited to play a part in this project. The creativity of these talented designers should prove to be very inspiring and we’re looking forward to the results over the coming months.

The project is part of a growing trend of sustainability in the fashion industry. In November, the 82 members of WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) announced they had cut water impacts by 12.5% per tonne of clothing since 2013 and carbon impacts by 3.5% per tonne.

In the wake of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recent criticism of the industry in his awareness-raising War on Waste BBC show, edie took an extensive look at the environmental efforts of the sector.

Brad Allen

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