Coventry University’s antidote to fast fashion comes to the catwalk this week with a focus on upcycling and sustainability.

Haus of Kraft, a fashion programme involving Coventry University, Chrysalis Craft Coventry, FabLab and Coventry’s UK City of Culture Team, focusses on sharing sustainable fashion skills and highlighting the destructive effects fast fashion can have on the environment.

The university, local community and 15 women, many of whom are refugees, have been actively involved in this project.

With the help of fashion students from Coventry University and City College, these women have been able to pick up fashion techniques to create a range of clothing, inspired by nature, whilst sharing their own cultural experiences and fashion ideas with the students.

All the pieces have been created using sustainable or upcycled materials, with those taking part learning to make dyes from plants and even growing their own leather-like material, using Kombucha, bacteria and vinegar.

The group used sustainable and recycled materials to create their designs

On Tuesday (26th April) their creations were be put on display during a special fashion show at Assembly Festival Garden Spiegeltent, The Queen of Flanders, in Coventry city centre.

The show directed and designed by world-renowned creative artist Jeanefer Jean-Charles and designer Marsha Roddy.

The items that have been produced are fantastic, our group have come up with some great ideas. The technical expertise our students, Dr Seyedeh Naseriniaki (Chrysalis Craft) and FabLab staff member Claire Corbey have been able to provide has been amazing and international artists sponsored by the British Council, have also been able to engage with the group remotely, providing inspiration, an international sustainability perspective, as well as practical advice.

It’s not all about just learning the practical skills though, these workshops have also been great social spaces and have helped to bring together members of the local community, the university and a number of others involved in Haus of Kraft.

In addition to the clothing creations, the show will feature poetry written by the group.

The whole project has taken place over a series of workshops since October and such has been the success of the overall programme so far, it has already been nominated for the MacJannet Prize, an award which recognises exceptional global student community engagement initiatives.

Sinead Ouillon from Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations.

For more information, visit the show webpage.

Fashion students forge community links with sustainable project

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