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ASOS launches sustainable fashion training programme

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Just over a week after the company announced they will no longer be selling cashmere, mohair, silk or feathers by next year, ASOS have launched a scheme to educate its designers on sustainable fashion.

The new training course is in partnership with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) and is part of the 2020 Circular Fashion Commitments that Asos promised to achieve at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit last year. 

One of the main focuses of the course will be educating designers on ‘end-to-end’ design techniques so that the whole life cycle of the product is considered.

This month, 15 members of ASOS’s design team will take part in a trial launch of the training scheme, that will see them participate in a series of workshops, discussions and drop in sessions.

From this, the course will be refined and tweaked to be rolled out officially across the whole of ASOS design. 

Vanessa Spence, design director at ASOS said: “With this pilot we’re making sure our designers have the knowledge and skills they need to put sustainability and circularity into practice.

“It’s a vital step on our journey to designing products with circularity in mind right from the start, which will ensure that they are made responsibly, remain in use for as long as possible once they’re sold, and don’t cause unnecessary waste at the end of their lives.” 

So, what exactly is sustainable fashion?

Clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable way possible. Sustainable fashion is quite simply where effort is made to improve all the stages of a products life cycle from the design, manufacturing and transport, right through to the sale of the item and the use, repair or recycling of the product. 

In sustainable fashion practice, care is taken with the use of natural recourses, for example, water or plants and renewable energy sources such as solar energy are favoured over other methods during the product’s life cycle.  

Companies involved in sustainable fashion production also work to improve working conditions for people working in factories, transportation and shops. 

Ellen MacCarthur, who launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010 to encourage a more sustainable future, stated: "We need to paint a vision of what a circular economy can look like. In a time of creativity and innovation, why would we ever turn anything into waste?"

Dilys Williams, director of the centre for sustainable fashion and professor of fashion design for sustainability at London College of Fashion added: “It’s vitally important that dynamic and forward-thinking companies such as Asos innovate from a critically-informed perspective.”

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