UU students have designs on sustainable fashion

Ulster University students have been putting their design skills to the test by giving pre-loved items of clothing a new lease of life.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:33 pm
Ulster University Textile Art, Design and Fashion students (L-R) Karen Hegarty, Brooke Nixon and Anastacia McGivern

The students took part in a fashion forever competition organised by Live Here Love Here, in partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Designed specifically for first year Ulster University Textile Art, Design and Fashion students, the competition focuses on sustainable fashion and repurposing clothes instead of throwing them out and hitting the shops for a new outfit.

Students had the choice of using different items of clothing or the fabric to design something completely new, or reusing yarns to create a knitted/crocheted garment, with the option of reworking the garment into a different/repurposed piece.

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Throughout the competition students had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry via webinars and presentations from Anna Schuster, sustainable fashion designer and Redress Design Award finalist, Siobhan Purnell from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, and Ulster University alumna and Jump the Hedges founder Siofra Caherty.

Alison Gault, Belfast School of Art senior lecturer at Ulster University, said: “Fast fashion is an ever-growing issue for a number of reasons, including its carbon footprint and the negative impact it has on the environment. This competition was an opportunity for our students to focus on sustainability and put their creative skills to use, therefore embedding good ethical approaches into their individual practice. We were delighted by the creativity of our students who were able to transform old clothes and unwanted fabrics and yarns into completely new pieces.”

The winner of the competition was Brooke Nixon, whilst Anastacia McGivern and Karen Hegarty were runners up.

Brooke said: “The ‘Reimagine Design Competition’ provided me with the freedom to create supported by industry insight from experts currently working in the textiles and fashion industry. I was able to challenge the concept that sustainability isn’t fashionable, by transforming second hand garments into colour co-ordinating staple wardrobe pieces.”

Siobhan Purnell, Tackling Textiles coordinator at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful commended the students’ efforts on reimagining their items of clothing.

“It was a pleasure to be part of the judging for the competition. I really enjoyed seeing the creativity from all the students who took part and how they took old textiles and clothing and created something really special and wearable.”

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