Zero Waste Scotland announces fund for sustainable fashion

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has announced today (20 November) that it will launch a new fund next month to enable Scottish fashion designers to create zero waste, closed-loop clothing and apparel ranges.

The Circular Economy Textile and Apparel Grant Fund, announced this morning at the Scottish Textile Symposium at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, has been developed by ZWS to reduce the environmental impact of the textile industry.

According to the organisation, clothing contributes around five per cent of the carbon footprint and between six and eight per cent of the water footprint of all the UK’s goods and services, as well as accounting for more than a million tonnes of wasted materials.

As such, it will launch the fund next month to encourage Scottish designers to ‘lead the way in reducing textile waste’ by adopting sustainable design methods, such as zero waste pattern design, designing clothes to be easily disassembled and repurposed, and using closed-loop textiles made from recycled materials.

Textile designers in Scotland will be able to apply for up to £5,000 each, and successful applicants will also receive mentoring from ‘an industry expert’.

Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland, commented: “It’s incredibly exciting to see Scotland leading the conversation on sustainability in textiles. We have a really diverse and engaged mix of textile producers and clothing designers here in Scotland, and the funding we have announced today will enable the industry to start testing out ways to make waste a thing of the past in textiles, and create a circular textile economy that sees fabric flow in a cycle of reuse and eliminate waste to landfill.”

Event details

Zero Waste Scotland announces fund for sustainable fashion
(L-R): Fashion designer Orsola de Castro with BBC Radio Scotland presenter Janice Forsyth

The Scottish Textile Symposium, which was attended by over 80 delegates from across the clothing, fashion, retail, textile manufacturing and design sectors, was hosted by ZWS and the Scottish Textile and Leather Association (STLA) this morning to look at ways of reducing the environmental impact of clothing.

Sustainable fashion designer Orsola de Castro delivered the keynote speech, in which she called on Scottish designers to embrace the possibilities of using reclaimed and reused textiles, saying that ‘reusing was common sense’. Adding that she had been ‘trying to engage with designers and companies to help them understand that waste is a resource’, de Castro highlighted that 80 per cent of landfilled textile is reusable, and could thus save money as well as waste.

She commented: “I am delighted to take part in this exciting initiative with Zero Waste Scotland. The industry needs to take a positive approach to a changing world and sustainability will inevitably penetrate all aspects of the fashion and textile design and production. 

“We need to look at waste as a resource, and inspire young designers to its immense creative potential and help the industry to understand its viability, scalability and role in the future.”

The textile symposium also involved a panel discussion on the possibilities for a circular economy approach to the Scottish textiles industry, chaired by BBC Radio Scotland presenter Janice Forsyth (pictured above, right, with De Castro).

It culminated in a catwalk show by Scotland Re:Designed, a Creative Scotland-funded programme that aims to stimulate innovation and growth in Scotland’s fashion industry.

ZWS’s Love Your Clothes campaign sponsored the Scotland Re:Designed ‘New Talent’ award, which this year went to menswear designer KellyDawn Riot.

She will now receive £1,000 funding, up to 10 kilogrammes of post-consumer materials from A1 Textiles, and mentoring from de Castro to create a fashion range from recycled textiles.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has also been focusing on reducing the environmental footprint of clothing, and launched the Extending the Life of Clothes Design Awards in October to find ‘innovative solutions’ to make clothes ‘wearable for longer’.

Find out more about Zero Waste Scotland’s work on textiles or learn more about Scotland Re:Designed.