Bend the Trend: Westminster students promote sustainability
University of Westminster students promoted sustainability on Thursday with their fashion-filled event, Bend the Trend.
Third year Tourism and Event Management students – Urte Mitkaite, Lizzy Charpantidou, Sara Bassluny, Julija Paulauskaite – were put to the task of creating an event that benefited humanitarian change.
“For us, our first thought was environmental change. It’s all around us”, shared Mitkaite.
“We were thinking of our mutual interests. Someone said art, someone mentioned fashion and music.”
Ultimately, the group decided on fashion. Their next task was determining how to make a project involving fashion meaningful. Sustainable fashion seemed the most obvious to them as they’d been hearing murmurs that the fashion industry was one of the most harmful industries in the world.
The team reached out to notable sustainable fashion organisations, charities and designers, and even had eager people approaching them asking to be involved.
Bend the Trend featured two catwalk shows, and three speakers.
Morgan Fereday, a fashion designer and recent graduate of Bath Spa University, showcased her collection of repurposed fabrics on the catwalk.
She drew inspiration from flood damage, the homelessness problem and the general idea that the human race uses too much waste.
“The collection was based on the idea that there’s too much waste in the world”, Fereday shared. The materials used to create her loose-fitted garments included tablecloths, and old bedsheets and curtains.
Fereday believes one of the biggest problems concerning the fashion industry is fast fashion and it’s and its contribution to pollution and climate change.
“If you go to India where the textiles are being made, there’s pollution in the drinking water, in the rivers. And everything’s flown, so there’s a lot of travel”, Fereday claimed.
To fix the problem, she believes fashion houses need to “keep it self-contained, and have our own factories back in the UK”.
While Fereday doesn’t believe the fashion industry can ever be 100 percent sustainable, she has hope that the industry will come close.
GreenPeace spokesperson and TV producer, Elizabeth Lizzie Allen called for the younger generation to start making good choices now, “you’re the leaders of the future” she expressed to the audience, “it’s time to mobilise”.
Allen admitted that the human race is not perfect – we fly to different countries and our clothes aren’t always made of sustainable material. In her opinion, what matters more is what we as a society are doing about it, “the question is, what are we doing to put pressure on our leaders to alter things for our future, and the fashion industry is crucial in that debate”, she shares with the audience.
Greenpeace is an independent environmental organisation founded in 1971 that aims to create a greener and healthier world for generations to come.
The show closed with the collaborative collection of a hatmaker Ania Zydron and fashion designer Alice Parmantier.
Based on a conversation about sustainability and the realisation that they both keep they’re fabric scarps – which they call “cabbage” – the pair joined forces to create an entire collection using scraps of material or previously made garments.
Parmantier used the natural shape of the fabric to create the garments to spare any further waste, while Zydron used leftover fabric to create original hats. The pair combined their scraps and used the same materials in both the garments and the hats.
The designers used fabrics they found in the trash outside a local garment manufacturer, “Tens of kilograms of off-cuts…and all of this stuff was just in the bin, which we washed and repurposed” admitted the Zydron.
To make the pieces, and Zydron experimented with bioplastics – a binding agent that is also biodegradable.
For Zydron, sustainability isn’t just about fast fashion or carbon emissions, it’s about collaboration.
The designers believe their bespoke way of designing is sustainable, “if you want people to keep their clothes, you need to care about the people” shares Parmantier. The fashion and print designer also shared that designing around the personality of the people is key to creating a sustainable wardrobe.
Agreeing with Allen, Zydron believes that one of the biggest issues concerning sustainability in the fashion industry is consumer habits, “we need to address why we are obsessed with the concept of the ‘new'”.
Parmantier and Zydron had some bits to share about their upcoming collection involving bioplastics, but said we’ll have to wait till their next show.
To learn more about Morgan Fereday, visit morganfereday.com or follow her on Instagram.
To learn more about Alice Parmantier, visit aliceparmantier.com or follow her on Instagram.
To learn more about Ania Zydron, follow her on Instagram.