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14 October 2022

College students breathe new life into old clothes in sustainability project

A group of Edinburgh College students learned about the importance of Sustainability as they were challenged to repurpose old clothes to create a number of new designs as part of a project supported by St Columba’s Hospice.

The HND Textiles students were challenged with breathing new life into old clothing by using only three pieces of fabric to create a completely new and unique garment using inspiration from the work of Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicolson.

The students first compiled a mood board of designs and colours that they liked, before sketching out the design they wanted to create, and finally cutting and stitching fabrics together to create a unique garment made completely from old clothes.

The project was organised with help from St Columba’s Hospice, who supplied the students with a wide-range of second-hand men’s shirts so they could be upcycled into a number of stylish new garments.

As part of the project, a representative from St Columba’s Hospice will also visit the Textiles Studio at the College’s Granton Campus to be presented with the students’ designs.

As part of this project, we followed the inspiration of Barbara Hepworth to create a concept garment using three old shirts. I’m very passionate about Sustainability so this was a great project to be involved in. If you can squeeze anything out of something that will go to landfill, then that’s a winner for me.
HND Textiles student Joanna Ortoswka said:
I enjoyed working on this project quite a lot as I enjoy upcycling and sustainability is quite a big topic of mine which is what I see myself working in, in the future. I think its important to learn about Sustainability, especially in the fashion industry, as it is not an issue that is addressed well enough.
HND Textiles student Lisa-Carlotta Kuesters said:
As part of the project we were given three shirts and asked to upcycling them to create a new concept garment using the work of Barbara Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson as our inspiration. I really enjoyed this project as it was very interesting and I didn’t appreciate how using three shirts you could come up with so many different designs.
HND Textiles student Carolyn Anne Fraser said:
This project has been really interesting, I wanted to make something that didn’t resemble the shirt that we were given and that was completely transformed. I think it’s really important that students learn about Sustainability and I think especially for the fashion industry, I think it’s important that people don’t buy new clothes and wear them once and that they continue to reuse them.
HND Textiles student Shona Cook said:
At the end of last year, we started our planning process and decided we wanted to start this academic year with a fashion project. My colleague Tonia got in touch with a charity shop that is part of St Columbus Hospice and asked if they could collect some fabrics and shirts that our students could repurpose to create new designs. We liked the idea that we were working with sustainable materials and breathing new life into existing garments and which we could then showcase back in the charity shop windows and help inspire people to think a little bit about what can be done with an old shirt or two.
Edinburgh College Art and Design lecturer Kim Gunn said: