From recycling bin to haute couture: Gray’s fashion project to raise awareness of sustainability

Fashion and Textiles students at Gray’s School of Art are getting their teeth into a unique project brief – creating statement pieces entirely from recycled materials.

L-R Kerrie Davidson and Tamsin RussellThe project, which aims to raise awareness of sustainability and zero waste, will see the 26 Stage 3 students working in groups to create the pieces with materials provided by social enterprise Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), as well as waste materials from the art school.

The different groups have been assigned specific materials to work with, including crockery and tarpaulin; ring binders and foam packaging; sponge foam; wood; and polystyrene and Perspex off cuts.

Once the final pieces have been created, a judging panel will select a winning design to go on display in the window of the Cancer Research shop on Aberdeen’s Union Street from April 25 to May 5.

Stage 3 Fashion and Textiles co-ordinator, Rachel Heeley, said: “Being sustainable is a really important issue and it is one that, as designers, our students need to be aware of.

“It is something that I’m personally very interested in – I hate to see things going to landfill during day to day life so I thought it would make for an interesting project.

“It is very much about making a statement piece for the window display – we want the students to come up with something that will cause people to stop and take a second look in order to raise awareness of the issue.”

She added: “It’s great to be working alongside CFINE and Cancer Research in Aberdeen on the project and also for the students to be working on another live brief which broadens their skills and experience.

“They are very much used to working with fabric so it will be interesting to see the ideas that they come up with for these materials – already you can see that they are taking them apart, breaking them down and thinking about the different ways they will be able to utilise them. I’m excited to see what they come up with.”

Student Kerrie Davidson (25) said: “I think it is a great project because it shows that designers do have a role to play in creating awareness around certain issues with their work.

“I was really excited when we were told about it as we are getting to be very creative and it is a chance to break away from the norm.”

Course mate Tamsin Russell (21) added: “It is a really good opportunity because it is so unusual to create something fashion related out of these types of materials.

“We are collecting ideas in our group at the moment – it is either going to be a fashion piece or an installation. There are so many different opportunities with it so we will see where it takes us.”

The judging panel will consist of Agnes Keilloh, retail manager at Cancer Research; Liina Roostoja, Recycling Officer Aberdeen City  Council; Sarah Robertson of CFINE; and Lyndsay McNeill, PhD student at Gray’s.

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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