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Organic by Design

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

At Graduate fashion week, the fashion designers of tomorrow reveal their talent to the world. This year, many of them are also revealing their vision for a more ethical and sustainable future for the fashion industry. Nine graduates, selected among many applicants for their outstanding creative skills and their innovative approach to sustainable fashion, are all recipients of a grant from Pesticide Action Network UK. The Organic by Design winners represent seven different fashion colleges across England, Scotland and Wales. These designers demonstrate the creative potential of eco and ethical fashion, centred around the use of organic cotton in their final year collections. Right from the start of their careers, they show that ethics and sustainability can be fashionable. Already, Organic by Design’s recipients are grabbing the media’s attention. First prize Ingrid Haas, who studies knitwear at Central Saint Martins, is being singled out as a name to watch by fashion editors from the Independent, Marie Claire, and Vogue. (Picture: Ingrid Hass, Central Saint Martins College of the Arts, London, first prize)


The graduates have seen for example how traditional weaving allows Indian farming communities to add value to their organic cotton fibres; how wedding gowns can be reused and combined with luxurious organic cotton fabrics; how CO2 emissions are minimized through local manufacturing; and how vegetable tanned leathers can be used, along with hemp and organic cotton fabrics, to create a range of handbags which combine great fashion forward aesthetics with individuality, functionality, and ethical values. For many of these young designers, the journey started last October when they met with Barnabas Guerra, an organic cotton farmer from the small West African country of Benin, who entrusted his cotton fields to his brother and left his homeland for the first time to deliver his message across European fashion schools: organic cotton has transformed the lives of everyone in his community. Barnabas was invited by the charity Pesticide Action Network UK, which seeks to eradicate extreme poverty among cotton farming communities in the developing world, through the adoption of organic agriculture and fair trading practices. The charity initiated the grant Organic by Design, in an effort to respond to the growing interest from fashion students for organic cotton. (Picture: kuan-wen Liu, Central Saint Martins College of the Arts, London, shared second prize)


Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) is a UK registered charity working to eliminate the hazards of pesticides and promote sustainable alternatives to chemical intensive agriculture. PAN UK’s cotton programme has been promoting the use of organic cotton as a mean to improve the health, livelihoods, and environment of poor small scale farming communities in the developing world since 1992. Organic by Design is a mini-grant programme offered by PAN UK, designed to support selected final year fashion design students who wish to use organic cotton as part of their graduate collection. The aim is to encourage and support students to showcase the creative potential for organic cotton products in the fashion world - both in the academic arena and beyond it into the industry.




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