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How sustainability is dominating Graduate Fashion Week


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There's absolutely no denying that sustainability is the future of fashion - and Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) is a great platform for trailblazing young designers to showcase incredible creative collections that have been made in a sustainable way.

After living for years in a culture of 'throw-away' and fast fashion, where clothes would be worn once or twice and then tossed aside in favour of the next new hottest thing, the industry is finally changing. Predictably, change starts with the younger generation of the fashion world, with eco-conscious graduates filling the catwalks at GFW.

As well as showcasing talent, GFW awards students for their sustainability. Three awards are up for grabs for the graduates: The Considered Design Award, The Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award, and the Swarovski Sustainable Accessories Competition. 



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One of the finalists of the Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award is Morag Seaton, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art's class of 2018.

Morag's collection is completely sustainable, and she aims to create zero waste in her collection by finding solutions for fabric waste within her production process. 

Another one of the finalists is Aurelie Fontan from Edinburgh College of Art. Her collection consists of creative laser cut designs, which are made entirely of recycled and upcycled fabrics and materials.

These are just two of dozens of nominees who are taking GFW by storm with their ethically sourced ideas. But it does not stop there. Other fashion students are also changing the way we think about design itself.

We spoke to Sidnie Brennan from Portsmouth University about her design and production process.

She told us: “I try to be sustainable in the way that I created the shapes… I used old garments, cut them up and sort of deconstructed them to create new garments and then use those to create unusual patterns.”

And she does not stop there, revealing that in developing her Portuguese tile-inspired garments she learnt to “be clever with pattern cutting and not (to) waste any paper either.”

In a sign of changing times, this year’s event is sponsored by TencelTM, a sustainable fabric developed by the Lenzing Group, an Australian group with 80 years of experience in the field. Their stand at GFW gives them the chance to discuss the use of their different fibres with students from all over the world.


If GFW is anything to go by then, we should expect even more designers to be taking a leaf out of the graduates' books - and be seeing more sustainable fabrics, materials, design and production processes in the coming collections.

In 2018,  is there really any excuse for big corporations to still be creating their garments and accessories with environmentally damaging materials, and creating even more waste than we can’t cope with? We don’t think so, and neither do those showing their collections at GFW this week.

Graduate Fashion Week 2018 is taking place at the Old Truman Brewery between 3rd and 6th June. The National Student will be reporting from the event daily - see all our coverage 

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