Shropshire students launch new 'slow' fashion initiative

Students at a Shropshire college have launched a new sustainability initiative after learning that production of fashion is in the world’s top five polluting industries.

Concord College
Concord College

The new school-wide initiative, at Acton Burnell-based Concord College, is called Project S and is designed to focus on ‘slow’ fashion.

The project, originally the idea of 6.1 student Melody Fakhraei, involves discussions, workshops and up-cycling of clothing to give ‘new life’ and support Concord’s whole-school green commitments.

Students from Concord’s fashion society and student union hosted a discussion evening to introduce the initiative and debated the issues of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ fashion.

Melody, one of three student leads in the fashion society, said: “We hope to address the need for sustainability within the fashion industry as well as its accessibility.

“Unfortunately, slow fashion has obtained a somewhat alien view as it is often seen as too expensive, too complicated and having very little range.

“However, Project S hopes to change that, show that sustainability means a lot of different things and isn’t exclusively for those who can ‘afford’ it or follow a specific lifestyle.

“We also hope to demonstrate different and reachable forms of expressing creativity in times where we may feel restricted.”

The 16-year-old, who is from Canada, added: “All discussions and workshops are free for all and students will have the opportunity to exhibit their work all around the school in ‘pop-up’ exhibitions.”

For some students from the college’s fashion society and students union, it was an eye-opening experience to learn that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of total carbon emissions and half a million tonnes of plastic microfibers being dumped into the ocean every year.

The college’s art department is playing a fundamental role in the initiative with art teacher Lucy Dentith hoping that Project S will focus on ‘being gentle to the planet and people'.

Concord’s head of the eco committee Emma Charles is also hoping Project S will encourage a ‘little extra consideration for the planet'.

Drop-off locations have been set up around the college for students and staff who wish to donate old, new and unused clothing with the opportunity for art and fashion enthusiasts to upcycle these giving them new life.

Miss Dentith, who will be running sustainability and upcycling workshops, added: “Project S is a fantastic opportunity for us all to reconsider our relationship with our clothes.

“The project will also give the opportunity to learn new skills. Once loved clothing can be adapted, given a new life and celebrated rather than ending up as landfill.

“Sustainability is the heart of this school-wide initiative and this theme will be ongoing as Project S develops next year and beyond. Everyone is welcome to join in, learn, discuss, donate or create.”

Mrs Charles said: “I hope Project S helps to promote some local businesses and charities too and when allowed our students can shop again in Shrewsbury or online, looking out for ethical brands and ranges – with a little extra consideration for the planet.”

Student head of Concord’s eco committee, Rachel Tam, 18, said the end goal would be for people to realise that slow fashion is "not only a fun and accessible journey, but also one of the best things we as individuals can do for Mother Earth".

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