Students promote sustainability

Sustainability is being highlighted in the Fashion and Textiles degree delivered at University Centre Colchester. In an attempt to promote zero waste, students engaged with a project to reuse existing garments to create new and exciting styles. These ‘upcycled’ garments were showcased to the public at a ‘Re- Think Re-Work’ fashion show at Firstsite., where a collection raised £175 for St Helena’s Hospice.

It is estimated that more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is produced every year, which has a significant effect on the environment. First year students have been applying their creative skills to donated garments from St Helena’s charity shops. The garments have been dissected, overdyed, printed, reconstructed and totally reinvented into fashion statements with printed graphics underlining the need to recycle, choose well and make it last.

The circular fashion economy is being put into focus, whereby a ‘circular fashion consumer’ is appreciative of the value of a garment and holds on to the purchase for as long as possible. Companies are beginning to consider this in their business strategies and considering the effect that their production has on the environment.

Sustainable fashion has become more apparent in recent years and has been debated heavily in order to consider how businesses can transform their supply chains to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Many consumers have got on-board with this movement, wanting to look good with a clear conscience. It is been predicted that by recycling one tonne of clothing, more than half a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions is saved.

Throughout this project, students have created a portfolio presentation recording their journey.



Shannah Oliver, Year 1 Fashion and Textiles student said: “Being able to create an entire outfit with zero waste has been such an exciting challenge, I’m so happy with the outcome. Addressing sustainability through design is extremely important.”

Val Jacobs, Course Leader at Colchester Institute commented: “The project has provided many creative challenges, the first year students have produced some really inventive and exciting fashion. The original garments have been utterly transformed through print colour and reworking. It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with St Helena’s Hospice and raise the profile of this amazing local charity.”

For more information about the BA(Hons) Fashion and Textiles degree at University Centre Colchester, please visit