ASICS, River Island, and Barbour are among the brands donating materials, including deadstock and unwanted fabric, to UK colleges as part of a new initiative launched by the British Fashion Council (BFC) to support fashion students in the face of the pandemic while reducing waste across the industry.
The Student Fabric Initiative will support students as they complete their BA Fashion degrees and currently has 24 brands on board, supplying 33 colleges in need around the UK.
The BFC, through its Institute of Positive Fashion and Colleges Council, oversees the logistics of the fabric donation to students across the UK, with British luxury clothing and accessories brand Burberry supporting the delivery of the material.
The scheme was initially piloted with Burberry earlier this year, who through ReBurberry Fabric made its own donation of fabric to colleges, allowing for the development of a centralised logistics process for donations and the creation of a blueprint for other brands and colleges to work together to provide practical support for future talent.
The ultimate ambition of the Student Fabric Initiative is to create a simple and efficient way for brands and colleges to work together to provide practical support for future talent.
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“One of the BFC’s priorities is to encourage the industry to move towards a circular fashion economy while supporting excellence in fashion design. Being able to help students in need while managing to offset waste is an important example of the power of industry-wide collaboration,” said Caroline Rush, BFC chief executive.
Among the other brands taking part in the Student Fabric Initiative are: Begg x Co, Bianca Saunders, Charlotte Knowles, Craig Green, David Koma, Gabriela Hearst, Halpern, Hamilton and Hare, Knitster LDN, Mackintosh, Natasha Zinko, Orlebar Brown, Paul Smith, Per Gotesson, Phoebe English, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Qasimi, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Sunspel and Victoria Beckham.
The initiative is supported by writer Charlie Porter, with additional help from Matchesfashion, Fora, and Cozette McCreery.
Porter said: “It’s incredible to see the fashion community come together to help students across the country by donating fabrics. This collective action is in response to the pandemic but will hopefully become a model for how designers and brands can give back in the years ahead, placing sustainability at the heart of UK fashion education.”