Project Re:fab and Sustainability Diaries

Have you ever considered how your clothes are made? How a small plant or even crude oil can be transformed into a piece of clothing that you are wearing at this very moment? Although there are different construction methods, one of the most known and common ways is called Cut, Make & Trim. A design will be sketched, a pattern will be made in paper form and transformed onto the fabric, the pieces will be cut out and assembled et voilà, done is your piece of clothing.

Laying the pattern pieces out on your fabric is like a jigsaw puzzle, except the pieces are not made to fit each other. And just like jigsaw puzzles come in different levels of difficulty, the same applies to fabrics: for instance, is the fabric striped, the pattern pieces have to be laid accordingly to match. Is the fabric woven, the pieces might have to be cut in a bias – a 45° angle – to allow additional stretch.

The problem behind all of this? Waste. And that is how Re:fab and Sustainability Diaries were born – we wanted to create change through our Green Leaders project.

Green Leaders

The Problems:

  • On average, 15% of the fabric is wasted when a garment is made. Worldwide, about 400 billion m2 of fabric is produced annually, translating into a wastage of 60 billion m2 per year.
  • All the textiles waste at NTU is currently not recycled and goes straight into the bin alongside the general waste.
  • An unawareness of sustainability within the fashion industry is present, not only regarding the general public but also across fashion students.

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Our Solutions:

Re:fab – Upcycling scheme
The obvious tangible problem here is all the waste that is created as a by-product of every collection. To combat this, we decided to look into opportunities to upcycle and thus, re-purposing the surpluses. With this idea in mind, we got in touch with Debbie Bryan, a lovely NTU alumni who started a local business here in Nottingham. Next to an enchanting little tearoom, she is not only selling handmade crafts and gifts but is also organising ‘crafternoons’, which are creative workshops working with all kinds of material. And from now on, this is where all the fabric scraps are going to go; Becoming a little part of something new, re-purposed and brought back to life instead of ending in the bin.

Sustainability Diaries
To create more awareness around this important topic, we’ve created an Instagram account dedicated to sustainability and our upcycling project. We are encouraging as much engagement as possible and would be grateful for any support!

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Fashion Revolution Week
It’s been exactly 4 years now since the tragic collapse in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh has happened, causing the death of thousands of garment workers. This year, we have set up a pop-up stand in Bonington to raise more awareness. We will be here the whole week, so stop by, take a picture and ask the brands #whomademyclothes! Because fashion is not just about shopping and pretty dresses. Fashion starts and ends with the environment. Fashion starts and ends with people’s lives. Fashion should be fun and it should not leave you feeling guilty, no matter if you are a consumer, a fashion student or a designer.

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-Thank you to Jenny, a Fashion Management Student, for writing this blog post! Make sure to check out @sustainabilitydiaries on Instagram! 

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!’ 

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