Zero Waste Scotland, in partnership with the Salvation Army Trading Company and WRAP, is offering two designers a fully-paid 12 week internship to create a new collection of clothes from those that have been given to charity.

The fashion industry currently contributes £26bn to the UK Economy. Typically a household possesses around £4000 worth of clothing. However with an estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of clothing sent to landfill each year there is a need to close the loop and reinvest in this growing market.

That’s why Zero Waste Scotland, which has programmes in place with the Edinburgh Fashion Festival, has launched a campaign to ‘show consumers the true value of their discarded clothing’.

Zero Waste Scotland’s textiles manager Lynn Wilson said: “This exciting new project with the Salvation Army Trading Company aims to show Scots the true value of their clothes and how, with a little love and attention, the item they may intend to throw out could in fact be turned in to something more valuable for the current or new owner. It’s also a terrific opportunity for designers based in Scotland, so please send us your applications now.”

The Salvation Army Trading Company has 52 charity shops in Scotland as well as thousands of recycling banks. Each year they receive around 30,000 tonnes of donated textiles in the UK, which helps raise vital funds for the charity’s work.

Forming part of the Love Your Clothes campaign, the two selected designers will have to choose 150kg of fabric from the 5 tonne selection of unwanted clothing.

Once the internships are complete, each new collection will be individually and independently valued to demonstrate how much revenue could be created and saved through a closed loop circular economy.

Love Your Clothes

The Love Your Clothes campaign is being overseen by charity WRAP and is closely linked with another WRAP initiative, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. The plan has seen clothing giants Next and Stella McCarthy, as well as charities including Zero Waste Scotland, pledge to reduce carbon, water and in waste to landfill by 15% by 2020.

Closed loop catwalks

The fashion industry as a whole is taking significant strides in working towards a closed loop economy. This past week, Swedish clothing chain H&M announced a €1m grant for pioneering ideas, which will help reduce the amount of discarded clothes being sent to landfill.

They also announced launch of a new denim range made from recycled and organic cotton, something that the two chosen designers for Zero Waste Scotland will hope to replicate.

Matt Mace

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