Twenty-four brands – including Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Paul Smith and Victoria Beckham – are donating thousands of meters of dead material and unwanted fabric, as well as embellishments, embellishments and clasps, to 33 colleges across the UK. The Student Fabric Initiative, led by the British Fashion Council and with delivery costs paid by Burberry, aims to support fashion students, who have been working in restricted and isolated circumstances during the pandemic, and to place sustainability at the center of future curricula.
The community spirit at the heart of the project sees brands with an ecological mindset, such as Gabriela Hearst and Phoebe English, joining forces with emerging designers, including Bianca Saunders and Charlotte Knowles, who are just a few years ahead of the students themselves; historic labels, from Barbour to Begg & Co; and the giant River Island, to pave the way for a greener fashion future. With the support of journalist Charlie Porter and former director of Sibling and versatile fashion facilitator, Cozette McCreery, who were instrumental in ensuring that the process was as perfect as possible; Matchesfashion.com, which is helping with fabric collections; and Outside, a supplier of storage space, the project is a sign of the positivity that can arise at a challenging time for the sector. Burberry, which piloted the scheme through its ReBurberry Fabric Initiative, has been laying the groundwork since last year.
Porter, who is a visiting professor on the BA Fashion course at the University of Westminster, saw the significant impact of donations first hand: “Last year, one of the students I taught was Steven Stokey-Daley, who received fabric for his final collection of Alexander McQueen. The donation was really life-changing for him and made me want to see what else the fashion industry could do, not just for students in London, but for those who study across the country. It has been amazing to see the industry come together, hopefully setting a benchmark for a new way of giving back to students in the years to come. “
When the news is released today, students, from Central Saint Martins to Falmouth University, will be stimulated by the knowledge that they can inject their postgraduate collections with Craig Green’s innovative textiles and Halpern’s glitter-dotted bands (two more participants of the Student Fabric Initiative). With many other brands hoping to enroll in the future, the BFC scheme, as part of its new Positive Fashion Institute and College Council, is not just a beacon of hope for the current student who tries to graduate without financial ruin, but a a sign of the industry’s commitment to nurture future generations.
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