ZWS launches fashion range from unwanted textiles

ZWS launches fashion range from unwanted textilesTwo Scottish designers launched Zero Waste fashion collections in Glasgow yesterday (15 March) as part of a Zero Waste Scotland project to promote the value of textile waste.

Aimee Kent and Black Cherry were selected for a paid residency with Studio Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS)’s Love your Clothes campaign in December, selecting 150 kilogrammes of garments each from five tonnes donated from Salvation Army. The two designers then spent the next 12 weeks transforming the unwanted garments into two new fashion collections with increased value.

The designers estimate the new ranges to be worth at least £4,000 each. An expert fashion panel will now appraise the collections and deliver their professional valuations on how much the newly created pieces are worth. The collections will then be sold with proceeds shared between the designers and the Salvation Army.

Former Miss Scotland and Miss UK Nicola Mimnagh modelled the specially designed clothes in the window of the Salvation Army Trading Company’s flagship store in Dumbarton Road yesterday.

‘Clothing should never be put in the general waste bin’

Commenting on the ranges, Lynn Wilson, Textiles Manager at ZWS, said: “We are really impressed by the final collections. Both designers have completely transformed old, unwanted garments into gorgeous new garments, which are completely unrecognisable. All textiles have a value and can be used again and again. Clothing should never be put in the general waste bin.”

Kent, who previously worked with sustainable design store The Top Project, said: “I found inspiration for my collection in the architectural facades of the Salvation Army Trading Company’s headquarters in New York, as well as retro Salvation Army logos and graphic artwork.”

Jemma Wood, from Black Cherry Studio said: “Ours is a mix of simply adding prints to an existing garment…making it into a useable accessory to give it a whole new lease of life. We wanted to demonstrate how simple and easy it can be to transform an already existing item into something new and wearable again.”

30 per cent of clothes in Scottish households go unworn

According to ZWS, garments in the UK have an average estimated lifespan of two years and three months. Moreover, the average Scottish household owns around £4,000-worth of clothes, but wear only 70 per cent of that each year, most commonly because it no longer fits.

Research from the Love Your Clothes campaign found that 65 per cent of women in Scotland would attempt to mend or fix an item so that they can wear it again, although only 19 per cent will fix an item before donating it to charity.

The project was carried out in partnership with the Salvation Army Trading Company, which receives around 30,000 tonnes of donated textiles in the UK every year, which are sold in charity shops to raise funds for the charity’s work.

Catherine Hamou from the Salvation Army Trading Company said: “It’s been a privilege to be involved in this project. It has shown us all that the value and life within textiles can actually go further than we, as consumers, tend to allow. The simple acts of donating your unwanted items to charity and buying from our charity shops means you’re helping us raise millions of pounds each year for extremely vulnerable people in the UK.

“Not only that, donating old items helps prevent them going to landfill, and repurposing second-hand clothes – rather than continually buying new ones – begins to change the cycle of disposable fashion. The social and monetary value goes on and on.”

More information can be found at the Love Your Clothes campaign website.