London College of Fashion,
Centre for Sustainable Fashion
London College of Fashion,
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About Sustaining Voices

Sourcing Journal’s Sustaining Voices celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action.

Overview

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion is bridging the gap between student and master.

Deep Dive

If you want to get a window into the future of sustainability, it helps to look at what’s going on inside the classroom.

Last June, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at the London College of Fashion joined forces with Asos to pilot a circular fashion design training program for the retailer’s designers. The half-day workshops and sessions broke down how to design products that don’t need to be pitched at the end of their lives but can instead be reused and/or regenerated. CSF researchers explored circularity using case studies and real-life applications to educate and spark inspiration for designers at Britain’s largest online-only fashion retailer.

The goal? To promote eco-friendly apparel manufacturing right from drawing board.

“Good design involves understanding and valuing all elements that come together in making and enjoying fashion,” said Dilys Williams, director of the CSF.

Education, both inside and outside university walls is important to CSF, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. In February 2018, the group worked with French conglomerate Kering to launch the world’s first open-access digital course in sustainable luxury fashion based on modules such as “why sustainability matters in fashion,” “contextualizing sustainability for a changing world,” “sustainable sourcing for luxury fashion” and “informed decision making.”

The move marked a milestone collaboration between higher education and industry because it “signals a real desire and commitment from the industry to the ‘open sourcing’ of knowledge,” Frances Corner, head of the London College of Fashion, said at the time. “Only through collaboration and the sharing of experience can we face the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead together.”

Indeed, collaboration has been a throughline in CSF’s strategy. The center is a year into a five-year commitment with Common Objective (CO), a free-to-join business platform, chaired by British fashion entrepreneur Harold Tillman, that provides members with resources to grow their operations in ways that benefit sustainability. As part of the partnership, Tillman is funding an annual student research project that will be shared with the industry once complete.

“Like CO, we’re working towards an industry which creates jobs, prosperity and great products that do not damage the environment,” CSF wrote in a statement last October. “When education and business work together, it can be a powerful force for change—which is why this partnership is such a natural fit.”


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