How do the 6 R’s applied to fashion look like? Reinvent, Reconfigure, Restyle, Reproduce, Recreate and Reclaim. This fashion show is bringing awareness of the issues surrounding sustainability in the fashion industry, this edition “Ocean Pollution”. The R Sustainable Fashion event is about to showcase the most innovative solutions and ideas to inspire not just designers in the fashion industry, but anyone who is interested in the rising negative impacts of fashion on our ecosystem.
These kick-ass students of Edinburg University have put together a professional platform for designers, artists and brands to Rethink the fashion industry. This year the hoarding topic “Ocean Pollution”. We talk to the young founders Milda Lebedyte & Daniela Groza, determined to create a new roadmap for circular fashion and more eco-conscious practices. Enjoy our conversation and learn some of the trends because the future is now; and the 6 R more alive than ever in fashion!
What is the R Sustainable Fashion Show?
RSFS is a professional platform for student designers and artists as well as established brands to showcase their work on matters related to sustainability. This can either be through their conceptual design or innovative making process.
How did you come up with the idea of organising the R Sustainable Fashion Show and make it in a format that includes student designers?
The two of us met back when we were in first year of University. We both took part in a fashion show that used waste materials from Ikea. This event was organized by the Edinburgh University student association. We enjoyed our experience and wanted to expand on it, turning it into a yearly event.
Being in year 3 of University ourselves, we want to give other students the opportunity to broaden their skills by taking part in our event.
What is the main topic this year?
The overarching topic is always sustainability in the fashion industry. We always give our designers a theme to provide some guidance, but often the applicants are already exploring their own concepts. For example, last year we had a designer who grew her own textiles out of kombucha.
This year, we have chosen ‘Ocean Pollution’ as our theme due to the rising negative impacts of fashion on this ecosystem.
Which are the biggest challenges for students designers at the R Sustainable Fashion Show?
The materials that we provide are collected from local initiatives: The Edinburgh Remakery and Shrub. Although they do not have to, the designers are encouraged to give a new life to these discarded items. This truly gives them a challenge when it comes to manipulating to fit their concept.
The selected students, did they have any previous involvement with sustainable fashion?
Many find this an intriguing topic and utilise the RSFS as an opportunity to explore it hands-on. We have several final year fashion students for whom this is particularly imperative because they are entering a massive industry. This opportunity to give a preview of their graduate collection with this new element of sustainability is therefore beneficial.
How many students will take part in the R Sustainable Fashion Show and which were the criteria for the selection process?
We have around a dozen designers, each with their own unique take on this subject. We are looking for people who are inquisitive and open to new experiences. For example, Daniela is manipulating beach plastics that she has collected herself, to turn them into new sculptural pieces of jewellery. Milda, on the other hand, is exploring ways in which food waste can be used for dyeing or the creation of materials such as plastic.
We are very interested to learn about fashion designers mindset to implement sustainability from the core, as we find sometimes design is the start point for products to be sustainable. In what stage do designers decide what materials they will be using to create a sustainable product – before or after the design is made? Or should we already take into account the materials we plan to use when designing?
Sustainability in design is connected to longevity. When creating a product, designers aim to tackle a specific problem. For example, using recycled materials helps perpetuate a circular model of material production and use, which in turn extends the materials’ lifetime. In terms of material choice, we find that many of our designers use sustainable/novel/innovative materials as a source of inspiration, both on a physical and conceptual level. Designs are often dictated by the way that a specific material acts, but that doesn’t necessarily limit the idea but instead brings it to a new level.
Therefore, Sustainable design is meant to be environmentally conscious and responsible. Designers must think about the consequences of their designs, and how they are going to impact the world, taking multi-functionality into consideration in their wearable creations.
What kind of materials are expected to be showcased in the R Sustainable Fashion Show?
From upcycling textile waste to manipulated plastics, to wood, to materials made from food waste.
In your opinion, what would you say are the most sustainable materials for fashion, and also the ones most commonly used between those fashion pieces that are designed to last?
Sustainability is very difficult to look at in the fashion industry because you have to consider the ethics behind these materials as well as their production and processing. This is still a new mentality. Right now we have materials entering the market that acts as substitutes to existing fabrics, such as Tencel and Lyocell fabrics, that are steadily replacing oil-based textiles. Emerging designers pioneer more avant-garde techniques and materials that can soon also enter the industry. Dyeing with microbes and engineering leather out of grapes and mushrooms are just examples of what is happening out in the world.
How is the R Sustainable Fashion Show organised? Aside from the show are there any other activities planned for the day?
Our event is more than just a Fashion Show. It incorporates an exhibition showcasing local and international artists working within the field of sustainability, either through their original material manipulation or concepts.
The event will take place on March 24th, at the Jam House in Edinburgh, from 6 to 10 pm.
We have managed to obtain a grant from the University of Edinburgh Social Responsibility and Sustainability department.
Mario Albrecht, jewellery designer and maker who uses recycled plastic bags and foil to give life to a series of intricate creations.
Fashion designer Rachel Clowes, who has developed organic bio-plastic sequins, coloured with natural dyes.
Michelle Lowe-Holder is an artist & maker using the body as a canvas to create unique and artisanal pieces, using mixed materials and a sustainable approach.
Swedish Eco, a fashion brand that incorporates organic textiles.
Finisterre a brand that its design ethos “has always been to build the best and most sustainable product as possible”. Meaning this, that is fit for purpose, built to last and, wherever possible, that encompasses innovation to deliver a sustainability agenda.
These are just a few names that will take part in our exhibition. We will be having around a dozen exhibitors.
RSFS 2019 is a chance to fundraise for One Cherry, a local start-up that digitalises local Charity shops by implementing an online platform, for their products to be advertised, encouraging online charity shopping! The event will end with a preview of “the best of” One Cherry charity shop outfits.
The doors will open at 6 pm, giving the public a chance to admire the items showcased. The student designers show will begin at 7. There will be 2 intermissions: a short talk given by a representative from the Fashion Revolution Organization and a modern dance performance.
There will be a raffle at the event, and the proceeds obtained will go towards them. We have managed to partner with over 20 brands, on both a local and international level. They have offered from vouchers to their online shops, to eco-friendly skin products, gym memberships, and meals for 2 from local restaurants.
Some of our confirmed sponsors to date:
Primal Gym Hendersons
Melon Bay Café
Last year you also organised the R Sustainable Fashion Show. What was the topic and which were the outcomes and participation? And what are the goals for this year?
We were limited in our reach due to limited funding but still managed to get a successful outcome, with an audience of over 200 people, a strong team of diverse designers and thought-provoking exhibition pieces. We gained from this experience a wider audience and a stronger platform, establishing ourselves in the local area. This means that RSFS 2019 is going to be bigger and bolder!
You are based in Edinburgh. Do you feel there’s a change happening in the city?
Yes, definitely. By collaborating with local initiatives we get to meet the people that are bringing about this change. Partnering with companies and start-ups such as One Cherry, The Edinburgh Remakery or Shrub has helped us gain access to a whole different spectrum of people.
Why should people living in Edinburgh city come to the R Sustainable Fashion Show?
To discover what the future of fashion is going to look like by being involved in a conversation with our passionate artists and designers.
Finally, where can folks find you to follow or attend the event?
RAFFLE INFORMATION UPDATE!
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