Graduate designer has it all sewn up and wins sustainable clothing design award

12th March 2015

Rhiannon Hunt, graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design is the winner of the inaugural SCAP Extending the Life of Clothes Design Award (SCAP ELC Award), announced today by WRAP.

The SCAP ELC Award challenged designers to address the key reasons for garment failure and the concepts needed to achieve solutions to longer life times, as well as deliver ideas that are fashionable and saleable. 

Rhiannon took inspiration from the built environment and designed garments so the method of construction is apparent. The basic elements of each piece are sewn together using traditional methods, however, certain sections, including box pleats, panels, waistbands and hemlines are instead joined with detachable fastenings.  This enables wearers to easily adjust the size, fit, style and/or length of each garment themselves and thereby increase the garment’s lifetime. 

Speaking of her win, Rhiannon said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win this award. I’m so passionate about sustainable design. We have to start changing people’s perceptions of sustainable fashion if we’re to see it become the norm. I hope this award will be a springboard for me, helping me reach my goals and encourage the industry to think and act differently for the sake of our environment.” 

The judges chose Rhiannon’s concept because it dealt with both emotional and functional resilience* from a ‘size’ perspective. She will receive £5,000 and the opportunity to progress her work and develop it for a commercial market. 

Generating interest from across the sector the SCAP ELC Award has delivered some great, innovative ideas, so much so that the judges have created a special commendation prize to recognise Valerie Goode’s project as a runner-up and for her commitment to bringing her idea to market already. Valerie’s concept was the most complete end-to-end helping professional women keep their clothes wearable for longer. It focussed on environmentally friendly dyeing of silks, using smart, made-to-measure sustainable tailoring for the busy city woman, alongside a repair and alteration service.

Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP and award judge, said: “All finalists delivered fantastic ideas, however, it was clear to see that Rhiannon’s concept not only met the brief but was backed by a genuine interest in sustainability. She demonstrated a real understanding of the issues. Having forward thinking, innovative designers like Rhiannon - and our finalists - in the fashion industry, puts us in a really good place to extend the life of clothes.”

Greg Tufnell, Chairman of HGA Group and award judge, said: "Rhiannon's concept and presentation stood out for several reasons. In particular the very considered, detailed and knowledgeable approach combined with her clear passion and commitment to the cause set her apart from the entries. It is these qualities that will give Rhiannon a very real chance of turning her idea in to a reality.

"I greatly admired the fact that Valerie had taken her concept and started and funded her own business in order to take the concept forward. Valerie demonstrated a good grasp of what the business was trying to achieve and her designs really stood out".

The SCAP ELC Award is delivered by WRAP, the organisation behind the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and Love Your Clothes, with support from Defra, British Fashion Council, The Knowledge Transfer Network, InnovateUK, Sustainable Angle, ModeConnect and Ethical Fashion Forum.

The Award was created because WRAP research demonstrates that the biggest opportunity to tackle the environmental impacts of clothing is by targeting active life – extending a product’s active life by just nine months could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each, and save around £5 billion worth of the resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing**.

‘Extending the life of clothes’ is a key focus for the sector commitment, SCAP 2020, with many retailers, brands, charities and textile reprocessors signed up to it; all aiming to reduce the environmental impacts of clothes***.

Ends

Notes to editors:

If using Twitter please use #ELCaward

Finalists:

  • Valerie Goode, of Kitty Ferriera Ltd (commendation) - service focussed concept, offering made to measure tailoring for items that are easy to mix and match with the versatility to take the wearer through from the boardroom to the bar.
  • Gayle Atkins, of Northbrook College Sussex/Marbella Design Academy - focuses on changing items from one product into another - she outlines a dress that is easily transformed into a bag;
  • Nicholas Fellows, of London College of Fashion - proposed a children’s wear concept with dissolvable threads that enables consumers to easily increase the size of the item to accommodate a growing child.

* Emotional and functional resilience:

  • Emotional resilience refers to a garment’s desirability to the consumer. A garment’s active life may be curtailed as the consumer no longer wants to wear it.
  • Functional resilience refers to a garment’s physical attributes and whether it still performs its primary function of clothing the individual. A garment’s active life may be curtailed as the garment is no longer wearable due to size, holes, rips, fading, pilling or other physical attributes

** WRAP research shows that if the active life of clothes were extended by just nine months it could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each, and save around £5 billion worth of the resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing. Valuing Our Clothes – The true cost of how we design, use and dispose of clothes in the UK

***SCAP 2020 signatories and supporters from across the UK, including – Stella McCartney, ASOS, John Lewis, M&S, Ted Baker, Clothes Aid, Oxfam, Salvation Army Trading and Whistles.

Key facts (from Valuing Our Clothes report):

  • More than a million tonnes of clothes are supplied onto the UK market each year, and UK consumers spend £44 billion a year buying them.  However, more than a third of these purchases end up in landfill when they’re finished with.
  • Around £30 billion worth of clothes which they haven’t worn for a year hang in people wardrobes.
  • The annual footprints of a household’s new and existing clothing are equivalent to the weight of over 100 pairs of jeans, the water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs, and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles

SCAP: SCAP’s ambition is to improve the sustainability of clothing across its lifecycle. By bringing together industry, government and the third sector it aims to reduce resource use and secure recognition for corporate performance through sector-wide targets. The SCAP 2020 Commitment sets out these targets. Leading clothing sector companies have signed up to the Commitment and pledged to measure and reduce their environmental footprints. SCAP 2020 has seven action areas – ‘Design for Longevity’ is one of these areas and the SCAP ELC Awards sit within this. SCAP is overseen by a Steering Group, consisting of major retailers, brands, recyclers, sector bodies, NGOs and charities, and include four working groups: Design for Clothing Life,  Re-use & Recycling, Influencing consumer behaviours and Metrics. 

Love Your Clothes – is the consumer campaign, launched by WRAP in early 2014. It aims to raise awareness of the value of clothes and help consumers make the most of the clothes they already have. It’s focused on encouraging people to think about way they purchase, use and dispose of clothes. It provides easy and practical tips and advice on how to: make clothes last longer; reduce the environmental impact of laundering clothes; deal with unwanted clothes; and, make the most of what’s already in the wardrobe. www.loveyourclothes.com , Twitter: @loveyourclothes

About WRAP

WRAP’s vision is a world in which resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency. WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Visit www.wrap.org.uk and follow us on Twitter at @Wrap_UK

Contact

Clare Usher

PR Officer
01295 819678